Summer is officially here, but if you're British you wouldn't know it. Looking out the window right now reveals dull overcast skies that make venturing outside not particularly desirable. Thank goodness, then, that the Top Gear summer series is just around the corner.
The boys will be back on telly Sunday June 30th in what promises to be another packed and riotously entertaining series. Here's a preview of what to expect from Top Gear series 20:
Britain may be in the midst of a terrible recession, but the situation is currently considerably worse in Spain. So, in an effort to flaunt Britain's economic superiority, the Top Gear trio decided to pay them a visit in three practical, affordable convertibles. Which happen to be supercars.
Taxis can often characterise a city. London has its famous black LTi cabs. New York has its yellow Ford Crown Victorias. You get the idea. But which is best? To find out, Richard Hammond stages another high-octane race between a variety of taxis from all corners of the globe. Expect plenty of bumping and grinding if the troublesome touring car chaps are back.
Jeremy gets behind the wheel of the 280bhp one seater rocket that is the BAC Mono. Heaven knows if he will have any face left after this. After all, we all remember his facelift from when he drove the Arial Atom…
It wouldn't be Top Gear without a race between a car and some other outlandish form of transportation. For series 20, the car happens to be a rally car and other mode of transportation happens to be America's Cup Yacht.
Jeremy puts two rather special Mercs head to head: the brisk and beautiful 622bhp V8 SLS AMG Black and the electrifying SLS AMG Electric Drive, which has even more horses under its heaving bonnet – a total of 740bhp, to be exact. Expect plenty of savage noise, tyre smoke and exclamations of the word 'powerrr' uttered frequently.
Top Gear investigate a whole new breed of automobile: the Crossover. Apparently they're predominately driven by caravaners. To test them out, the team took a bunch of them to New Forestland and hooked them up to some caravans. Given Top Gear's illustrious history with caravans, I think we can all guess how this segment will pan out.
Flood driving. How hard can it be? To tackle this everyday problem, the team build a vehicle capable of combating the world's worst floods by converting a van into a hovercraft. Will it be another ambitious but rubbish project that catches fire or will this be one of their few surviving contraptions that has a genuine use? We'll have to wait to find out, but the previous amphibious car calamities were some of the most entertaining challenges in the show's history so this could be good.
Richard Hammond treats us to another triple car test focusing on hot hatches: the Renaultsport Clio 200, Peugeot 208 GTI, and Ford Fiesta ST.
Truth be told, there isn't an awful lot left of the British car industry. To savour what is left, the team showcase some contemporary examples of what makes our beloved industry so great. Jeremy drives the new Jaguar F-Type, whilst the hamster drives the new Range Rover Sport to make himself feel a little bit taller. Meanwhile, true to form James drives something considerably slower, but nonetheless relevant: the new Bus for London. Pity they didn't let Jeremy drive the bus, though – it would have been apt given his recent spat with bus drivers.
The Ferrari F12 Berlinetta gets a good thrashing, but not quite where you would expect. Rather than powertesting it on the Top Gear test track, Jeremy takes a trip on the rainy roads of Scotland. It's refreshing to see Top Gear do more road tests on actual roads, and the Ferrari's striking looks coupled with the crew's exemplary cinematography should make for a memorable review.
Top Gear waves goodbye to the Kia C'eed to welcome a new Reasonably Priced Car. As is tradition, Jeremy and Richard host a barbeque party and invite some celebrity guests to put in some times to fill up the lap board. Anyone want to guess what the new Reasonably Priced Car will be? Let us know in the comments if you have any ideas. My bet is on the Dacia Sandero.
So that's Top Gear series 20 in a nutshell. At only six episodes, it's going to be another short run, sadly, but what's on offer looks very tasty indeed, with a healthy balance of powertests and novelty challenges to keep us entertained on a Sunday night before the reality of Monday morning monotony bites.