- Richard tests the Lexus LFA.
- Jeremy does a ‘low-budget’ worldwide review of the BMW X6.
- James drives the Vauxhall Insignia VXR with Margaret Calvert, to reflect on the evolution of road signs in Britain.
- Top Gear Awards 2010.
- Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Seasick Steve.
Reviews: The presenters are faced with a serious problem – a lack of money. They are budgeted for fourteen episodes, but have spent too much on the first thirteen, and so they have to be careful in how much they spend making this one. Richard Hammond reviews the £340,000 Lexus LFA, but ends up spending about the same amount on animated graphics that make his segment look like a comic book, much to James May’s annoyance. The Stig takes the car around the track in 1:22.8.
Jeremy Clarkson is warned about the budget when he reviews the BMW X6, but ends up producing the most expensive car review ever when he goes to Spain to see if the car handles any differently on Spanish roads (it doesn’t), to Switzerland to find out how well the X6 handles snowy conditions (it can’t), to Hong Kong in search of a metaphor to describe the car (a skyscraper), and to Australia to see whether the car’s glove box still works when its “upside-down” (which it does). In the end, he goes to the Barbados to see if the money spent on an X6 could be put to better use on a Caribbean holiday (and concludes that it is); May is once again unimpressed.
May then reviews the Vauxhall Insignia VXR, but despite having a ten-minute segment, he finds that he only has enough material for two and a half minutes. He spends the rest of his review interviewing road sign designer Margaret Calvert. Even then, he appears to run out of relevant things to say. The original interview was supposed to demonstrate a feature in the Insignia which was its ability to read road signs. This feature however was removed from UK spec cars as it did not function correctly with UK signs.
News: The presenters are faced with another problem – this time, the episode was filmed on 9 December 2009, but was not broadcast until the new year. Instead of talking about cars that have been released, they instead talk about cars that they are looking forward to, all the while trying – and for the most part, failing – to remember to describe them as being released “this year” instead of “next year”. Clarkson also discusses the future outcome of the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference and the producers demonstrate environmentally-friendly forms of transport. James May introduces and mispronounces the Go-Cycle, but never finishes assembling it; Richard Hammond rides a battery-powered skateboard (Boom Borda 2 from ) finds he has no idea how to steer or slow it down; and Clarkson uses a three-wheeled scooter-slash-frame called a Trikke, and promptly crashes it into the Cool Wall during a race around the studio with Hammond.
The Top Gear awards ceremony is also held in this episode:
Injury of the Year: Richard Hammond and James May driving the Porsche Panamera.
Fastest Celebrity: Brian Johnson of AC/DC (who was credited as Brain Johnson on the trophy).
Car of the Year: Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Balboni.
Forklift Truck Driver of the Year: A forklift operator who crashed into a warehouse shelf and knocked all the shelves over.
Golden Cock Award: The Stig, for locking the keys of the Jaguar XK120 inside the car.
Car of the Decade: Bugatti Veyron. A very short film accompanied this award.
Star in a Reasonably Priced Car: Seasick Steve posted a time of 1:51.7. Clarkson noted that he could possibly be the final “star in the reasonably priced car” using the Chevrolet Lacetti.
“Some say that he has to take his shoes off with an allen key, and that his new year’s resolution is to eat fewer mice. All we know is he’s called the Stig.”
Stig Power Laps
Star in a Reasonably Priced Car