If you’re a lover of cars, chances are that you’ve probably seen Top Gear once or twice. This also means that you’re probably aware of the chaos that the show is. From bonkers challenges to hair-raising overseas travels, Top Gear is probably one of the most notable car shows there is. If you want to get into the show now the newer seasons are coming out or want to rewatch your favourites, we’ve listed the top IMDb ranked Top Gear episodes for you.
There was some pretty intense controversy surrounding former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson (read: alleged inappropriate behaviour, racism and all around bad vibes) so I suppose you can watch these episodes for the love of the travel, cars and the past and not for Jeremy himself.
Following from Jeremy’s departure in 2015, James May and Richard Hammond also decided to leave the show. Since then, Top Gear has gone through quite a few rebrands, which was desperately needed.
The new main presenter of the show is Chris Harris (starting from 2016 and notably less problematic) who has been joined by various different co-presenters throughout the years. Matt LeBlanc was there for a couple of seasons. Random, but okay.
What Is Top Gear, Anyway?
If everything I just said made absolutely no sense and you have no idea what Top Gear is, it’s basically a show where three middle-aged men talk about cars, put themselves through a series of ridiculous challenges and occasionally make ill-considered politically incorrect remarks.
Top Gear is known for not really ever being about the cars and more about where cars can take you, hence why most of the best ranked episodes from all Top Gear seasons are international travel tours.
So let’s speed back into the past and revisit the top 10 best episodes of Top Gear, as ranked by IMDb.
10. S16E0: Middle East Special* (9/10 IMDb score)
Clarkson, Hammond and May travel across the Middle East in a £3500 sports car to reach Jerusalem, and encounter all the political minefields (and the real ones) the Three Wise Men didn’t.
9. S10E04: Botswana Special* (9.1/10 IMDb score)
Jeremy, James and Richard each buy a used two-wheel drive car for £1500 and drive it for 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres) across Botswana from the Zimbabwe border across the Makgadikgadi salt plains and through the Okavango Delta to the Namibian border. The Stig’s African cousin also makes an appearance.
8. A Tribute to Sabine Schmitz (9.1/10 IMDb score)
Current and former presenters of Top Gear share their memories of racing champion Sabine Schmitz, who sadly died of cancer at the age of 51 on the 16th of March 2021.
7. S19E06: Africa Special, Part 1* (9.1/10 IMDb score)
In the first of a two-part Top Gear special, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are in Africa with a simple mission – to find the definitive source of the Nile. Over the years many explorers claim to have already done just that, but the Top Gear trio believe that they can do better by traveling using only grit, ingenuity and three ageing estate cars.
6. S21E06: Burma Special: Part 1* (9.1/10 IMDb score)
In the first of two-part special, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May are on a mission to build a bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand. In order to do so, they must first drive across a country that has been largely closed to Westerners for over 40 years: Burma. What follows is an epic journey of beautiful scenery, regular adversity, ongoing malfunction, and constant bickering between the three hosts.
5. S19E07: Africa Special, Part 2* (9.2 IMDb score)
In the second part of the Top Gear special, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May continue their epic African odyssey. Having survived insane traffic, lethal mud slides and some distinctly dubious map reading, the trio and their ailing estate cars reach the climax of their quest to find the definitive source of the Nile.
4. S21E07: Burma Special: Part 2* (9.2 IMDb score)
Three daring BBC presenters continue their journey through the Shan region of Burma. Later on they discover another challenge waiting for them at the river Kwai.
3. S14E06: Bolivia Special* (9.3 IMDb score)
The boys went to Bolivia for a 1000-mile epic journey from the Amazon Rainforest to the Pacific Ocean. For this journey, they have to buy cars that are 4WD (in which the producers recommend) and must be found in the Bolivian second-hand classifieds.
2. S12E08: Vietnam Special* (9.4/10 IMDb score)
The boys headed to Vietnam for epic road trip across the country. Each of them were given 15 million dong (about A$910) to spend on buying some wheels and must make it to the north of Vietnam.
1. S22E08: SUV Caravan Challenge (9.4/10 IMDb score)
The boys acquire traditional classic convertibles before setting off an adventure. The trio are also challenged to each buy a high-mileage and low-quality SUV before undergoing a series of challenges.
Stream all of Top Gear on Stan.
*This episode may contain highly problematic content.