The eighteenth series of British motoring programme Top Gear began on BBC Two and BBC HD, on 29 January 2012, preceded by a Christmas special on 28 December 2011, with the usual presenting team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and The Stig. One segment that was due to appear in the series, which featured May driving a jet plane around the test track, was not broadcast for unknown reasons, although it appeared in the Challenges 6 DVD and it showed it would have been part of the Saab feature in the series.
Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May head to Italy for a supercar shootout featuring the Lamborghini Aventador, the McLaren MP4-12C and the Noble M600.
Their trip starts at the incredible Nardo test track, a facility so massive it is visible from space, before heading north for a nerve wracking drive around the centre of Rome. The journey concludes at the legendary Imola circuit, a track challenging enough to have embarrassed many an F1 driver, with a timed challenge against the incredible skills of the Stig.
Back in the studio, the presenters look forward to some car highlights of 2012 and another top celebrity guest takes the wheel of the Reasonably Priced Car.
Jeremy Clarkson and James May travel to Beijing for a look at China's ever-expanding car industry and a violent encounter with The Stig's Chinese cousin. Meanwhile, Richard Hammond is in Texas to immerse himself in the surprisingly interesting world of NASCAR racing. Plus, the Mercedes SLS Roadster makes an enormous amount of noise and smoke on the test track, and Matt Le Blanc is the star in the Reasonably Priced Car.
Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond are on location with the forthcoming Sweeney movie as they take charge of shooting the film's climactic car chase. Clarkson uses his expertise to choreograph the stunt driving whilst Hammond directs the movie's lead actors, Ray Winstone and Plan B, and organises an explosive finale. Meanwhile, back at the test track James May casts a suspicious eye over the new Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring and gives his verdict on the brand new Fiat Panda. Plus, Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds is the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.
Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May embark on an ambitious project to build mobility scooters that can tackle the wilds of the British countryside. Meanwhile, the Ferrari FF and Bentley Continental V8 are put through their paces at a unique test track on the edge of the Arctic Circle, whilst James is in Florida where he tests the Fisker Karma and meets up with AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson. Hollywood star Michael Fassbender is the star in the reasonably priced car.
Jeremy Clarkson and James May pay tribute to quirky and recently deceased Swedish car maker Saab. Richard Hammond races a rocket-powered flying man against a rally-spec Skoda and Jeremy smokes around the track in the Maserati Gran Turismo MC Stradale and the tyre shredding Mercedes C63 Black. Current Doctor Who Matt Smith is the star in the reasonably priced car.
Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May hit Donington in three stripped out track cars - the KTM X-Bow, the Morgan Three Wheeler and the Caterham R500. Back at the Top Gear airfield, Jeremy recreates the battle of Britain in an insane aero-engined Bentley and a flame spitting retro BMW. Blur bassist and professional cheese maker Alex James is the star in the Reasonably Priced Car.
The team sees if you can go motor racing for less than it costs to play golf. Richard takes the new BMW M5 on the Top Gear test track. Rock legend Slash and Lotus F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen are let loose in the reasonably priced cars.