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Top Gear (series 2)

The second series of the relaunched motoring show Top Gear was aired in 2003 and consisted of 10 episodes, beginning on 11 May and concluding on 20 July. The series was subsequently followed the week after it ended, with a "Best Of Top Gear" episode on 27 July, which charted the best moments from Series 1 and 2. It was the first series to feature James May as part of the hosting line-up, after motoring enthusiast Jason Dawe was axed following the previous series. Both Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond remained as part of the hosting line-up, alongside "The Stig" who was now credited as a presenter of the show.

Top Gear (series 2)
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of episodes10
Original networkBBC Two
Original release11 May (2003-05-11) –
20 July 2003 (2003-07-20)
Series chronology
← Previous
Series 1
Next →
Series 3
List of Top Gear episodes


No. in
ReviewsFeatures/challengesGuest(s)Original air dateUK viewers
(millions) [1]
111Smart RoadsterBowler WildcatBentley T2Drag racer jet engine incinerates Nissan SunnyVinnie Jones11 May 2003 (2003-05-11)3.15

New presenter James May is given the task of reviewing his own Bentley T2 and explaining why it ruined his life, while Hammond becomes emotional over the Bowler Wildcat, and Clarkson has a look at the Smart Roadster, and compares it to the Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet and the Ford Street Ka. Back in the studio, there's a look at a Ferrari that isn't one, while Hammond reveals his top 5 worst cars ever and burns his least favourite car (along with a caravan) with the jet engine of a drag racer. Finally, the Liana braces itself as Vinnie Jones steps in to set a lap on the track.

Note: First appearance of James May
122Rolls-Royce PhantomRover P5BMW M3Audi S4Fastest political partyJamie Oliver18 May 2003 (2003-05-18)3.28
There's luxury with the cars, as Clarkson test drives the Rolls-Royce Phantom in and around Hull and the Humber Bridge, while Hammond drives around in the Rover P5, before heading for the track to see which political party for Britain is the fastest and therefore should be in charge. There's also a comparison test between the Audi S4 and the BMW M3, while chef Jamie Oliver seeks to serve up a fast time in the reasonably priced car.
133Volkswagen TouaregLexus SC430Hyundai CoupeBMW Z8Perodua KelisaCountry with fastest supercarDavid Soul25 May 2003 (2003-05-25)2.98

Clarkson shows no mercy for the Volkswagen Touareg as he shows the many faults with the car, before stepping into the BMW Z8 Alpina. Meanwhile, Hammond reviews the Hyundai Coupé, May road tests the Perodua Kelisa, while the stripped down Jaguar XJS is given a nitrous injection before racing against a number of fast supercars. Finally, David Soul (of Starsky and Hutch) graces the track, and proves hazardous to the Liana's lifespan.

Note: This episode was the first one to introduce Clarkson's direct intro line "Tonight! On Top Gear.", that became part of the format for later series.
144Jaguar R Coupe • Jaguar Mk IIJaguar XKR-RAston Martin DB7 GTHow far can you drive until you become bored in a Mark 3 Jaguar XJR?Boris Johnson1 June 2003 (2003-06-01)3.23
Jaguars invade the show as Clarkson sees how far he can drive in a Jaguar XJR before he gets bored, while taking a look between the Aston Martin DB7 GT and a racing version of the Jaguar XKR before the Stig drives them around the track. May recounts a story about the 1953 Le Mans Jaguar C-Type, while Hammond gives praises towards the 1960s Jaguar Mark II. Meanwhile, the Liana is put into the hands of Boris Johnson as he prepares to set a lap time in it.
155Porsche 911 TurboFord Street KaTriumph TR6Renault Clio V6Rally pit crew vs. women getting ready for a night outAnne Robinson8 June 2003 (2003-06-08)3.33
Hammond meets the biggest car bore in Britain who built a car in his kitchen, while seeing if a Ford's World Rally Championship pit team can dismantle and rebuild a rally car faster than four women getting ready for a night out. Elsewhere Clarkson takes a look at two Porsches - the Porsche 911 Turbo and the 911 Carrera 4S - and explains why the mid-engined Renault Clio V6 would be in his "Perfect 10 Garage", while May claims that a proper "bloke's car" can be found in the Triumph TR6, and Anne Robinson is in the Liana and proving she isn't the weakest link on the track.
166Subaru Impreza WRX STIMitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIIIVauxhall VX220 TurboPeugeot 206 GTILand speed record for caravan towingRichard Whiteley15 June 2003 (2003-06-15)2.46
Clarkson tries to find out whether he would want the Subaru Impreza WRX STI or the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII when he takes them to Scotland, and tries to see if the Vauxhall VX220 Turbo can be taken seriously. Meanwhile, Hammond takes the Peugeot 206 GTi out for a track day and reviews the Peugeot 206 GTI, May tries to set a land-speed record for a caravan, and the Stig races five trak-day cars to find the fastest among them. Finally, (the late) Richard Whitely proves he is slowest in the Liana when he takes it on the track.
177Koenigsegg CC8SRenault MéganeHummer H1Hummer H2Crash testing the Megane with a real driverNeil Morrissey22 June 2003 (2003-06-22)3.61
Clarkson is driving around the track in the Koenigsegg CC8S and finds major differences between two Hummers - the H1 and the H2. Meanwhile, Hammond is testing out how practical the Talon riot control vehicle is, and seeing how well the Renault Mégane is in a simulated crash test before checking in on how other cars performed in crashes. Elsewhere, the Liana is put round the track, as Neil Morrissey attempts a lap time in the reasonably priced car.
188Nissan 350ZAlfa Romeo 147 GTA • Convertibles: (Citroën C3 PlurielMercedes-Benz CLK500 ConvertibleAudi A4 CabrioletDaihatsu CopenVolkswagen Beetle Cabriolet)The Race for the UniverseJodie Kidd6 July 2003 (2003-07-06)3.76
Clarkson is far from impressed when he drives the Nissan 350Z over city and country roads, while seeing how the insane Alfa Romeo 147 GTA does when he tests it out. Meanwhile, Hammond and May take a number of cabriolets - the Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, the Mercedes-Benz CLK500 convertible, the Audi A4 cabriolet, the Citroën C3 Pluriel, and the Daihatsu Copen - on a camping holiday in the Lake District, while there is a "race for the universe" as a number of sci-fi characters and species battle it out on the track in a Honda Civic Type R, and Jodie Kidd is the latest star to drive the reasonably priced car.
199Vandenbrink CarverVolvo S60 RGM HyWireDrive Vauxhall Signum from the rear seatPatrick Stewart13 July 2003 (2003-07-13)2.91
May takes a drive in the revolutionary GM Hywire that runs on a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen, while Clarkson joins Hammond to test out unusual but entertaining Vandenbrink Carver, before reviewing the Volvo S60 R and coming over all "Mr. Bean" with the Vauxhall Signum. Elsewhere, Patrick Stewart departs the starship Enterprise for the starship "Liana", as he comes to the planet Top Gear.
2010TVR T350COverfinch Range RoverCadillac SixteenVolkswagen PhaetonLand Rover reliability challengeAlan Davies20 July 2003 (2003-07-20)2.92

Hammond tests out the TVR T350C by racing it against a Harrier Jump Jet, while May sees if Cadillac have reversed their market woes by driving the Cadillac Sixteen concept car. Meanwhile, Clarkson find comfort within the quite fast Volkswagen Phaeton and races the corner-unfriendly Overfinch 580S against a Mercedes-Benz SLK320, while there is a search for Britain's fastest disabled driver and a look at some of the things that didn't make it into the series. Finally, Alan Davies takes to a "mildly damp" track as the latest star in the Liana.

Note: This episodes was to be themed around tuned-up cars, but circumstances led to this not being implemented. Only the Overfinch 580S was to be part of the planned theme.

Best-of episodesEdit

Total No. Title Feature Original air date
S1CEThe Best Of Top Gear: 2002-2003Best Moments from Series 1-227 July 2003 (2003-07-27)
A look back at some of the best moments from last two series, including a look at what faith was the fastest around the track, and whether some grannies managed to do some Doughnuts.


  1. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board.