Top Gear Is Back for Season 26, and Here's How You Can Watch It

Duncan Brady
Photo credit: BBC - BBC

From Car and Driver

  • Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris, and Rory Reid will be hosting the 26th season of the long-running car show Top Gear on the BBC starting this Sunday.
  • U.S. viewers will soon be able to find the show on iTunes, Google Play, and Hulu for a fee.
  • The BBC America cable channel will have it starting April 25.

Whatever you think of the many and varied personalities involved with the BBC's Top Gear program over its long history, nobody can deny that there are always plenty of cars worth watching. And the saga continues February 17 with the start of an exciting-looking season 26 of Top Gear. U.S. viewers will be able to watch it on a pay-per-episode basis on iTunes or Google Play or on their streaming subscription to Hulu, although the exact release date is not yet known. (We'll update this story when it is.) Those who want to see it as part of their cable-TV subscriptions can tune in on April 25 on BBC America.

Photo credit: Gus Gregory/BBCAmerica

The current Top Gear era started, of course, when Jeremy Clarkson and the BBC parted ways in March 2015 after its 22nd season, and fellow hosts Richard Hammond and James May left with him to make some show on Amazon Prime. The future for the BBC's beloved motoring show, now driving forward without the hosts that built it, was uncertain at best.

For its 23rd season, Top Gear returned with not three but six new hosts. British radio and TV personality Chris Evans led the team alongside Friends star and serious car guy Matt LeBlanc. The results were less than inspiring, and Evans-and consequently Top Gear-was a critical disaster. With little to no chemistry between hosts, it just wasn't fun to watch. Soon after the broadcast of the season finale, Evans announced his resignation.

What Evans left behind, though, was a rock-solid core of hosts. LeBlanc was a standout in his first season, and fellow newcomers Rory Reid and the spectacular Chris Harris rounded out the trio of hosts, with occasional appearances from Sabine Schmitz and Eddie Jordan. What followed have been two excellent seasons of content, and with the viewer undistracted by stilted dialogue exchanges and awkward banter, the show has returned to what it always was: a celebration of the cars.

A trailer for the first episode gives us a peek at what we'll see over the announced five-episode season. Highlights include Chris Harris losing control of a Porsche 911 GT2 RS on a wet racetrack and Matt LeBlanc in a flying squirrel–esque wingsuit. What stand out the most, though, are the comparison tests they have in store.

The trailer shows a battle of the modern hatchback-equipped supercars, matching the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo up against the sensational Ferrari GTC4 Lusso on a waterside runway. We also see a tussle of the tuk-tuks in Sri Lanka, a trio of miniature off-roaders playing around in the mud, and a pair of Bentleys: the new Continental GT, sharing a track with what appears to be the Bentley Speed 8 that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2003.

Season 26 could be a high point for Top Gear in the post-Clarkson era. This will be LeBlanc's final season-two new hosts have already signed on for next year-although we have faith that Chris Harris can keep the show alive. Whatever may lay in the future for this long-running show, this season will be a fun one.

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