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BBC Top Gear Magazine

BBC Top Gear Magazine April 2021

Top Gear is the worlds most exciting Car magazine bringing you up to date news, the latest drives and stunning features.

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United Kingdom
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13 Issues

in this issue

3 min
into the deep

When did this craze for diving watches start? And, seeing as nothing lasts forever, when will it all end? The 1926 Rolex Oyster was the first watch to offer decent water resistance. Then in the Thirties, Panerai (with Rolex’s help) made the Radiomir for the Italian navy. But neither meets the modern standard that defines a dive watch: at least 100m water resistance, with a mechanism for recording elapsed time. The first proper diving watches came along in the Fifties. The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms arrived in 1953 after the Swiss company was asked by the French military to equip its divers. The 100m water resistance gave the groundbreaking watch its name – a fathom is 1.8 metres, so 50 fathoms is about 91.5m. The next year saw the arrival of the…

2 min
sabine schmitz

The motoring world lost one of its true legends recently, when the powerful and irrepressible Sabine Schmitz passed away, aged just 51. Already a key figure at the Nürburgring after becoming the first, and still the only woman to win the gruelling 24-hour race, she shot to international fame by uttering the immortal phrase: “I do that lap time in a van.” She came within a whisker of beating Jeremy’s time in a road car, while lobbing a Ford Transit about the Eifel mountains in her normal style. She’s been a part of TopGear ever since, and the thought that she won’t be any more makes me feel very, very sad. Sabine was born and bred at the Nürburgring. Her mother ran a local hotel and she quickly established herself as a local…

3 min
dougie lampkin

I was pretty much born on a bike. My father was World Motorcycle Trials champion in 1975 and I was born in ’76. When my mother announced that she was pregnant, the company that my dad rode for (Bultaco) gifted me a motorbike. The bike actually arrived before I did. I was big into cars as a kid too. My family have a problem – well, I don’t call it a problem, but some people might do. My uncle Arthur was a scrambles rider back in the Sixties and there was a rumour that he had around 16 cars in two years. I learnt to drive in a long wheelbase Ford Transit, because obviously I needed it for the bikes. Having that made me very popular with friends. My first car, though,…

3 min
the middle lane

Hello Simon. It’s me. Your faithful orienteering companion, your spatially savvy sidekick, your map-reading mate. Your satnav. Now look, Simon. You’re the boss. You’re the one in charge of this motor vehicle. I’m just a state-of-the-art automated geospatial positioning and guidance system with almost unfathomable processing power. I’ve got no skin in this game. But even so, couldn’t help noticing you ignored that left turn I suggested you take back there. It’s cool. Like I say, totally your choice. Doesn’t bother me whether we get to your dentist appointment on time. Not my root canal in throbbing, blinding agony here. Only – and just for my own peace of mind here – I’m curious. Why would you even switch me on if you’re just going to ignore my advice? I’m constantly monitoring positional…

2 min
my little pony

£37,350 (after gov’t grant) FOR Enough oomph, battery efficiency, handles smartly AGAINST Lumpy low-speed ride, cumbersome around town If Ford’s going all-electric this decade, this needs to be good. We’ve liked the AWD flavours of Mach-E we’ve tested so far, but this is the base-spec car with only one motor to drive the rear axle alone. Normally we’re not bothered by base-spec cars unless they’re hilariously cheap. Usually we can all agree the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle of the brochure. Not so with EVs. It began with Tesla – every time it added an even more head-bangingly speedy cherry on top of the icing, we found ourselves preferring the cheaper, plenty quick enough version once the “watch THIS” novelty wore off. Even Porsche’s Taycan isn’t immune. The mind-melting Turbo S will rearrange your…

1 min
meet the parents

An exhaustive family portrait would involve six generations of M3, the little E30 as dwarfed among them as an errant toddler in a football crowd. These are the last three six-cylinder M3s – perhaps the last if the G80’s eventual replacement goes hybrid or EV. Gather them together and what’s clear is that controversy hasn’t infiltrated the M3 atmosphere via big grilles and a drift app; it’s been inherent in the car for decades. The E46 on the left of shot, so delectable to look at, brought the optional (and clunky) SMG paddleshift gearbox into the range. It’s easy to argue – alongside Ferrari’s F1 transmission – that it helped hammer the first nail in the manual’s coffin. Taking us to the F80 on the right of shot: in its final year…