It's over to Top Gear magazine's Editor-in-Chief Charlie Turner for a few words on this month's spectacular challenge issue - out now!
We like a good challenge here at TG. In fact, challenges are a fundamental part of our DNA. We might not prod the unknown depths of science, but we will drive a shabby old Vauxhall across Africa. Or race some dogs to the North Pole. Old Jag versus steam train? Go on, then, and throw in an ancient motorbike and Richard Hammond while you're at it. These are the things that make us tick. And it's what this issue is all about.
This month, we throw down the gauntlet to the latest and greatest the automotive world has to offer. Of course, the Stig only understands challenges in a binary sense. But no matter: we simply loaded him into McLaren's new 12C Spider and stood well back. The blokes in Woking know a thing or two about going quick with the roof off - just look at Jenson on a Sunday afternoon - but have they successfully cleared the coupe-to-convertible hurdle with the 12C? The man in white helps us decide.
Nuts-and-bolts automotive engineering can often be the very epitome of a challenge. Especially so for Ford's skunkworks guys, whose latest brief arrived fresh from us after a night in the pub. The test? To engineer a Formula Ford racer for road use. All we had to do was take the fruit of their labours around the damp streets of our nation's capital. Sam Philip was dispatched, and if Ford ever needed proof of a market for this car, the grin now perma-glued to his face should do the trick.
If ever one single car was created to rise to - and drive over - any challenge, it's the all-new Range Rover, now more luxurious than ever. But can it still handle a bit of rough? To find out, we take it to the most inhospitable landscape known to man (or Tom Ford). Iceland. Aim it at a volcano, press throttle, close eyes.
Finally, no set of TopGear challenges would be complete without a race. And if you're going to have one, it should probably be across a continent. The premise was simple: can the new Bentley V8 Continental GTC beat the California Zephyr train from Chicago to San Francisco? Probably. Though we didn't anticipate that the train would be trying... hard.
Enjoy the journey.
Fancy a sneak peek behind the scenes? Then here's what happened when Associate Editor Tom Ford took the new Range Rover volcano hunting...