The Top Gear team’s highlights of 2013
Some of the best motoring memories from the last year from everyone at Top Gear HQ
Posted: 20 Dec 2013
Jason Barlow, Editor at Large, Top Gear Magazine
Appropriately enough, it was the year I had a cartoon ‘light-bulb above the head' moment. Having never really been much of a hybrid fan, never mind pure electricity as a feasible form of propulsion, in 2013 I finally plugged in. And how.
In the space of three weeks, I went from Renault's ridiculous but brilliant Twizy F1 to its plausible - though implausibly named - street brother, the Zoe. It's a space-age little number, down to the descending sci-fi noise it emits as it glides to a halt.
Then it was straight into Tesla's Model S, which goes, handles and steers almost as convincingly as a BMW M5 or AMG E-class, but cruises with eerie refinement while obviously emitting nothing noxious at the tail-pipe. But while it's better than expected at the trad TG dynamic stuff, oddly enough it's less convincing in terms of its interior interfaces. Its main display brilliantly condenses all the usual switchgear functionality onto the centre console tablet, but it's too distracting in everyday use. Still, the Model S is a genuine game-changer in a year full of the things.
Watching a phalanx of BMW i3s move silently around the Frankfurt motor show's enormodromes struck everyone as a clear tipping point, and the car itself is terrific. Will anyone buy an i3, though, or will we all simply admire it and BMW's cojones?
Internal combustion still rocks, though. Two separate weekends in the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta proved in the most spectacular fashion that nothing can touch 12 cylinders for sheer, blood-pumping sensation. In the F12, the driver's nethers fizz like an explosion in a Coca Cola bottling facility. Almost as stimulating is Porsche's latest 911 GT3. Argue you amongst yourselves all you want, but this is the best 911 ever.
I met some great people in 2013, too. Amongst them were Dario Franchitti, Amy MacDonald (she's upgraded her 458 Italia to a Speciale), AC/DC's hilarious frontman Brian Johnson, Daniel Craig, Ron Burgundy, and Daniel Brühl. The latter is deservedly making all the awards shortlists for his portrayal of Niki Lauda in Rush, a film that was every bit as good as I'd hoped.