The latest Top Gear episode travels the Pacific Coast Highway

And then heads to the Mojave Desert.

This season has been off to a great start, and for the fifth episode Matt LeBlanc hops in the Ford GT to show his British companions the most iconic routes in North America, starting at the Pacific Coast Highway and then giving the GT a proper track test at Laguna Seca. It's unparalleled petrolhead imagery at its best, with some nice GT40 tidbits thrown in for good measure. As demonstrated in the studio, the GT's track mode hunch is worth a double take, as it drops several inches to better suit track driving.

The big film this time is a very dusty Mojave race between Chris Harris and Sabine Schmitz in which the presenters end up at The King of the Hammers. There's sections of bumpy desert and a steep rock wall, but for added tension they bring in Eddie Jordan (who was introduced as a Top Gear regular last season). Jordan does his best to psych Harris up, as he's taken the mentor position – while LeBlanc is partnered with Schmitz.

As for the guest celebrity this week, it's the Olympic track cyclist Chris Hoy, who is best remembered for driving a brand new Nissan GT-R Nismo into some hay bales at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The footage of the shunt is naturally shown to appreciating viewers, and Hoy tries his best to give the show's Toyota GT86 his own personal touch. On the Top Gear track, it's not only the GT86 that gets some sideways action, as the three main presenters hop into Nissan's electric BladeGlider driftmobile in classically drizzly British weather.

BBC Top Gear is turning in a solid episode one after the other, and as a nice bonus it seems both Schmitz and Jordan are now a better fit for the series than last year. We'll see how much they figure into future episodes.

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