Tesla Motors

'Top Gear' roars back with Matt LeBlanc, high expectations

"Top Gear" doesn't do understatement.

If it were a car, the BBC's hit auto show would be a flashy, precision-tooled racer. Co-host Chris Evans calls it "a car-show nuclear bomb" — and it returns to the screen facing the fallout of former host Jeremy Clarkson's explosive exit.

The show's fusion of blokey banter, consumer advice and adrenaline-fueled automotive stunts in far-flung locations made it a huge hit, watched — according to the BBC — by 350 million people around the world.

The "Top Gear " formula, fine-tuned over many years under the brash Clarkson, has brought both success and controversy. Clarkson and his fellow...