Have not seen the American version yet - was shocked I hadn't heard about it till the other day. HUGE Top Gear fan for years (back when you could only find grainy, 3-5 min clips on youtube) and highly skeptical that we can do something as good here. We did ok with The Office in the end though, so we'll see.
I really can't believe with what a car-culture we are in the US that the Brits have kicked our freaking asses when it comes to entertaining motoring shows. And why on the History Channel?! Really? Maybe if Speed hadn't become the NASCAR Channel it could reside in its proper place along with a variety of motorsports shows\events. Ok, done ranting. You guys are right, the hosts are as much a part of the show as the cars\challenges so if they can't get that right, I think it's sunk.