Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond's motor series attracted 5.34 million (19.3%) at 8pm. This is up around 600,000 from its previous series opener back in July.
Later, Dragons' Den appealed to 2.86m (11.6%) at 9pm for its latest episode.
On BBC One, Call the Midwife remained on top, dropping around 300k to 8.94m (32.1%) at 8pm. The Musketeers lost a further 800k to 5.28m (21.5%) at 9pm.
Earlier, Countryfile interested 6.83m (29.1%) at 7pm, while a Roger Lloyd Pack tribute brought in 3.16m (19.9%) at 10.30pm.
ITV's Dancing on Ice continued with 5.41m (23.9%) at 6.15pm (214k/0.8% on +1). Its results show was seen by 4.33m (15.3%) at 8.30pm (183k/0.7%).
All-Star Family Fortunes entertained 4.15m (16.0%) at 7.45pm (166k/0.6%). Mr Selfridge dipped by 400k to 4.23m (16.3%) at 9pm (374k/2.2%).
On Channel 4, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Scandimania intrigued 1.02m (3.7%) at 8pm (125k/0.5%), while the semi-final of The Jump was seen by 1.57m (6.7%) at 9pm (141k/0.9%).
Channel 5's broadcast of horror movie Drag Me To Hell thrilled 822k (3.9%) at 9pm.
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional