1) Tesla loans Top Gear a Roadster'
2) Top Gear does a show showing it running out of power and being pushed back into the garage at the track and they state that its range is comically low.
3) Tesla claims it was all staged
Whether or not you believe Tesla or Top Gear (and it seems relatively clear that Top Gear probably did stage it) the timeline does not show a shift in attitude from Top Gear regarding Tesla. They've always made fun of it.
Comically low on the track, going full out. Which seems to be a pretty reasonable claim.
Also consider that Tesla didn't sue for over 2 years after the episode first aired. The episode was in late 2008, and Tesla sued in March 2011.
Well, except for the part where apparently they didn't actually manage to run it dry on the track.
This said, it's fucking Top Gear. Their idea of a "serious" car review of the Renault Twingo is seeing if a car (undoubtedly not stock) can do a flip in a sewer tunnel. Their review of the Reliant Robin was only about how the car (again, modified), only flips. Somebody should have clued Tesla in.
The one major concern that almost everyone has about electric cars is to do with the range anxiety and I thought they demonstrated that well. Sure, it was staged; but staged to demonstrate the point in an entertaining way (well, the amount of entertainment is personal preference I guess).