The Grand Tour's next episode looks to be, surprisingly, full of cars, a feat which I'm not sure the show has managed twice in a row since last year. In a nutshell, this episode's big film is Clarkson takes a Bugatti Chiron across most of southern Europe in an effort to...I don't know, make all of us jealous? The episode will also feature May testing the Kia Stinger in Majorca, and then joining Hammond for something called car park racing, which I hope is self-explanatory.
THE BUGATTI CHIRON
It's only natural that Clarkson would take the Chiron on a massive road trip on The Grand Tour (St. Tropez to Turin), because that's exactly how he tested the Veyron on TopGear, racing Hammond and May in a Cessna to transport a truffle across of continental Europe.
The Chiron has quite the powertrain, as we all know. One could be forgiven for saying it's pretty much the same as the Veyron, and that's because it is. It's the same 8.0L, quad-turbo W16, but tuned this time to give closer to 1,500 horsepower instead of the Veyron's meager 1,200. This boost in power means the Chiron's top speed is...less, actually, than the Veyron's, but Bugatti assures us it's only until someone comes up with tires that can handle more than 270 miles an hour. Even though Koenigsegg just went faster than that on a set of road Michelins.
Clarkson reviewed the Chiron in print in his Sunday Times column a few months back, and was just as dazzled by the speed, engineering, and quality this time around as he was with the Veyron. I have no doubt the show will be filled with gushing remarks, loud noise, and a lot of fillups.
THE KIA STINGER
In Episode 3, May takes the Kia Stinger GT to Majorca (where Clarkson infamously managed to get pneumonia despite 100-degree weather) and races it down a mountain against two skateboarders, which is literally exactly how they've tested cars on TopGear countless times. How have they not been sued yet?
The Stinger is Kia's first real attempt at an everyman's M3, a rear-wheel drive, four-door family car that just so happens to have a 365-hp, twin-turbo V6 under the hood that makes it easy as pie to slide around like it's got food trays under the back wheels. Man, that was a lot of hyphens. Should be good.
THE BUGATTI EB110 AND JAGUAR XJ220
You thought we were done with Bugattis, didn't you?
For the power test this week, Clarkson will be taking the extremely ugly EB110 around the Eboladrome and comparing it with one of its contemporaries, the extremely silver Jaguar XJ220. This is a good and relevant test, because I've never seen a Jaguar XJ220 go around a track and I want to. I don't even want to look at an EB110, ever, but I'll suck it up for this one.
The EB110 was Bugatti's first formal attempt at a world-beating modern hypercar in 1991, packing a tiny 3.5L V12 with Bugatti's trademark quad-turbo arrangement, which I honestly find to be a weirder setup than any of their modern W16 jobs. I mean, 3.5 liters. That's 70s Ferrari territory.
The EB110 was capable of a whopping 216 mph, making it one of the fastest cars in the world at the time, only to be beaten by the McLaren F1's unbelievable 240 mph. The XJ220, on the other hand, was one of the few contemporary cars that could compete with the Bugatti, despite only having half the cylinders and half the turbos in an engine the same size. How they pulled that off, I have absolutely no idea.
THE KIA PICANTO AND SEAT LEÓN
For the sport of car park racing, you'll probably want something small, won't you? Hammond and May seem to be delivering on this front. There's not much info about what cars they'll be using for this segment, but early photos indicate some kind of small Kia, which I assume is a Picanto, and a 2011 Seat León(?), both of which I had to Google thoroughly because I'm from America and we like our cars big, dammit.
They've both got small engines, slow car fast, yada yada yada. There also seems to be a 3-Series in one of the images, for reasons I'm not quite sure of. The plot thickens.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to this undoubtedly car-packed episode of The Grand Tour, mostly because I want to spend at least half an hour listening to a Bugatti Chiron.