The seven best episodes of The Grand Tour ever
The last episode of the third season of The Grand Tour, "Funeral for a Friend", was special because it marked the end of an era.
For going on for twenty years we've tuned in to see three middle-aged men having fun around cars and we got used to a studio format that, albeit with a few differences here and there, never really changed.
It's been widely anticipated and discussed that the next season of The Grand Tour won't feature the studio, or Conversation Street, as it will only feature longer road trip specials. And that gives us the perfect excuse to look back at seven of our favourite Grand Tour episodes.
As ever, it is always hard to leave something out so before diving in, I'd to begin with a special mention: Motown Funk.
Right, let's start.
1.1 The Holy Trinity
I'm not sure this is one of the best episodes we've seen but it's certainly one of the most important because, well, it was the first.
It begins with clip of Jeremy leaving what is implied to be the BBC HQ in rainy London before travelling to California, picking up a new car and driving it into the desert where he is joined on the road by Richard and James, all three of them at the wheel of a Mustang. This initial sequence alone is worth watching because it combines amazing photography with excellent story-telling with no words actually being spoken the entire time.
We then join them in a tent for the first time, in the desert of California, from where the episode is presented. If that wasn't enough, this episode includes the long-awaited comparison between the Porsche 918 Spyder, the McLaren P1 and the Ferrari LaFerrari. Magic.
1.5 Moroccan Roll
I read a lot of good comments on this episode and I've decided to include because it is one of my favourite. The tent is set up in Rotterdam, Nederlands where a lightweight sportscar test is introduced. Jeremy, James and Richard are in Morocco at the wheel of an Alfa 4C Spider, a Zenos E10 and a Mazda MX5. It is visually stunning and amazing fun to watch.
The Zenos E10, driven by James May, is a mid-engined sports car built in Britain and it has the 2 L turbo I4 from the Ford Focus ST making 250 hp, coupled with a 6-speed manual, and because the car only weighs less than 750 kg, it comes with some serious performance.
In this episode, set in the United States of America – in Colorado to be exact – the trio attempt to demonstrate that old Jaguars aren't just stylish means of transports for gangsters and shifty rascals, but can also be reliable and strong vehicles for daily use. Numerous Jaaaags are destroyed through a series of tough challenges including climbing all the way up to a 12,500-foot summit of a mountain in Telluride, only to drive down on a ski slope. Amazingly, they actually manage to drive the cars back down.
Elsewhere, this episode features some pretty interesting studio content as well, with special guests Kiefer Sutherland and Luke Evans competing against one another.
2.11 Feed the World
If you're wondering what season 4 of The Grand Tour might have in store for us, this episode probably explains it because this is the sort of road trip which might be featured in each episode of the next season. The trio embark on an impossible task: ending world hunger.
They do it by travelling across Mozambique driving a Nissan pick-up truck (Jeremy), a Mercedes-Benz 200T (James) and a cheap TVS Star motorcycle (Richard) trying to figure out a way to improve fish preservation.
Unsurprisingly, the trio make a complete hash of it by falling over almost constantly (Richard), and being wet thanks due to some structural faults in the fish preservation device (James).
Spoiler alert: they end up in the small village of Bingo, in Western Mozambique, with little to no fish to sell, before being transported away from the village in a helicopter.
3.8 International Buffoons' Vacation
This was, in my humble opinion, one of the most entertaining episodes ever and by "ever", I mean including other things they've done with the BBC.
An amazing road trip featuring three RVs which have been modified by Jeremy, James and Richard to "suit their individual holiday needs".
James chose the F-550 National Tropical, which he converted into a pub; Jeremy used a nautical theme for his RV, with a "flying bridge" from which he could actually drive it while standing on the roof; and Richard kept his "RV" simple by not choosing an RV at all, selecting a simple U-Haul-type truck instead and converting it into a home. They drove their RVs across the desert of Nevada occasionally stopping for random but fun activities like doing buggy racing, demolition derbies and testing the Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and the Cadillac CTS-V on the road.
3.11 Sea to Unsalty Sea
This is one of my favourite episodes because it features three incredible cars being driven through incredible scenery. If you like travelling, this is the episode for you because the trio drive from Batumi in Georgia to Baku in Azerbaijan. Both Georgia and Azerbaijan are growing at a fast rate and are looking to become popular tourist destinations in the next few years.
As for the cars, Jeremy is driving the new Aston Martin DBS, James is driving the BMW 850iM and Richard is at the wheel of the new Bentley Continental GT.
To make matters even more interesting, Abbie Eaton joins them in Ganja with a Renault 9 GTL because James wants to prove that in the real world a GT is no faster than any other type of car.
3.13 Survival of the Fattest
This is one of the most epic road trips they've ever had, taking the concept of DIY to new extremes. Jeremy, James and Richard are marooned in the middle of Mongolia, the most sparsely populated country on Earth, with only seven days worth of supplies and random components to build a car which will take them back to civilization to the town of Mörön, in Nothern Mongolia, which is "hundreds of miles away".
Throughout their journey, they'll have to negotiate rough terrain through swamps and desert and rivers to ford, harsh weather conditions and, most important of all, a limited food and beverage supply which includes no alcohol at all.