The Grand Tour season 2 episode 3 review: Bah Humbug-atti

The Grand Tour takes on the Bugatti Chiron, Kia Singer and an Alp
The Grand Tour / Amazon Video

The Grand Tour Season 2 streams on Amazon Video

The Grand Tour Season 2 Episode 3: “Bah humbug-atti”

Episode Rating: 3 out of 5 finely burnt watches

(Spoilers, obviously)

The episode’s first film is a review of Kia’s entrance into the performance sedan category: The Stinger.

James May reviews the car, but it was supposed to be Richard Hammond, who is still recovering from his crash.

The car has all the ingredients of a performance sedan with its 3.3 liter twin turbo v6, rear wheel drive, and an LSD and, according to May, isn’t as boring as you’d think.

To showcase the Stinger, May sets up a race with some downhill skateboarders. James will race up a mountain pass while the skateboarders come down it in a race between horsepower and gravity.

In the end, even Captain Slow was able to beat the skateboarders behind the wheel of the Kia.

Conversation street

The trio revived an old tradition of discussing and giving bad car-related Christmas gifts, although the mangled watch from the Rimac crash given to Hammond was a legitimately cool gift. Making it all the more painful to Clarkson and May when they realized Hammond got them nothing in return.

Lunch Hour Grand Prix

In an effort to make people’s lunch hours more exciting, the hosts devised a racing series that could come to the workplace. Noting that most business parks are already set up for a circuit, with their roundabout chicanes and parking lots all connected by long straights, they blocked off a circuit and pitted two businesses employees against each other.

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After qualifying in various fleet and personal cars, the fastest drivers from the two businesses would face off in the final, as Hammond commentated from the CCTV feed in the security shack.

Celebrity F-off

This episode’s celebrity F-off had a strange theme: Men who live with a bear. Representing the British was Hugh Bonneville, an actor that plays a bear’s adoptive father in the beloved Paddington bear movies. Representing the US was Casey Anderson who literally lives with a bear he rescued as a cub in Montana.

Hugh Bonneville admitted he was not a ‘petrolhead’ at all and was very slow, but did manage to beat the time of David Hasselhoff but lost the faceoff by about 4 seconds to Anderson.

The Jetsetting Mr. Clarkson

Finally to the main event of the episode, Jeremy Clarkson has an entire day with a Bugatti Chiron. Inspired by his opulent ride, he aims to recreate the jetsetting lifestyle of super-rich Europeans without the flying.

He aims to start out in Saint Tropez and head to the alps for some skiing before going to Turin for a dinner date.

The Bugatti has a 261mph top speed but Clarkson says he is most impressed that it feels normal around town. He compares the Chiron to the way the supersonic Concorde made the extreme limits of speed and technology feel normal.

The 16-cylinder, 8 liter engine drinks fuel at a ‘seven shot glasses per second’ rate and can empty the tank in just nine minutes. On his way to the Alps, Clarkson made a BMW M4 look incredibly silly in a drag race before heading into the foothills.

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Once there, Clarkson explains that the weight of the Chiron makes for a strange driving experience on the twisty roads. “There are no straights,” he says, as the car comes out of one corner and then is almost instantly at the next one. Most supercars flow, he explains, but this one just launches from corner to corner. Clarkson figures it is actually more fun to drive at a slower pace, which caters to the super rich playboys that make up Bugatti customers who care more about being able to say they have the fastest car than actually wringing out every last bit of performance.

Clarkson then is seen in the alps “doing skiing” before heading out of the mountains to his dinner date. On the way down, he demonstrates how the Chiron’s turbo noises sound like the surf at the beach. It really is quite relaxing.

On the outskirts of Turin, Clarkson makes an homage to the 1976 short film, “C’était un rendez-vous” by blasting through Turin and meeting his date just in time.

Impressions

The show’s scripted nature shown through a bit too much on this episode, beginning with the Stinger review. There is just no way to hold an all-out race in the way they did without planning out the point at which the car would pass the skateboarders. The road had blind corners and areas too skinny to pass. The times may have been legit, but the race we were shown couldn’t have been.

The next obvious bit was the office car-park circuit race. It started off as a brilliant idea, which probably made the obvious stick out even more. We wanted to see how normal people would race around a business park so bad that we were disappointed when we noticed the too calm and too skilled drivers navigate the course. The final contest reminded us of the animated ‘races’ they show on the jumbo-tron during timeouts at sports arenas. If you picked the BMW M3, you get a free hot dog!

Read also:
Bugatti owners can rest easy as technicians monitor cars in real time

This has long been a staple of these kinds of shows. Things must be fudged a bit for logistical and film-making purposes and we are usually happy to suspend our disbelief for an entertaining segment. If it goes too far, which it did in a few spots this episode, it destroys the illusion and all sense of danger or intrigue is lost.

What salvages the episode is the Chiron film. Clarkson ‘doing skiing’ and yelling at his butlers was hilarious and the “Rendezvous” homage was absolutely perfect. We could listen to that engine and turbo-whoosh all day.

The quote of the episode belonged to Jeremy Clarkson as he explained why James May was wrong for liking slot cars:

“It’s like classical music. People think they like classical music but they don’t. Nobody does, really”

The Grand Tour – Season 2

Season 2 Preview

Season 2 Episode 1 – Past, Present or Future

Season 2 Episode 2 – The Falls Guys

Season 2 Episode 4 – Coming soon

Season 2 Episode 5 – Coming soon

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