The Grand Tour

Everything You Should Know About The Cars On The Latest Grand Tour Special: “Celebrated By Driving Into A Wall”

The Grand Tour: A Scandi Flick, is now available to watch on Prime Video. Plenty of fans have realised that this episode is much more car focussed than the episodes preceding it, and because of this a lot of love has been thrown at these three rally-inspired cars.

Here’s what you need to know about the cars on the latest episode, plus what the presenters told us in interviews with the press, including Grand Tour Nation.

Jeremy Clarkson in the Audi RS4 B7

Jeremy had already revealed that he’d bought an Audi RS4 for the show many, many months ago, but before seeing behind the scenes photos of the filming of this episode, we didn’t know it would be for this.

Obviously, the connection to rally here is the Quattro term that Audi now uses for its all-wheel drive system. But let’s explore this car a little further.

It was released in 2005 by Audi, and while the look of the car didn’t blow people away, the 4.2-litre V8 engine did with direct fuel injection and maximum revs of a shrieking 8500rpm. It produced 414 horsepower, with these horses being delivered to all four wheels. There was only one gearbox available, but surprisingly it was a manual with six speeds and, once you pressed the sport button, the throttle response would make this delicious powertrain even more exciting and bypass valves would make it sound as good as it went.

The exterior still felt very sedate, but now offered wider arches over the standard A4 as well as aluminium front wings and bonnet. And a bit later on, the RS4 badge was placed onto the wagon version, too.

Aw you saw in the episode, Jeremy’s car was outfitted with Quattro colours, a number of Cibbies on the front bumper, and gets completely frozen over thanks to Hammond before Jeremy sets it on fire. A flame-thrower was also fitted to the exhaust.

Richard Hammond in the Subaru Impreza WRX

We first saw the Subaru WRX in an Instagram post by Jeremy Clarkson, but it’s confirmed that it’s being driven by Richard Hammond who has driven one of these cars before in the Africa special of Top Gear.

These cars are pure rally inspired and burble as much as a cat trapped in a corner thanks to its Boxer engine. Many Subaru fans weren’t completely taken with the looks of the ‘Blob eye’ Impreza, but since its release it has become motoring legend thanks to its connection to rally and its insane performance.

Its engine is a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder Boxer engine with help from a single turbo. It’s low on weight and has a low centre of gravity, and gives it the car its iconic sound as well as 261 horsepower. It’s not quite as potent as Jeremy’s RS4, but with its trick all-wheel drive system and a bit of talent behind the wheel, it could well keep up with it in the corners.

In this episode it’s been given the Martini colours, but we can see later on that the ‘I’ at the end of ‘Martini’ has been coloured in.

Hammond had the following to say about the Impreza:

“I’ve always loved them. I was just delighted at the opportunity to take one and unleash it a bit. We wanted rally-bred cars, but mine is the only one that, out of the rallying, came first.

“It was built as a rally car, then compromised and turned into a road car. Whereas James’s is the other way around, and with Jeremy’sit was never a rally car. They did make one, but it wasn’t that one. So I was more than happy with my choice.

“I love the Subaru because it’s analogue, and I’m analogue. It’s not a digitally enhanced car. It’s just built to do what it does, so it’s technically inclined to do what it does. It doesn’t need persuading by a computer. I love that.”

James May’s Mitsubishi Evo 8

The car of the hour, this Mitsubishi Evo 8 driven by James May has had quite a life. It was initially crashed by the presenter at a high speed during a tunnel run, and later crashed through the ice into a lake. Because of this, it’s also the only car that doesn’t undergo any visual modification during the episode. Unless you count damage, of course.

The Evo 8 was launched in 2003 in Japan and saw immediate success thanks to its potent turbocharged 4G63 4-cylinder engine. This produced 289 lb ft and 276 horsepower, but its excellent all-wheel drive system pushed its performance high enough to battle with supercars of that era.

Its chassis was stiffer than the outgoing Evo 7, and the car was treated like it was going to hit a rally stage at any moment with the chassis being spot welded, suspension mounts upgraded, and the suspension itself having an improved MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension setup.

The new bodywork also allowed for better cooling and higher performance aerodynamics.

James May had the following to say about his beloved Evo:

“Well, it’s quite an old car now. Like a lot of cars in that era –including my own 911, which is coming up to 12 years old now –they’re not classic cars. They’re still relatively modern, but they feel quite old-fashioned, because in recent years cars have become a lot more connected and a lot more touchscreen-y, and they just have more stuff on them.

“So the Evo just has some analogue instruments and a few buttons to press, and that’s about it. It’s an austerity spec car. Apart from the race-bred engine and a rally pedigree, in every other respect it’s a bit like an airport hire car. I like that all the effort has gone into making it work very well as a car, I suppose is what I mean.

“I also think it looks good, and it’s yellow. I always like yellow cars; they really give me a proper fizz. So when I saw it for the first time, before we left, I thought, ‘Wow, I’m really, really going to like two weeks of driving around in this car.’ I haven’t driven one for ages, but I remembered that they were great when they were new, and that was all tremendous. And then I celebrated that by driving it into a wall.”

Andy Wilman, the series producer, talked about the focus on the cars:

“We wanted to  celebrate these road-going rally cars because, in a snow and ice scenario, that’s what you would use. They’ve all got a track record, apart from Jeremy’s, of doing well in snow rallies, Finnish rallies, and so on, so they were the perfect cars because they’re exciting, and they have a passionate following. It was a no-brainer to pick those. Once you decide, ‘It’s about time we went and did some snow and ice,’ you do quickly get to those cars. You’re not going to do 4x4s, they’re boring by comparison.

He continued, adding that the edit favoured the cars over the location:

“Scandinavian culture is not that far removed, ultimately, from our viewers’ culture. There are differences, but it’s not something worth majoring on. It’s not like being in Vietnam, where the culture is fantastically different, or Central Africa. This is a completely different thing. It’s still Europe,so that’s one reason we didn’t do that. The other reason is it bounds along at quite a lick. It found its own pace. The first cut we did was two and a half hours –of very usable stuff –so almost an hour was cut out.

“Once you start that editing process, because the scenes are big and it’s a bit movie-like, you start to accelerate the pace organically. Whereas if we were in Africa or something like that, the journey is slower-paced, and the chit-chat is more prevalent. This one is a little bit more of a roller-coaster. Once you start doing that, culture doesn’t really get in –it’s about the three of them.”

Alex Harrington

Alex started racing at a young age so certainly knows his way around a car and a track. He can just about put a sentence together too, which helps. He has a great interest in the latest models, but would throw all of his money at a rusty old French classic and a 300ZX. Contact: [email protected]

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