The Grand Tour series 3 review: #amazonshitcarshow is back and it’s leaner, faster and better than ever

Clarkson, Hammond and May doughnut and drag race their way across Detroit with a cracking opening episode.

Anyone who feared that Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May might have mellowed as they start their third series of The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime Video, needn't have worried.

Just check out the show's new official Twitter hashtag, which has its tongue firmly fixed in its cheek - #amazonshitcatshow. It’s the sort of school boy humour that turned the most unfashionable presenters - all dad jeans, beer bellies and dodgy facial hair - into global stars.

[Read more: Everything you need to know about The Grand Tour season 3]

[Read more: Everything you need to know about the Colombia Grand Tour special] 

The new series of The Grand Tour is a leaner machine, cutting off the flabby celebrity interview segments and mucking around in the giant tent and focusing on the show's key strengths – the cars, chemistry and challenges.

We're going to get more jaw-dropping travel features – the much-anticipated Colombia special arrives next week - and more explosive challenges for the presenters.

The Grand Tour series 3

The Grand Tour season 3 is on Prime Video now - new episodes, every Friday.

Watch seasons 1 + 2 now on Prime Video.

How to get Amazon Prime Video on BT TV in 3 easy steps >

Here are five reasons we loved The Grand Tour series 3 episode 1 – Motown Funk:

1. Detroit Motor City baby

The Grand Tour series 3

How has The Grand Tour not visited Motor City before series 3? The boys seems as surprised as anyone with Clarkson, in particular, eulogising about the historic city.

Although Clarkson could never do a pilgrimage without ever cracking a couple of gags – most of them at the expense of the rise of veganism in the city – the trio’s reflections on the once-great motor city were moving.

How did Detroit turn from America's richest city to America’s poorest? What happened to the people who worked in the dozens of derelict factories? The Grand Tour isn’t the sort of show to get political, but even by leaving those questions open-ended it was an intriguing look at the changing face of America – with the added bonus of three old men mucking about in cars.

2. Hammond and May don't need to Ask the Audience

The Grand Tour in Detroit

It didn't take long for Clarkson’s colleagues to bring up his embarrassing failures as the new presenter on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

If you missed his stint on the ITV gameshow, Clarkson stumbled over the answers when contestants used the new 'Ask the Host' lifeline. Of course, his old pals don't miss an opportunity to make a dig at his mishaps.

3. Take a ride in the McLaren Senna

The Grand Tour season 3 - Clarkson rides the McLaren Senna

Even if you don’t know your chassis from your brake pads, Clarkson remains the master of turning a simple car review into thrilling television.

His mouthwatering tour of the McLaren Senna (“It’s door is lighter than one of Kate Moss’ arms…. I’ve had puddings that weigh more than this seat”) was a masterclass in motoring journalism.

We defy anyone to watch it and not want to try a lap in the jaw-dropping vehicle.

4. Doughnuts and drag races

Muscles cars in Detroit in The Grand Tour

The lavish set-pieces are always the most exciting parts of The Grand Tour and with the presenters revving around Detroit in muscle cars - a Ford Mustang (Clarkson),  ‘The Exorcist’ (May), The Demon (Hammond) – we were treated to a selection of Fast and Furious style challenges.

A drag race down derelict streets, a doughnut noise challenge in an old theatre that once held concerts from The Who, David Bowie and Deep Purple and a self-built race track through an abandoned car factory were the three white-knuckle challenges.

Obviously, none of them went entirely to plan – Hammond wasn’t allowed to drag race, Clarkson gets a surprise at the end of his race track lap and watching James May attempting to doughnut for the very first time has to be seen to be believed.

5. And next week….

The opening trailer at the start of the show, previewing what we have to look forward to in the next 13 weeks suggests that The Grand Tour has shifted up a couple of extra gears for series 3.

The boys trip to Colombia next week could potentially be the show’s most outrageous and stunning yet.

The Grand Tour season 3 is on Prime Video now - new episodes, every Friday.

Watch seasons 1 + 2 now on Prime Video.

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