The four agreed to produce the series following their departures from the BBC series Top Gear with an initial agreement of 36 episodes over three years. Episodes are released weekly to those with Amazon Prime Video accounts, repeats of the first series began airing on traditional broadcasters in late 2017. As of December 2016 the show was made available to an additional 195 countries and various territories. Studio audience segments for the first series were filmed in the travelling tent between 17 July and 11 December 2016 in various countries, while for the second series the tent was stationed permanently in the Cotswolds. Series one was filmed over the course of mid- to late 2016 and premiered on 18 November 2016. Series two was filmed over the same time period the following year; however, filming was set back due to various illnesses and injuries suffered by the presenters. Due to this, it premiered on 8 December 2017.
In the days following the launch, "The Holy Trinity" became Amazon Video's most watched premiere episode. Overall, the show has received positive reviews from critics.
The Grand Tour is presented as a mix of pre-recorded television films and live-audience segments presented in a large tent to an audience of about 300 members. The show and its segments are hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May. The show is presented from a pair of large tents on a Grand Tour around the world. The presenters sit around a trestle table, with the studio audience seated in front of them.
Each show is generally bookended by two television films, or two parts of the same film, produced by one or more of the hosts. Similar to the films from Top Gear, these may focus on one or more cars and their features, including how it performs on the test track. These have also included similar Top Gear-like challenges, such as building their own eco-friendly car chassis atop a Land Rover engine base and undergoing challenges sent by text message by their producer Wilman, unconventional races between the hosts in different forms of transportation, selecting and driving certain types of cars along a route in a foreign locale in the same manner as the Top Gear specials, or other motoring-related segments.
The show has a dedicated test track called the "Eboladrome", at the former RAF Wroughton. Clarkson states in the first episode that the name is due to its shape resembling the structure of the Ebola virus.