The term GT comes from the Italian Gran Turismo, which basically describes any car that is designed for both high speeds and long distances. It came to be in the 1950s but really only enjoyed the popularity it was due when major manufacturers like Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler started using the initials to push their high-performance machines.
We have since changed the term to grand touring, and in some cases added other letters to it to define different makes and models of performance vehicles. But what defines the GT, what separates it from other categories of automobiles that are flooding the markets of the world? And what should you be considering if you are looking at taking the plunge into the wonderful world of the GT?
We have put together a list of the Best Grand Touring style cars that are available for the car-buyer in today’s diverse automotive industry. Have a look, read the comparisons, then make a decision on which of these must-have toys is the one just-for-you.
If we are going to talk about grand touring cars, why not start with the grandest of all, the Rolls Royce Wraith? Let’s face it; when it comes to all things luxury, it’s hard to forget a Rolls-Royce, and the Wraith is certainly a car that fits all of the stereotypes of this exclusive brand. Based on the chassis of the classic Ghost, its two-door pillar-less design sets it apart from the Rolls-Royce’s that most of us have come accustomed to. The manufactures relied heavily on influences from classic 50s-style American cars. In what seems to be a contradiction, the windows retract fully like a convertible, but the roof remains solid like a classic hardtop.
Technically, the Wraith is considered a two-door hardtop coupe, but one of the things I love about this car is the drive-train that will push this beast to very comfortable highway speeds. Under the hood is the highly engineered BMW N74 twin turbo V12. This little gem will produce an awe-inspiring 623 horsepower, enough to get you down any piece of pavement, let alone the highways of the U.S. The price tag may scare you off a little, but what the hell, if you’ve got, flaunt it.
The Toyota Companies luxury division, Lexus, gave us this remarkable car for too short a time. Manufactured between 2011 and 2012, only 500 of the featured model were produced. Even though this car has been described as a two-door sports car, it fits right in with the grand touring category. The first versions of this car were unveiled in 2005 and went on to become what is essentially one of Japan’s most expensive road cars to ever be built. The version that you see here is priced at around $375,000; that, is of course, if you can find one that is for sale.
This Formula-One inspired car is powered by a 553 horsepower 4.8-liter V10 engine that was developed in conjunction with Yamaha and will get you from 0-60 mph in just under 4 seconds. Once you hit the highway in one of these beauties, you are sure to turn the heads of any motoring enthusiast. One well-known car magazine described the LFA as “expensive, over-specified and looks like an evil transformer, the greatest Japanese car? Maybe”.
Ford Mustang GT
Let’s look at some home-grown muscle that well and truly characterizes the true meaning of the term GT. This is the 6th generation of the extremely popular pony car and is, without doubt, the best yet. Probably the most notable change on the newest Mustang is the widened body. An extra 1.5 inches has been added to the width of the car, while 1.4 inches has been eliminated from the body height. Ford has improved many other aspects of the classic car as well. They increased the passenger space while managing to keep the same wheelbase length. Combine this with a brand new independent suspension system designed specifically for this car, and you have a pretty nice grand tourer.
Now for the biggest surprise. Ford has given you three engine options to think about. First, the V8. Let’s face it; if you are going to have a Mustang, you might as well go for the muscle as well. But for the economy-minded motorist who still wants to own a classic, there is the 3.7-liter V6 model capable of 300 horsepower or the brand new development of the 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder power plant that will give you a respectable 310 horsepower. Whatever your needs, the Ford Mustang GT will deliver.
Okay, so I gave you the rundown on the Ford Mustang first, but not to upset the Chevy fans out there; it’s now your turn. I guess nothing says grand tourer more than the word Corvette. Since 1963, General Motors has been exciting us with generation after generation of these beautiful cars. Like the Mustang, this U.S.-made classic will always be a favorite for the Stateside car enthusiast. This car is the 7th generation offered by the General and is undoubtedly the best Vette yet. The motivation for your pavement outings is supplied by a neatly packaged 5.5- liter, double overhead crankshaft, flat-crank V8 that will provide 500 highway horsepower resting under your right foot.
Whether you are a highway tourer or an inner-city street cruiser, the Chevrolet Corvette is a car well worth considering as your next toy. Not only will it turn heads regardless of the type of pavement you are on, but it is going to be an inspirational and exciting car to drive. It’s an American classic that will go down in the annals of automotive history as one of the biggest trend-setting vehicles of any generation.
BMW 8 Series
The Bavarian Motor Works Company has always produced stylish and extremely well-engineered motor vehicles, and the 8 Series grand tourer is no exception. The 8 series of cars was first introduced to the world markets way back in 1990 and has gone on to bigger and better things since. Originally only available as a two-door coupe, the latest variants also include a soon-to-be-released convertible. The two options that you also have are the front engine rear-wheel drive format or the road-hugging all-wheel-drive configuration that will keep you stuck to any highway you choose to venture on.
The interior of this very pretty automobile is as you would expect from BMW, luxurious and practical. The German car manufacturer is now offering the choice of the highly regarded in-line-six diesel engine, an unusual fit for a grand tourer, or the 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8. The Series 8 BMW is unashamedly aimed at the driver who is looking for not only performance but a little prestige as well. There are not too many manufacturers out there that have so much faith in one model, but 20 years into production, it’s still a best seller.
Aston Martin DB9
If there was ever the ultimate classic GT car, then the Aston Martin is definitely the one. When writing about such an iconic manufacturer, words like legendary, luxurious, and stylish come to mind, but as I am a fan, all I need to write is “James Bond.” Okay, let’s get all that silliness out of the way. The Aston Martin DB9 is one very serious motor vehicle. Not only does it come from a lineage of incredibly successful and classic cars, but it’s not scared to give you the performance that you would expect from this British masterpiece.
Sadly, for those of us who regard this car as an all-time classic, Aston Martin decided to call it a day for the DB9 after 12 very successful years. If you can manage to lay your hands on one of these cars, you will be able to harness the power of the “Vanquish” designed 5.9-liter V12 engine that will make your ride a 510 horsepower journey. It doesn’t matter where you are on this wonderful planet of ours, if there is a highway to be conquered, then the Aston Martin DB9 is the car to do it in.
When it comes to grand touring cars, no list could ever be complete without a Porsche somewhere in it. Even though the majority of us won’t think about this, the 911 is one of the most versatile sports cars on the market today. You will find these legendary rear-engine steeds on every possible surface you can imagine. From the racetracks of the world to rally championships and even the occasional sojourn into drag racing, these all-around workhorses are comfortable in any given circumstance.
When it comes to pure driving pleasure, there are not many cars that come close to the experience one has when behind the wheel of a Porsche. We tend to forget that unlike some other cars on this list, Porsche has been around since 1933, so therefore has a wealth of knowledge and experience to fall upon when it comes to designing cars with not only performance in mind but driving gratification as well. Take on any highway with confidence, because you can rest assured, the Porsche 911 will take it all in its stride without working up a sweat.
Maserati Gran Turismo
The name itself embodies everything that GT stands for. Since 2007, the Gran Turismo has graced the roads and highways of the world with the lucky few that own one, enjoying every mile passed. Now, for those of you who are Maserati fans, the Gran Turismo was based on the Quattroprts V platform, which utilizes the double-wishbone front and rear suspension and has a drag co-efficiency of .33. Designed primarily as the ideal driver’s car, Maserati has spared no expense in giving you the ultimate ride.
Even though the power source is a relatively small 4.2 liters, this V8 will still throw out an impressive 399 horsepower, nothing to be sneezed at, and is coupled to their ZF 6-speed automatic and semi-automatic transmissions. The interesting thing about the engine in this car is that Maserati developed it with rival manufacturer Ferrari; the Maserati trident and the prancing stallion, certainly a formidable combination, and a potential conqueror of any of the world’s highways.
Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe
AMG, the performance off-shoot of Mercedes, is no slouch when it comes to turning a luxury sedan into something that is in a class all of its own. The S63 Coupe is a prime example of their treatment. What literally started out as an S-class platform vehicle, the end results that AMG achieved are absolutely amazing. AMG utilizes all of the next generation technologies available to them, things such as ultra-modern interior designs and features, a sound system that is next to none, and a suspension update that will make your ride as smooth as silk. This, combined with their use of an engine construction that is not only efficient but oriented toward the performance end of the spectrum.
The use of a 5.5-liter direct fuel injected twin-turbocharged engine hooked up to Mercedes’s 7 speed MCT transmission ensures not only a comfortable ride but, if need be, an exhilarating one. The M157 engine also has 25% better fuel economy than its predecessor, the M156, meaning your highway tours will cost you less in gas, and U.S. tax. It also features what is becomes extremely popular among the name brands, the stop-start mode, and has been lightened to weigh in at only 204 kilograms. If it’s a classy cruise you want, you will be hard pressed to bypass the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe.
Bentley Continental GT
It’s funny; I’ve written quite a lot of articles revolving around the automotive industry, but I am sure I have never used the words Bentley and grand tourer in the same sentence before. Not that I am saying that this combination is a bad thing; I think that this is probably one of the best GT cars on the road today. As I researched more on the Bentley name, I realized that they have been manufacturing GT-style cars for quite some time. The Continental GT has been around since its inception in 2003 and was the first Bentley to be released by the new ownership of Volkswagen AG.
Bentley is renowned for its trademark luxury appointments, which go hand-in-hand with its prestigious reputation, so why not enter the field of the grand tourer? The Continental has also seen the introduction of mass-production, a first for Bentley in its history. The powerful W12, 6-liter engine will provide you with around 550 horsepower, enough for any respectable chauffeur to get you to the next meeting in style and opulence. Grand touring has never been held in such high esteem.
Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T
The Italians certainly know how to make a vehicle that is not only stylishly beautiful but a performance oriented car as well. The GTC4 Lusso T is a prime example of this combination and is remarkably well-designed. Based on the shooting-brake body design, this machine is a three-door, all-wheel drive dream. Its four seats will provide the driver and his special friends a comfortable and exhilarating cruise down any super-highway in the world. First seen at the Geneva Motor Show in 2016, this car replaced the Ferrari FF, which ceased production the same year.
The thrust is provided by Ferrari’s F140 65 degree V12 engine that produces a well-respected 682 horsepower at a very comfortable 5,750 rpm. Ferrari has claimed that this engine will motivate the GTC4 to a top speed of 208 mph and will accelerate you from 0-60 mph in just 3.4 seconds. Not only does this car have all-wheel drive, but it also has an improved version of their four-wheel-steering system, making this stallion a very sticky thoroughbred indeed.
Ferrari 812 Superfast
The Italian auto manufacturing giant has also given us the Ferrari 812 Superfast model. This two-door two-seater Berlinetta-styled GT will present you with a very respectable 789 horsepower, generated from the F140 GA 6.5-liter V12 engine. What makes this combination of car and drive chain unique is the intentional disregard of technology, relying solely on natural aspiration instead of a force-fed system. These two versions of the GT class of car from Ferrari offers the enthusiast a difference of configurations that will suit most.
Even though the ELR is not really classed as a GT, it is well worth looking at. It is a four-passenger compact coupe but with one interesting difference from the rest of the cars that we have looked at so far. The Cadillac ELR is a hybrid, based on the same power-chain as the Chevrolet Volt. The Voltec EREV drive-chain is coupled with the ELR’s lithium-ion battery pack, giving the vehicle a 106 mph top speed.
Even though it is relatively slow compared to some of the other cars we have looked at, it is extremely well-appointed with all of the luxuries you would come to expect from Cadillac. Unfortunately, production of the ELR ceased in February of 2016, leaving total unit sale figures of just short of 3,000. If you can find one of the rare gems, buy it, because I am sure that the value will only increase as the years go by.
GT Honorable Mentions
There are plenty of other cars that come under the guise of the GT, and here are a few that are worth mentioning. BMW has the M6, the two-door version of the M5 that features the same mechanics and driver comfort. The V10 version was probably the most sought after and is still a great tourer.
Who could forget the remarkable cars that the Jaguar Company gave us throughout the years? The classic XJS and E-Type, two of the finest GT class cars that the English manufacturer offered the world. The first of the V12 engines to be mass-produced in a street legal car. And the classic body design of the E-Type that is still admired and sought after by collectors everywhere. And who can forget the decades that Mercedes gave us the SL series? This two-seater GT was popular for many years, long before AMG came onto the scene.
There is also a myriad of other manufacturers that offer GT-style cars to the marketplace. Cars like the Volkswagen EOS 3.6 V6, or the Volvo C30 and C70. The Audi A5 and Infinity G37, the Dodge Challenger R/T and the Cadillac CTS Coupe. The list goes on and on, so never fear; there IS a GT-style car out there that will be exactly what you are looking for.