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A classic Gran Turismo, the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

A grand tourer (Italian: gran turismo) (GT) is a high-performance luxury automobile designed for long-distance driving. The most common format is a two-door coupé with either a two-seat or a 2+2 arrangement.

The term derives from the Italian phrase gran turismo, homage to the tradition of the grand tour, used to represent automobiles regarded as grand tourers, able to make long-distance, high-speed journeys in both comfort and style. The English translation is grand touring.


Grand tourers differ from standard two-seat sports cars in typically being engineered as larger, and heavier, while emphasizing comfort over straight-out performance or spartan accommodations. Historically, most GTs have been front-engined with rear-wheel drive, which creates more space for the cabin than mid-mounted engine layouts. Softer suspensions, greater storage, and more luxurious appointments add to their driving appeal. Some very high-performance grand tourers, such as the Aston Martin DB9, Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren make various compromises in the opposite direction while rivalling sports cars in speed, acceleration, and cornering ability, earning them the special designation supercars.

GT abbreviation

Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Turismo Compressore (1932).

Lancia Aurelia B20 GT, a GT car from the 1950s.

The GT abbreviation, so popular across the automotive industry, traces to the Italian tradition of referring to their luxury performance cars as gran turismo. Manufacturers such as Alfa Romeo,[1] Ferrari and Lancia led the way starting from the end of 1920s.

Among the many variations of GT are:

  • GTO (Gran Turismo Omologato) a homologated car for racing (used by Ferrari, Pontiac and Mitsubishi).
  • GTS (Gran Turismo Spider) a convertible GT car. For example the Ferrari 348 GTS.
  • GTS (Gran Turismo Sport) a four door Saloon. For example the HSV GTS.
  • GTB (Gran Turismo Berlinetta) a coupe style GT. For example the Ferrari 328 GTB.
  • GTV (Gran Turismo Veloce) a fast GT car. For example the Alfa Romeo GTV6.
  • GTI or GTi (Gran Turismo Iniezione) a fuel injected GT, first used on the 1961 Maserati 3500 GTI.[2]
  • GTE (Grand Touring Estate) An estate wagon GT. For example the Reliant Scimitar GTE
  • GT/E (Einspritzung - German for fuel injection) used on the Opel Manta GT/E.
  • GTA (Gran Turismo Alleggerita (lightened)/Automatic) For example the Alfa Romeo GTA (Allegerita), Ferrari 456 GTA (Automatic).
  • GTAm (Gran Turismo Alleggerita Modificata) a modified, lightened GT car such as the Alfa Romeo GTAm.
  • GTC (Gran Turismo Compressore/Compact/Cabriolet/Coupe/Crossover) for example Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GTC (Compressore), Opel Astra (compact), Bentley Continental GTC (cabriolet), Ferrari 330 GTC (coupe), Opel Antara GTC (crossover)
  • GTD (Gran Turismo Diesel), used by Volkswagen in sport oriented Golf version and Peugeot in lowered Diesel 505 models.
  • GTR or GT-R, (Gran Turismo Racing), as in the McLaren F1 GTR, Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, Nissan Skyline GT-R and Nissan GT-R
  • HGT (High Gran Turismo), used by Fiat in sport oriented cars version.

Grand tourers in racing

Today the term grand tourer, or gran turismo is synonymous with race versions of sports cars (even those which don't fit the definition given above) that take part in sports car racing, including endurance races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 12 Hours of Sebring, Petit Le Mans, Mille Miglia, Targa Florio, and Carrera Panamericana. Examples of race grand tourers include:

  • Aston Martin DBR9
  • Chevrolet Corvette C6.R
  • Chrysler Viper GTS-R
  • Ferrari 458
  • Porsche 911 GT3
  • Ferrari 550
  • Nissan Skyline GT-R
  • Nissan GT-R
  • Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3
  • Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR
  • Saab 93/Saab GT750

Motorsport classification

In certain professional motorsport classifications, such as the Grand Touring categories promoted by the FIA, the GT car is defined as "an open or closed automobile which has no more than one door on each side and a minimum of two seats situated one on each side of the longitudinal centre line of the car; these two seats must be crossed by the same transversal plane. This car must be able to be used perfectly legally on the open road, and adapted for racing on circuits or closed courses." GT cars are divided, from most powerful to least powerful, into GT1 (formerly GTS and GT) and GT2 (formerly GT and N-GT) in most championships, although the ACO has canceled further GT1 involvement not only in the 24 Hours of Le Mans but in every other Le Mans Series (LMS, ALMS, ILMC, JLMC) sanctioned by the ACO. This only left room for GT1 cars to race in the FIA GT1 World Championship, while in turn GT2 cars only competed in ACO sanctioned event due to the absence of the FIA GT2 European Championship. GT3 and GT4 class cars also have their own championships, as well as being eligible for several National GT championships.

Examples of grand tourers

A true grand tourer is a luxury high-performance vehicle intended for long-distance high-speed travel in both comfort and style; just because a manufacturer appended some form of GT initials to its model designation as a marketing gambit does not make such a car a grand tourer. Some examples include:

  • AC Frua
  • Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
  • Alfa Romeo Montreal
  • Aston Martin DB2
  • Aston Martin DB Mark III
  • Aston Martin DB4
  • Aston Martin DB5
  • Aston Martin DB6
  • Aston Martin V8
  • Aston Martin V8 Vantage
  • Aston Martin DB7
  • Aston Martin DB9
  • Aston Martin Vanquish
  • Aston Martin DBS
  • Audi R8
  • Bentley Continental GT Speed
  • BMW 8 Series
  • BMW 6 Series
  • Bugatti Veyron
  • Cadillac CTS-V
  • Cadillac XLR
  • Chevrolet Corvette
  • Citroen GT Concept
  • Citroën SM
  • Ferrari 575M
  • Ferrari 612 Scaglietti
  • Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
  • Ferrari California
  • Fiat Dino
  • Ford GT
  • Honda HSV-010 GT
  • Iso Grifo
  • Iso Rivolta
  • Jaguar XJS
  • Jaguar XK
  • Jensen 541S
  • Jensen CV8
  • Jensen Interceptor
  • Lamborghini 350GT
  • Lamborghini 400GT
  • Lamborghini Islero
  • Lamborghini Jarama
  • Lancia Aurelia
  • Lancia Flaminia
  • Lexus LFA
  • Lexus SC
  • Lincoln Mark VIII
  • Maserati Ghibli
  • Maserati Indy
  • Maserati Khamsin
  • Maserati Bora
  • Maserati Merak
  • Maserati 3200 GT
  • Maserati 3500 GT
  • Maserati 5000 GT
  • Maserati Coupé
  • Maserati GranTurismo
  • Mazda RX-7
  • Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
  • Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
  • Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
  • Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
  • Mitsubishi 3000GT
  • Monteverdi High Speed
  • Nissan Skyline GT-R
  • Nissan GT-R
  • Nissan Z-car
  • Noble M14
  • Noble M15
  • Noble M600
  • Peugeot 907 Concept
  • Porsche 928
  • Subaru Alcyone SVX
  • Toyota 2000GT
  • Toyota Supra

See also

  • Sports car racing
  • FIA GT Championship
  • American Le Mans Series
  • Endurance racing
  • Super GT
  • Le Mans Series
  • World Sportscar Championship


  1. "Alfa Romeo 6C-1750 Sport/GT (17/85 HP)". Retrieved on 2011-01-07.
  2. "Maserati 3500 Gti". Retrieved on 2011-01-07.

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