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A grand tourer ( ) (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; the French is grand tourisme.


Grand tourers differ from standard two-seat sports cars in typically being larger, heavier, and emphasizing comfort over straight-out performance. Historically, most GTs have been front-engined with rear-wheel drive, which leave 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 Grand Tourers.

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, Ferrarimarker and Lancia led the way starting from 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.
  • 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.
  • GTE or GT/E (Einspritzung - German for fuel injection) used on the Opel Manta GT/E.
  • GTA (Gran Turismo Alleggerita) a lightened GT car. For example the Alfa Romeo GTA.
  • 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.
  • GTR or GT-R, (Gran Turismo Racing), as in the McLaren F1 GTR, Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, and Nissan GT-R
  • HGT (High Gran Turismo), used by Fiat in sport oriented cars version.

Image:Maserati GranTurismo.JPG|2007 Maserati Gran TurismoImage:Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster silver front 20081204 - Kopie.jpg|2007 Aston Martin V8 VantageImage:Bentley Continental GT Speed.JPG|2007 Bentley Continental GT SpeedImage:Lexus-SC430-2.jpg|2002 Lexus SC430Image:Lotus Europa S.jpg|2007 Lotus Europa SImage:Jaguar XKR Portfolio.JPG|2007 Jaguar XKRImage:Ferrari612SessentaEdition.jpg|2007 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti Sessanta EditionImage:Ferrari599 A6 1.JPG|2007 Ferrari 599 GTB FioranoFile:QC-StLambert 20090524-134117 MonteverdiHighSpeed.jpg|1971 Monteverdi High Speed

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 race like the 24 Hours of Le Mansmarker, Mille Miglia, Targa Floriomarker, Carrera Panamericana. Examples of race grand tourers include:

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 into GT1 (formerly GT) and GT2 (formerly N-GT) in most championships (although the American Le Mans Series is combining the classes in 2010 due to lack of GT1 competitors). 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:

See also

External links

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