The identity of the “GT,” or Grand Touring vehicle has seemingly been blurred in today’s automotive landscape as the main tenets ofthis identity, power and luxury, are applied to more and more models among more and more brands. So the questionbecomes, what are today’s true GT cars, what is the GT experience, and how do you take part in it? With a variety oftrue GT vehicles among our retired and current fleet of exotic car rentals,this is a subject close to our hearts as auto enthusiasts and providers of the ultimate exotic auto experience. Firstly,the term is actually sourced from the Italian “Gran-Turismo” moniker, one that accurately graces some of our favorite exotics from Maserati and Ferrari. Meant for long-distance comfort,straight-line speed and amenities both ergonomically and under the hood, this is the car for smart, tasteful drivers who achieve excitement in a machine that satisfies staple driving criteria with flying colors. But, it seems as though few cars dubbed “GT”actually adhere to these key attributes. In fact, even the authentic GT’s make us second guess this classification.
So, what does amodern GT look like? Take a few of ourauthentic GT’s as an example, the Mercedes SL55 AMG and the Aston Martin DB9. Front-engine, rear-wheel drive,immense power, and equally immense luxury. These are big, beautiful, brutish vehicles that will smoke the majority of sports car competition and keep you relaxed while doing it. The experience of driving a GT is unique inthat the driver makes no compromise when driving. Although some of our fiery exotics would outpace these cars, there is a luxurious sense of well-being knowing that youcan tackle any driving condition or urge in one vehicle. Other iconic GT’s come to us from across thepond and take form in the Bentley Continental GT and the Jaguar XK. Though the Italians named it first, some of the most iconic GT’s of past and present have come from the Brits. And although these cars have always pushedthe boundary of sports car classification, that boundary has been crossed,erased and rewritten in today’s examples. After all, our Aston Martin rental is by all means a true sports car.
There are two endsto the spectrum, though. Cars like theFord Mustang “GT” are vaguely applicable to the category, partially due totheir lack of the luxury factor (take a look at our last blog entry) and partiallydue to its purely sporty intentions. Onthe other hand, cars like the Mercedes SLR McLaren, largely classified as a GT,is far too track ready to be in the same class as a Bentley Brooklands, forexample. In fact, adding such power andskid-pad capabilities to a GT is what we might call a “supercar” today. In the end, while auto classifications shouldhold true to a certain extent, what’s really in a name? It’s the unique driving experience that willreveal the truth. Drop the top on ourMercedes SL55 AMG or Aston Martin DB9 rentals and you’ll experience theintriguing balance of luxury and power that defines the spirit of an authentic GT.