What does GT stand for in cars? What are some modern gt cars

What does GT stand for in cars? Just two little letters: GT. You’ve seen them on the rumps of everything from Hyundais to Ferraris. At several points in time, they’ve formed the entire name of the only car Maserati builds.

And Pontiac got more mileage out of those letters than the entire Italian auto industry combined. But what do the two letters actually mean, and why do we use them?

What Does GT Stand For In Cars?

The term GT is an acronym for “Grand Touring” vehicles, but it has always had a loose definition. It was a term derived in Italy and initially translated to a fast, comfortable coupe or roadster large enough to accommodate a driver and a passenger. These vehicles had sufficient room for luggage and emphasized refined high-speed cruising rather than racetrack performance.

What does GT stand for in cars

Many Italian automakers like Ferrari or Alfa Romeo produced GT versions for many models. Cars like the 1951 Lancia Aurelia B20 GT embodied the term perfectly. They had smooth V-6 power, responsive handling, and a well-made, stylish cabin to rack up the miles comfortably.

However, after some time, GT found its way to America. Manufacturers had their definition in mind, and Ford started to show it with the first-generation 1965 Mustang. The vehicle offered a high-performance V-8 engine, an upgraded suspension, unique wheels, dual exhaust, and distinctive side stripes.

Ford’s success tempted other manufacturers and led to GT being tossed around and applied to seemingly any type of car. Even pickups in America have been manufactured in GT versions.

What Does “GT” Mean On Cars?

Today, it can mean just about anything. In the past, GT had a specific definition that directly related to what those two letters stand for. By the 1980s, though, it had become so poorly applied and overused it mostly lost its original definition. These days, it depends on the automaker. For some, it became synonymous with the term sports car.

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For others, it’s a mildly sporty trim level. Sometimes, it delineates the most extreme supercars the company makes. Boil it down, though, and GT generally means some level of sportiness ranging from slightly above average to street-legal race car. Even some racing series use the term to denote a class of race car, and it’s also on one of the most popular racing video games in history.

What Was The First GT Car?

The 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Turismo. In 1929, Alfa Romeo introduced its updated 6C 1750 model with two different 1.75-liter engines. The less powerful, single-overhead-cam model was called Turismo, or Touring, and the more powerful, dual-overhead-cam models were named Sport: Super Sport, Super Sport Compressore (supercharged), and Super Sport Testa Fissa.

For 1930, the Sport and Super Sport Compressore models were renamed Gran Turismo (or Grand Touring) and Gran Turismo Compressore, while the other models were dropped. A Gran Sport model was also introduced, leading to the less common but still used GS name.

An improvement over the two-year-old 6C 1500, the more powerful 1750 featured a frame designed to twist and bend on rough roads to improve both ride quality and traction. The year it was introduced, the 6C won every major racing event it entered. Each car wore custom bodywork from Europe’s finest coachbuilders, establishing the GT formula for decades to come.

Sports Cars Vs. GT Cars

GT cars emphasize both comfort and performance rather than speed. They find the perfect balance between these two aspects and do not sacrifice them to achieve high speeds. Their features generally boil down to this:

  • Seating for two or more. Grand tourers offer 2+2 seating configurations, offering more space.
  • Functionality. GTs are functional, allowing the driver complete control over amenities and the vehicle itself.
  • Driving. Grand tourers have chassis and suspension suited for tight handling and a high comfort level for the drivers and passengers in various road conditions.
  • Engine. These cars feature engines that can easily maintain the upper limits of their performance over extended periods.

On the other hand, actual sports cars are tuned for performance at high speeds and are always low to the ground. The key characteristics are efficiency, speed, and handling with no deviation. However, there are even more granular definitions because the term “sports car” compares with GT in terms of broadness.

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What does GT stand for in cars

For instance, Ferrari Portofino and Chevrolet Corvette are sports cars because they emphasize performance. But, a Corvette could never keep up with a Ferrari on a track. That is why enthusiasts coined the terms “supercar” and “hypercar” to denote the difference.

If we narrow down characteristics, you could say that sports cars offer less in terms of engineering and features. Something like a Ford Mustang would be more about the race track than cruising around. The bottom line is that it will depend on the manufacturer.

What Is The Purpose Of A Grand Tourer?

Even with the flexibility of the term, it’s easy to see the purpose of a GT. First, GT cars have to be a comfortable, even luxurious, means to do everything from joyrides to road trips. Also, a GT has to include an element of sportiness; it has to pack a powerful engine or a sufficient enough power-to-weight ratio to thrill.

Publications and enthusiasts everywhere have accepted the flexibility of the terminology. For instance, Autocar celebrates the four-door Porsche Panamera and even the Tesla Model S as some of the best grand tourers on the market. However, even with cars like those, the speed, luxury, and comfort criteria remain; the GT car is a nice way to cover distance.

What Are the Characteristics of GT Cars?

Modern GT cars are very capable. You can expect the following features to be common in GT cars:

Sporty and Luxurious Design

High-end grand tourers have elegant and sophisticated designs that can easily attract looks on the road. Grand tourers aim to be as aerodynamic as possible. Hence, they typically sit low on the ground to produce as little drag as possible. The driver also sits close to the ground, giving them a focused seating position.

Great Driving Characteristics

A GT car needs to be fun to drive. For that to happen, GT cars need to have excellent handling, precise steering, and a responsive drivetrain. For many drivers, the ideal road for a grand tourer isn’t a straight highway but a twisty canyon road. This setting allows the driver to appreciate all of the car’s finely-tuned driving characteristics.

Powerful Engine

Modern GT cars have the ability to cruise quickly for hundreds or even thousands of miles. They’re also able to turn into a track weapon at the push of a button.

GT cars are often fitted with powerful V8 or even V12 engines to ensure a pleasurable driving experience. Aside from being powerful, their engines also need to ride smoothly and quietly for when the driver wants to drive more calmly.

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Limited Seating

Most grand tourers are two-door coupes that can comfortably accommodate the driver and one passenger. They also tend to have two seats behind the front seats. However, these seats typically offer tight legroom. Hence, the back seats are seldom used to seat people and are typically reserved for luggage and cargo.

What Are Some Modern GT Cars?

If you want a classic example of a GT car, you should look at powerful and luxurious coupes. For instance, the Maserati GranTurismo, Jaguar XK, and Aston Martin DBS are timeless examples of modern GT cars; they pack potent engines, space for luggage, and comfort akin to a luxury car.

What does GT stand for in cars

Of course, if you want a more affordable example under that same formula, you should look at the 2015 and newer Ford Mustang. The Callum-esque styling cues of the S550 generation Mustang screams budget Aston Martin.

However, looking past the ubiquity of the Ford pony car, it fits the classic formula; it has a powerful Coyote V8 engine up front, optional heated and ventilated leather seats, and enough storage space to take a trip.

Should You Buy A Grand Tourer?

A grand tourer is the only vehicular option if you want a vehicle to make you feel like Daniel Craig pulling up in the film Casino Royale. Grand tourers marry speed, luxury, and an eagerness to travel. Of course, depending on where you live, you might want an inclement weather-friendly all-wheel drive setup. If that’s your situation, check out something like the Audi A5 Coupe.

Frankly, with the flexibility of the term, you might already have a GT car. Scroll down to the following article to read about grand tourers like the Maserati GranTurismo or Jaguar XK!


What’s the difference between GT and normal?

While most cars designated with a GT are considered high-performance vehicles, GT models often come with extra comfort features, such as softer suspensions or leather seats. Also, GT models are typically larger and heavier than regular sports cars, and also emphasize comfort as well as performance.

What makes a great GT car?

Essentially, the GT has a simple mantra: to transport its occupants in supreme comfort, speed and style, while remaining capable when the roads get interesting.

Does GT mean faster?

GT cars emphasize both comfort and performance rather than speed. They find the perfect balance between these two aspects and do not sacrifice them to achieve high speeds. Their features generally boil down to this: Seating for two or more. Grand tourers offer 2+2 seating configurations, offering more space.

Above is information about What does GT stand for in cars? that we have compiled. Hopefully, through the above content, you have a more detailed understanding of What are the characteristics of GT cars? Thank you for reading our post.

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