The best GT cars around right now
The grand tourer bracket of the automotive world is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. They sport powerful and extremely capable powertrains, extreme luxury and comfort, and for the most part, they’re beautifully designed. The power-mad world of cars has surpassed the GT (Grand Tourer) bracket in some ways, with the so-called Super-GT genre now around, but we want to focus on the original here. Comfortable, luxurious, powerful (but not ridiculous) and beautifully designed, they’re designed to cross continents quickly and in style.
I’m going to run through some of the best around right now, so if you’re on the lookout for a GT car, put your reading glasses on and strap in!
Bentley Continental GT V8
Don’t get me wrong, the older Bentley Continentals were good cars, but they just never really had the wow factor for me. The current generation has improved massively, with sleek lines and touches of sportiness that you would expect for a GT car. I’ve never been a huge Bentley fan personally, but I certainly wouldn’t say no to a GT, they pack in everything you could ever want from a Grand Tourer and more.
The regular V8 model is what I’ve picked here, you don’t need to go silly with it. A GT car should be powerful, but still refined and quiet while cruising which just won’t happen with a V12. The power delivery is instant thanks to the twin-turbo setup, and the suspension offers an almost faultless drive, you can barely feel the road – a key factor in a long-distance driver.
Bentley’s interiors are the closest you can get to Rolls-Royce quality, no one else does GT luxury this well in this price bracket. The styling is a bit of an acquired taste, with a lot of quilting and chrome which cheapens the look for me, but the quality of the materials, the comfort and the absolute luxury cannot be questioned. You can guarantee that you will step out of the Continental GT feeling just as fresh as you got in.
Aston Martin DB11 V8
The Aston Martin DB11 has been around in its current form for a long while now. First released in 2016, we’ve discussed its future and the possibility of a facelift before here. But as of right now, the DB11 is still a heavy hitter in the GT market. Having driven both the V8 and V12 extensively in the past, I picked the V8 because of just how well it eats up miles on a road trip. That V8 is an AMG-derived twin-turbo – the same as the Vantage, but with a much more GT-focused tune, so it’s quiet and smooth in all gears.
The V12 (I’m talking the AMR version and onwards here) is just a little bit too loud, and a little bit too wild for a road trip for me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the V12 engine, but for the purpose of this article, it’s just a little too brash for a regular GT car. As for the DBS, that’s basically Aston’s supercar/super GT entry, with over 700bhp and a price tag sitting at £250,000, it’s just way too much.
The DB11, even at nearly 9 years old, still looks fabulous, with sleek lines, that distinctive Aston Martin grille and cola-bottle curves. But the interior is where the DB11 really does start to look and feel its age. The handmade leatherwork is gorgeous, and the seats are very comfortable for long journeys. The outdated Mercedes tech and weird haptic touch centre console are a bit of a killer though. These are things that are reported to be getting looked at for the facelift, and rightly so, but for right now they will be a huge compromise for some. There is an Apple CarPlay update available for the car, but that’s an extra financial outlay on an already expensive car new.
You will undoubtedly have a fantastic driving experience with the DB11, it all just depends on how much you are bothered by the interior/tech.
Now this one is kind of pushing out of the price bracket, but it is 100% a GT car. Weirdly enough you could say a lot of similar things about the Roma as I have with the DB11 when referring to the exterior. The Roma has a very familiar form, and when next to each other you might actually struggle to identify this as a Ferrari, for a few milliseconds at least…
Don’t confuse that statement as negative though, this is a beautiful car, one that absolutely steals the show for looks in the GT market.
If you take a seat inside the Roma, you realise how different this is from previous Ferraris. The seats are designed for long-distance driving, with comfort in mind. Don’t forget there are actually 4 reasonably usable seats, which is a bit of a novelty with the Italian brand. My favourite feature of the Roma’s interior is the gear selector. All Roma’s are automatic, but Ferrari has brought in a centre console gear selector styled to mimic that of a gated manual. There’s just something special about driving a gated manual and this captures a little bit of that feeling. Along with that is Ferrari’s new infotainment system which is a huge improvement, and with everything now controlled from the touchscreen. Something that some won’t enjoy without having physical buttons and switches, but it works to keep the interior sleek and clean.
You’re looking at over £200,000 for a decent spec with the Roma, which I think is probably the elephant in the room. But it IS a Ferrari, and with Ferrari, you are paying for the privilege of joining an exclusive club. It’s somewhat of an entry-level Ferrari, a very practical one though, and undoubtedly owning one opens the door for buying the more select and special Ferraris further up the price band in the future.
Porsche Taycan 4S Turismo
Did you expect to see an electric car on this list? With a range of up to 300 miles, the Taycan 4S Turismo should definitely be in consideration. I chose the Turismo version mainly for practicality, but also because the ‘estate’ shape is so much more pleasing to the eye in my opinion. The rear of the car looks so much more at home with a longer roof, and just imagine, you can actually have 3 passengers and a boot full of luggage and still be comfortable! This is probably the only car on this list that can do this.
Since its release, the Taycan has intrigued me. I was lucky enough to get to drive one of the first in Yorkshire and thought the experience was wonderful, if a little alien. I’ve driven Teslas and other electric cars regularly but the experience here was so much more characterful.
Porsche interiors just have the right sort of quality and are set up to make you feel involved in every part of the drive. They’re very technical and I like that. The materials are of high quality, and the seats are comfortable with a little bit of a sporty focus, but for a GT I think that’s about right.
In my head, that die-hard, if a little caveman, ‘internal combustion forever’ feeling has always been pretty strong, but that seems to disappear in the Taycan and I can’t really explain it. The one thing I can never get over though is the noise the Taycan makes. I heard someone compare it to the spaceships from The Jetsons once, and now that is all I can think of every single time I see one. Welcome to the future I guess?!
Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S
Last up, and it’s kind of a cheat in a way, as it’s basically a saloon, but the AMG GT’s fatter cousin ticks all the boxes for a great grand tourer. Plus it’s literally called a GT.
It’s a Mercedes, so you know the build quality is excellent, the seats will be very comfortable and the engine will be fantastic (funnily enough it’s basically the same one as the DB11 from earlier).
I’m a big fan of Mercedes styling choices at the moment, the body lines are very pleasing to the eye, and the more rounded look with the aggressive sports styling just works for me. The coupe styling of the GT 63 adds a satisfyingly smooth roofline with a spoiler at the rear which is available as a fixed piece or the automatic version we know from the regular GT.
Interior-wise, it’s kind of standard fair for a Mercedes (absolutely not a bad thing I promise), with a luxury feel and multiple trims and styling choices for you to make it your own. It feels like a cockpit to a spaceship in a way, with the huge centre console taken from the AMG GT and screens taking up most of your focus as you sit in it.
You can be sure that the GT 63 will absolutely munch the miles, cruising the open road with 3 passengers in proper 4-door comfort. I think you can probably place this side by side with a Taycan saloon for practicality in the genre.
So which should you choose?
This is where it gets very difficult, the Taycan 4S Turismo is the cheapest of the bunch, starting at £87,500, but with a spec you’d actually want you’re probably looking around £125,000+. But I think having to plan my routes around chargers would put me off in the long run. On a purely looks-based review, the Roma would be coming home with me, but as a whole package, the Bentley and the Aston Martin are the best of the more traditional GTs, and I would probably say the Continental GT pips the DB11 as a package and wins the race, just.