The concept of a grand touring car escapes most Americans these days, for what reason I'm not entirely sure. We have a mass of open roads and long highways that stretch from sea to shining sea, but we also have an abundance of cheap air fair to hop you from state to state. In Europe, they have airlines as well, though, they still have the tradition of grand touring cars. To go ahead and clarify for anyone who I might have already lost, a grand tourer is a special kind of car car derived from the Italian phrase grand turismo. These cars are designed to make long distance trips at high speeds and high comfort. A grand touring car is not necessarily a race car, though most manufacturers race them, it is made to eat the miles in great comfort without sacrificing power. A traditional grand tourer is front engine, rear wheel drive, either a two seater or a two-plus-two configuration, and has a luxurious interior. This configuration allows for more space for passengers and luggege than a mid-engine sports car. The grand tourer will even sacrifice some performance in the name of comfort. The problem then arises of knowing what you want out of a car and knowing what you are buying. For example, if you are wanting a high performance track car for the street, a grand touring car will probably upset you. It won't be designed for all out performance, although most are quick cars. It will be packed full of luxury and technology that will just weigh the car down, and you dont want that in your track ready car. Good examples of modern day grand touring cars would be something along the lines of the Aston Martin DB9, the Ferrari 599, the Bentley Continental GT, and the Maserati Grand Turismo. All the examples are high end European cars, and for good reason, the concept of the grand tourer is a European one. Here in the land of freedom, you would think that GT cars would thrive as the masses hit the country roads in exploration of their homeland. Take a second to think of the modern lineup of American vehicles and nothing seems to stand out in crowd that meets the prestige and conditions of the European GT car. If you think about it though, we do have our own unique group of cars that resembles the GT movement in Europe, we call them muscle cars. Although they lived without the refinement and luxury of the big European GT's, the muscle car was built for power and cross country driving as well. The Mustang, one of the biggest icons and sells hits for cars in the world, has a GT variant that was always meant to be Americas grand touring car.
What better place to test a GT car than the long and open roads of Texas. What better car to choose from then the new 2010 Mustang GT. This car has gotten so much grief for not having a significant upgrade in power, and we cannot disagree. But I fear we are all looking at it in the wrong way. You see, to most, the Mustang has become just a sports car or a drag racing machine, even if it's just from stop light to stop light. What we didn't count on was Ford bringing back the GT into the Mustang GT. They spent their time and money making the interior better and more premium feeling, they made sure to pay attention to detail and getting the touch point surfaces just right. They also made the exterior more refined while keeping a muscular classic shape to the car. They took the time to work on the suspension and ride, taking from their racing program and really applying it to meet street conditions. This all results in a great ride in great comfort without a real premium price tag. The Mustang is now a quiet and comfortable ride along highways or country roads. When you put your foot into it, the Mustang will easily push you back into your seat and reach law breaking speeds with a quickness. Ford's SYNC system brings the Mustang into the realm of high end technology, making even BMW rethink their infotainment systems. Ford has really brought the Mustang GT into the grand touring world. It's still not as high quality or luxurious as the European models I listed above, but it is most definitely a more focused and thought out GT car for the masses.
As most already know, the 2011 Mustang GT will be coming out with the all new 5.0 liter engine pushing power up to 412 horsepower while still maintaining a 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway ratings, better than the less powerful outgoing 4.6 liter engine. Another future American GT car that we have high hopes for is the new Cadillac CTS coupe, especially in the “V” variant. This car should be a great luxurious and fast car that will be one of the first true grand touring cars to come out of America in the past few decades.
If you are looking for a great driving, high-powered, roomy, and mile eating grand touring car, take the time to check out what American car companies have to offer before spending your money on the standard variety of European grand tourers. It is always good to know what you are looking for and what the car is trying to bring to the table. This allows you to pick a car that really fits you that will make you happy far into the future.