Best GT cars 2023 - our favourite grand tourers
Whether it’s a cross-continent drive or attacking a mountain pass when you get there, a great GT car remains impossible to beat for such a task
Few modern cars have quite so much appeal as the traditional grand tourer. They might seem old fashioned in our current ecosystem of EVs, SUVs, and do (almost) everything supercars but with the GT’s heritage comes a regality that few other car types inherit.
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. Simple though it might seem, this is a hard balance to reach, and while many might skew in one direction or another, all must be able to achieve both of these key roles.
They bring up grand notions of racing down to the south of France in time for a late sitting at your favourite ocean-side restaurant, but in reality a GT’s true capability can be just as much enjoyed on the M25 as the Autoroute du Soleil.
The two-door coupe form which once defined the GT is no longer a prerequisite, so too the need to be powered by a twelve cylinder engine or drive to be purely to the rear wheels. So in our 2023 list, our favourite GTs come in all sorts of different forms, each with their own distinct personality, yet the same fundamental ability of transporting people at great speed and comfort.
These are our favourite modern-age GTs, whether they be a traditional coupe, sleek saloon, EV or even an SUV.
Best GT cars top 10
Click the links below to read our full review on each or our favourite GTs.
- Ferrari Roma
- Bentley Continental GT
- Lexus LC500
- Aston Martin DB12
- Mercedes-AMG GT
- Porsche Panamera GTS
- Porsche Taycan
- Audi e-tron GT
- Maserati GranTurismo
Ferrari has long been a key manufacturer of the traditional grand tourer, so it’s no surprise to discover few modern GTs hit quite the same notes as the Roma. This V8-powered two-plus-two coupe comes with elegant restrained styling and a dynamic repertoire that makes it as brilliant to drive on a challenging road as it is munching through hundreds of motorway miles.
First launched in 2020, the Roma was a brand new addition to the Ferrari range, combining the hardware and aluminium-intensive chassis derived from the Portofino with a sleek coupe body. Ferrari also used the Roma to introduce its next generation interior design and digital interfaces, dominated by a highly-configurable curved screen ahead of the driver paired to a new portrait-aspect screen in the centre of the dash.
The Roma’s powered by Ferrari’s twin-turbocharged 90-degree 3.9-litre V8, here producing 560lb ft of torque between 3000 and 5750, with a peak of 611bhp taking over from 5750 to the 7500rpm redline. This, combined with Ferrari’s clever e-differential and an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission mounted on the rear axle gives the Roma an impressive 3.4sec 0-62mph time, also breaking the ten second barrier to 124mph at 9.3sec.
With a Spider version recently added to the Roma family and Ferrari's replacement for the GT4C Lusso now the V12-engined (not an) SUV Purosangue, the Roma is Ferrari's most traditional GT car. One of the best, too.
Bentley Continental GT
If you’re after a GT car with a greater emphasis on luxury, few can rival Bentley and its beguiling Continental GT. Available in coupe and convertible body styles, and with V8 and for the time being with W12 powertrains, the Continental GT took a major leap forward in its current generation, introducing a new platform co-developed by Porsche that has enhanced both its driving dynamics and refinement.
Dynamically, the 542bhp V8 model is the sweeter to drive with less weight over the nose and a baritone rumble from under the vast bonnet, but for the full experience the 626bhp W12-powered Speed is hard to ignore and one to saviour while you still can.
Emphasising its place at the top of the range, the Speed features an electronically-controlled locking rear differential that, alongside an active anti-roll system and monster carbon ceramic brakes, makes it amazingly capable over challenging roads. Although it lacks the V8's agility and enthusiasm.
Yet the Continental GT isn’t really about on-the-limit handling, rather its ability to embrace the driver at any speed. Its superb refinement, exceptional ride quality, total insulation from the outside and beautifully finished interior make it one of motoring’s great experiences to effortlessly thunder across vast distances
Lexus might not have the same heritage as the old-world Europeans when it comes to GT cars, but it builds one of the best you can buy today. The Lexus LC500 might look to follow the tried and tested formula of being a two-plus-two with wide rear haunches, a long bonnet and V8 engine, but its execution is something rather different and deeply appealing.
The Lexus LC does luxury Japanese style, which means despite having a significant downstep in power and performance compared to its European rivals, its naturally-aspirated V8 engine focuses on charisma and precision. It responds instantly to every squeeze of the accelerator and makes an intoxicating induction howl as you rev it – one painstakingly honed by Toyota’s long-standing partnership with Yamaha.
This distinctive dynamic character is then reflected in the way the LC500 looks and feels from within the cabin. Even five years after its launch, the LC looks like nothing else on the road, with a combination of concept car-like detailing and stunning proportions. It’s also built to an incredibly high standard, with a tangible precision in its build that permeates the whole car.
It’s not as fast as most rivals, doesn’t have cutting edge technology, nor is quite as ultimately variable in its character but the LC500 feels like a mechanical watch in a world of smartwatches – a unique entity and one we dearly hope doesn’t go away any time soon. We suspect that it will stick around for a while, considering that Lexus has continued to fine hone and tweak the LC500 throughout its life – culminating in the flagship Ultimate Edition this year
Aston Martin DB12
To mark the dawn of its Lawrence Stroll-led era, Aston Martin has carved a new, stronger identity with a GT car that blends elegance with serious bite and poise. The DB12 may look similar to the DB11 that came before it, but Aston Martin has reworked it to the core to provide a fundamentally different driving experience; and it's one we like a lot at evo.
Aston's twin-turbo V12 has been ousted due to emissions regulations, but the uprated AMG V8 in the nose of the DB12 fulfils its role beautifully. Delivering a rich exhaust note and 671bhp to the rear wheels, it's refined and flexible but deceptively potent when you open it up. There's serious performance on offer here, and the DB12 feels more exciting than even the sharpened DB11 AMR.
With extra bracing in its chassis and a far more reactive chassis setup, the DB12 feels tauter and more controlled, too. There's an alertness, an agility to the new car that the DB11 – for all its suppleness and refinement – simply can't match, and it moves the Aston right into battle with the likes of the Ferrari Roma.
A heavily revamped interior rounds off the series of enhancements. Gone is the fiddly HMI system borrowed from old Mercedes models, and in comes a far more intuitive and feature rich touchscreen nestled within a redesigned dashboard. All of the touchpoints now have a crisp, quality feel that's befitting of a £185,000 Aston Martin, which certainly wasn't the case before.
The latest Mercedes-AMG SL didn't exactly fill us with hope as a precursor to the new, closely related AMG GT. The SL has been repositioned as a more practical, four-seat roadster that also happens to be a sports car, but the result is a confused, misaligned package that we haven't quite gelled with; so much so that it came last at evo Car of the Year in 2022.
But the AMG GT is different. Despite riding on the same platform and using the same fundamental powertrain, it feels more focused and tightly defined as a usable everyday sports car, one that – from our first drive abroad at least – will give the Porsche 911 Turbo a serious headache.
With a 577bhp 4-litre twin-turbo V8 and four-wheel drive, the range-topping GT 63 hits very hard indeed; 62mph comes up in just 3.2sec, and the top speed isn't far shy of 200mph. But the AMG GT has always been quick, and it's the extra sharpness and composure of the new model that really moves the game on – despite it being more usable than ever.
Select Comfort mode and the new GT presents you with a fluid, compliant character that's more mellow than before, and ratcheting up to Sport+ brings extra snap to the engine response and tightens up the damping, although not to the extent that the GT feels overly stiff or uncouth. We wish the V8 was a little more vocal and present inside the cabin, but the AMG GT is now more flexible and technically impressive than ever.
Porsche Panamera GTS
While Porsche doesn’t strictly offer a traditional two-door grand tourer in its range (the last being the 928), the Panamera has been doing an excellent job of filling that role with its two extra doors over two generations now. The current model – due for a heavy update in 2024 – is a supreme example of Porsche's engineering prowess.
The second Panamera was developed on a platform that’s shared by the Continental GT and Flying Spur, capable of packaging some serious chassis hardware into its considerable footprint. Yet despite sharing many parts under the skin, the Porsche takes a more variable approach to its variants, with both hatchback and Sport Turismo models paired to a range of V6 and V8 powertrains with or without plug-in hybrid modules.
Our favourite is the GTS, a mid-range V8-powered model without any electrification elements and the most dynamic focus. It might not have the numbers of a Turbo or Turbo S – it makes do with a relatively conservative 473bhp – but the GTS makes use of every one of them, and does so with an attitude and feedback missing in more elaborately specified siblings.
Without the added weight of a plug-in module and a more natural, nuanced balance, the GTS has all the appeal of a genuine sports saloon, one that makes a fine grand tourer.
If a four-door Porsche being on this list of best GTs felt like a controversial addition, here’s another: the all-electric Taycan. To say we’ve been critical of EVs might be a reasonable statement, but none have changed our perception of them quite as resolutely as the Taycan.
Since its initial debut in 2019, the Taycan has diversified to nearly as many variants as a 911, with three body styles – a Sport Turismo estate and high-riding Cross Turismo have joined the existing saloon – joined by more recent updates to the Taycan 4 and 4S. The range has also been joined by the GTS that once again has proved to be the most deft balance between raising its capability without needing to rely on feel-sapping chassis augmentation tech.
The most remarkable thing about the Taycan is that beyond just being fast and capable, it also drives with the same finesse and attention to detail that defines all Porsches. This is felt through the steering, chassis balance and impressive damping, helping disguise its 2295kg mass like few rivals.
Of course as a GT, the Taycan is compromised by its relatively limited range, which compared to larger rivals can only muster a range of 315 miles in its most efficient form in a best case scenario. Still, despite the romance of a GT being based around long-distance cruising across national borders, the reality is that most daily driving is much shorter, making the Taycan an ideal daily driver for those who want to adopt EV technology without giving up a Porsche-like driving experience.
Audi e-tron GT
Next up on our list is another EV, one that’s closely related to the Porsche Taycan above only with even more of a grand touring nature. It says so in the name, but it’s worth remembering that the Audi e-tron GT lives up to it with a superb combination of excellent comfort, refinement and the ability to drive almost as well as the more dynamically-focused Porsche Taycan.
The Audi’s range is more restrained, with only two powertrain options in a single body style. This is made up of the base e-tron GT that comes with 523bhp, and the top-spec RS e-tron GT, that has up to 636bhp. Both have the same larger 93.4kWh battery pack as higher-specification Taycans with up to 305 miles of range.
To drive, the Audi takes a more languid approach to its dynamics, highlighted by softer springs (air or coil) and dampers, much lighter steering and more relaxed rates for its anti-roll bars (again, adaptive or static).
Over long distances, the Audi generally impresses, and while it lacks the ultimate dynamic sparkle of the Taycan is in most cases the more relaxing to drive long distances. With a pre-organised route with a consistent set of high-speed charging points along the way, the e-tron GT makes for a brilliant grand tourer.
The clue's in the name. The Maserati GranTurismo taps into the firm's legacy as a maker of achingly gorgeous, fast, sumptuous and engaging GT cars, picking up where the MC20 left off as one of the finest models of its type.
In its final years, the last-gen GranTurismo withered against more advanced and more capable rivals from Aston Martin and Bentley, but from a purely visual standpoint, it remained hard to beat. Thankfully, the new GranTurismo carries forward much of its design DNA, but the beneath the skin is a car transformed.
The top-spec Trofeo version generates 542bhp from its MC20-derived twin-turbo V6, hurling from 0-62mph in 3.5sec and on to a 199mph top speed. But even when you aren't exercising the engine to test those claims, the GranTurismo feels beautifully engineered and indulgent – particularly now that the cabin feels truly special with exceptional fit and finish.
Switch to Corsa mode and in a blink, the character changes dramatically. The V6 takes on a harder, sharper character and the GranTurismo flows with wonderful precision. The four-wheel drive system is beautifully judged to provide security without strangling adjustability, and it feels a match for the latest and greatest GTs out there. Maserati is well and truly back on form.