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TOP 5 GT CARS UNDER £200K - 2023

The traditional grand tourer holds a unique appeal in the modern automotive world, despite the dominance of EVs, SUVs, and versatile supercars. Its heritage brings a sense of elegance and prestige that few other car types possess. The primary objective of a grand tourer is to provide its occupants with the best comfort, speed, and style, while also delivering an engaging driving experience when faced with challenging roads.

Finding the right balance between these aspects is no easy task, and while some may lean more towards one aspect than the other, all grand tourers must excel in both areas. They evoke images of cruising down to the south of France for a leisurely meal by the ocean, but in reality, a grand tourer's true capabilities can be equally enjoyed on everyday roads like the M25. The traditional two-door coupe form and the requirement for a twelve-cylinder engine or rear-wheel drive are no longer prerequisites for a grand tourer. In our 2023 list, we have selected our 5 favourite grand tourers in various forms, each with its own distinct personality, yet all sharing the fundamental ability to transport people at high speeds with exceptional comfort. These modern-age grand tourers can take the shape of a traditional coupe, sleek saloon, or even an SUV.

1. Ferrari Roma

Ferrari has a long-standing reputation as a prominent manufacturer of traditional grand tourers, and the Roma exemplifies this heritage. Few modern GTs can match the Roma's exceptional qualities. This two-plus-two coupe is powered by a V8 engine and boasts elegant and restrained styling, making it a delight to drive on challenging roads and effortlessly devouring long motorway journeys.

Introduced in 2020, the Roma is a fresh addition to Ferrari's lineup, combining the Portofino's hardware and aluminum-intensive chassis with a sleek coupe body. Ferrari also took the opportunity to introduce its next-generation interior design and digital interfaces in the Roma, featuring a highly-configurable curved screen in front of the driver and a new portrait-aspect screen in the centre of the dashboard.

Under the hood, the Roma is equipped with Ferrari's twin-turbocharged 3.9-liter V8 engine, delivering 560lb ft of torque between 3000 and 5750 rpm, and peaking at 611bhp from 5750 to the 7500rpm redline. Combined with Ferrari's intelligent e-differential and an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission mounted on the rear axle, the Roma achieves an impressive 0-62mph time of 3.4 seconds and breaks the ten-second barrier to reach 124mph in just 9.3 seconds. With the recent addition of a Spider version to the Roma family and the GT4C Lusso being replaced by the V12-engined Purosangue SUV, the Roma stands as Ferrari's most traditional GT car and one of the finest examples in its class.

2. Bentley Continental GT

If you're seeking a luxurious GT car, few can compare to the allure of Bentley's Continental GT. This captivating vehicle is available in coupe and convertible versions, featuring V8 and W12 powertrains, the latter being particularly noteworthy. In its latest iteration, the Continental GT has made significant strides, thanks to a new platform developed in collaboration with Porsche. This partnership has greatly enhanced both its driving dynamics and refinement.

Among the available options, the 542bhp V8 model stands out as the more agile choice, boasting a lighter front end and a deep, melodious rumble emanating from under its hood. However, for the ultimate experience, the 626bhp W12-powered Speed variant is impossible to overlook. With its electronically-controlled locking rear differential, active anti-roll system, and massive carbon ceramic brakes, the Speed demonstrates remarkable prowess on challenging roads, although it may lack the V8's nimbleness and zest.

Nevertheless, the Continental GT isn't solely about pushing its handling limits; it excels in embracing the driver at any speed. Its exceptional refinement, impeccable ride quality, complete isolation from the outside world, and exquisitely crafted interior combine to create a driving experience that ranks among the finest in the automotive world. It effortlessly allows you to traverse vast distances, making it a true marvel in the world of motoring.

3. Lexus LC500

While Lexus may lack the extensive heritage of its European counterparts in the realm of GT cars, it undeniably crafts one of the finest options available today. The Lexus LC500, although adhering to the classic formula of a two-plus-two design, wide rear haunches, a lengthy bonnet, and a V8 engine, distinguishes itself with a unique and profoundly appealing approach.

In the realm of luxury, the Lexus LC embraces the Japanese aesthetic, prioritising charisma and precision over raw power, setting it apart from its European competitors. Despite a noticeable decrease in power and performance, its naturally-aspirated V8 engine delivers an immediate response to the slightest touch of the accelerator, accompanied by a captivating induction howl meticulously perfected through Toyota’s enduring collaboration with Yamaha.

This distinctive dynamic character is mirrored in the LC500's interior and exterior design. Even half a decade after its debut, the LC stands out on the road, boasting a blend of concept car-like intricacies and impeccable proportions. Its construction is of an exceptionally high standard, showcasing a tangible precision that permeates the entire vehicle.

Although it may not match the speed of its rivals or feature cutting-edge technology, the LC500 embodies the essence of a mechanical watch in a world dominated by smartwatches—a truly unique creation that we earnestly hope will remain a part of the automotive landscape. Fortunately, there are indications that it will endure, given Lexus' continuous efforts to refine and enhance the LC500, culminating in the introduction of the flagship Ultimate Edition this year.

4. Aston Martin DB12

To mark the beginning of the Lawrence Stroll-led era, Aston Martin has embraced a fresh, more robust identity through a GT car that seamlessly blends sophistication with impressive power and composure. Although the DB12's appearance bears resemblance to its predecessor, the DB11, Aston Martin has meticulously reengineered it from the ground up, resulting in a significantly different driving experience that has garnered immense favor at AMF.

Regulations have led to the displacement of Aston's twin-turbo V12, making way for the enhanced AMG V8 under the DB12's hood. This refined engine not only produces a resonant exhaust tone but also delivers 671bhp to the rear wheels. Its refinement and flexibility are evident, yet it surprises with its deceptive potency when pushed to its limits. The DB12 offers remarkable performance, surpassing even the enhanced DB11 AMR in terms of excitement.

The DB12 has been reinforced with additional bracing in its chassis and boasts a vastly more responsive chassis setup, imbuing the car with a sense of tightness and control. This newfound alertness and agility propel the DB12 into direct competition with formidable opponents such as the Ferrari Roma, outshining the DB11's suppleness and refinement.

A comprehensive interior overhaul completes the series of improvements. The cumbersome HMI system borrowed from older Mercedes models has been replaced by an intuitive, feature-rich touchscreen integrated into a redesigned dashboard. Every touchpoint exudes a crisp, high-quality feel befitting a £185,000 Aston Martin, a significant upgrade from its previous iterations.

5. Porsche Panamera GTS

Even though Porsche doesn't strictly offer a traditional two-door grand tourer in its lineup (the last being the 928), the Panamera has effectively filled that role for two generations now, thanks to its two extra doors. The current model, set for a significant update in 2024, stands as a testament to Porsche's engineering excellence.

The second iteration of the Panamera was developed on a platform shared with the Continental GT and Flying Spur, enabling the incorporation of substantial chassis hardware within its substantial footprint. Despite the shared components beneath the surface, Porsche adopts a more diverse approach with its Panamera variants. Both hatchback and Sport Turismo models come with a range of V6 and V8 powertrains, with or without plug-in hybrid systems.

Among these, our favourite is the GTS, a mid-range V8-powered model free from electrification elements, yet displaying the most dynamic focus. Although its power output is relatively modest at 473bhp, the GTS maximizes every bit of it, offering an attitude and feedback absent in its more intricately specified counterparts.

Due to the absence of the added weight from a plug-in module and a more natural, nuanced balance, the GTS possesses all the allure of a genuine sports saloon, making it an excellent choice for a grand tourer.

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