Five Favorite Exotic Grand Tourers

Harking back to a nostalgic age of motoring without budget airlines, congested roads, punitive petrol costs and less restricted highways, the comfortable, sporty and luxurious grand tourer was the most stylish and indulgent mode of continental travel.

One of the most ill-defined of automotive segments, grand tourers can however be broadly said to be somewhat bigger two-door sports cars with balanced and eager handling, high speed comfort and stability and a front-engine and rear-drive architecture. A glamorous, rewarding and personal luxury mode of travel, the grand tourer’s remit might have become broader and more inclusive over the years and now includes four-wheel-drive and even front-wheel-drive, and a variety of saloon-based coupes, so-called four-door coupes and maybe even some SUVs, hybrids and EVs. However, none captures the essence of the segment quite like the arrogant, exotic and powerful big displacement dinosaurs.

1. Ferrari FF

Though not intentionally named after it, the Ferrari FF nevertheless and inevitably draws parallels to the original four-wheel-drive car and advanced and practical luxury grand tourer, the 1966 Jensen FF. Built on a ‘shooting brake’ coupe-estate body, the FF is Ferrari’s most comfortable and practical car to date, well able to seat four people and their luggage for a weekend driving holiday.

Also the first and only four-wheel-drive Ferrari, the FF’s system is simple in concept but works only due to its high tech management systems. With front-mid engine, rear-drive and rear transaxle gearbox for perfect weighting and sports characteristics, the FF however employs an abbreviated 2-speed front axle gearbox, to which power is diverted momentarily to help provide extra traction only when required.

From fast-paced Italian Autostradale to Alpine ski chalet, the Ferrari FF is the ultimate grand touring experience. And with a ferocious and evocative 6.3-liter naturally-aspirated V12 engine developing 660HP at 8000rpm and 504lb/ft at 6000rpm, can rip through to 100kim/h in 3.7-seconds and onto 335km/h.

Specifications – Engine: 6.3-liter, in-line V12-cylinders; Gearbox: 7-speed dual-clutch automated, 4WD; Power: 660HP@8000rpm; Torque: 504lb/ft@6000rpm; 0-100km/h: 3.7-seconds; Top speed: 335km/h; Length: 4907mm; Width: 1953mm; Height: 1379; Wheelbase: 2990mm; Weight: 1790kg

2. Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale

With a seductive song, sexpot style and scintillating performance, the driver-focused GranTurismo MC Stradale perfectly conjures the classic glamour of grand touring. Comfortably seating four within its curvaceous and predatory body, the MC Stradale’s high-revving naturally-aspirated engine gurgles, barks, pops, growls and howls through revs and delivers 460HP at 7000rpm and 384lb/ft at 4750rpm. Pouncing to 100km/h in 4.5-seconds and onto 303km/h, the MC Stradale is focused, direct and grippy through corners and poised and fluid on highway.

Specifications – Engine: 4.7-liter, in-line V8-cylinders; Gearbox: 6-speed robotized manual, RWD; Power: 460HP@7000rpm; Torque: 384lb/ft@4750rpm; 0-100km/h: 4.5-seconds; Top speed: 303km/h; Length: 4933mm; Width: 1903mm; Height: 1343mm; Wheelbase: 2938mm; Weight: 1800kg

3. Jaguar XKR-S

Bowing out later this year, the glorious and glamorous Jaguar XK arrived long before the F-Type sports car and is expected to be replaced by a more luxurious successor. Designed as both sports and luxury coupe when launched, the XK is sexy, sporty and comfortable as a grand tourer should be. With its 5-liter supercharged V8 delivering instantaneous responsiveness and seamlessly rich performance, the XKR-S develops 550HP at 6000-6500rpm and 502lb/ft at 2500-4500rpm, to sprint to 100km/h in 4.4-seconds and onto 300km/h.

Specifications – Engine: 5-liter, supercharged, in-line V8-cylinders; Gearbox: 8-speed automatic, RWD; Power: 550HP@6000-6500rpm; Torque: 502lb/ft@2500-4500rpm; 0-100km/h: 4.4-seconds; Top speed: 300km/h; Length: 4794mm; Width: 1892mm; Height: 1312mm; Wheelbase: 2752mm; Weight: 1753kg

4. Rolls Royce Wraith

Rolls Royce’s fastest, sportiest and most driver-oriented model to date, the recently launched fastback Wraith is a cross between grand touring and personal luxury coupe. As refined, and luxurious as continental travel can get, the strikingly elegant and imposing Wraith features fine leather and wood appointments beyond its dramatic rear-hinged ‘suicide’ doors. Powered by an ultra-smooth and effortlessly muscular 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12 developing 632HP at 5600rpm and 590lb/ft throughout 1500-5500rpm, the Wraith reaches 100km/h in 4.6-seconds and onto 250km/h.

Specifications – Engine: 6.6-liter, twin-turbo, in-line V12-cylinders; Gearbox: 8-speed automatic, RWD; Power: 632HP@5600rpm; Torque: 590lb/ft@1500-5500rpm; 0-100km/h: 4.6-seconds; Top speed: 250km/h; Length: 5269mm; Width: 1947mm; Height: 1507mm; Wheelbase: 3112mm; Weight: 2360kg

5. Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS GT Coupe Final Edition

Going out in style, the Final Edition caps the glorious gullwing-door Mercedes SLS’ 5-year production run. With extravagantly long bonnet, front-mid engine, rear transaxle and roof-hinged doors, the SLS is Mercedes’ most glamorous and sporting road car in generations, and will be one of the last cars with AMG’s brutally brilliant high-rev and high capacity naturally-aspirated 6.2-liter V8. Packing 591HP at 6800rpm and 479lb/ft at 4750rpm Mercedes’ 2-seat sports car-grand tourer demolishes 0-100km/h in 3.7-seconds and tops 320km/h.

Specifications – Engine: 6.2-liter, in-line V8-cylinders; Gearbox: 7-speed automatic, RWD; Power: 591HP@6800rpm; Torque: 479lb/ft@4750rpm; 0-100km/h: 3.7-seconds; Top speed: 320km/h; Length: 4638mm; Width: 1939mm; Height: 1262mm; Wheelbase: 2680mm; Weight: 1695mm

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