Ferrari 456 GT
Few cars that wear the “GT” initials in their name are actually worthy of it. The Ferrari 456 GT is one of the cars that define the genre.
“Gran Turismo” is the Italian equivalent for “grand tourer”. This term was first used to describe vehicles that were participating in long distance or endurance races such as 24 hours of Le Mans, Mille Miglia, Targa Florio, Carrera Panamericana. Such cars had to be fast enough to perform on the track, but in the same time stable, reliable and comfortable for long term driving. These qualities were inherited by race inspired road cars, that got to deliver top performance and also the required comfort for long journeys, enough space for travel luggage and eventually four seats.
The best examples of gran turismos that are in production at the time would be the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, BMW M6, Aston Martin DB9, Bentley Continental GT or Mercedes McLaren SLR. The “GT” term was borrowed by many car manufacturers and used for their cars, even if they were not gran turismos. The Volkswagen Golf GTI (Gran Turismo with fuel Injection), as an example, does not fit in the mentioned category.
One of the cars the cars that can be truly called a gran turismo is the Ferrari 456 GT. This high performance front engined car was introduced in 1992 as a replacement for the mid-engined Mondial as the company’s 4-seat car. The updated model, 456M GT, was produced until it’s replacement in 2004 by the 612 Scaglietti.
With the 1992 release of the 456 GT, Ferrari changed the perception of a high performance 2+2 seats coupe. By blending Refinement, elegance, comfort and performance, Pininfarina (Ferrari’s traditional partner design studio) designed a body that was as beautiful as the car was luxurious and fast.
Equipped with a 436 bhp 65° V12 engine matched with either a 6-speed manual (Ferrari 456 GT) or 4-speed automatic gearbox (Ferrari 456 GT), featuring aerodynamics and handling characteristics that humiliated any 2+2 coupe of those days, the Ferrari 456 GT become the ultimate four persons of its time.