Featured: FIVE Concept Cars That Would Have Been Perfect For Gran Turismo Sport

FIVE Concept Cars That Would Have Been Perfect For Gran Turismo Sport

James Gent By James Gent
December 14, 2019
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Cast your minds back to 2013: the word of the year is ‘selfie’ (Christ!), twerking videos on Vine asking us what in fact the fox was saying are haunting our very souls, and across at Polyphony Digital, Gran Turismo 6 has just received its first-ever Vision GT concept car, the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision GT. So, not all bad then…

Sleek and aggressive while simultaneously teasing the contours of the AMG GT that would debut the following year, the three-pointed star was an immediate hit, and was thus quickly joined by examples from BMW, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, Nissan, Aston Martin, Toyota, and just a few weeks ago, Lamborghini. Even the MINI Clubman received a GT overhaul, for goodness sake.

However, following our recent conversation with Docubyte on his ‘Wedged Wonders’ series, we think Polyphony Digital may have missed a trick. There are, after all, plenty of ‘forgotten’ concepts we in the Petrolicious office would salivate over should they be virtually reborn. These are just a few of our favourites.

1. Ferrari Modulo 512S (1970)

Proposed name: Vision GT Modulo Maranello

Category: Gr.X

Unlocked in Gran Turismo with: 1,000,000 Credits

Hardly a big surprise that the most unorthodox concept to ever don the prancing horse is the first model on this list.

A pure design study, the Modulo was the work of Pininfarina’s Paolo Martin – he of Fiat 130 Coupé fame and Rolls-Royce Camargue infamy – and was built specifically for the 1970 Geneva Motor Show to “break the fetters of the traditional stylistic language, representing the atmosphere of the early Seventies [sic].” Safe to say, mission accomplished, as the aptly named Modulo featured two overlapping bodyshells, the front of which, including windscreen and side windows, would arc forward allowing driver, passenger and excitable 7-year-old alike to scramble into the ridiculously low slung seating.

Not insane enough? All four wheels were semi-enclosed for a true “invisible” look. Under the…bonnet(?) was a mid-mounted 5-litre V12 borrowed that eventually punched 550hp when brought to life by new owner James Glickenhaus and his eponymous Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus team last year (don’t let a little fire worry you). Plus, at the very base is a chassis originally designed for the Porsche 917-‘rivalling’ 512S in the 1970 International Championship of Makes before being retooled as the 612 Can-Am for North America.

Speed? Not a problem. Racing heritage? Got you covered. Aerodynamics? Are you kidding me?!

*Images courtesy of Pininfarina

2. BMW 328 Hommage (2011)

Proposed name: BMW 328 Vision GT Tribute

Category: N 600

Unlocked in Gran Turismo with: 500,000 Credits

Choosing just one of BMW’s previous concept cars is almost eye-wateringly tough, given that the Nazca C2 (inspired by Group C sports cars), the GINA (every conceivable kind of mental), the Spicup (‘60s Batmobile meets green Power Ranger) and the M1 Hommage (just all kinds of ‘yes’!) would all be welcomed with open wallets into the Gran Turismo universe. Contrarian bastards that we are though, we’ve given our nod to the 328 Hommage.

For one thing, it’s a design more in-keeping with the Volkswagen GTI Roadster Vision GT and the Alpine Vision GT, and thus less likely to get lost among the other ‘slick lines and curvaceous body’ tropes. Though admittedly the 328 still has those.

For another, the double-m Hommage is a design with actual performance heritage – of sorts – given that it was original unveiled in 2011 as a 75th birthday tribute to the original, Mille Miglia-winning ‘328’ of the 1930s. Hence the complete lack of doors, the split windscreen, and the side-mounted straps that do nothing but look the absolute nuts. Power – 335bhp of it – is sent to the rear wheels from a 3-litre turbocharged staright-six, while that roadster bodywork is made primarily from carbonfibre-reinforced plastic (CRP) akin to the i8.

If that’s not enough, then consider the stopwatch-esque iPhones in aluminium surrounds mounted to the dashboard. In-car view? Stunning!

*Images courtesy of BMW

3. Mercedes C 112 (1991)

Proposed name: Mercedes V 112 GT

Category: Gr.1

Unlocked in Gran Turismo with: 500,000 Credits

Bizarrely, despite being originally penned as a road-going answer to the Sauber-Mercedes C 11 that trounced its rivals en-route to the World Sports Car Championship in 1990, the C 112 has not withstood the test of time too well. Being a successor – in name at least – to the similarly gull-winged C 111 that broke nine world records and put Wankel engine back on the map will probably do that.

All this could easily change though as a Gran Turismo ‘Vision’ concept, particularly when you take a closer look beneath that…distinctive bodywork (no, we weren’t aware Mercedes had designed the third gen Toyota MR2 either). The whopping 6-litre V12 engine for example punched 408hp and 580Nm (428lb ft) of torque to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, meaning the C 112 was theoretically capable of 300kph. The innovative ‘active body control’ would later make production with the ‘C215’ CL-Class, and would later evolve into the Magic Body Control synonymous with the S-Class today.

The big one though – alongside the steerable rear-axle – was the active aerodynamics, most notably the massive rear spoiler that could double-up as an air brake if the anchors truly needed to be thrown out. You don’t need me to tell you that would be a massive selling point of the McLaren-Mercedes SLR in 2003.

Few take the term ‘Vision’ quite as literally on this list as the Mercedes C 112.

*Images courtesy of Mercedes

  1. Audi Avus Quattro (1991)

Proposed name: Audi AVision US

Category: Gr.1

Unlocked in Gran Turismo with: 1,000,000 Credits

Audi’s A8 saloon has much to thank the Avus concept for. The Avus concept – named after the now defunct ‘Automobil-Verkehrs- und Übungsstraße’ road course in Berlin – featured low-slung sleek bodywork and prominently used aluminium in its construction. When the Avus made its debut at the 1991 Tokyo Motor Show, it was also the first public outing for the 6-litre W12 that would eventually make its production debut, 10 years later, in the A8 saloon. Not only was the W12 more compact than even Volkswagen’s 4.2-litre V8, Audi’s W12 was also a powerhouse, with the 1991 theoretically capable of 502hp. Throw in a kerb weight of just 1,250kg – there’s that aluminium at work again – and the Avus concept could have hit 0-100kph in just three seconds.

Were it not for the fact that the W12 on display in Tokyo was made of wood and plastic. Turns out Audi’s development had overshot the deadline just a tad…

Even so, sphincter-shrivelling acceleration is just one reason while the Avus Quattro belongs in Grand Turismo, the other of course being those looks. The hand-beaten panels were deliberately left unpainted as a nod to the Audi’s Auto Union Grand Prix predecessors of the 1930s, as were those glorious curves. Scissor doors? Check. The Avus is almost idiotically low slung: half of its overall height is courtesy of those 20in wheels. Oh, and if you throw in rear-wheel steering, the Avus will be a nimble beast on the virtual scene too.

So, circuit heritage, fantastic visual, stonking engine, and manoeuvrability from the company that later produced the R8. Check, check and check.

*Images courtesy of Audi

5. Lancia Stratos HF Zero

Proposed name: Stratolimite Vision

Category: Gr.1

Unlocked in Gran Turismo with: Download expansion pack for just $12

Yes, you can already drive the Lancia Stratos in Gran Turismo. But, given the option of driving the prototype that begat one of the most epochal Group B rally monsters of all time and even the Lamborghini Countach…well, you’re going to, aren’t you?

Cards on the table though, even a Vision version of the Zero is unlikely to be a world-beater in GT. That superbly slick bodywork remains a hit to this day – it’s often and quite correctly credited as designer Marcello Gandini’s best work – it was powered by a rudimentary 1.6-litre V4 from a Fulvia HF, capable of just 115hp. That’s the same as a Volkswagen e-Golf.

Don’t expect the in-car view to be all that impressive either. Never intended for production, the Zero was originally Bertone’s vision (ironically) to produce the lowest slung car he could at just 33in tall, making the similarly slick Ferrari Modulo – unveiled the same year – a behemoth in comparison.

It was also incredibly tight on the inside, with that unorthodox canopy pealing back to reveal two seats mounted pretty much on top of the front axle. Expect some hilarious amount of understeer should this make it to GT, but we’re guessing none of you will care too much about that.

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