Showcasing an unprecedented level of realism for a '90s racer, the original Gran Turismo would be followed by a raft of sequels, each pushing the envelope further in terms of authenticity, visual splendour and gameplay. This evolution has culminated in Gran Turismo 7, the latest entry, which continues to thrill PS5 and PS4 owners.
Given that it's such a beloved franchise – and one that has even spawned its own movie – picking the best entry in the Gran Turismo series is tricky.
That's why we've enlisted your help to build our list; the ranking below is determined solely by user votes – and it's not set in stone, either. Your vote can help reshape this list, so if you feel an injustice has been done, make sure you make your voice heard!
Intended to be a sneak peek at a new entry entitled Gran Turismo HD, Gran Turismo HD Concept is short on content. Only ten cars are included across two game modes, and only a single circuit is playable – the Eiger Nordwand.
Released in Japan in 2007 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue was designed to be an appetizer for the main game, as the title suggests.
It gave series fans their first taste of online play, as well as a taste of the kind of visual splendour the franchise could achieve on PS3. However, compared to a full-fat GT release, it lacks content, and there's little reason to seek it out when the 'proper' fifth game is available.
After years upon years of rumours, the eventual arrival of Gran Turismo on PSP was met with a muted response, despite being a technological marvel. Polyphony Digital, perhaps expecting most fans would play the game in short bursts, stripped back this handheld instalment of its driving simulator – focusing purely on individual races, time trials, and drift challenges.
Without any real single player structure, many felt the release wasn’t worth the wait, although connectivity with Gran Turismo 5 made it a great way to expand your console garage on the go.
Sony's flagship racing series has had its ups and downs, but Gran Turismo Sport was an especially unusual step in the history of the franchise.
Primarily focusing on online multiplayer and esports, the game featured the same gorgeous visuals and impressive handling you'd expect, but without most of the content that fans love. Again, the game itself looks and plays great, and its online racing is rather innovative, encouraging good sportsmanship above all.
There's still a lot to like about Sport, but the meatier Gran Turismo 7 is arguably the stronger entry overall.
Boasting more cars and a higher level of realism when compared to its forerunners, Gran Turismo 6 is considered by many fans to be the zenith of the series, even today. V
ehicle customisation is improved, and partnerships with real-world racing organisations – including the Ayrton Senna Institute, the FIA and NASCAR – deliver a heightened sense of realism and faithfulness. Only the focus on microtransactions sullies this particular instalment.
With Gran Turismo 5 Prologue giving fans a taste of what the full game would be like, you could argue that the eventual arrival of Gran Turismo 5 lacked the impact it possibly should have had, but that doesn't mean it's not an exceptional racing game.
Incremental improvements to the visuals, sound, garage and driving model are all in evidence, although the inclusion of realistic damage was criticised as being more cosmetic than anything else. GT5 is the biggest-selling PlayStation 3 exclusive, with around 12 million copies sold – a solid indication of its quality.
721 cars, 51 tracks and a level of detail which simply hadn't been witnessed in a console-based racing game in 2004 – and yet, Gran Turismo 4 still feels like it's missing something.
That something is possibly online play, which was supposed to be included but was cut back following a lengthy delay. Compared to later releases, the damage system is almost laughable, while the AI-controlled cars lack intelligence.
Despite all of this, what you're looking at here is undoubtedly one of the finest racing games in PS2's huge software library, and one which remains a towering achievement for its time.
When Sony started hyping up the PS2, it was a given that Gran Turismo would be instrumental to its next-generation plans – but Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec missed the console's launch and wouldn't arrive until 2001.
Despite this, its impact was dramatic; visually, it was leagues ahead of Gran Turismo 2, its immediate predecessor, and offered much more in terms of content, realism and playability. Naturally, the passage of time has dulled some of these advancements, but there are times when playing GT3 that you have to remind yourself it's a game from over 20 years ago.
Back in 1997, it was hard to imagine a more realistic-looking racing game than Gran Turismo. Up until that point, racing simulators never got much of a spotlight with how popular more arcade-style games were, yet with the first GT even those without a penchant for cars found a lot to like with its responsive controls and mind-blowing graphics. As a result, it became one of the highest-rated and commercially successful PS1 games.
The Simulation Mode, where you had to earn driver’s licences to unlock events and championships, added dozens of hours of satisfying gameplay. Throw in 140 cars to unlock, and if Gran Turismo was the only game you had for PS1, you were set. The sequel is equally amazing, but the first game had the most impact, in our opinion.
Gran Turismo 7 is a game for everyone: the racing enthusiasts, the novices, and anyone in between. It celebrates car culture and history within the confines of a driving experience, explaining how the automobiles you race past the chequered flag fit into the wider world.
There's never been a game quite like it before: Gran Turismo 7 means more than just racing. It's something that matters; something that warrants appreciation and respect just as much as it hands it out itself.
Following up on the amazing success of Gran Turismo – a game which pushed the PS1 to its absolute limits, according to its creator – was never going to be easy.
However, Gran Turismo 2 delivered on its promise and then some. Everything from the visuals to the amount of content was given a boost, resulting a game which, for many, represents the absolute pinnacle of 32-bit console racing.
What does Gran Turismo mean in English?
Sony's racing series takes its name from the Italian term 'Gran Turismo', which means 'grand tour'. While this is often used to describe a tour around Europe for leisure purposes, it is often used in certain car models, with the letters 'GT' meaning 'grand tourer'.
What is the best selling Gran Turismo game?
The best-selling game in the Gran Turismo series is Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, which has sold 14,890,000 copies to date.
Sony's Gran Turismo movie – which is based on the video game series of the same name – is based on the life of Jann Mardenborough, a British driver who took part in the GT Academy program and became a professional racer.