Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

It may not have the racing chops of say Gran Turismo 5 Prologue or Midnight Club: Los Angeles, Grand Theft Auto IV is still a big-title game for 2008 (probably the biggest wethinks) with some big-time automotive tie-ins. There are more than 100 different vehicles to play with, most of which are inspired in one way or another by real-life automotive counterparts. Click through to take a look at the purpose of driving in GTA4, and learn how some of the more notable in-game cars compare to their non-pixelated brethren. It's definitely become a two-way street between the automotive and video game industries.

How Cars Are Used In GTA4

  • Transportation: Since Liberty City — the setting of GTA4 and modeled after New York City — is an open-world environment, meaning you can go anywhere at any given time, cars are pretty damn important. For a reference, the open world is so large that it could take 10 minutes or more to travel from one end to another.
  • Missions: Driving is a crucial part of almost every mission. Whether you're tasked with escorting a hooker, stealing a specific car, or just running a simple car chase, cars are an essential aspect of the storyline.
  • As A Weapon: Whether running people over in missions or just screwing around plowing down the sidewalk, a properly piloted car becomes a potent weapon. If you prefer more traditional armaments, you can also break out the windshield and fire either a handgun or SMG, or drop grenades while cruising around Liberty City.
  • Racing: Early in the game you meet up with Brucie, a steroid-enhanced meathead who sets you up with street races all around Liberty City.
  • Entertainment: Most vehicles in the game have a radio that can be tuned to a wide variety of always-entertaining radio stations. Oh, and you can pick up hookers in your ride and choose from one of three different "services."

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Banshee

You'll soon learn that the Banshee is one of the better vehicles in the game. This Panoz Esperante knockoff features just a hint of Dodge Viper. With a top speed of 208 mph, a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds, and near perfect brakes, the Banshee is one of the more common vehicles in GTA4 that can get you around in a hurry.

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Blista Compact

A lot of the vehicles that populate Liberty City take their cues from the 80s and 90s. One of the better of these vehicles is the Blista Compact. This vehicle obviously gives its hat tip to the Honda CRX and VW Corrado, and sports a top speed of 186 mph along with other decent, if not "blista-ring" statistics.

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Cavalcade & Cavalcade FXT

You can't have a game that focuses on crime and the underworld of society without the classic Cadillac Escalade...even one with a little Hi-Lux thrown in for laughs. As in real life, there's a regular version of the luxury SUV and the FXT truck version. Both of these vehicles are great for GTA4 because they are 4WD and particularly durable, allowing them to stand up to bullets, collisions, and other common occurrences in Liberty City.

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Comet

No, not that Comet. This Comet is a quick little bugger that takes its nod from the 996-series Porsche 911 while paying homage to the venerable 959. It's 4WD and tops out at 208 mph. The Comet is a really rare gem, but there's a mission from Brucie where you're given the vehicle. At this point, if you're ever given a very nice car in a mission, it's your best bet to just store it.

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Coquette

The Coquette is another speedy two-door coupe. It's RWD and tops out at 208 mph. Unlike the Comet, it's a little less rare, so there's better luck of finding it around town. If you couldn't already tell, that appears to be an NSX staring at you through the body of a Testarossa. And the Corvette reference, both in name and appearance, is unmistakable.

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Dilettante

The folks at Rockstar Games are obviously concerned about ridiculous gas prices. That's why they've provided the Dilettante, a thinly-veiled Toyota Prius. Without the need to fill up with gas in the game, there's no way to truly tell if the Dilettante is a hybrid, but one interesting caveat is the fact that this vehicle is noticeably more quiet than any other vehicle in Liberty City. It may be the silent killer in real life, but it's not too shabby at smashing pedestrians on the screen either.

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Infernus

In terms of performance, this is the best of the best in GTA4, rightfully so considering it's essentially a Diablo/Murcielago blend. The Infernus is one of the most rare in the game, but luckily a gay man rewards you with this vehicle — which he took from his high-profile lover — for doing some missions for the guy (seriously). Just make sure you store the Infernus rather than taking it for a joyride where you end up wrecking it. In-game, the Infernus has a top speed of 208 mph, a $100,000 value, a 4.4-second 0-60 time, excellent brakes and more.

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Moonbeam

You think we would let this list escape without the Moonbeam, which gives a nod to the best van ever made? Performance-wise, the Moonbeam kind of sucks, but it's good for the missions requiring you to haul around a lot of people.

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Patriot

The Patriot is a vehicle worth reckoning with in GTA4, obviously taking its form from the Hummer H2 and it's smaller sibling. Unlike the real-life Hummer and all of its accompanying stereotypes, this is a very useful vehicle in-game — mostly because gas is non-existent, the Patriots are everywhere and they are built like tanks, which can be good for car chases and more. In-game, the Patriot is a 4WD vehicle with a top speed of 145 mph and a value of $50,000. Oh, and the American flag paint job is a nice touch.

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Presidente

At first the Presidente seems like a pretty cut and dry four-door luxury sedan that most of the mob bosses drive throughout the game. Though the headlights scream Charger , a little closer examination of the rear taillights would suggest the Presidente is all about the Cadillac CTS...and the 175 mph top speed would hint CTS-V.

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

PMP600

Like the Presidente, the PMP600 serves as a great boss-car in-game. The fenders and front of the PMP600 definitely have a 300C feel. Other than the nice stereotypical mobster-boss usage, it's a pretty average vehicle. It can stand up to a barrage of bullets, though, which is always helpful.

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Ruiner

The Ruiner is another one of the older-looking, but still good vehicles in the game. The t-tops and headlights would suggest that the Ruiner most closely resembles an 80's Camaro, but no one would argue that there's an aura of 280Z in the mix. It's a nice and speedy RWD vehicle with a 186 mph top speed and 6.3-second 0-60.

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Sabre GT

Don't think GTA4 is all about fancy sedans and rusted beaters. The Sabre GT is a homage to the classic muscle car, with Monte Carlo and Torino influences most obvious. Like most vehicles in Liberty City, the Sabre GT is available in a variety of colors and offers the classic racing stripe. In-game, the Sabre GT tops out at a nice 175 mph, but a low level of collision durability ensures that the vehicle won't last as long as some other options.

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Stallion

Like the Sabre GT, the Stallion is another nice classically styled muscle car featured in Liberty City. Trying to pinpoint a real life counterpart isn't as easy as some of the other cars featured on the list, but we certainly detect some LeMans and maybe Javelin in there. You be the judge. In-game the car is pretty mediocre. It's RWD and tops out at 165 mph. If anything, it has nice brakes.

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Sultan RS

This one goes out to the tuner crowd that is definitely playing this game. Seriously, we can't even enjoy a video game without carbon fiber madness? The headlights and spoiler say Lexus IS/first-gen Integra. In terms of performance, the Sultan RS is pretty speedy at 186 mph and the handling is nice with the AWD and decent brakes.

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Super GT

The Super GT is another very speedy, yet rare, coupe featured in GTA4. It tops out at 196 mph and the oval shaped front grill clues this vehicle to be an Aston Martin Vanquish knockoff.

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Turismo

If you're going to find a supercar while roaming the streets, you're most likely to stumble upon a Turismo. This is a 208-mph beast with a mid-engine. This car obviously takes cues from the Ferrari 360 with some Venturi influences. Note that this vehicle lacks durability, so be careful out there.

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Uranus

This is only funny because the car's name is Uranus and it looks like a Ford Escort GT. We're not sure if one of the designers just had a bad experience in high school with the car (which isn't that uncommon) but come on, the Escort GT is worthy of a name better than Uranus — just ask the MAKE LeMons team (sans the GT part).

Auto-Inspiration: The Real-Life Cars Behind Grand Theft Auto IV

Voodoo

The Voodoo deserves a mention because it has been a nostalgic part of the Grand Theft Auto series. Not only does it blend styling from the 1959 Impala and possibly an equivalent vintage Imperial, but in previous GTA titles this car was outfitted with functional hydraulics. Pardon the stereotyping, but It's also generally driven by gangster-type persons in Liberty City who will try to fight you upon carjacking.

(Huge shout-out to GTA4.net for providing raw details and pictures of the vehicles.)