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Tracing the history of fan-favourite sports car Cheetah throughout the GTA series

Image via GTA Online News (Twitter)
Image via GTA Online News (Twitter)
ANALYST
Modified 31 Jan 2021
Feature

The Cheetah is a classic fan-favourite sports car that has appeared in many GTA titles, which bestows a rich history.

Sports cars tend to be popular for their stylish designs and excellent performance stats. Likewise, the Cheetah is an excellent car in many of the games it appears in. It's classic and often reliable, which has made it a fan-favourite for players in need of a sports car. For some fans, it's their absolute favourite.

Sadly, the Cheetah was not always omnipresent because of its notable absence from some GTA games. Hence, it is vital to discuss its history and its role throughout the GTA series.



The history of the Cheetah

Image via GTA Wiki
Image via GTA Wiki

The Cheetah wasn't always around in the GTA series. It's noticeably absent in the 2D universe (GTA I and GTA II). It appeared first GTA III. As a rare sports car in the games, it has become a novelty that players often seek out. However, this car is much easier to find in GTA Vice City.

Players often love the Cheetah for its high speed and its stylish aesthetic, especially since it hardly changes throughout the games. On average, it possesses less acceleration than other sports cars, but it makes up for its excellent speed and handling. Interestingly enough, its design does change throughout the years, giving it minor adjustments in its performance.

History of its design changes

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Image via Wikipedia
Image via Wikipedia

Typically, the Cheetah's designs stay the same between games featured in the same city. This means that the GTA III and Liberty City Stories Cheetah looks highly similar to one another, while they differ in appearance than the Cheetahs in GTA Vice City and Vice City Stories.

The changes in appearance aren't so drastic that the car is unrecognizable. Still, some players wish to know what cars the Cheetah was based on in the past GTA titles. The most similar real-life car is the Ferarri Testarossa, with the year of the model often inspiring the GTA-equivalent.

GTA III and Liberty City

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Image via GTA Wiki
Image via GTA Wiki

The Cheetah in GTA III and Liberty City resembles the Ferarri Testarossa F512 M. Like in the other games, the Cheetah is fast and has excellent handling. Still, the GTA III version has a low suspension, making it awkward to handle around curbs. At least when compared to other top-tier vehicles such as the Banshee.

GTA Vice City and Vice City Stories

Image via mrsierraleone007 (YouTube)
Image via mrsierraleone007 (YouTube)

This iteration of the Cheetah is based on an 80s model of the Ferarri Testarossa (quite similar to the one found in OutRun). Interesting enough, there is a difference in how common the Cheetah is in-between these two games.

Cheetahs are rare in Vice City Stories, as they only spawn in parking lots. By comparison, they are fairly common in GTA Vice City. There is even a police-version of the Cheetah so that players could do Vigilante missions.

GTA San Andreas

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Image via GTA Wiki
Image via GTA Wiki

Predictably, the Cheetah found in GTA San Andreas is based on another version of the Ferarri Testarossa. This time it's based on the 512 TR model. As GTA San Andreas includes vehicle customization, players could change some aspects of the Cheetah, which may change its performance if the player implements something like nitro.

GTA V & GTA Online

Image via GTA Wiki
Image via GTA Wiki

While the Cheetah does appear in these two games, there are some noticeable differences between this iteration and past Cheetahs. Instead of being heavily based on just the Testarossa, the Cheetah in GTA V and GTA Online is based on a mix of vehicles such as the Ferarri Enzo, FXX, Pagani Zonda, and the SSC Tuatara.

Unfortunately, the Cheetah isn't as good as it once was. GTA Online introduced so much power creep that the Cheetah isn't really worth purchasing. It isn't armored, and it lacks the mobility of superior vehicles such as the Pegassi Toreador. As far as low points go, this is unquestionably the worst Cheetah iteration.

Absences

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Image via Rockstar Games
Image via Rockstar Games

As mentioned previously, the Cheetah is not present in every GTA title. It's noticeably absent in GTA IV, especially since GTA IV has some other classic vehicles. It's also absent in the top-down GTA titles like GTA Advance, Chinatown Wars, and the first two GTA titles.

GTA 6?

Image via GTA Base
Image via GTA Base

Only time will tell if the Cheetah will be included in Rockstar Games' next GTA title. Even if it isn't included at launch, it could always be similarly reintroduced through DLC to other vehicles as the Deluxo experienced. If it is reintroduced, it would be interesting to see if it would have a place in the metagame, seeing it wasn't as dominant in GTA Online as in past games.

Published 31 Jan 2021, 12:57 IST
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