This topic seems to breed endless discussion and a fair heap of confusion as well. I picked up the game on day one and raced most of the day with my family and didn't realize until a day or two later that I had yet to race with one of the "standard" cars. So here I was spouting comments about there being little discernible difference between the two classes and even going so far as to "straight up lie about shit" (thank you, TruckerSean) stating that standard cars did indeed have cockpit views.
It wasn't until later when I imported my GT PSP collection that I actually raced with a standard car and could compare the two classes.
So there IS some discernible difference. My only quibble would be lack of cockpit view, but graphically I would say the standard cars look great... just not AS great. If I popped GT4 in now I wouldn't suddenly think that all those models are ugly as shit. They look fantastic, they're just a little dated... but hey, they gotta look as good as the models in iRacing, right? Right? Amirite or amirite? And we all know that iRacing is THE sim racer. Looks aren't everything I'm told.
Clearly, the PREMIUMEST of the premium
So that brings me to my point. The whole thing seems like much ado about nothing.
Let's look at the 200 premium cars. I don't know about you, but to me that's a lot of cars. Out of all the games in the series I probably put the most hours into GT2. I played that game a lot and collected a lot of vehicles. I would have to go pop the disc in and check out my garage to be sure, but I'm pretty positive my collection wouldn't exceed 200 cars.
So I guess what I'm proposing here is: Would it have been better if they had shipped GT5 with ONLY the 200 premium cars? I don't know how many cars most racing games offer these days, but I'd wager 200 is a respectable number for the genre. It's closest competitor Forza 3 has, what, like 500?
Personally I think I could play the shit out of GT5 and get my money's worth without ever using a standard car if that was my prerogative. The addition of 800 cars from previous series entries seems like a bonus.
Overall my biggest complaint with how they chose to do this is the countless tirades I've endured about how not ALL of the cars look amazing. Cry me a fucking river. At least they stated up front that there would be differences. I have no problem with them touting 1000 cars in the game. I mean it IS true. They might just want to think about flashing a disclaimer or something...
I think this is the first time I've seen this...
If they had released it without the 800 standard vehicles then people would have proclaimed Forza the winner for having the most cars. Then other people would proclaim GT the winner for having kart racing and rally races and nascar. And they would BOTH be right because we're ALL WINNERS HERE.
And there would still be much ado about nothing.
PS. I'm not going to go into any of the other issues I've had with GT5 so far (though I'm sure they'll be brought up in the comments). Suffice to say it is not a perfect game, but there is a fantastic racing experience to be had if you're a fan of GT. If you're not then this game certainly won't change your mind and why are you reading this anyway? :)