Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) was originally released in 2013 and went on to become a monumental success. Eight years and two console generations later, millions of people are still playing it every day. Millions! It’s probably the only game that can rival juggernauts such as Fortnite and Call of Duty when it comes to active players and an ability to hold an individual’s attention.
A large reason for GTA V‘s prolonged success is its GTA Online component. GTA Online is effectively one big virtual city, known as Los Santos, which is occupied by players from around the world—and in real-time! Those players can do just about anything they want, whenever they want, including (virtually) stealing cars, carrying out organized crime, running businesses, and even buying real estate. And all of that is just the “normal” stuff. The various types of racing available within GTA Online‘s open world, including street racing, open-wheel, and off-road is where things really come alive—all of it available to players at any time.
Even with all of those benefits and activities at a player’s disposal, Rockstar Games still needed a way to keep things fresh, and it’s doing just that by releasing expansions within GTA Online that add a host of new features, experiences, and events. The latest expansion is called “Los Santos Tuners”, which takes a page from The Fast and the Furious, as well as some cues from real car culture.
What Is Los Santos Tuners?
According to Rockstar Games, the Los Santos Tuners update is a response to significant fan requests to bring modern car culture to GTA Online. One of the ways it did this was by creating the “LS Car Meet”, which is the heart of the entire expansion. It works a lot like a car meet in real life, as players meet up in a social space to show off their cars while admiring those of others.
Participants can also mod their cars while in the meet, and watch other players mod theirs—once again, in real-time. To make sure everyone can enjoy the experience, the LS Car Meet is a combat-free safe zone. That way no one has to worry about other random players showing up and stealing everyone’s cars, or mowing people down. Every week there will be a “Prize Ride Challenge” where a special, valuable car will be put on display in the center of the meet and can be won by players who complete a specific challenge.
The Cars of Los Santos Tuners
Considering that Grand Theft Auto has a reputation for players committing crimes and assorted wanton destruction, it’s not surprising that real-life car brands aren’t keen on having their vehicles featured in the game. While that might seem like a disadvantage, the creators at Rockstar have turned the situation into one of the hallmarks of the game. Each ride in GTA is a fictional car from a fictional brand, though sharp eyes will no doubt notice some similarities with real-life cars.
With the Los Santos Tuners expansion comes a crop of new tuner cars that may remind some players of certain iconic Japanese-market gems (such as a ’90s Toyota Celica), modern cars (like the A90 Toyota GR Supra), or even old school rides (such as the Datsun 510). Others look to be based on European icons such as the Porsche 911. Plus, there are a few familiar-looking muscle cars, as well.
Naturally, all the cars can be modified with aero, wheels, custom paint, and more to make these machines more distinctive and tailored to player’s tastes.
Test, Tune, and Race at the LS Car Meet
The LS Car Meet allows for a lot more than showing off cars and/or checking out other builds. Not only can players modify their cars in real-time at the car meet, but they can also test their modifications instantly via access to a private test track. Beyond testing cars, the test track area also allows for time trial events, head-to-head races against other players, or a four-player “scramble” event in which competitors race to hit 20 randomized checkpoints within a specified time limit.
Several new racing series will be available to those who become members (for about 50,000 credits worth of in-game cash), including obligatory street races with up to eight cars, an exclusive “pursuit series” (which are point-to-point races with cops thrown in for extra spice), and Sprint races (which are more traditional point-to-point races with up to four players). Invites to Sprint races can be sent to any other eligible player who is hanging out at the LS Car Meet.
Assemble Your Crew
You didn’t honestly think that Rockstar would add this huge tuner update to Grand Theft Auto and not include any actual theft, did you? How else did you think you were going to pay for all the stuff under the hood of your cars? By doing tune-ups and selling groceries?
When first arriving at the LS Car Meet, players will encounter three new characters: Mimi, KDJ, and Hao. Mimi runs the car meet and organizes all of the events, but she also has a business relationship with KDJ, who is looking for new drivers to join his crew on some less-than-legal missions. He has Mimi scope the meet for new talent and that’s where you, the player, come in.
After purchasing an Auto Shop to use as a base of operations, players can join KDJ’s crew and go on contract jobs that cover everything from robbing banks and dealers to stealing military equipment and taking on moving convoys. Before you ask, yes, there is a train robbery-style mission. There is even a mission that includes stealing 10 exotic cars from a chalkboard list, giving you those Gone in 60 Seconds vibes. We have to assume this will likely be the most popular part of this new expansion because, honestly, who wouldn’t want to pull off Fast Saga-style heists with their friends online?
How to Get Los Santos Tuners
If all of this action sounds like the way you want to spend your weekends in the foreseeable future, then you might be wondering how you can get your hands on Los Santos Tuners. The expansion is actually free, so long as you own a current copy of GTA V, which comes with GTA Online. The activities within Los Santos Tuners require some in-game currency, but that can be earned by completing missions and other events. If you don’t own GTA V, then GTA Online will soon be available as a standalone game for the new Xbox Series X | S and PlayStation 5 consoles, as well as PC. For those of you who are already GTA Online regulars, we might just catch you at the LS Car Meet!
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