Let's play a game. I'll say a name, and you let me know what's the first thing that pops into your mind. Ready?
Yeah, that's right—we're talking about rear ends here. But, being a car website, we're talking about the back ends of cars rather than those of celebrities.
Mainly, we're about to run down a list of the 20 best-looking backsides of production vehicles. By contrast, most of the cars on this list are still in production (as of February 2018), though, truth be told, there are a few that aren't. To the extent that we've included those, we tried to keep it to ones that didn't go out of production until fairly recently.
We've got sports cars like the Ford GT. And we've got modern muscle cars like the Dodge Challenger SRT. That's right, there's a big American presence in this list!
Let the best-booty roll call begin...
19 2018 Porsche 911 GT3
Ever since the days of the 356 Speedster, Porsches have had distinctive rear ends. The current 911s are no exception. The 911 is the quintessential Porsche, and so it makes sense that one of its best angles is from behind. It's also convenient since that's the part most people see on a regular basis.
The 911 sports several of the most important features of having a good car rear end. First, it has dual pipes. Other performance and luxury automobile manufacturers have begun to (ab-)use the tailpipe shape as yet another style cue. While some cars—even a few Porsche models—are able to carry off "uni-pipes" (see below), this German brand has mainly reserved flattened exhaust tips and the like for the Cayenne SUV line.
A true sports car or performance car really ought to have dual exhausts and twin pipes to match. The functional and speed-activated wing doesn't hurt either. Indeed, for the time being, the wing is distinctive of the GT3's backside. In the future...?
18 Lotus Evora GT430
Here's a car that makes a liar out of me. Okay, it's really not that hard to make a liar out of me, but in this case... the Evora's design converts the much-maligned "uni-pipe" into a feature and not a bug.
Make no mistake—I still fervently believe that dual pipes are as integral to making a case for performance-car status as is my beloved manual transmission and clutch combo. But this list is about looks, and the Evora has those in spades.
Like a lot of Lotus's designs, the Evora doesn't really pretend to be a supercar or even a muscle car. The British maker favors making beautiful small cars that perform like modern roadsters but in a very slick package. The symmetry of the car's rear view is complete from the antenna-like side mirrors to the sparkling eyes of the brake lights to the dimpled aspect of the rear brake venting.
You probably know the story about how the original Ford GT came to be. It was the result of Henry Ford's competitive spirit, a merger gone bad, and perhaps even a bit of European snobbery run amok.
Either way, let us all now take a moment and thank our favorite version of the Almighty for having screwed things up so perfectly all those years ago because the Ford GT was, has been, and continues to be worth all of whatever it took to bring it into being.
The latest redesign, at least from the outside, shows some overtones of a movie version of the Batmobile. (With all due respect, Mr. Wayne, I'd still rather have one of these; that Tumbler thing looks kinda uncomfortable.) The car has always been beautiful, especially from behind. That's mainly due to the mid-engine nature of its design.
To be honest, this isn't my favorite GT in terms of appearance, but it still has enough of the original's DNA in its bones to make my list of best-looking auto-butts.
17 2018 Aston Martin DB11
The Aston Martins are most well known for their fronts rather than their behinds. The Aston nosepiece is so noteworthy that Ford, despite no longer being a majority shareholder in the luxury British make, still lays claim to the right to riff on it—not just once, but on at least three of its most popular models: Fiesta, Fusion, and Focus.
(Perhaps that brings the whole Euro-snub of the GT's birth full circle... hmmm...)
The DB11, however, looks very good driving away. Not only does it have a shapely curvature back there, but its bottom is dimpled by two chrome-tipped pipes. Catnip to an ass-man.
Sure, it borrows a lot from another British nameplate formerly held by the blue oval—Jaguar—but smooth lines, wherever they hail from, are still beautiful.
16 2018 Lamborghini Aventador 750
If twin pipes are good, then quads must be twice as good, right? Yes... yes they are.
At least they are on this car. The Aventador has been redesigned to take as much advantage of everybody's favorite hipster construction goo: carbon fiber. With nearly 1K hp under the hood... well, really under the driver's bum (or thereabouts), you wouldn't think this car would need the weight reduction. Either way, the back end that resulted is definitely a study in industrial design.
Though the car's look overall has a bit of the "Lego racer" about it, the back face seems grimly displeased. It reminds a person of the Full Metal Alchemist's Iron-Man-like brother—Alphonse Elric—complete with jutting lower jaw. He, too, lives like a spirit in a machine—and one with steam-punk roots at that.
15 2018 Audi TT RS
"It's an awful lot of money to pay for a Volkswagen" is something that we've all said about Audis. C'mon, admit it. But the brand new TT RS is hardly much a VW any longer.
It does, however, reflect VW's philosophy about making the most out of the least. Its only power plant is a 2.5L turbo 5. It is, as all TTs have been intended to be, a four-footed roadster, however. That means power isn't so much its thing as its being an engaging drive. In that respect, the TT is nearly in a class by itself, given its Quattro all-wheel drive.
The back side features twin-pipes that have been squashed a bit but definitely not flattened. The spoiler (fashioned to look a bit like a mini-wing?) may function to break up turbulent air as it spills over the hind end... or it might just be for looks.
14 2018 Nismo GTR
The original Godzilla was quite a monster. Yet, the big rubber-suited lizard had a sympathetic look about it; else, might it have become such a favorite among moviegoers the world over?
The nuclear movie star's automotive namesake, Nissan's GTR, is quite a monster, too. It pulls 590+ hp and tops out at over 190 mph/300 km/h. From the front, it wakes up the echoes of Nissan's past ("Datsun 240Z," anyone?), and it looks even better from behind.
Wide-split quad pipes and subtle air vents give the car's rearward face a bearded look. Does this spoiler-cum-mini-wing create downforce or even scramble bad air? From a looks perspective, it doesn't really matter. Let's just hope this Godzilla has laid some eggs for the next generation.
13 2018 Chevrolet Corvette
There are only a few automobile platforms being produced in the world currently. That could mean that all cars are going to be the same very soon, or it could be a spur to greater creativity amongst designers.
The backside of the newest generation of Chevy Corvettes gives a person a lot of hope that it'll be the latter. The central quad pipes give it more of a sleek and sophisticated look. That's a bit of a departure from the past when the Corvette rode the line between the US muscle car and (affordable) supercar genres.
The car has retained a lot of its unique styling in the back despite any major shifts in its marketing posture. It still flies the beautiful crossed-flag emblem that assures that everyone following—and I do mean, "everyone"—is on notice of its heritage.
12 2018 Tesla Roadster
Most of the Tesla offerings look kinda the same... when viewed from the front. As a group, of course, they natively lack the pipes gearheads tend to focus on when sizing up a car's behind.
The spoiler present on this car is surely just for looks. That's because (1) there's a double layer to it, and (2) it's way too small to do much with turbulence rolling down the back window. That's mainly because as a roadster, it tends to run with the top down, so airflow from front to back is always going to be a complete mess.
The car's big haunches do make up for the no-pipe look that comes from being a full-on electric. On the other hand, it's hard to imagine that the "roadster" experience can actually be undertaken in absolute silence. Engine roar is part of the package.
Still, it's a Tesla, and from behind, it's a solid 10.
11 2018 Mazda MX5
For most of its model life, this Mazda roadster has had a bit of an image problem. The recent separation from Ford's control seems to have done this Japan brand a lot of good overall. Sorry blue oval, but it's true.
For this model, that means that the company seems to have decided to move it away from the "Miata" moniker. The origins of that name are a bit vague, to say the least. But its associations in the minds of the buying public developed along a line that perhaps no marketing exec could've anticipated at the time of the car's birth in the mid-1990s. In one way, it was meant to replace the RX-7 as Mazda migrated away from offering rotary engines to the more conventional orientation. The entire story is replete with much irony... if you wanted to go there.
The new MX5 (no more "R for rotary," eh?) seems to represent a return to the RX-7 roots.
And it looks a lot more imposing than the existing Miata ever did. The back end, too, bespeaks the shift in image: it's a daily driver with power—derived from reduced weight—enough to take to the open road for serious weekend fun.
10 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT
I've gone on record previously as saying that if the US-auto pony-car race were all about looks, the Challenger line would win. Radials down.
The view from behind does nothing to diminish my opinion in that regard. The Challenger is the best looking of the pony cars. (Yes, that's a period at the end of that sentence.)
From the front to the back, the Challenger looks like what a pony car, as a category, ought to: it looks like a Hot Wheels model. In that sense, it talks to the little kid of the 1960s in everyone who sees it.
Most of us will see the Challenger from the back end, of course. The slotted taillights kind of sneer at us as they go by. They know we're slower, and now, we know it, too. The broadness of its rear stance is only magnified by its extensive black under-cladding.
The SRT badging on the NASCAR-style spoiler (functional?) is the final tweak of our nose: "Read this quick," it says, "because my ass is gone."
9 2018 Dodge Magnum SRT
I know, I know... there's no such a thing as a 2018 Magnum. In fact, the last of these beautiful cars were produced new in 2008. I know that because I went shopping for one in 2011... but I digress.
The Magnum was a product of Daimler's brief ownership of Chrysler in the early part of this century. Those were good years, IMHO, and produced a lot of really good-looking cars. Indeed, just take a look at the way that the new owners, Fiat, have stuck with Daimler's redesign of the Charger and the Challenger. They've even extended the Charger's look to several halo offerings... but I digress.
It's easy for a roadster or a supercar or a performance car to have a nice rear end. Those are like the cheerleaders of the car world in terms of looks. But it takes a rare beauty to keep that appeal as it graduates from college and moves out to the suburbs.
The Magnum was the original "sports wagon" in some ways. It set the trend, particularly in terms of its backside appeal. Twin pipes, a raked back windshield, and masculine cut to the fifth door.
Sigh. If only I'd totaled my car in 2007 rather than '10... but I digress...
8 2018 Ford Raptor
The Raptor is a bit of marketing genius. It extends the appeal of "the man driving a pickup"—which women are known to experience—to the actual man who's driving the pickup.
That is, it makes it a lot of fun to be the guy doing the driving. Just driving down a city street in this thing makes any guy feel about 200 times more "cowboy" than before.
It makes your jeans feel more worn, it makes your stubble feel more bristly, and heck, it even makes your dog happier. Truth be told, the Raptor looks pretty awesome from any angle, but it really hits its strike on the back end.
The split dual pipes are generous, the rear transfer case is visible, the towing rig and full-size spare are in view, and the maker's label is emblazoned in huge letters across its hips—all of that rasped in a black-matte mask.
You can almost hear Clint Eastwood rasp, "There are two kinds of people in this world... those who commute... and those with Raptors..."
7 2017 Toyota FJ Cruiser
The FJ Cruiser is another one of those on this list that really is no longer in production. The 2017 pictured above was a short run with availability limited to Japan. That's a shame because the FJ Cruiser had held a unique spot in the SUV-crazy automotive world for most of the first quarter of the 21st Century.
It seemed intended to fall somewhere between the extreme beefcake of the Hummer, the "land yacht" excess of the Expedition and the Suburban, and the rugged appeal of Toyota's previous-generation Land Cruiser—the latter of those having recently become something of a monstrosity of an SUV itself.
It was kind of a crossover from Jeep Wrangler to the "well-you're-married-with-kids-now-so-you-better-suck-it-up-and-get-a-bigger-car" segment. As such, it had a nice array of quirkiness but a good deal of solid Toyota capability as well.
The best argument for the FJ Cruiser as "a Jeep for a starter family"—judging from the rear, of course—was that full-size spare strapped to its tailgate. The blocky backside, too, bespoke an adventuring spirit that really has been lost in the Land Cruiser's latest facelift.
6 2018 Subaru BRZ
The Subaru BR-Zed is one of three brothers, along with the Toyota 86 and the now-defunct Scion FR-S. Frankly, I always thought the Scion was the best looking of the three. That may be because it was the one designed in the first instance to appeal the most to a younger buying segment.
The BR-Zed is definitely a young person's car if for no other reason than that the back seat is nearly useless.
I think there must be some kind of import law or regulation that makes it easier to export these things to North America (for example) because it can be called a coupe rather than a two-seater. I'm just guessing. Either way, don't buy one of these because there's room to seat four—because there isn't.
The car does have split dual exhausts, which are critical to a good look, in my view, though most of its "power" comes from the fact that it's so lightweight. That, combined with its all-wheel drive and torque vectoring, gives it ridiculously good handling. It feels much faster than it really is. And, in this case anyway, the wing could be helpful because the back end does tend to oversteer. On the other hand, it might just be for looks.
High haunches, a nice (possibly dysfunctional wing), and a nice set of split duals... really, what more could you want to look at?
5 2004 Chrysler Crossfire
The Chrysler Crossfire was another child of the Daimler era. And it's also a model that's driven off into history, production ending in 2008. Despite the squaring of its twin dual pipes, Karmann gave the car a great and memorable look. For its time, it was unique and very dynamic.
There's something very German about that bubble-butt. It holds a lot of the appeal of the old Porsche 356 Speedster and, not surprisingly, the equally historic Volkswagen Ghia. Here, in a much more modern turn, of course, the tires are thick and the haunches, more aggressive than the maternal ones shown by the old VWs and Porsches.
It seems commonplace now, nearly two decades later, to see cars with pretensions of sport wagon-hood, but this was definitely one of the first and the best.
Plus, its rear end reintroduced a lot of drivers to the beauty of classic Chrysler badging.
4 2018 Mini Cooper
The Mini is cute. That's about all you can say. Back in the day, the naming of the original put the designer's name first; now, it's the other way round.
That's too bad because the look of the car is definitely what sells it. In fact, if you ask anyone who drives one, you'll find that it's the look of the car that they're "feeling" as they tool around town in their beloved ride.
From the back, the modern Cooper resembles its forebears just enough, but this is the lean, metro-sexual grandchild, the one who spends a lot of time going from spin class to CrossFit. If you're not careful, it might bend your ear about its deadlift number for twenty minutes. So, give it a wide berth in the lunchroom.
Twin dual pipes and a sprinter-in-the-blocks stance give the car a ready-to-rabbit look from behind—almost like it's standing on the pedals on that peloton machine...
3 2013 Volvo C30
The Volvo C30 is no more. That's a shame because... well, mainly because I wanted one. I was particularly envious of anyone who got to drive one of a Polestar (Volvo Performance Division) version. It looked like a whole lot of fun.
Even in its more modest incarnation, the C30 had a lot of appeal. It strongly resembled the old Volvo 1800s from the 1960s. The 1800s remain an object of classic car-enthusiast lust. Their styling was unique in the Volvo stable and gave the brand a lot of pop-culture cred.
The C30's hatch, also unique then and apparently evermore for the brand, was even more quirky than most—very Volvo-like in that regard. The car also benefited from the recent devotion of the Swedish (by heritage anyway) maker to T5 engines. The C30 was lightweight and maneuverable like a hatch with hot pretensions ought to be.
From behind, it was/is undeniably a Volvo and a good-looking one at that. But then, why wouldn't it be good-looking, because... Swedish, yeah?
2 2014 WRX STi Hatchback
If you're a car junkie—and you know it if you are—then you should really drive a WRX at least once in your life. The experience is pretty phenomenal. The car handles great, launches like a rocket and shifts—you got the manual, of course... didn't you?—like a demon. Someone once said of the WRX that it makes you want to do bad, boy-racer kind of things. Yes... yes it does...
On the other hand, the true boy-racer WRX experience is no more outside of Japan. That's because the rest of the world has been cut off from the hatchback. (I have to admit that I'm not even sure you can still get a new hatch inside of its home country.)
The hatchback was the quintessential STi because most boy-racers aren't really in the market for a sedan (if they have their head on straight anyhow). The sedans are fine and weight-saving for rally drivers, but a street racer in this class vehicle should really be a hatchback.
The last US hatch was a few years ago now, but it remains a thing of rare beauty. And if you don't believe me, try buying one used. Characterized by a top of the liftgate spoiler (as opposed to the wing now worn by the sedan versions), it hugged the road surface so closely that you almost missed the firing of the pressure valves as it passed by. Almost...
1 2018 VW GTI
The original VW Golf was designed to be a step up from the Bug for the city dweller. It came in a sedan as well as coupe and hatchback configuration. It was the European version of a family car.
It was also designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. Giugiaro is renowned for having been one of the principal proponents of the "folded paper" school of auto design. If you don't know what that means, just google for an image of one of his other famous designs, the Delorean DMC-12.
Though the original Golf didn't have gull-wing doors or a stainless steel finish, it did have distinctive lines, front and back. One of the best things VW has done over the years was to retain as much of that original Giugiaro design as possible.
The GTI, like all of the model line, still retains that look, particularly from the rear. Add the hot hatch's split dual pipes, and you've got timeless beauty on wheels.