As car enthusiasts, we all know there are plenty of cars that look amazing and are amazing to drive. This amazement while driving is brought to us by a car’s speed, sound, feel, acceleration, power, sharpness, directness, maneuverability, raw feedback, and so on. We also know there are lots of cars in the world with none of those things - cars that just serve as means of transportation - boring cars. Usually, we can identify them and despise them, but sometimes, we're mistaken. There are cars, which look amazing but are actually awful to drive. You should stick to just looking at these cars and avoid getting behind their wheels. Some of them are very slow versions of very fast cars, and some of them are just slow cars that look fast.
Just to make it clear, a thrilling driving experience isn't all about speed, which can be understood through the example of the Mazda MX-5/Miata. Most of them take around 8 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph, which means they're pretty slow but still a lot of fun to drive. They're nimble, are lightweight, are well-balanced, corner very well, give raw feedback, and feel like sports cars. Their power is just enough for them to make driving an awesome experience. If they had any less power, though, then they'd be on this list, as cars on this list simply look fast, gorgeous, or thrilling, but aren't those things while they're being driven. Here are 20 vehicles that are all looks but no thrills:
20 DeLorean DMC-12 1981-82
“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour, we’re gonna see some serious sh*t.” You might remember this line delivered by Dr. Brown whilst holding a remote controller for a Delorean DMC-12 in Back to the Future. Disappointing as it may be, though, we wouldn't be seeing any “serious sh*t” happening in real life since the car only does 85 mph. Even reaching that speed would take a hell of a long runway due to the car's 130 HP 2.8L V6, which can only carry it from 0 to 60 in 9.6 seconds. So, if your aim is time travel or a thrilling driving experience of any sort, a minivan would be a better bet. If you’re looking for a really dreadful ride, however, you could go for the 3-speed automatic gearbox with the DMC-12. The car is one stunning looker, though.
19 Pontiac Fiero 1985-88
The “mid-engined sports car for people” or a “poor man’s Ferrari,” is how General Motors decided to advertise this fast-looking little car; however, that's far from the truth. You’d either get a 2.5L inline-4 with 94HP or a 2.8L V6 with 143HP. 0 to 60 in the Fiero happens either in 10.6 or 7.9 seconds. Plus, the handling suffers from both understeer and oversteer problems because of the poor weight distribution; the rear is very heavy while the front is too lightweight. Not exactly a sports car or a Ferrari is it? It's also been notorious for catching on fire and also of being massively unreliable. Despite the fact that no pleasure can be derived from driving a Pontiac Fiero, it can be found in looking at one because it looks pretty cool - we've got to admit that.
18 Mercedes-Benz CLA 2016-Present
It's always exciting when Mercedes comes up with new models, and it certainly was the case with the CLA in 2016. Photos of the all-new CLA45 AMG with 381HP had occupied the car world, but we shouldn't forget about the CLA180, a car that looks almost exactly the same yet has a 122HP 1.6L engine and takes 9 seconds to get up to the 60mph mark. If you’re at a red light in your 3 series BMW, and the CLA180 pulls up by your side, you might think you don’t stand a chance. But that car actually has less than half the power of a Honda Odyssey, so while the Mercedes CLA180 does look really fast and aggressive, especially because it's from the AMG Line, it won’t get it's driver's blood pumping however hard he floors it.
17 Dodge Challenger V6 2007-2010
When people spot a Dodge Challenger, most of them think they’re seeing the Hellcat, the Demon, the SRT, or a big Hemi V8 because of all that monstrous power and smoke coming out of the rear tires, but their eyes would be lying to them. The car can very well be a V6 version that looks just the same but has only 250HP to move 1,700kgs (3800 pounds), and we all know that the Challenger isn't great at handling. Without brutal acceleration and deafening noise, it’s just another dawdling car that you can get no adrenaline out of, especially if it’s a 4-speed automatic. What you can do is pop on your Ray-Bans, have just one hand on the steering wheel, turn on the radio, and look badass.
16 Dodge Charger V6 2005-10
Dominic Toretto must've had a stroke when he heard about this one, a 2.7L V6 190HP Dodge Charger 4-speed automatic. He can do no wheelies with that power, can he? Neither can he drag a bank vault around the streets, jump up to a helicopter, avoid and redirect a heat-seeking missile from this one, and that's not even mentioning escaping the people who are shooting at him or just beating them at drag races. It could be a perfect car for Vin Diesel to do his acting in, though, because it just looks the same and costs less. Actually, why won’t police switch their chargers to V6s? It could save the government a lot of money, and we’d get much fewer tickets as well!
15 Ferrari Mondial 8 1980-82
Yeap, Ferrari has made the list. Seeing a beautiful red Ferrari instantly makes a car guy crave to get behind its wheel, but with this one, you might prefer to just stand nearby and savor the looks. Mondial 8 is officially the slowest Ferrari ever, with just 205HP coming out of its 3.0L V8. The engine is placed in the middle, and it manages to get up to 60mph from a standstill in around 9.5 seconds. Now, a Ferrari is a Ferrari, and its handling capabilities are supreme, especially with a mid-engine layout, but there’s not much use for handling at 30mph, is there? In 1989, the Mondial T came out, and it had a much-deserved 300HP engine and 6.3 seconds of 0 to 60 time. That update changed a marvelous -looking car into one that’s also a marvel to drive. But the Mondial 8 is a whole other story.
14 Ford Mustang V6 2004-08
What an icon of a car Mustang is. Its wild, free, and loud character got it into movies like Bullit, Gone in 60 Seconds, Transformers, Need For Speed, and hundreds of others, including numerous James Bond movies; however, not all Mustangs were created equal. This 4.0L V6 version only produces 213HP, which isn't exactly suitable for car chases and tire-smoking effects. Seeing it roll by, you might be waiting anxiously for the driver to give it beans and unleash the sweet sound of a bulky American V8, but trust me, he’s already giving it all he’s got. Had it been its bigger brothers, you’d never even see them in a cloud of smoke. Unfortunately, this one’s just a regular horse in a family of wild mustangs.
13 Chevrolet Camaro V6 1993-02
Here's another American muscle car with much presence but little give. This Camaro's got a dreadful 3.4L V6 engine with only 160 horses and an even worse 4-speed automatic gearbox. 0 to 60 in this thing takes forever and 5 seconds, and there’s nothing thrilling or exciting about driving it. However, the fact that it’s a Camaro and shares the body with an almost identical V8 version, which is pretty quick, makes its looks noticeable and admirable. It’s a perfect car for someone who loves its style and doesn't care much about driving pleasure, speed, power, acceleration, handling, cornering, drag racing, burnouts, exhaust sound, and all the things we petrolheads (or motorheads) are obsessed with. A V6 would also provide a non-car guy Camaro fan with a lower price and much better MPG.
12 Triumph Spitfire 1962-80
This one looks like a Shelby Cobra, is culled like a fighter aircraft, and goes like a lawnmower. If you thought the 160HP Camaro was dismal, you have here a 1.1L 70HP engine. The fastest version of the Spitfire will reach 60mph in 13.1 seconds, and the slowest in 16.4. Would you believe it if you saw it for the first time? The British design looks absolutely gorgeous, which is actually an Italian design created by Giovanni Michelotti, but if you really want to go somewhere in it, the car isn't for you. Approaching a slight uphill in this car means you're going back home. On the upside, however, the Spitfire is quite light, nimble, and makes a nice noise in the upper range of revs.
11 Pontiac Firebird 1970-78
You just can’t deny that this car looks utterly spectacular. It doesn't shout too much, and it’s almost reserved, which makes it cool on another level, but… the version with a 4.0L inline 6 produces the absurd amount of 112HP! To top that, it’s a 3-speed automatic! It's quite an achievement (although not a good one) to make so little power with such a big engine. Honda S2000 was awarded once for making the most power per liter from an engine, which was 125HP/L. The Firebird should be awarded for the opposite, though, I think. With its 28HP/L. 6.6L V8 version, however, it makes 180HP, if you could call that an improvement, but the 7.5L V8 pumps out 340HP, and that’s what the petrolheads really want to see. If you’re only up for looks, though, the inline 6 Firebird is a magnificent one.
10 Pontiac Solstice 2005-09
What looks like an M3 rival falls more under the 325Ci category. With a 2.4L inline-4 engine, Solstice makes 177HP, and it’s cornering abilities are a little short against a Beemer. The looks, however, are fantastic. It also comes in shiny colors like red, yellow, and green, which gives it a lot of presence on the road. The Solstice is a pretty good way of getting noticed on a budget since it goes for about 9 grand these days. And probably most importantly, women love it! If your thing is pure driving pleasure, on the other hand, you should at least upgrade to the 2.0L turbocharged version, which makes 260HP and flies to 60 from a halt in 5.5 seconds - still not an M3, but good enough.
9 Mitsubishi Lancer 2007-15
A multiple-time WRC (World Rally Championship) winner and an icon of the movie 2 Fast 2 Furious, the Mitsubishi Lancer has proven it’s hard to keep up with, but is it always? This one with 1.5L inline-4 only delivers 109HP, which will neither win you a rally nor allow you to get away from gangsters or whomever you might be running from (yes, even if you fit in the NOS). The gearbox is a 4-speed automatic, so this lancer is just another dreary means of transportation in a shell of a rocket. The chassis is still great, though, and if you manage to somehow get it up to speed, it'll handle itself, but you’re going to need some steep downhills. If Evo is a king of hill climbs, this could be a king of hill rolls.
8 Chevrolet Corvette 1983-96
Mind you, it’s not a V6 but a V8 - 5.7L, in fact, but producing only 208HP. This Corvette didn't beat Firebird for the least amount of power per liter, but it almost did. This version was introduced in 1984, and it's grown progressively stronger since then with ZR1 making 375HP and Callaway pumping 405HP. Still, it looks exactly the same unless you pop the hood. If someone showed up in a shiny red Vette in high school, he’d immediately earn the "coolest kid" badge because no kids would know they could most likely take on that Vette in their dad’s SUV. There are drawbacks to the looks of this car, too. We know Corvettes are cop magnets, and although this one would really have to struggle to exceed the speed limit, it would get pulled a lot. And it's loud, too.
7 Hyundai Veloster 2011-Present
Look at it, and then look at the stats - 1.6L 140HP. I know it’s a hatch, and it doesn't need much power to be fun, but there's a limit. With that engine, the only thing fun about driving it will be the motionless fuel gauge. On the exterior, though, it really is one cheery thing. It has 1 door on one side, and 2 on the other - how fun is that? It’s inviting and gives the impression like it’s constantly ready to go, but you floor it, and a grandpa with a stick would still pass you from the sidewalk. Fortunately, Hyundai made one with a turbocharger, 204HP, and a 6-speed manual gearbox. Now that one is a properly fun hatch inside-out and on the move.
6 Mitsubishi 3000GT/GTO/Dodge Stealth 1990-01
The Mitsubishi 3000GT, the Mitsubishi GTO, and the Dodge Stealth are basically the same car, and with twin-turbocharged V6 engines, 320 stock horses, 4-wheel-drives, and 6-speed manual gearboxes, they fly off the line and through the corners. However, the one in the picture is none of those things. It’s naturally aspirated, can produce 160HP, and has front-wheel-drive and a 5-speed automatic gearbox, but crawling seems to be more of its thing than flying. Despite that, it looks just as fast and as gorgeous as its big brothers. This car is for you if the only thing you want is to look like you’re from the Fast and Furious movie or if you want to throw in a couple of turbos, swap the gearbox to manual, convert it to a 4WD, and make turbo whistle noises day and night.
5 Chrysler Crossfire 2003-08
Judging by the looks of it, this Chrysler Crossfire is ready to take on the Porsche Boxster S, the Honda S200, and the Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG (which it's actually based on), but the reality is that it doesn't stand a chance against the SLK300 even. It has 3.2L V6 with a modest 218 horses. In addition to that, the Crossfire doesn't enjoy corners at all. What it does, though, is look fancy and rich and make the driver appear like he’s doing pretty well in life. Thankfully, you can own the Crossfire and not be trying to show off if it's one of the SRT6 versions with 335HP. SRT saw what we (the car guys) see, threw in a supercharger, gave it new track-loving handling, and made the car into what it had to be in the first place.
4 Mitsubishi FTO 1994-00
Have you ever had a moment when you spotted a sporty-looking car, got excited, went to check it out, and realized it’s a bloody FTO? It sure looks like it could outrun a Civic, at least, but with a 123 HP engine, it really can’t. Couple that with a 4-speed automatic gearbox, and that huge rear wing becomes pointless since you need to go fast for the aero parts to generate downforce. Don’t forget that it’s a front-wheel drive as well, which means no backend hanging-out fun on wet snow, gravel, or any other surface. Mitsubishi has produced this model with a 197 HP V6 and a 5-speed manual gearbox as well, but I don’t think even that's fast enough for those looks. I say get it up to 260HP, give it 6-speed and an RWD, and then we'll talk.
3 Hyundai Coupe/Tiburon 2001-09
Ever since the launch of the Tiburon in 2001, we hoped they would make it as fast as it actually looks. In 2004, Hyundai face-lifted the exterior and made it look even faster but left everything else absolutely unchanged. They did the same in 2007, and in 2009, the Tiburon eventually got replaced by the Hyundai Genesis, which did get the gift of going fast. For 9 years, this car has been rolling around miserably with either a 143 or a 167HP engine, constantly craving for little more. Yet, it never received much-deserved performance upgrades. However, it will always be the genesis of the Genesis, and we’ll always see its smiling face in the tire smoke of the 350HP rear-wheel-drive madness of its son.
2 Subaru Impreza 05-07
A 3-time WRC (World Rally Championship) winner with 155 rally championship victories in total and the star of the movies Baby Driver, Born To Race, Fast & Furious, and Furious 7, this is the Subaru Impreza, everybody! Just like the Mitsubishi Lancer, its looks are directly associated with speed, maneuverability, sport, thrill, and craziness. Also like the Lancer, there's a version of the Impreza that has none of those attributes. It has a 1.5L naturally aspirated boxer engine, 105HP, and takes an eye-watering 13.4 seconds to go from 0 to 60. What this car does is prove it's possible to take an all-wheel-drive Impreza with a manual gearbox and still come dead last in a rallycross event. No one will blame Impreza, though. No matter how much you’ll complain about the car, no one will believe it - because it’s an all-wheel-drive manual Impreza for Christ’s sake!
1 Ferrari 400i 1979-85
Another Ferrari has made the list, unfortunately. It does have a 4.8-liter V12 engine with 315HP, which isn't bad at all, and we could bear the fact that it’s a little overweight; however, the gearbox appears to be an unthinkable 3-speed automatic. Subsequently, it takes 8.5 seconds to reach 60mph, and it’s no good to drive. It’s a relief, though, that this beautiful body hasn't gone to waste, as there's a 5-speed manual version, which knocks off 1.7 seconds and gets from 0 to 60 in 6.8. Amazing how much a gearbox can do! Still, in the unlikely event that you see one drive by, you don’t really have a chance to know whether it’s an auto or a manual, slow or fast, or dismal or amazing because they both look exactly and equally mouthwatering.
Sources: Wikipedia; Top Gear; Car And Driver