We're lucky to be living in one of the greatest car eras. I know that not everyone will agree with this assessment. Traffic and safety laws are strict, and there are more traffic jams than ever. In addition, environmental preservation is a high priority in most countries. It’s all about the environment and fuel efficiency. Every day, more cars are coming with electric engines. Thanks to new technologies, automakers are getting closer to providing us with cars that can reliably drive themselves. It's not hard to see why car enthusiasts feel frustrated.
On the other hand, we have the most technologically advanced cars ever. Material quality and reliability are at all-time highs. Thanks to modern technologies, you can feel comfortable and drive more easily than ever. Every car class is full of great cars, and you have multiple choices from many automakers. Supercars and sports cars are usually most popular. However, it's hard to judge what cars will become classics.
What makes a certain car a classic? I thought a lot about this and even read opinions of experts and read about cars we consider classics from the past. I've learned that classic cars possess something special that distinguishes them from the other cars in the class, whether that's exceptional power, rarity, great popularity, or everything mentioned. I tried to have a mix of everything on this list—different classes and cars popular for something specific. What's important is that the list is full of cool cars.
21 Honda S2000
The Honda S2000 has a traditional '90s sports-car look. Only, it appeared in the car market in 1999 and lasted until 2009. The S2000 is a true driver’s car. It has a sporty performance and handling with weight distribution that's almost ideal and a very rev-happy engine. The Honda S2000 also has a timelessly stylish look and an open-top for great summer joy.
Under the hood is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower at a fantastic 8,300 rpm.
With so much rev, the sound this engine makes is similar to the Superbike, the MotoGP, or Formula One. In 2004, an updated version had a 2.2-liter engine and a lowered redline to 8,000 rpm for more enjoyment and less noise. The S2000 also has a fantastically precise six-speed manual gearbox.
20 BMW 1-Series M Coupe
We're not talking about the spectacular mid-engined M1 supercar of the '70s. It's about the weakest M-badged car that BMW made. I'm writing about the second-generation M1 from 2011. At first, the plan was to produce fewer than 3,000 copies, but BMW ended up making more than 6,300 cars.
Today, the M1 is so popular that you can hardly find one for less than $50,000. The reason is simple—the BMW M1 is incredibly fun to drive.
Originally, it was much cheaper than the M3 or the M5 with similar fun factor and quality. BMW took the brakes, the wheels, the suspension, and the rear differential from the E92 M3. The twin-turbo straight-six engine is taken from the 335is model. The M1 has a manual gearbox, rear-wheel drive, and a short wheelbase. Therefore, handling is fantastic and natural.
19 Dodge Viper
It's hard to find a car enthusiast who wasn't sad when Chrysler announced that they wouldn't make a new generation of the Dodge. Since it was first introduced in 1992, it was clear it was a special car. Through the years, it became a muscle car and American icon. The Dodge is famous for its massive front V10 engine, which sends power to its rear wheels through a manual transmission. Also, Chrysler put emphasis on Viper's performance. You won't feel very safe or protected from the sheer power of this muscle-car beast. Chrysler made three generations so far with over 100,000 units sold. I think that the second gen was the best in terms of performance and power without electronic to interfere.
18 Mazda RX-8
The Mazda RX-8 was a successor to the third-generation “FD” RX-7. Many people liked the RX-7; it was aggressive, turbocharged, and just not your everyday car. The RX-8 is more relaxed and natural. It has a two-rotor Wankel engine that develops 238 horsepower. The Mazda RX-8 could very well be the last Wankel-powered car in production. The small size of the engine allows it fit behind the front axle for much greater weight distribution. Handling is superb, and the RX-8 can't beat many on the straight road, but it'll catch them in the corners. Unlike its predecessor, the RX-8 has rear seats and provides some comfort. Mazda quickly stopped production in 2012, so this gives the RX-8 exclusivity. It's interesting that Mazda will make an RX-Vision in 2020.
17 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
If any car on this list looks like it’s made especially for petrolheads, its the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. It's interesting that the first-production Hellcat was sold for $825,000 because it was believed it would be a very limited production car. The Hellcat's performance numbers are ludicrous. The engine is a 6.2-liter Hemi V8 with a 2.4-liter supercharger.
It delivers 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. This monster propels SRT Hellcat from zero to 60 in just 3.5 seconds and to a quarter mile in 11.2 seconds.
To me, the Challenger has the best design among modern muscle cars. Dodge didn't want to go through the lighter and sleeker road for Europeans. The Hellcat is wide and robust, as it should. Of course, this isn't a very comfortable or practical car. For around $60,000 you can't really expect that. Many muscle car enthusiasts missed the first muscle era, and they'll definitely want the Hellcat in the future.
16 Ferrari 488 GTB
Every Ferrari one day ends up on collectors' lists. When you're one of the best if not the best road car of today, then achieving classic status in the future is a safe bet. The 488 is another in the line of classic mid-engined V8 Berlinetta Ferraris.
This car has some impressive predecessors, the Dino 308, the F355, the 360 Modena, the F430, and the F458. Yet, the 488 is better in every way.
It's hard to imagine, but the F488 shares its engine with the California. The twin-turbocharged 3.9-liter V8 engine is larger and more powerful than the original. It has 670 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 561 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. The Ferrari 488 GTB accelerates from zero to 60 (100 km) mph in 3 seconds, to 124 mph (200 km) in 8.3 seconds, and to a quarter mile in 10.45 seconds. The Ferrari 488 will get a special Pista version in 2019.
15 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
A Ford Mustang with a Shelby heritage always has a classic potential. The Shelby is based on the Mustang GT. The biggest difference is the 5.2-liter V8 Voodoo engine that produces 526 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to the flat-plane crank technology, this engine can scream to almost 9,000 rpm. This is the first time that a muscle car has such a high-tech and advanced engine. The Mustang can speed up from zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. Ford tried to save as much weight as possible, so don't expect much luxury or many high-tech gadgets. The Mustang drives like the best GT cars in the world. It's a far cry from the Mustangs of the past. In fact, the new Mustang Shelby GT 350 is probably the best sports car Ford has ever made.
14 BMW X6 M
The M-badged X6 is probably the most stylish and the best-to-drive modern compact SUV. The limited off-road capability is compensated by fantastic performance for an SUV vehicle. Under the hood, this X6 M has a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 engine. It's capable of delivering 567 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. BMW's xDrive all-wheel system, electrically assisted steering, and eight-speed automatic transmission are all standard.
The BMW X6 M can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in a fantastic 3.8 seconds.
This is faster than many sports cars and even supercars. Of course, driving a high and robust SUV crossover isn't as great as driving lighter high-performance cars. Since it's BMW, this SUV is also luxurious and comfortable. BMW even offers an Eco mode that makes this car a rare fuel-efficient SUV.
13 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Another sure bet for becoming a future classic car is the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Evo has a fantastic racing heritage, and it's very likely that Mitsubishi will never make such a great car. Lancer history actually began in the '80s when the Mitsubishi finally found their place in the automotive market. They created the Galant VR-4, a turbocharged, all-wheel-drive rally car. They didn't have any success until 1992, when the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution was introduced. Evo has a battle-hardened, iron-block 4G63T 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. It's not hard to find the 500-horsepower RS version of this engine. Rally legend Tommi Mäkinen won four consecutive World Rally Championships (1996-99) driving the Evo III to the Evo VI. Sadly, the days of rally glory are long gone for Mitsubishi. In 2015, Mitsubishi stopped the production of the last Lancer Evolution X.
12 Porsche 918 Spyder
We must have one million-dollar, 900 hp hybrid hypercar on the list. Ferrari LaFerraris or the McLaren P1s are great cars but the much cheaper, still available, and fantastic-to-drive option is the Porsche 918 Spyder. The Hybrid engine is created from the Le Mans class-winning RS Spyder. It has a DOHC 32-valve 4.6-liter V-8 engine. For its construction, aluminum is used for block and the heads, titanium for the connecting rods along with the lightweight nickel-based alloys.
The 918's V8 delivers 608 horsepower. When you add extra power from the two electric motors, you get a total of 887 horsepower and 944 lb-ft of torque.
This propels the 918 from zero to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds and to a quarter-mile in just 10 seconds. The Porsche 918 Spyder is the first production car that recorded an under seven-minute lap at Nürburgring.
11 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
The Raptor is the first high-performance off-road truck in mass production. This pickup instantly became a hit upon its debut in 2010. In the same year, the Raptor won the famous Baja 1000 desert race. There's a feeling that Ford didn't utilize the Raptor's popularity or full potential. The F-150 SVT only had a four-year production run. Still, low production and 2014 special editions will affect its potential classic status, as well as off-road capabilities and many great features. At first, the Raptor had a 5.4-liter V-8 engine, which was later replaced by a 6.2-liter one. Its most impressive features are Torsen front differentials and front-facing cameras that improve its already great off-road capabilities. Even people who aren't fans of pickup trucks, like me, can appreciate the Raptor.
10 Nissan GT-R
This is a car I'm 100% certain will become a future classic. It's already an icon of the Sony PlayStation generation. The Nissan GT-R is a star of many video games and movies. The most famous is the Gran Turismo game series. Polyphony Digital (GT game developers) designed the Nissan GT-R’s performance menu screen. Nissan even has a GT Academy that transforms gamers into racing drivers. The R35 GT-R from 2008 was the model that started all of the hype. Its looks aren't inspiring, but the Nissan GT is incredibly powerful and has the ability to make average drivers look incredible on a racing track.
It has a 3.8-liter V6 engine that delivers more than 500 horsepower.
The Nissan GT-R goes from zero to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds. In 2015, there was a special NISMO version that had 600 horsepower with a 2.9-second 0-to-60 capability.
9 Aston Martin V12 Vantage
When Aston Martin introduced the Vantage, it was an entry-level model. Like in every Aston Martin, the design was superb, and the interior was luxurious and comfortable. The Vantage is a very good sports car. Its 4.3-liter V8 engine provided it with more than enough power. What's most important is that it became extremely popular. This success inspired Aston Martin to try something more with this compact sports car. Therefore, the second generation got a mighty V12 engine from a premium DBS model.
This AM11 V12 engine delivers 510 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque.
Despite the big engine, the Vantage has a great weight distribution. The Vantage can reach 62 mph in around 4 seconds with a top speed of 190 mph (306 km/h). Aston Martin put only a manual transmission in the Vantage, first with six and then later with seven speeds. This makes the Vantage one of the last old-school natural sports cars.
8 Lexus LFA
Since 1989, Lexus has tried to be the best luxury brand in the world. Their cars are always equipped with the latest technology. Lexus cars are also modern and stylish looking. This covers for their lack of heritage. People from Lexus weren't satisfied with that. Therefore, in 2010, they decided to make the most extravagant and luxurious car they ever made. This new car was the Lexus LFA. At its heart is the Lexus 4.8-liter V10 engine that develops 560 horsepower at 8,700 rpm.
The LFA speeds up from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds with a launch control.
This car has an incredibly fast six-speed automatic transmission. The handling and the quality of the craftsmanship are phenomenal. The Lexus LFA isn't as cool as Porsches or Lamborghinis, but it's a fantastic sports car, and people will appreciate it in the future.
7 Alfa Romeo 4C
The Alfa Romeo 4C is an incredibly beautiful limited-production model. It came after the exclusive and equally gorgeous Alfa Romeo 8C. While the 8C was luxurious as well as powerful, the 4C is all about driving experience. The Alfa Romeo 4C weighs just under 1,000 kg, so don't expect much luxury this time. Because of its low weight, the 4C doesn't need a powerful engine or power steering. Therefore, the Alfa Romeo 4C has a tiny turbocharged 1.8-liter engine that delivers 238 horsepower to the rear wheels. So, acceleration is pretty good—4.7 seconds from zero to 60 mph with a top speed of 160 mph. Drivers should be aware that its suspension is set for the race track, not the streets. The Alfa Romeo 4C is fast, sporty, stylish, exclusive, and even fuel-efficient. In the 4C, Alfa definitely has a future classic.
6 Ford Mustang Boss 302
The original Boss 302 was made in 1969 as a homologation special intended to race in the Trans-Am racing series. Some 43 years later, Ford made a modern Boss 302 model. Again, this car is a pure racer with a factory-installed roll cage, a Spartan-looking interior, and no back seats.
Under the hood is a brand new 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine. This engine delivers 444 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque.
The Boss accelerates from zero to 60 in 3.97 seconds with the top speed of 155 mph. As you can see, the Boss 302 is more powerful than a regular Mustang GT. The Boss is also a limited-production model. Therefore, demand is very high, and already, a second-hand Boss has a huge price. There's a little doubt the Ford Mustang Boss 302 will be a future classic.
5 Pontiac Solstice Coupe
Franz von Holzhausen (later in Mazda and in Tesla) designed this great-looking car. It was presented in both coupe and roadster forms at the Detroit Auto Show in 2002. While the roadster arrived in 2005, the coupe arrived in the car market very late in 2009. This was a problem because GM’s bankruptcy shut the Pontiac division down in the same year. The basic version was equipped with a 2.4-liter V4 engine that produced 177 horsepower. A special GXP version (that will be a collector's jewel) comes with the turbocharged 2.0-liter V4 engine. It has 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Using a five-speed manual gearbox, the Solstice is capable of speeding up from zero to 60 mph in 5.2-seconds. Its interior is tight with compromised visibility. In addition, every Solstice coupe came with an unpractical Targa top. Still, this is best-looking Pontiac in decades. Plus, it's exclusive and therefore a possible classic.
4 Subaru WRX STI Hatchback
The Subaru WRX has a fantastic racing heritage. For this reason, many car enthusiasts will be saddened that Subaru announced they wouldn't make WRX models anymore. Probably, the most popular is the third-generation STI, debuting right before the factory team in WRC was killed in 2008. Still, the last generation (fourth) is slightly better, and it presents the last hurrah of the WRX STI. The engine is the same turbocharged 2.5-liter flat four. You have famous SI-DRIVE settings and an electronically adjustable center differential at your disposal. However, the Hatchback has a shorter body, has more space in the trunk, and is a bit lighter. It's also faster by 3 mph. The point is that the Subaru WRX STI Hatchback is a fantastic rally car for the road. The WRX STI is wanted for its spectacular performance and all-wheel drive, not its looks or its practicality.
3 Jaguar F-Type
The F-Type is the best car Jaguar has made in a long time. The F-Type is a fantastic-looking sports car with great performances. Jaguar used its popularity well; in just five years, many versions hit the market. To be exact, there were 24 distinct F-type versions with four cylinders and $65,000 separating each other. The most powerful and unique is the Project 7 that's based on the F-Type Convertible.
Along with the SVR, the Project 7 is Jaguar's most powerful production car ever. It has a 5.0-liter V8 supercharged engine that has 575 horsepower.
The Project 7 goes from zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. As an homage to the D-type that won LeMans, the body is made of 100% aluminum. The Jaguar F-Type is simply a fantastic car inside and out, and I have no doubt that one of those versions will be a future classic.
2 Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray
Every generation must have its classical and unique Corvette. From among the modern ones, it was hard to choose between the C7 Stingray and the ZR1 2019. But since we're still waiting for the ZR1, I'll pick the Stingray. The only drawback for the C7 Stingray is that it's expensive ($180,000), especially for a Corvette. However, the supercar you're getting for this money is fantastic. The Stingray beating heart is a 6.2-liter LT1 V8 that produces 455 horsepower and 460 pound-feet torque. Of course, those numbers are for the basic version from 2013. Every Stingray is equipped with a Z51 performance pack. With it, the Corvette C7 speeds up from zero to 60 in 3.8 seconds. The transmission is offered as a seven-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. Driving a C7 Stingray feels like driving a massive GT car, but it can handle any type of road with ease.
1 Porsche Cayman GT4
Everything has already been said about the legendary 911 and the Cayman/718/Boxster being fantastic cars. Still, the Cayman GT4 is made to be perfect. For years, many car nuts believed Porsche didn't want to put 911's flat-six engine into the Cayman or the Boxster. They were apparently afraid that those cheaper cars would be better than their legendary model. Then, Porsche finally put one in the Cayman GT4 in 2014. This engine delivered 385 horsepower and 310 ft-lb of torque. The chassis is an improved version of the one taken from the 911 GT3. Its handling is fantastic and is probably better than those of any Porsche, with its distinctive mid-engine, its wider tires, and its fixed rear wing and front suspension from the 911 GT3. The Cayman has only a six-speed manual transmission as an option. This is the last Porsche with a natural flat-six engine and a six-speed manual gearbox. It's not the most powerful, but the Cayman GT4 is the ultimate driver's Porsche.
Sources: caranddriver.com; topgear.com; topspeed.com