BMW shocked many of its fans by introducing the 1-Series in 2004. It was the first compact BMW model they designed to fight the VW Golf and other well-known models in the segment. Fortunately, BMW didn’t want front-wheel drive, but they retained the rear-wheel drive configuration – yet only on a smaller scale than the regular 3-Series.
This created a unique driving feel, transforming the economy model into one of the best driving cars in its class. The American customers never got a practical hatchback as the Europeans did, but the 1-Series two-door coupe and convertible were well received here. However, despite having powerful engines through the range, the BMW 1-Series didn’t have a true performance version until 2008 when BMW presented the 1M.
This was the most powerful 1-Series with a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine which delivered 335 HP to the rear wheels over a six-speed manual transmission. The combination of a lightweight body, powerful engine and race-tuned suspension proved fantastically popular. All 1Ms were sold out at the same moment they landed on the showroom floor.
The magazine testers praised its handling, aggressive driving dynamics and sharp steering, promoting the 1M into a true modern classic. BMW first intended to produce only 2,700 examples. But due to immense pressure from the fans, they made 6,309 cars in the end.
And almost immediately, the prices of well-cared 1M cars started rising. Today, this little BMW costs more than it did when it was new. If you get one, hold on to it since it will get more expensive. And if you are planning to buy one, hurry up, since the prices are close to a brand new M4.
Honda introduced the S2000 in 1999 and discontinued it in 2009. So, you could say the S2000 is a ’90s model even though Honda introduced it at the end of the decade. This model was a true driver’s car with all the important features. They included a lightweight construction, ideal weight distribution, powerful and rev-happy engine and razor-sharp handling. And Ford put all of that in an elegant open-top package.
Under the hood was a 2.0 or 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine with 240 HP, which was the main selling point of the car. This little gem of an engine featured a 9,000 rpm red line, four valves per cylinder and the famous Honda V-Tec system. It provided all that power in high rpms and a wonderful screaming sound.
Thanks to intelligent engineering and its light weight, the S2000 had a respectable performance. Also, it had perfect handling, so people universally praised the S2000. During its 10-year production run, Honda sold over 110,000 of these fast little roadsters. This meant you can find one today for an attractive price, at around $6,000.
Look for unmodified examples since stock S2000s will be the most sought-after. However, there is one thing you should know. The S2000 is a small car with limited interior space. So if you are over six feet tall, you will probably have problems fitting inside.
Porsche Cayman GT4
The Boxster/718/Cayman models are one of the best driving cars since the day Porsche introduced them. But the GT4 is something else. For years, there has been a rumor among carf enthusiasts that Porsche deliberately refused to install a 911 flat six engine into the Boxster/Cayman. Word was Porsche was afraid a smaller car would be better than the bigger, legendary and more expensive 911.
Finally, in 2014, Porsche presented the Cayman GT4. It was an all-out factory-prepared sports car with a 385 HP engine straight from the 911 and chassis improvements from the 911 GT3. The Cayman GT4 was practically the best of the Porsche 911 compilation. However, they installed it in a smaller package.
Although the GT4 was a blast to drive and capable of beating some versions of the 911, Porsche was not intimidated. Simply, the 911 is still the king of the lineup despite the Cayman GT4 being a better driving machine. They limited the production of the GT4 to only 1,000 cars as the predicted volume for the North American market.
Unsurprisingly, they sold out in advance. So, hurry up if you want your piece of Porsche excellence. But be prepared to shift your own gears, since the GT4 comes as manual only, as any proper performance car should.
Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
Ford was the first major American car maker to present the retro-looking Mustang. In fact, they started a whole new modern muscle car segment. However, Chevrolet was close behind with the new Camaro, and they presented a better car. Interestingly, the Camaro was bigger and more powerful than the Mustang.
While the fifth generation Mustang still used the archaic live rear axle, the Camaro had a competent chassis with magnetic dampers and an independent suspension. However, this list will not include the V6 and SS Camaros, which are plentiful, although they are quite good. Those cars still need something more to become a modern classic and a future collectible.
The Camaro needs a Z/28 badge on the back and the character that Z/28 Camaro comes as standard. The Z/28 is more of a purebred racing car for the street than the tire burning muscle car most drivers thought it would be. The sharp handling, a race-tuned chassis and suspension, as well as a 7.0-liter high revving V8 transforms the regular Camaro into a world-class sports car.
It can outrun and out handle some of the finest European sports cars. The Z/28 is full of surprises, whether it is trick brakes or special aero package. The whole car is a precision driving instrument an enthusiast will surely appreciate. That is why the Z/28 is a clear future classic and one of the best Camaros ever produced.
Aston Martin V12 Vantage
Back in the early 2000’s, Aston Martin introduced the Vantage. It was an entry-level model with a V8 engine they designed to compete with the Porsche 911. Wearing the signature Aston design, it has a great looking interior. It also has more than enough power from its 4.3-liter V8.
The Vantage proved to be popular and in demand, especially considering that Aston Martin was and still is a limited-production manufacturer. The success of the Vantage inspired the engineers to think further. What if they took the regular V8 Vantage and installed the mighty V12 engine from the top of the line DBS model? There was only one way to find out.
So soon prototypes roamed around Aston’s headquarters. The engineers were surprised at how good the new car turned out to be. The V12 engine with 510 HP totally transformed the nature of this compact sports car. The Vantage turned out to be a British muscle car with fantastic road manners.
The acceleration was brutal, as well as the top speed. The big V12 didn’t affect the weight distribution or balance. In an era of robotized automatic transmissions, the V12 Vantage came with a six, and later seven-speed manual, which proved to be the enthusiast’s choice. This is one of the last old-school sports cars and a definitive future classic with high value.
From the moment they introduced the Lexus in 1989, Toyota’s luxury division has craved recognition and respect. For almost 30 years, Lexus has been trying to be better than any other luxury brand out there. They have covered their lack of heritage and tradition by going over the top in style and technology. However, sometimes, that is not enough.
In the early 2000’s, Lexus management realized they needed a “Halo car.” This was going to be the super luxury, exclusive model they hoped would show the world what Lexus can do. They decided to produce the best sports car in the world. After many years of development, the LFA saw the light of the day in 2010 as a production-ready model.
The heart of the new super capable sports car was a 4.3-liter V10 engine that produced 560 HP. The power went to the rear axle over a special six-speed robotized automatic transmission that shifted fast and accurate. The rest of the car was equally advanced with innovative materials, bespoke components and perfect craftsmanship throughout.
Although the LFA was expensive, it was worth every penny of the $445,000 base price. The magazine testers praised its handling, quality, driving and overall feel, so the verdict was clear. Lexus managed to hit its target with full accuracy and present a future classic. However, despite all that, the car buyers weren’t that eager to give almost half a million dollars for a Toyota, no matter how good it was.
In the end, the Lexus LFA failed to attract the same excitement as similar Porsches or Ferraris. Still, due to its excellence, the LFA will appreciate in the future, so it’s a great investment nonetheless.
Cadillac CTS-V Wagon
For years, Cadillac was without a proper performance series to compete with BMW or Mercedes, until finally, the V-Series was born. It was all that Cadillac lovers dreamed of with its powerful engines and world-class handling. It also came with updated suspension setups and was exclusive in production. Even the competitors took notice when Cadillac rolled up with the new V-Series model.
But the most successful was the second-generation CTS-V model they produced between 2008 and 2014. Under the hood was a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 with 556 HP. It made the CTS-V the most powerful performance sedan on the market. The suspension and the rest of the drivetrain were advanced and up to the task, too.
Car fans considered the CTS-V a full package and one of the best driver’s cars available, which they produced in three body styles. The CTS-V came in a sedan, a coupe, and interestingly, as a wagon, too. But the rarest of the three was the CTS-V Wagon. It shared all mechanic components with the rest of the V-Series models.
However, the wagon body style was something Cadillac buyers didn’t expect. The car was still a blast to drive and extremely fast. However, it was just that the majority of the customers turned to sedans or coupes. That is why the CTS-V Wagon is so rare and a definitive future collectible. So, get yours today while you still can.
Ford F-150 Raptor
Most modern trucks come with powerful engines, 4×4 drivetrains and tough suspensions. So, it was only a matter of time before a company would offer a proper off-road performance truck. And it was Ford in 2010 with the first-generation F-150 Raptor. But today, there is a new and even better Raptor with amazing performance and capabilities.
The 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 delivered 450 HP and 510 lb-ft. It has a 10-speed automatic transmission and sub-five-second acceleration times. The figures suggest this is an exotic supercar; however, this is a full-size pickup truck. It even has room for five people and a regular truck bed behind.
The Raptor is not your ordinary pickup. It is the closest thing to the Baja 1000 racing vehicle drivers can buy today. Everything started in 2010 when Ford introduced the first-generation SVT Raptor. The truck buying public didn’t expect such a move, but they were fascinated by the looks, performance and capabilities.
The idea behind the Raptor was to construct the best, fastest off-road truck money can buy. Ford would do this by installing numerous chassis and suspension upgrades, as well as a powerful engine. But the best thing about the Raptor is Ford basically prepared an extreme off-road truck and gave it a warranty, as well.
With multiple driving modes, a 10-speed automatic gearbox and adaptive suspension, the Ford Raptor is a truck you can take rock crawling, desert crossing or mud dipping. Of course, this is still a normal everyday car because Ford did a great job in combining the toughness of an extreme off-road truck with the usability of a regular modern pickup.
Alfa Romeo 4C
For years, Alfa Romeo needed a halo car; a limited production model to generate hype from car enthusiasts. A limited model could turn the attention of the automotive public to this once glorious brand. After the ultra-exclusive 8C, in 2013, they presented the Alfa Romeo 4C. But nobody expected such a car from Alfa.
The 4C was kind of a “junior supercar” with its carbon fiber tub, lightweight construction, cramped interior and four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Their goal was to make the 4C as light as possible, so there are no power steering components and luxury items. And the result was a fantastically-capable little super sports car with weights under 1000 kg, making there no need for power steering.
The heart of the 4C is the tiny, 1.8-liter engine with a turbocharger that delivers 238 HP to the rear wheels. The performance is as amazing as you would expect. In fact, 0 to 60 mph is possible in 4.7 seconds, while the 4C can top 160 mph. The downside is that the car is extremely wide, yet the interior space is limited.
Also, the ride is harsh since the suspension is tuned to the racetrack instead of the street. The 4C is available in the U.S. and its production is limited. So, if you want a supercar with the fuel economy of a compact and power to weight ratio of a Formula One car, you’d better hurry up.
Ford Mustang Boss 302
Ever since the first retro Mustangs appeared in showrooms across America, Ford fans have asked for the return of the Boss 302. For those who don’t know, Ford introduced the Boss 302 in 1969 as a racing car homologation special intended for Trans-Am races. And 43 years later, Ford revived the Boss 302 with a new 5.0-liter Coyote V8. It delivered 444 HP and 380 lb-ft of torque.
This was an almost pure racing car with no back seats, a factory-installed roll cage, and a host of other external and internal modifications. As you would expect, the performance was better than a regular Mustang GT. The 2012 Boss 302 could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.97 seconds and top 155 mph.
However, the modern Boss 302 was an expensive limited production model when it first came out. And, since it was so good, the demand for well-preserved examples is high. So, the prices are well beyond the average 2012 Mustang GT. So, if you want to become the owner of a new age Boss 302, don’t hesitate, since good examples will not get any more affordable.
Pontiac G8 GXP
In a desperate attempt to revive its performance image, Pontiac decided to import Australian-built Holden cars and re-badge them as Pontiacs. The first was the GTO and the second was the G8.
Pontiac thought that a rear-wheel-drive sedan will help them fight their European competitors. The G8 was a good idea and with Pontiac’s redesign and small-block V8 engines, it was quite an effective performance sedan, too.
The base engine was a solid 3.5-liter V6 delivering 256 HP. But the real deal was the G8 GXP with 6.2-liter V8 and 415 HP. Also, they offered the G8 with high levels of standard equipment, as well as a long list of optional extras.
In the early 2000s, the retro design was the king. Introducing new cars with classic shapes seemed to be the ticket for success. So, Chevrolet thought it would be a great idea to present a retro-styled truck with a sporty feel and a retractable hardtop. Although it sounded like a crazy idea, it may have worked as a lifestyle vehicle for people who wanted a sports car with retro charm and more space.
The Chevrolet SSR looked cool. Also, it had the glorious soundtrack from a small block V8 with around 400 HP and dual exhaust pipes. But the performance wasn’t impressive. In fact, the sprint to 60 mph took around six seconds, but it wasn’t slow, either.
Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
The idea behind the CrossCabriolet was straightforward. Nissan realized that SUVs were becoming luxurious and people were seeking a more personalized product. They wanted to go a step further and present a convertible SUV. It would have all the advantages of an SUV in terms of ride height, comfort and usability.
Yet it would also have all the luxury and open-air feel of a convertible. Nissan wasn’t afraid that nobody tried that idea before. So, in 2011 they presented the CrossCabriolet they based on their popular Murano SUV. Despite the almost bespoke nature of this car and dependable Nissan technology, the CrossCabriolet flopped.
Apparently, there wasn’t a market for SUV convertibles at the moment. But, who knows, maybe there will be in the future. Even so, car fans should recognize the CrossConvertible as a first of its kind. Someday, the surviving examples will be highly desirable and pricey.
BMW M4 CS
BMW introduced the M4 CS in 2017. It was a new version of their epic sports coupe. And it featured numerous improvements over the standard and sublimely capable and fast M4. However, the CS has slightly more power at 460 HP.
It also has different suspension tuning, better brakes and an aerodynamics package. But the CS is somewhat more expensive. BMW limited its production to just 3,000 examples worldwide. So, the M4 CS is a no-brainer when it comes to future collectible cars.
Audi TT RS
They presented the new generation Audi TT in 2016. And it immediately established itself as one of the most advanced, dynamic four-cylinder sports cars on the market. Ever since BMW presented the first TT, this compact sports coupe has redefined the “tiny package – big fun” mantra.
With a 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder producing 400 HP and 354 lb-ft of torque, the TT RS has a crazy power-to-weight ratio and a sublime performance. A 0 to 60 MPH sprint takes just 3.6 seconds for the TT RS. Also, they electronically limited its top speed to 155 MPH. But there is an option of removing the limiter to make the TT RS is capable of reaching 174 MPH.
Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
Chevrolet realized that the Z06 was too much to handle for some buyers, despite its fantastic looks and brutal performance. And the car was close to the limits of the front engine – rear wheel drive configuration with little or no space for improvement. So, that is why they made an interesting hybrid model.
And one car that proved to be one of the best Corvettes they ever made was the 2017 Grand Sport. Chevrolet named it after ill-fated racing Vettes from the early ’60s. The modern Grand Sport has a 460 HP engine from a regular Corvette with wide body and track from the Z06.
This combination proved to be a winning formula. So, the Grand Sport has normal handling and driving dynamics they improved by a wider stance. Yet Chevrolet managed to retain the dramatic looks of the Z06.
Toyota GT 86
Toyota introduced the GT 86 and its twin brother Subaru BRZ, in 2012. And both immediately drew attention from the performance car guys for their raw driving dynamics, low weights, uncompromised handling and lively performances.
For car enthusiasts who want to feel driving dynamics in its purest form, this is the perfect set of wheels. Either will provide much excitement and unparalleled good looks at modest prices. So most people are sure that this car will be a future collectible like the Mazda Miata.
Jaguar F-Type SVR
Decades after Jaguar produced a proper sports coupe, they unveiled the F-Type. It was a crazy and brutally fast muscle car from England with a powerful supercharged V8 and a glorious soundtrack.
However, despite being somewhat heavy for a sports car and rough around the edges, the F-Type is a fantastic car. It is fun to drive, as well as a properly fast machine. And because future generations will appreciate those characteristics, this Jag will have a solid fan base in the future.
These are the top most interesting future classics. If any of these cars catch your fancy, you’d better get one quick. They are sure to become more expensive and rarer in time.