It’s hard to beat the classics. Unless you give them slick new lines, superpowered engines and air conditioning. These modern luxury and sports cars are all posed next to their vintage forebears. Which would you rather drive? The choice is more difficult than it should be.
Only 464 original BMW 328’s were produced
Hommage released 2011
BMW’s 328 roadster was one of the most remarkable and admired sports cars of its time. It had elegant lines, a powerful engine and an unusually lightweight constructions. In celebration of the car’s 75th anniversary, BMW unveiled the Hommage at the 2011 Mille Miglia race. It was imagined as the car the 328’s original designers, Fritz Fiedler and Rudolf Schleicher, would produce if they had access to modern technology. It won “best in show” at the 2011 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.
12. Bentley Mulsanne
Production began in 2010
6.75 L twin-turbo L Series V8 engine
8-speed ZF 8HP automatic transmission
The Mulsanne is the inheritor of the Arnage’s legacy as Bentley’s flagship car. Here it is shown next to a classic Bentley. The Mulsanne is both highly customizable and highly expensive – they start at $303,000.
11. Mercedes-Benz 300SL / SLS AMG
First produced in 1952 as a racecar
6.2 L M159 V8, DOHC engine
7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission
The 300SL, a gull-winged roadster, was an immediate success when it was debuted in 1954. The American upper-class was enthusiastic about this domesticated version of a Grand Prix racer, and snatched them up when they were released on the market in 1955. At the time, it had the highest top speed of any car.
The SLS AMG is not a direct derivative of the 300SL, but is described by Mercedez-Benz as its “spiritual successor.” Production began in 2010, when its M159 engine was, at the time, “the world’s most powerful naturally aspirated production series engine,” by their own account.
10. Aston Martin Quantum DB9 / DB5
Originally released in 1963
Only 1,023 cars produced
DB9 has 5.9 L V12 engine and 6-speed automatic and manual transmission
The car made famous by James Bond is still fit for an international man of mystery. The DB9, the latest iteration of the Aston Martin coupe, debuted in 2003 at the Frankfurt Auto Show. It has been adapted for racing and also had a 2012 update that featured many design improvements, including a more powerful engine. The DB5, pictured above, played a prominent role in the 1964 film Goldfinger.
9. BMW M4 / M3
M3 produced 1985 – present
M4 debuted February 2014
The M4 is a supercharged version of BMW’s 4 Series. They have a more powerful 3.0 L S55B30 twin turbo I6 engine, better handling and braking, and aerodynamic body enhancements. Weirdly, the M4 has a speaker system that amplifies the live sound of the engine into the car’s interior.
8. Dodge Challenger
Produced from 1959 to present
Manufactured by Mitsubishi 1978 – 1983
Dodge Challengers, made by Chrysler, have gone through three different generations. The Dogdge Silver Challenger was first produced in 1958, and only remained in production for one year. Between 1969 and 1974, the first-gen Dodge Challenger pony car was manufactured with the Chrysler E platform. The second generation Dodge Challenger pony car was rolled out in 1978, and production stopped in 1983. The new generation was intro’ed in 2008 and is still in production.
7. Maybach Zeppelin / Maybach 62
62 has 5.5 L 5,513 cc (336 cu in) V12 or 6.0 L 5,980 cc (365 cu in) V12 engine
5-speed automatic (5G-TRONIC) transmission
Maybach was originally founded in 1909 by Wilhelm Maybach and his son. The brand is now owned by Daimler AG, and despite Rick Ross’s best efforts, the Maybach line of cars had its production suspended in 2012. Daimler is, however, set to debut the “Mercedes-Maybach” in 2016.
6. Porsche 911
Originally produced in 1963
One of the oldest sports cars still in production
The Porsche 911 is one of the all-time greatest classic sports cars. In the 1999 Car of the Century poll, it ranked #5. It’s been modified successfully for a number of racing applications, and is unusual in its use of a rear-engine layout. The engine was originally air-cooled, but is now water-cooled. By the car’s 50th anniversary in 2013, an estimated 820,000 911’s had been sold.
5. Ford Mustang
Produced 1964 – present
An American classic, the Mustang has undergone six generations of changes. It was originally based on the Ford Falcon, a compact car, and the first Mustang was a four-seater. By the time it launched to the public in 1965, it had evolved into a two-seater. The launch was Ford’s most successful since they released the Model A in 1928. The Mustang has had lots of famous faces behind its wheel, including Steve McQueen in Bullitt and Sean Connery in Diamonds are Forever.
4. Land Rover Defender
Launched in 1948
Off road vehicle
The Land Rover Defender is a British classic. It was in production for 67 consecutive years, and there were three different models produced, the most recent being the Land Rover Discovery. They were originally called the Land Rover Ninety and the Land Rover One Ten, the numbers signifying the wheelbase in inches. Production ended in December of this year.
3. Rolls Royce Wraith
Only 492 original Wraiths were ever manufactured
The first Wraith was produced in 1938. It was revamped in 2013, and based off of the chassis of the Rolls-Royce Ghost. The car is a little more substantial than the name implies – it was given a 6,592 cc (402.3 cubic in) BMW N74twin-turbo V12 engine and a ZF 8HP transmission 8-speed automatic transmission. If you want to haunt the road in a Wraith, starting price is around 230,000 pounds.
2. Corvette Stingray C2 / C7
C2 introduced in 1963
C7 introduced in 2014
C7 has 6.2 L LT1 V8 or 6.2 L LT4 Supercharged V8 engine
Manufactured by GM, the C7 iteration of the Corvette Stingray was unveiled at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Its 455 horsepower engine allowed it to accelerate from zero to sixty in a mere 3.8 seconds. The most current and advanced Stingray, the Z06 Convertible 8A, can do it in 3.1.
1. Audi RS 4
Longitudinal front engine
Quattro permanent 4-wheel drive
The RS 4 is a compact executive car that is only produced in limited numbers. The initials in the name stand for “RennSport,” German for “racing sport.” It’s gone through three different remodels.