As governments around the world start instituting restrictions on petrol and diesel cars, many classic car enthusiasts are wondering what the future of their beloved vehicles will be.
We’ve identified a few modern models that are set to become classic cars. Their bold designs and motorsport pedigree are sure to appeal to enthusiasts of the next generation.
The i8 isn’t your typical sports car, but that’s exactly what makes it so appealing. Its low nose, bold color combinations, and wild buttresses create a sense of drama that’s hard to match. Even after a mild facelift in 2018, which also brought a Roadster variant, the i8 still remains a truly exotic and futuristic-looking car. That said, it’s not without its shortcomings. The i8 is underpowered by today’s standards, with a combined output of only 369 horsepower. It’s enough to get it from 0-60 in just over 4 seconds, and its top speed is limited to 155 mph.
It’s not clear what will replace the i8, but BMW has teased a next-generation model with the Vision M Next concept from 2019. If it’s as good as this concept, we can expect a massive power increase, a much larger all-electric driving range, and updated styling.
Like the current i8, the new model will be a two-seater. Front-seat occupants can enjoy plenty of space for their feet and legs, but storage spaces and cargo capacity are minimal compared to its luxury competitors. The i8’s interior design is unique, with a mix of traditional BMW elements and futuristic accent pieces.
Since it first bowed in 2011, the fourth-generation Toyota Yaris has proved that small cars aren’t just practical; they can be desirable as well. This hatchback, which reverted to the Yaris name in 2020, combines premium engineering with segment-defying standard features and an audacious design that defies conventions.
For starters, this new Yaris is 37 percent stiffer than its predecessor thanks to the adoption of a stronger GA-B platform – essentially a downsized version of the one underpinning the latest C-HR and Corolla. That gives it the sort of sturdiness that defies its entry-level ‘entry-level’ label and price tag.
The MacPherson strut front suspension and responsive torsion beam rear setup deliver a sport sedan driving experience that feels surprisingly direct and mature at Nan speeds, despite the car’s hefty pricing. And while the Yaris can feel a little fractious over potholes and expansion joints, it never feels overly sloppy or numb.
The Icon and Design trims come with 16in alloy wheels that give the Yaris a firm ride. But even with that, the car still tracks minor road contours and jostles you around less than rivals like the Honda Jazz and VW Polo do. The Excel and GR Sport, on the other hand, feature 17-inch and 18-inch wheels, respectively. This makes the ride a little harsher and causes the Yaris to jar more over expansion joints and potholes.
Porsche GT4 RS
Amid the buzz of electric cars, the Porsche GT4 RS is a reminder that there’s still plenty of life left in traditional gas-powered sports cars. A fitting sendoff for the 718 Cayman, this car is packed with a big-boy GT3 engine, legit race-car suspension, and usable aerodynamics. It’s also the best-driving model of its kind.
This rogue incarnation of the Porsche Cayman gets a special version of its PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission that delivers instantaneous power delivery and crisp response. In Car and Driver testing, it can accelerate to 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds, a figure that rivals some 911 models. It’s also half a second quicker than the standard GT4 with the same gearing.
We recently drove the GT4 RS at Lime Rock Park, an iconic road course in northwest Connecticut. The 1.6-mile track is natural for discovering the limits of high-performance cars like this, with its varying corners and steep elevation changes. The GT4 RS lives its best life as a track-oriented car, and that’s how we used it. It comes with features rarely found on street-legal cars, including center-lock wheels and a front wing adjustable through three settings. Its smooth underside is free of bracketry and directs air through a massive diffuser.
The 2023 BMW M2 is a small but mighty little car. It might be a little bigger than the original 1M coupe, but it’s no less ferocious. It’s a brash little performer that will scream its way around a racetrack with an eagerness that could shake a hole in your eardrums.
Its turbocharged inline-six cranks out a hefty 453 horsepower, which should easily get you to sixty in a matter of seconds. Its handling is epic, too – it grips like a pair of pliers and turns with a precision that seems to be wired directly into your brain.
Its front sport seats are snug but have plenty of adjustability, so you can find a comfortable position for your weekly grocery run or tedious commute. The rear seat is tight for adults, though. Visibility is decent, and the infotainment touchscreen features BMW’s newest dual-screen setup.
For those with a penchant for luxury sports cars, the Jaguar F Type has always been one of the most desirable models on the market. This prestigious car combines muscular engines with power transmission technology to deliver supreme performance, and it has a state-of-the-art AWD system that delivers all the traction you need when driving off-road or on the highway.
Unsurprisingly, the F-Type is a popular choice for luxury buyers as it blends opulent materials with a high level of technology, and its design draws inspiration from Jaguar’s historic heritage. The F-Type’s flashbacks are clear to see throughout the vehicle, and it also manages to exude a sense of purposeful aggression thanks to its assertive profile.
The F-Type’s handling is a true benchmark for driver-focused sports cars. Its double wishbone front and rear suspension, as well as meticulously tuned EPAS, provide outstanding agility that makes the Jaguar F-Type a joy to drive. Even the more powerful V8 models manage to handle rougher roads with a degree of comfort that is surprisingly good for such high-performance vehicles.
However, the Jaguar’s infotainment system can sometimes feel old hat, and it doesn’t respond to inputs as quickly as other modern systems. As a result, it might be worth looking for a model that comes with a Meridian audio system.
The dinky Alpine A110 is an instant attention grabber – usually greeted with bewilderment by those who don’t know its roots in rallying or parent company Renault’s Formula One connections. But those who do see it as a breath of fresh air among rivals like the Porsche 718 Cayman or Audi TT.
The A110’s diminutive size, lean weight, and specific suspension tuning make it very well suited to road use. Quick steering and that mid-engined layout engender agility, while the A110 R adds more power and bespoke aero to improve its capabilities on the track.
On the road, our sat nav-equipped A110 S is super comfy over base and GT form bumps. The central seven-inch screen has finally been updated to support CarPlay and Android Auto, which makes navigating podcasts and making calls far less of a chore than I expected it would be.
The A110 is a capable track-day car out on a racetrack, but not an exceptional one. Despite the 300hp on offer it struggles to extract all of the potential from the Michelin Cup 2 track tires and bespoke chassis hardware. Visibility is a real issue with its tiny rear screen and thick roof pillars.
The Gladiator is a pickup with some unique features that separate it from the rest of the pack. With its massive frunk, a power-to-go system with 800 ft-lbs. of torque and solar charging capability, the Gladiator is a true off-road warrior.
Despite its impressive capabilities, the Gladiator is still a bit of a niche player. Its midsize rivals, the Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma, enjoy much higher sales volumes. The Gladiator has stiff competition from a redesigned 2021 Honda Ridgeline as well.
Fiat Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment system runs the show inside the cabin, and it looks and feels like a premium piece of tech. The system comes with a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto compatibility, plus a unique Off-Road Pages app that displays vehicle information and controls for things like the front camera (if equipped).
With impressive capabilities and a rugged design, the Gladiator is a great choice for anyone looking for a new midsize pickup. Stop by our dealership today to take a test drive. We proudly serve drivers from Bettendorf, Iowa, Rock Island, Illinois, and Moline, Illinois. Thank you for reading, and we look forward to your visit!