Cars are only as pretty as you want them to be. In other words, in order to be objective with a topic as subjective as this, we’re going to look at cars that offer a more unique or unusual look.
This has a way of leveling the playing field, and even cars as common as a Civic can be called beautiful so long as they are particular enough. In cars, beauty is sometimes a kind of accident, where some cars are manufactured to be more aerodynamic than others and as a result has vaulted into a different class of style.
When it comes to combining the new with the old, the Mercedes G-Class is unmatched. It’s got a box style, almost like a Jeep, but has a refined angular quality. It hasn’t skipped a beat in the way of offering new technology and performance.
It’s even available with a V12, which granted has nothing to do with how it looks on the outside, but definitely adds a layer of attraction that can’t be ignored. It’s a simple design for a car that is not simple. In other words, it’s not any fancier than it needs to be.
For a long time, the Mazda MX-5 wasn’t known as a “cool” car, based on its looks. From the beginning until recently, the MX-5 was almost all curves with no aggression at all. Now Mazda has finally taken a step in the right direction with the new MX-5. Its aggression comes out through the sharp edges, and beyond that the design just makes sense. Finally, the Mazda MX-5 looks like a proper sports car.
Car aesthetics don’t get much more Italian than the Alfa Romeo 4C, and that’s certainly not a bad thing, especially considering Italy produces some of the finest looking machines. The 4C at first glance seems like a random assortment of characteristics, but upon closer inspection, that is not the case.
These characteristics aren’t random at all, but rather fit together as a unique ensemble where you have things like big scoops behind the doors, but have contours that extend to the hood and to the front of the car, dividing the bumper into three grills. The wheels are even divided into circles. It’s almost a kind of hybrid, with similarities to the Ferrari 458 and Enzo, and when it comes to cars’ aesthetics those are two prime examples that are among the best looking.
Built as a homologated rally car, the Ford RS200 was a 2,300 pound wild animal with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing more than 400 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque. It has an unusual bug-eye look and is very unassuming, however, is the prime example of a wolf in sheep's clothing.
AWD and the balance of its mid-mounted engine meant this car was formidable in a race setting. The production version of the car is without the massive spoiler pictured here but retains the modest fin that sticks out above where a normal car's trunk lid would be. The flat panels, hood scoops, wheels, and slightly curved box-shape place this car sometime between the 80s and 90s, proving to be in a class of its own.
The SLS AMG is the definition of a modern classic roadster. With its snout stretching past the horizon, the SLS defines itself visually as a car that belongs whenever it wants to, and that's not a typo. While its power is less than even the Corvette C7 at 420 out of a 6.2-liter V8, the prowess that comes with it is unmatched.
As an air of pretention is a permanent keychain when you buy this car, what with its custom paint options, you won't care much when you're driving it.
The new generation C7 Corvette deviated significantly from its predecessor the C6 but kept the Corvette shape. It’s as if each body part were bent at a certain angle. It works, because the C7 Corvette Stingray is advancing the platform into the supercar realm, especially when the Z06 is producing horsepower numbers in the vicinity of 650.
That's more than the Lamborghini Huracan Performante. Of course, the Corvette has a long way to go before it’s putting lap times down competitive with those of the Performante, but more horsepower always allows for more progress.
As a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and McLaren Automotive, the SLR McLaren with its $500,000 price tag sought to disrupt the supercar world and disappeared almost as quickly as it had come along. With a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 the SLR McLaren produced around 617 horsepower and only had a 5-speed transmission, which seems like a small amount, at least today.
Besides that, it was extremely heavy at almost 4,000 pounds. With underwhelming performance especially for its price, the SLR McLaren takes a back seat against modern supercars. Be that as it may, there's no denying the obscure look that was offered by the SLR McLaren. It's quite aggressive with the front sweeping down from the windshield into a point, the exhaust coming out the side of the car behind the front wheels, and the wheels looking like airplane propellers in motion.
Designated as a "track day" car, the Ferrari FXX was only available to a select few current and post-Ferrari owners. Less than 40 were made, one of which set aside to commend Michael Schumacher's remarkable efforts as a five-time consecutive world champion for the Ferrari Formula 1 motor racing team. The FXX was a mutation of the Enzo, with 6.3-liters of V12 ferocity and about as much horsepower as the F1 cars of its day. At first glance, the FXX presents itself rather modestly, however upon closer inspection, the cleverly placed aerodynamic aids create for the car a stanza of nuanced, majestic romance.
Even after buying the FXX, owners could only drive the car on a private race track on specific track days approved by Ferrari. This was because there was a lot of new technology in the FXX, specifically with its semi-automatic gearbox, that was derived from the F1 team's R&D and Ferrari wanted to keep it under wraps. The car even came with custom-built racing slicks. Another version of the FXX was also released, called the FXXK where the K stands for Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS). This system also comes from F1 technology, as an electric motor producing almost 200 extra horsepower that drivers can use by pressing a button on the steering wheel, and is regenerated via braking.
If for nothing other than unadulterated insanity, the 2009 Pagani Zonda R makes the list for the sheer noise it creates, even while it’s turned off. The aerodynamics, coupled with racing slicks that come stock on its magnesium wheels establish this car as one that doesn’t care about anything except going as fast as possible. Even the interior is stripped down, where thin leather straps are what are used to pull the doors closed from the inside.
Quad exhaust tips are uniquely grouped together straight out of the back of the car, instead of underneath. A giant wing dominates the car’s stance, and giant holes in the bonnet (on the front of the car) steal onlooker’s gaze. It’s no wonder why there were only 15 of these made. For pure attitude and speed, the Zonda R is possibly one of the best looking cars ever made.
Like always, a car’s aesthetics are purely subjective, but these 9 cars were ones that offered something either unique or new, and in some cases were transformative. What are some of the best looking cars in your opinion? Let us know!
Avid Formula 1 fan and motorcyclist, I enjoy chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and long rides to the beach.