Ten of the greatest Super Bowl car commercials of all time

With an average of over 100 million viewers each year, the Super Bowl always has advertisers bringing out the big guns. And for those among us who don't know the difference between a safety and a touchback, those commercials can be one of the most compelling aspects of the annual ritual.

Car companies, in particular, have a long history of making the most of the huge Super Bowl audience by debuting some of the most memorable advertisements that have ever aired on television. So, in preparation for the new batch we'll be seeing this coming Sunday, here's a collection of our favorites from the past.

10. Audi – The Godfather

When Audi created this homage to the quintessential gangster movie to promote its newest sports car, the company managed to make a commercial that was simultaneously funny, a little bit disturbing, and most importantly memorable.

9. Maserati – Strike

This one might start out slow, but it delivers not only with the wicked sound of the third-generation Ghibli's engine, but with an interesting message about hubris in the auto industry as well.

8. Nissan 300ZX Twin-Turbo – Dream

Directed by none other than Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Alien), this dystopian spot has centers around a narrator who explains that in his dream the bad guys are unable to catch him despite their best efforts by way of street bikes, race cars, and supersonic jets. While the twin-turbocharged 300ZX car was certainly a performance powerhouse to be reckoned with in its day, the concept and execution of this one does come off a little bit campy now – but in a good way. Then again, it is a dream, after all.

7. General Motors – Robot

This one is unique in that it's genuinely depressing on a profound level. Who would've thought that the simulated suicide of a lovable, anthropomorphic car-building robot who has fallen on hard times could be such a downer?

6. Nissan – With Dad

Although the debut season of its new LMP1 racer didn't exactly turn out how the team hoped it would, there's no denying that Nissan's depiction of a strained father-and-son relationship that eventually leads to redemption (and the introduction of the 2016 Maxima) tugs at the heartstrings.

5. Volkswagen – Big Day

A surprisingly poignant advert, this one might be low on dialogue but it certainly gets its message across. And just as the dramatic soundtrack begins to lull the viewer into a sense of security, our expectations are upended.

4. Nissan – Toys

This clever spot aimed dead-center for the inner child in all sports car fanatics and hit the bull's eye, with stop-motion animation that was so spot-on that Mattel actually sued Nissan to get the commercial taken off the air.

3. Volkswagen – Unpimp The Auto

In an uncharacteristically scathing (but undeniably German) way, VW simultaneously put both import tuner and MTV culture on notice at a time when it really needed to be done.

2. Chrysler – Imported From Detroit

With the help of Detroit local Eminem, Chrysler decided to address the shortcomings of both Detroit and the domestic auto industry itself in a fairly blunt fashion. With the company having just been brought back from the brink of financial collapse, the commercial was considered a daring move coming from a company that at the time still owed American taxpayers a hefty chunk of change. But it proved to be a smart move on FCA's part, and it's not hard to imagine that some advertising executives consider this commercial to be an integral component of Chrysler's subsequent resurgence.

1. Volkswagen – The Force

While most of us probably wouldn't endorse starting an unmanned vehicle with your child standing directly in front of it, it's difficult to argue with the fact that it makes for an adorable homage to the Star Wars geek in all of us.

Share This Photo X