These cars and trucks won't soon go out of style
Some cars never go out of style. It’s rare, but it happens. They get old. They get depreciated. But they never get uncool.
Some might call them modern or instant classics. Within a few years they’re no longer the latest and greatest, no longer the flavor of the month, but they remain special. Eternally special. Timeless.
These cars aren’t necessarily going to be worth a fortune someday. However, they probably won’t depreciate as rapidly or as far as other models. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. These are the cars car guys will always find desirable. They’re the cars you end up shopping on eBay late at night 10 years later. They’re the cars that will forever excite you when you spot a clean one in traffic or in a parking lot.
Some recent examples are the Audi RS4. Or the BMW E36 M3. Or the Mercedes-Benz 500E, the one from 1992 to 1994. From America, it’s the C6 Corvette Z06, Hummer H3 T, and the Cadillac CTS-V Wagon, bonus if it’s a manual. Maybe the Shelby Mustang GT500. And of course the Ford GT. The Japanese and the British build them too. Jaguar XK R, with the supercharged V8, Subaru Legacy GT Wagon, the one with the hood scoop, and the Honda S2000 certainly qualify.
So we started thinking, what 2018 models will be forever cool? Which new cars and trucks on sale today will we be shopping on eBay late at night in 2028? Work on a list began with only one rule: The vehicle has to have an MSRP under $100,000. Any more than that and it’s just too easy.
We came up with list of 13; 11 cars, two pickups, and two SUVs. Here they are in alphabetical order.
Updated February 26, 2018
2018 Alfa Romeo 4C
The purest and prettiest sports car on the market, the rear-drive, two-seat, mid-engine 4C is a lightweight Italian beauty with the performance to back up its style. From its carbon-fiber monocoque to its twin-clutch six-speed transmission to its spartan interior and lack of power steering to save weight, the 4C just oozes cool. And since it weighs about 2500 pounds, its 237-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine rockets the bambino Alfa to 60 mph in just over 4 seconds.
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2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Alfa’s new sedan, the Giulia, comes in two flavors: perishable and timeless. If you want timeless, you buy the Quadrifoglio, which means four-leaf clover in Italian. In Car Guy Speak it means frickin’ cool. The drop-dead gorgeous, rear-wheel-drive four-door is new competition for the BMW M3 and its merry band of bootlickers. The Alfa brings to the fight carbon-fiber bodywork, including its roof, active aerodynamics, and a 505-hp twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 paired with an eight-speed automatic. Even carbon ceramic brakes are available. Zero-to-60 mph is done in under four seconds. And Alfa says the Quadrifoglio tops out at an awesome 191 mph.
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2018 BMW M2
On BMW’s own website it says the M2 is “Not for the faint of heart.” The latest hot rod engineered for speed by the German luxury brand's legendary M performance division, the rear-wheel-drive BMW M2 is a turbocharged and track-ready high-performance luxury coupe. It’s also BMW's purest modern-day sports car. And you gotta love its wide hips and bulldog stance. Powered by a twin-turbocharged, all-aluminum 3.0-liter inline-six with a 7,000-rpm redline that makes 365 horsepower, 0-60 mph takes just 4.2 seconds. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and it’s absolutely the one to get.
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2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
This one’s a no-brainer. Take the new lighter version of the Camaro and add a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that makes 650 hp and a head-spinning 650 lb-ft or torque. Then you add a hood bulge that reminds of the L-88 Corvettes of 1968 and 1969, and you make it available as a coupe or a convertible. A six-speed manual with active rev matching is standard or there’s an available 10-speed automatic. What’s not to like? It’s the most powerful Camaro ever and it zings to 60 mph in about 3.5 seconds. Quarter-mile runs are deep in the 11s. And it’s rear-drive for proper powerslides and burnouts.
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2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
First Chevy made its small Colorado pickup good. Now, with the 2018 Colorado ZR2, it’s making it forever cool. And the recipe is as old school as it comes. Add tall, long-travel suspension for off-road capability and tough stance. Add wheelwell flares and a blacked-out hood dome that looks like it came from the Camaro parts bin, and then you put the spare tire in the bed just like Baja 1000 winner Rob MacCachren. Power comes from a 306-hp 3.6-liter V6 or a 2.8-liter turbo diesel and an eight-speed automatic.
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20187 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
Can you really have a list like this without a Corvette on it? The C7 has proven its legs for a few years now, and unlike some previous iterations of Chevy’s two-seater, the seventh generation will be eternally cool. We almost went with the almighty Z06, but it’s the new-for-2017 Corvette Grand Sport that we think will have the longest legs. It’s basically a Z06, same body, suspension, and interior, but it’s powered by the 460-hp naturally aspirated 6.2-liter LT4 V8 that also comes in the entry-level Stingray model. It’s a perfect combination of style, performance, daily drivability, and price, and it's available as a coupe or convertible.
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2018 Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat
Duh. With their supercharged 6.2-liter V8 making 707 hp, they’re the most powerful American cars ever. And they just exude cool. Sure we’re cheating a bit lumping the two-door Challenger and four-door Charger together, but they’re essentially the same cars mechanically. Rear-drive monsters you can drive every day. And one of the two, the Charger, is a family-friendly option, with a large backseat and trunk. It defines cool dad. And the Challenger is available with a six-speed manual transmission, which takes the cool factor up a few notches.
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2018 Ford Focus RS
The new king of the hot hatches is worthy of this list. The Ford Focus ST is good, but the RS is a whole new beast with a driver-adjustable all-wheel-drive system (which includes a Drift setting for sideways fun), Brembo brakes, a six-speed manual, an adjustable suspension, and a 350-hp 2.3-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost four-banger. Zero-60 mph takes just 4.6 seconds. Plus it’s wrapped in a tough-guy suit. Time will tell, but this may go down in history as the pinnacle of hot rod hatchbacks. It's the Renault R5 Turbo and Clio V6 of our generation.
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2018 Ford Raptor
The first-generation Raptor has proven cool from day one to this day. We have no reason to believe the all-new second generation of Ford’s super bad, off-road-ready F-150 pickup will be any different. Five-hundred pounds lighter than its predecessor, thanks to an all-aluminum body and bed, the new four-wheel-drive Raptor uses Fox Racing Shox, which are a big deal in the off-road aftermarket, and has a driver-adjustable Terrain Management System with six settings, including Street, Baja, Mud, and Sand. The big news, however, is the powertrain. Bye bye V8, in favor of a twin-turbocharged all-aluminum 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 making 450 hp and backed by a 10-speed automatic transmission.
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2018 Ford Shelby GT350
Conceptually modern and packed with technology, but it’s this Mustang's old-school cool that will keep it on our wish lists for the next decade and beyond. First of all it’s a Shelby. But it’s also powered by a naturally aspirated V8 – no turbos or superchargers here. Just an all-aluminum 5.2-liter V8 with a flat-plane crank and a redline over 8,000 rpm. It makes 526 hp and it’s bolted to a six-speed manual transmission which is connected to only its rear wheels. It goes like stink, looks like sex, and sounds like a superbike. Eternally cool.
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2018 Jaguar F-Type S
This is the BMW Z3 Coupe 3.2 of the modern era. Little brother to the big dog, so it flies a bit under the radar, but it’s absolutely cool and will remain so for those that know. The beautiful F-Type S is available as a coupe or convertible. Power comes from a 380-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V6. All-wheel drive is available. Don’t get it. Choose AWD and Jag forces you into the eight-speed automatic. Stick with the rear-wheel drive. Then you get a choice of transmissions, either the automatic or a six-speed manual. Zero-60 mph takes about 5 seconds.
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2018 Land Rover Evoque Convertible
After the Nissan Murano lost its roof and its dignity, our hopes were low for the convertible version of Land Rover’s little Evoque crossover. Wrong. It’s cool. And, like its more retro brother the Defender 90, it will remain cool. They’re not going to sell a ton of these things, so they’ll also remain scarce. They’ll remain an event. You’ll see one and you’ll wonder why droptop SUVs never really became a thing. It’s different, but its attractive, both with its top up and especially with its top down. In 10 years everyone will want one of these from the surf spots of Malibu to the snowy plains of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
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2018 Porsche 911
This is the most expensive vehicle on this list. And there’s a very slight risk that the new turbocharged engines won’t stand the test of time. However, every 911 Porsche has ever built, with the possible mulligan that is the 996 generation, has started cool and remained cool. The 911 defines automotive timelessness. Hell, it invented it. And the 2017 model is a masterstroke of style, luxury, performance, and daily-driving awesomeness. The base rear-wheel-drive 911 Carrera packs 370 hp and has three pedals. Zero-60 mph in 4.4 seconds. Get the coupe.
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2018 Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86
We’re cheating again, but you get two for one. The Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 twins are the least expensive cars on this list. And they may be the most fun. For about $25,000, you get a small rear-wheel-drive coupe that weighs less than 3,000 pounds and packs 205 hp thanks to the Subaru-designed and -built 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine. A six-speed manual is standard, but there’s an optional automatic for folks with no soul. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s so fun to bang on it’s absolutely the most special car you can buy for less than $30,000.
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2018 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro
Toyota’s authentic and capable 4Runners are always on the Cool Wall, but the TRD Pro version is Sub Zero. Ready for the rough, this five-passenger, four-wheel-drive SUV is very friendly on the daily grind, but it looks like dad is making the car buying decisions, not mom. Come on, it’s the one with the hood scoop and the matte-black alloy wheels. The TRD Pro package also adds a larger 4.0-liter V6 making 270 hp, Crawl Control, and an electronic locking differential. Taller springs add an inch of ride height, and Bilstein coil-over shocks add capability along with an aluminum front skidplate and Multi-terrain Select traction control system for maximum traction on different surfaces.