Sometimes an automaker will shock us all by releasing an uncharacteristically awesome machine. These are our favorite examples of car companies breaking their own mold.
Dodge didn't have many sports cars in its lineup in the early 1990s before coming out of nowhere with the Viper. Conceived as a modern Cobra equivalent, it had impossibly cool proportions and a massive 8.0-liter V-10 engine. Best of all, early models like the one shown here .
It makes sense that BMW would build a flagship for its electric sub-brand, but we weren't expecting it to be as radical as the i8. It's BMW's first mid-engine car since the M1, and the production car looks almost identical to the concept car. Full of air channels and carbon fiber, it's truly something else. you can own right now for under $60,000.
The Prowler is a Hot Wheels car come to life, with proportions that almost feel too radical for a real car you can drive. The early 2000s were a strange time. has low miles and a bumper delete, and you can buy it.
The A110 deserved to be resurrected, but in a market where sports cars don't return much on investment, it's still a pleasant surprise that Renault committed to building it. By all accounts, it's fantastic to drive.
Who would've expected the company best known for the Prius to build a supercar with a high-revving naturally aspirated V10? Built from carbon fiber and with a screaming exhaust tuned by Yamaha, the LFA is certainly a far cry from the typical Lexus.
When it was new, the GMC Syclone could get from 0-60 faster than most supercars of the time. Pretty surprising from a brand that only ever built trucks and SUVs. up for bidding right now on eBay.
Audi hasn't always had a halo car. In fact, it had pretty much nothing but a collection of all-wheel drive sedans and wagons until the R8 came into the lineup. A V8-powered mid-engine supercar with Quattro? It was a big deal. with a gated manual transmission up for grabs now.
Kia hasn't been known for making driver's cars. That all changed with the Stinger. With a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout, it's cemented itself as a real competitor in the entry-level luxury lineup. has just over 16,000 miles on the clock, and you can own it for under $30,000.
We're not going to pretend we don't understand why Aston Martin built the Cygnet. When you feel like there's a gun to your head, you'll do some crazy stuff, and Aston clearly felt like environmental regulators were doing just that. Still, let's not pretend that rebadging a Toyota iQ made much sense for a British company that says it builds the most beautiful cars in the world.
In hindsight, Cadillac's decision to build the Escalade was a great one. The big SUV is a runaway success. Still, back in 1999, it was quite a departure for the brand—at that point, Eldorados were still on the showroom floor. But the real craziness took over in 2002 when Cadillac introduced an SUV/pickup hybrid—the Escalade EXT. for sale you can own now.
Yes, Ferrari is known for racing success and wild supercars, but the brand also has a history with grand tourers. What's surprising is how the FF contributes to that tradition. It's a three-door shooting brake with all-wheel drive. In what world does Ferrari build all-wheel drive hatchbacks? has 13,000 miles on the clock, and it's for sale.
If you had told us back in 2009 that Hyundai would be creating a luxury brand called Genesis, we would have said that made sense. Honda had Acura, Toyota had Lexus, and even Nissan had Infiniti. Considering how ambitious Hyundai had been in the years prior, launching a luxury brand would have made sense. Instead, the company that sold one of the least-expensive cars in the world decided to sell a luxury sedan under its own name. But unlike Volkswagen with the Phaeton, Hyundai's decision actually worked. can be yours for the price of a new Camry.
When you think of Jeeps, you tend to think of rugged 4x4s. What you usually don't think of is something with zero off-roading intentions whatsoever. And yet Jeep built just such a vehicle when it turned the Grand Cherokee into a Hellcat-powered hot rod. If you don't want to spend a lot of money, with some miles on it for $34,000.
Range Rovers are awesome. They're basically luxury cars you can drive through the jungle. You can also get supercharged Range Rovers that are extremely fast luxury cars you can still drive through the jungle. Despite being generally awesome, what Range Rovers were never very good at was going around corners. That changed when Land Rover introduced the Range Rover Sport SVR, which lapped the Nurburgring in eight minutes and 14 seconds. That's faster than a Porsche Cayman S or a BMW 1M Coupe. can be yours for about $25,000 off MSRP.
Technically the Mercedes-Benz R-Class is not a minivan. It doesn't have sliding rear doors, so it's more accurately defined as a crossover SUV. But technicalities aside, the R-Class is a Mercedes minivan. We can begrudgingly accept that luxury SUVs are a necessity these days, but the R-Class still has us scratching our heads. What's even crazier is that AMG decided to do a version of the R-Class, which resulted in the 500-horsepower R63 AMG.
Porsche is no stranger to experimentation. The 911 is iconic, the automaker has also built grand tourers, roadsters, and even front-engine sports cars. Still, it's always been a sports car company. That made 2002 a huge year for Porsche, thanks to the introduction of its first SUV. Compared to other SUVs, the Cayenne handled better and could be ordered with a manual transmission, but traditionalists still worried. Crazy enough, it was so successful, Porsche has since expanded its offerings to become a full-line SUV manufacturer. with the rare manual transmission you can own today.
We like the little BRZ. Some people are a little disappointed there's never been a factory turbocharged version, but even with a mere 200-some horsepower, it's still a blast to drive. But who would have thought Subaru would sell a naturally aspirated rear-wheel drive sports car next to a lineup full of all-wheel drive family cars? The great thing is, being rear-wheel drive hasn't stopped people from . And thanks to the power of depreciation, you can have special-edition versions for heavily discounted prices.