We can all probably agree that 90s was one of the best decades when it comes to cars. While there were some flukes and oddballs on the market, we were mostly graced with some of the best looking cars whose design is simply timeless. Some of them are still in high demand today, which is only a testament to their quality and ingenuity. In this article we’ll discuss 28 well known, and some not so well known cars that were made in the 90s, which left a mark on us as consumers and the whole industry.
The F355 was definitely one of the most iconic Ferraris made in the 90s. It had a new and improved engine that outperformed its predecessor, the 348, and offered more horsepower to the wheels. The design of this Ferrari is to this day simply amazing. Not only that, but the aerodynamic properties of that design have proven to be incredible as well, generating great levels of down force.
BMW E36 M3
When BMW decided to make a whole new M3 in early 90s, they knew the new car had some big shoes to fill. However, what they came up with was pure success. The E36 M3 was an instant hit, and drivers all over the world were impressed with both performance and incredible handling this car offered. It came in form of a coupe, roadster, and later on even as a convertible.
If there’s one iconic supercar of the 90s, it’s the Lamborghini Diablo. At the time it was one of the best performing supercars in the world. The car was fitted with a monster V12 engine capable of producing 492 horsepower, and some serious noise. It’s worth mentioning that Diablo also came with an impressive package of features for the time.
Released in 1996, Lotus Elise came in several variants, each tuned to perfection. Since it was a very light car, its 118 horsepower engine was enough to allow the Elise to reach 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds. Lotus Elise also had a very well tuned suspension, which gave it incredible handling capabilities both on and off the track. Needless to say, it was instantly popular once it hit the streets.
Nissan Skyline R33
As street racing culture became more and more popular, the Nissan Skyline R33 became one of the most wanted cars at the time. It represented some of the best cars Japanese automotive industry had to offer. The R33 came with an impressive selection of engines, all of which delivered an abundance of power, and overall great performance.
One of the most rarest supercars made in the 90s was definitely the McLaren F1. Not only was it fast thanks to its 627 horsepower engine, but it also introduced certain revolutionary technologies that are widely used today. It was the first car ever to use a CFRP chassis, or carbon fiber reinforced polymer chassis. Only 106 were ever made.
After achieving great success with their W124 E-Class, Mercedes-Benz decided to step up the game a little by introducing the 500E model. This car was developed in cooperation with Porsche, and it came with a beastly 5.0-liter engine capable of producing 322 horsepower. It was made in somewhat limited numbers from 1990 to 1995, and is still one of the more legendary Mercedes-Benz models.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI
After the first Lancer Evo’s release in early 1990s, the sixth evolution of the model hit production in 1999 and is considered to be one of the most successful ones. It was made widely popular thanks to Tommi Makinen who managed to win four WRC championships in this car, demonstrating just how capable the Evo VI really is. It came with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine capable of producing 330 horsepower.
Alfa Romeo GTV
One of the best Italian cars of the 90s was the now legendary Alfa Romeo GTV. When it was first released, it was quickly awarded the title of best designed car, which was definitely not surprising. The car was equipped with an array of engines, with the 3.2-liter V6 as the most popular option. Package of features it came with was impressive for the time, and included everything from a fine leather trim, to a fire prevention system.
This one is one of the most underrated cars to be produced in the 90s. After Lancia’s fall in popularity due to their quality control issues with previous models, they had a very hard time earning back their customer’s trust. Lancia Kappa was their executive sedan released in 1994, which was meant to replace the older Thema. It came in several variants which differed in luxury and engine choices, and was almost exclusively sold to government institutions as a service car.
Audi’s coupe of the 90s, the TT, was one of their most popular models to date. It first came out in 1998 and quickly became a success. Audi TT came with a 1.8-liter turbocharged I4 engine, which was capable enough to make the TT one incredibly fun coupe to drive. After the success of the initial model, Audi made the TT a part of their lineup for years to come.
Developed by Honda, Acura NSX is one of the most interesting sport scars produced in the 90s. It came with a plethora of innovative solutions and technology, which quickly earned it a legendary status. Starting with an all aluminum V6 engine that produced 290 horsepower, Acura NSX also came with titanium connecting rods and all aluminum body. For its time, it was simply incredible.
BMW 7-Series E38
First produced in 1994, the E38 7-Series BMW has got be one of the best looking cars this manufacturer has ever produced. It came with a great selection of powerful engines, while also offering some of the most innovative features at the time. The E38 7-Series was instantly popular as soon as it was first released, while also being featured in some of the best blockbuster movies of that time.
The Corvette ZR-1 is a car with a very interesting story. After GM bought Lotus in late 80s, GM decided to work with them on designing a whole new engine for their upcoming Corvette. The result is the Corvette ZR-1 which featured great handling capabilities, and performance which allowed it to reach 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, with a top speed of 175 mph. It was definitely one of the best corvettes ever made.
BMW E39 M5
Older BMWs definitely have an affect on car enthusiasts all around the world. The E39 M5 is probably one of the best examples of this if we disregard the E30 M3s. This M5 had it all – the incredible body style with curves that look stunning to this day, great handling, and the engine powerful enough to justify the M badge. One of these in a relatively good condition can still cost you a fair amount of money.
Porsche 911 GT3
Following the several decades long success of their 911 series, Porsche decided to spice up their offer a bit by introducing the 911 GT3. Even though it hit the streets in 1999, this amazing car is still worth mentioning. The GT3 variant was the 911 prepped for racing, which brought several improvements to the already great performance of the 911s available at the time.
Maserati Quattroporte IV Generation
Back in the 90s Maserati wasn’t as present on the international market as it is today. Their sales were limited to those who had distinct taste, and knew exactly what they wanted. The Maserati Quattroporte made in the 90s was a saloon version of the their BiTurbo model that featured everything an executive sedan would have, plus the beefed up performance. It didn’t sell to well, but it was by far one of the more noticeable cars on the market at the time.
What Mazda Miata did for the automotive community, namely the more enthusiastic part of this community, is immense. It started as a fun convertible coupe aimed at those who didn’t want to spend a whole lot of money for the experience, but it soon became an iconic choice for those who wanted to get into racing on a budget. Today you will see a Mazda Miata on any open track day. That’s how popular this car was, and is to this day.
When it first appeared, Supra was Toyota’s answer for a reasonable tourer coupe that satisfied most of the market’s requirements at the time. It wasn’t long before everybody recognized the qualities of this platform, and aftermarket parts started appearing on the market. In the 90s, Supra was one of the most modded cars in United States, and remnants of that trend are still visible today. Toyota Supra became an icon of automotive world, and it has appeared in numerous games and movies since.
Dodge Viper GTS
Every kid in the 90s knew about the Dodge Viper GTS. It was one of those cars that one held at higher regards, especially in Europe, just because it was so unattainable. It was the epitome of that raw American automotive power. With a massive V10 engine, it was a living proof that you don’t need finesse in order to reach higher performance brackets.
Aston Martin DB7
Aside from the vintage Aston Martins, the DB7 was probably one of the most aesthetically pleasing cars this brand has ever made. Everything seemed to fit perfectly both on the inside, and on the outside of this car. DB7 was not all about looks though, it offered enough performance to some of the finest the competition had to offer. A 911 was a great choice at the time, but those who chose DB7 wanted more than just great performance.
An evolution of the legendary F40, the Ferrari F50 was the pinnacle of engineering and design that was available in Italy during the 90s. Not many of these were made, and owning one meant spending a lot of money. However, with all that said, the Ferrari F50 is one of the more notable super cars of the 90s.
When Ford announced their acquisition of Jaguar, there was a lot of skepticism going around. The consensus was that Jaguar will become just another mediocre Ford factory. However, their first model after the acquisition definitely dispelled these rumors, at least for the time being. Jaguar XJ6 retained all the qualities Jaguar was known for, and offered so much more. It was one of the better cars made by Jaguar in general.
There is rarely a car that describes the 90s as much as the Plymouth Prowler. It was an attempt to bring back the roadsters to the market, and it worked for a very limited amount of time. The Prowler caused a lot of hype prior to its release, only to fade away. Its performance didn’t bring anything significant to the table, and the design proved to be too much for some people.
Hummer H1 became popular thanks to a number of movies and movie stars who were associated with it. It was, and still is a very impractical vehicle for civilian use. Its appeal comes from its crude power and ability to defeat almost any kind of terrain. Hummer H1 was seen as a closest thing to a tank one could buy. Also, Arnold Schwarzenegger owning one also helped boost the image of H1.
With LS400, Lexus put themselves on the map as a manufacturer capable of producing luxury executive sedans that could compete with the established dominance of their European competition. The market responded positively to this new model, primarily due to it being made by Toyota, which meant great reliability. In a very short amount of time Lexus LS400 became a popular choice among those who wanted luxury.
Fast pickup trucks are not that uncommon today, but back in the 90s it was something you would very rarely see. GMC Syclone was an incredibly fast pickup truck which offered performance that was only found in more expensive sports cars at the time. It features 280 horsepower turbocharged V6, and 0-60 time which blew just about anything out of the water.
Second generation Nissan 300ZX was made using most advanced technologies at the time, and it offered more than great performance for what it was. 300ZX quickly became popular among car enthusiasts, and it held its place on most top 10 lists for a number of years. Today the 300ZX cult is still going strong while these awesome cars are becoming harder to find.