The 90s was full of automotive icons – here are some of the best.
The 90s was a great time to be alive, as it was the dawn of modern technologies, such as audio being recorded to CDs and F1 cars that had begun to master the dark art of aerodynamics.
Incredibly, while the 1990s seem like just yesterday, they began three decades ago, meaning that cars released in those days could now be considered classics. Here are some of the best 90s cars.
The S2000 is a special convertible because it not only focuses on the joy of having the wind through your hair, but with its screaming VTEC engine it’s a proper performance car too.
First introduced in 1999 it only just qualifies for this list, but it demonstrates the end of a decade when the Japanese car industry was arguably at its best. Honda, and few other Japanese car makers, have managed to refind their mojo from this era.
While its detractors argue it’s not a proper Porsche, sales figures show those detractors are merely a vocal minority. And Porsche has been laughing its way to the bank.
Porsche’s entry-level model is an undoubted highlight of the ‘90s, offering top down thrills in a chassis that could have rivalled the 911 if it had been given a bit more power.
What’s more, they’re incredibly cheap on the used market today.
Audis of the 90s typically sported the same boxy styling that had been popular in the 80s, but by the end of the decade the German firm was moving to curvier edges.
That was seen at its most extreme with the gorgeous TT.
Squeezing into this list as a 1998 model, the Audi TT was offered with a 1.8-litre turbocharged engine with a choice of 225 or 180bhp. These days it’s a design icon and a desirable classic sports car.
The Mazda MX-5 was an instant classic, with its diminutive proportions and cute styling – it was like a classic British roadster but it didn’t break down all the time.
When the second generation came around in the 90s, fortunately Mazda didn’t change too much, and went for an evolutionary approach that means it’s very much the same as the much-loved first-gen but usually for a bit less cash on the used market.
The ‘90s were not Ferrari’s finest decade, with the F50 proving a slightly disappointing follow up to the glorious F40, the 348 being uninspiring and the Mondial T being past its sell-by date.
However, the F355 proved there was still life in the Prancing Horse. It evolved from the 348 but had everything its predecessor lacked, by looking good and being great to drive with a 375bhp V8 engine at its heart.
Introduced late in the 80s and only surviving until 1995, the Corrado mixed everything that was good about that era – modern 90s technology and boxy 80s styling.
The sporty VR6 model introduced in 1992 has to be one of the most underrated drivers’ cars of all time, and certainly one of the best Volkswagen has ever made.
The VR name came from the fact that the engine’s cylinders were arranged in a V shape, but shared a cylinder head like an inline engine.
The result was a more compact engine that could fit in a smaller car without sacrificing performance. An ingenious solution.
Ford Escort Cosworth
For British car enthusiasts of a certain age, the Ford Escort ‘Cossie’ is the pinnacle of the automotive world.
Back in the ‘90s, nothing short of a supercar could turn heads like this Fast Ford, and when sticking a massive spoiler to your family car was all the rage, Ford was doing it from the factory.
With 224bhp and genuine rally heritage, they couldn’t make them fast enough.
Mercedes 190E Evo II
As we’ve seen elsewhere in this list, the 90s was the era that boxy cars began to turn curvy.
The 190E was one of the coolest boxy cars ever made, especially in this motorsport-inspired version.
The flared arches and massive spoiler weren’t for posing – under the metal sat a Cosworth-tuned 2.5-litre engine with 232bhp and electronically adjustable suspension. Race car for the road feels like an apt description.