The 1990s marked a refinement in automobile design, with smooth lines and aerodynamics replacing the boxy designs of the 1970s and 1980s. It also ushered in a new era in automobile performance and safety. Many elements of vehicle design that were created in the 1990s are still used in new vehicles, and some cars manufactured during this time can outperform vehicles produced today. Here are the top thirty cars that hit the road in the 1990s.
Engine choices for the 7 series during the 1990s included a straight-six cylinder, V8, V12, and a turbo or supercharged diesel engine. These cars were the first European vehicles to offer a built-in television screen and satellite navigation. They have been featured in several films and television shows.
Aston Martin DB7
Available as a convertible or coupe, this Aston Martin was extremely popular among consumers and has been manufactured more times than any other vehicle developed by the brand. The 5.9-litre V12 engine in the DB7 produces a whopping 420 horsepower.
The F50 sold for $500,000 in 1995 and is powered by a 4.7-litre V12 engine that produces over 500 horsepower and a zero-to-sixty mile-per-hour time of just 3.8 seconds. Only 349 of these vehicles were ever made, making them extremely rare and sought after.
BMW E39 M5
Reviewers and car enthusiasts consider the E39 M5 to have one of the cleanest BMW designs ever. The 4.9-litre V8 engine produces 394 horsepower and is accompanied by a six-speed manual transmission. Any BMW fan would love to own this great vehicle.
This vehicle was Honda/Acura's attempt at taking on Ferrari. The styling of the NSX, which was inspired by the F-16 fighter jet, can still be seen today in many vehicles. Its 3-litre V6 engine is accompanied by a rear-wheel-drive configuration, giving drivers a true sports car experience.
This vehicle was produced between 1994 and 1999 and is much more common than the F50. During development, engineers used over 1300 hours of wind tunnel analysis to refine the aerodynamics of the F355.
The Prowler may be the most unique vehicle on this list. The retro-style car was created by designers who had free range to create a hot-rod and sportster-inspired vehicle. The Prowler was somewhat popular in its heydey, being produced 11,700 times. Most vehicles were sold in North America.
Porsche 911 GT3
This is a car designed by Porsche for racing that was first made available for commercial purchase in 1999. Drivers forget about the lack of air conditioning and rear seats when they have 355 horsepower in a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car to play with.
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This car's styling was heavily influenced by Ford's purchasing of Jaguar earlier in the decade. The X300 was produced between 1994 and 1997 with the option of either a V12 or inline-6 engine.
BMW M Coupe
This BMW was based on the BMW M Roadster and the BMW Z3. It appeals to only a certain type of driver and just two generations of the vehicle were ever produced. The M Coupe produces 240 horsepower from its 3.2-litre, six-cylinder engine.
BMW E36 M3
The E36 M3 was manufactured from 1992 to 1999. It was the first M3 to be powered by a straight-six engine and produces 282 horsepower. This vehicle was recognized for its excellent handling abilities and balance, making it a favourite among circuit racers.
The Diablo was manufactured between 1990 and 2001, during which 2,884 vehicles were produced. The car has a top speed of over 200 miles per hour and comes standard with 485 horsepower under the hood. Different models of the Diablo vary in their performance, with some producing close to 600 horsepower.
The Aurora is a mid-size luxury sedan that was very popular in the 1990s. It comes standard with a 4-litre V8 engine. The first generation of Auroras was produced from 1995 until 1999 and has several luxury features, including an onboard computer display, advanced safety features, and a powerful audio system.
The Boxster was introduced to the commercial car market in 1996 and was based on a Porsche concept car from 1992. The 2.5-litre, flat-six engine performs well, but there are 2.7-litre and 3.2-litre versions available too. This vehicle sparked a large turnaround in Porsche's sales and profits in the 1990s.
This Toyota Supra is legendary among Japanese performance car enthusiasts. The A80 model made its debut in 1993 and was instantly recognized for its unique styling and excellent performance from the twin-turbo engine.
Lotus Esprit V8
The twin-turbo V8 version of the 1996 Esprit initially produced 500 horsepower. However, it was subsequently detuned to 350 horsepower for commercial sale. The Esprit V8 is capable of a zero-to-sixty mile-per-hour time of just 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 175 miles per hour. Even though this vehicle looks like one from the 1980s, it remains one of the best cars of the 1990s to this day.
Maserati 3200 GT
This Maserati was a throwback to the designs of the 1960s, but it is now known as one of the best cars of the 1990s. It comes standard with a 3.2-litre, twin-turbo V8 engine that produces 365 horsepower. Just 4,795 of these vehicles were ever produced.
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The Mazda RX-7 made Car and Driver Magazine's annual top ten vehicles list an impressive five times during the 1990s. The powerful twin-turbo rotary engine and technological advancements to features of previous models make the RX-7 a near-perfect sports car.
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The 'new-generation' Saab 9000 was produced from 1994 until 1998 and featured several improvements over previous generations. The engines in the 900 vary from a 2-litre turbocharged model to a 2.5-litre V6. The highest power figures of any Saab 9000 model from this time period come from the 2-litre turbocharged model, which produces 182 horsepower.
Jaguar XJ 220
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The XJ 220 is a two-seater supercar that was produced between 1992 and 1994. It was the fastest production car available in 1993. The top speed of this large vehicle is an astonishing 217 miles per hour. With only 275 ever produced, this Jaguar is extremely rare.
The Elise made its debut in 1996, and production continues to this day. This Lotus has a standard top speed of 150 miles per hour, and the first generation weighs just 1,600 pounds. The car was named after the granddaughter of the chairman of Lotus at the time.
Nissan Skyline (R33)
The R33 model was produced from 1993 until 1998 as the successor to the popular R32 Skyline. The most powerful R33 is the GT-R model, which comes standard with 250 horsepower. However, many tuners have increased the output of the engine to over 1000 horsepower.
Dodge Viper GTS
The models of this vehicle that were produced between 1992 and 1998 are the most sought after versions. They come equipped with an 8-litre, V10 engine that is extremely powerful. The first models of the Dodge Viper GTS were capable of a blistering 12-second quarter mile time and a zero-to-sixty mile-per-hour time of 4.6 seconds.
These vehicles were originally intended for military use only, but civilian demand led the company to produce commercial versions. Even to this day, the H1 Hummer is still regarded as the best Hummer in terms of design and stance on the road. It is a heavy-duty off-road machine perfect for hunting or camping trips.
If this car looks familiar, it may be because it was featured in many 1990s hip-hop music videos and television shows as a symbol of wealth. The 500SL was the first ever luxury convertible roadster produced. Many of its features were new to the international automotive market.
Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1
The 5.7-litre V8 engine in the ZR-1 is capable of producing a zero-to-sixty mile-per-hour time of just 4.4 seconds. The engine is also ripe for tuning and modifications, which made the vehicle popular among street racers during the 1990s.
The Audi TT made its debut in 1995 at the Frankfurt Auto Show as a concept car and was in production by 1998. It contains either a 1.8-litre turbocharged engine or a 3.3-litre VR6 engine. Even though it was released at the end of the decade, the TT remains one of the best cars from the 1990s.
The second-generation LS400 was produced between 1994 and 1997 and comes standard with a 4-litre, V8 engine that produces 260 horsepower. This vehicle set the stage for modern designs from Toyota/Lexus and was well received in the United States and Canada.
The Mclaren F1 was the fastest production car as of 1998 and is still the most powerful naturally-aspirated vehicle in the world today. Manufactured between 1992 and 1998, only 106 of them were ever produced.
Ford Mustang SVT Cobra
The SVT Cobra was marketed as a high-performance version of the Ford Mustang and was considered to be a top-of-the-line vehicle in its class. From 1993 until production ceased in the mid-2000s, Ford manufactured several versions of the SVT Cobra.