What’s the best-looking car on sale right now?

    Styling is subjective, so there’s no right answer – but it’s certainly a topic that gets people talking.

    Although new cars are being forced to squeeze through tighter-than-ever regulations governing pedestrian safety, and emissions standards are putting a renewed focus on aerodynamics, there’s plenty of variety in the way new cars look.

    Need proof? Check out the CarExpert team’s picks below. As a bonus, we’ve included our picks for the best-looking cars ever.

    We hope you enjoyed our hero image. Rest assured the BMW XM doesn’t feature on this list.

    Alborz Fallah: Maserati MC20 and W140 S-Class

    The best looking car on sale today is the Maserati MC20. A naturally aspirated V8 – or god forbid, a V12 – would make it the absolute pinnacle of modern supercars. 

    As it stands, the exterior design of that car is just pure bliss. The interior could do with some modernising but the MC20 both in coupe and definitely in Cielo (convertible) format is my pick of the current best-looking cars on sale.

    It would be easy and somewhat uncreative to pick a Miura or F40 as the best-looking car of all time. I am a big fan of the first-generation Aston Martin Vantage from 2005 which was penned by Ian Callum and Henrik Fisker, two amazing car designers.

    Nonetheless, my favourite shape of all time would have to go to the Mercedes-Benz W140 S-Class.

    The 1990s uber-sedan is the best proportioned sedan of all time and is iconic in its grandeur and simplicity. It remains as elegant and commanding today as it was back when Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong-il were riding in the back.

    The W140 was designed by Olivier Boulay, a French designer. He peaked with the W140 because he was responsible for some terrible designs after, such as the Maybach 57 and 62 – which look like clones of the Ssangyong Chairman, which itself was a clone of his S-Class!

    He was also responsible for the Mitsubishi 380, which if you look really closely has some resemblance to the W140… okay, if you really really really squint.

    Scott Collie: Lexus LC500 and BMW E9 3.0 CSL

    The Lexus LC500 is one of those cars that could have been horrible, but is an absolute showstopper in person.

    I’m not a fan of the modern obsession with huge grilles and overcomplicated LED lighting elements, but the LC500 is so confidently executed that it all just works.

    The shape is stunning, with a classic long bonnet and short rear deck providing the perfect base for what’s otherwise a totally unique, modern design. The details are incredible, too, from the afterburner effect in the tail lights to the way the side sill dramatically sweeps under the door.

    As for the classics? BMW is on rocky design ground at the moment (to be very generous), but its back catalogue is full of stunners.

    Although the 508 Roadster is high on my list, the E9 3.0 CSL might just be the prettiest car ever made.

    I know the full Batmobile is pretty damn cool, but there’s also something so clean about the lines with all the wings, scoops, and flares removed as well.

    BMW has tried to evoke its spirit a few times lately, but nothing comes close to the original.

    Jade Credentino: Ineos Grenadier and Land Rover Defender

    For this I definitely have to go with the previous-generation Land Rover Defender as the best-ever, and the Ineos Grenadier as my current pick.

    There’s some nostalgia when it comes to these designs; the Land Rover dates back as far as the 1940s, or did until the current model was finally revealed.

    Both bring back the sense of adventure from when I was a kid on our road trips. Of course, the fact we actually arrived at our destination means we didn’t take a Defender…

    I cannot wait to get my hands on a Grenadier, I’ve already built it up on the configurator (with all the options of course, and in all black). 

    James Wong: Aston Martin DBS and Aston Martin Vanquish

    One of the reasons I fell in love with Aston Martin is because of the achingly gorgeous designs.

    In the current range, the DBS strikes me as a pretty perfect balance between looking menacing as well as classy, with classic Aston Martin 2+2 proportions that take me back to the original Vanquish.

    I’ve seen a handful in the wild and you can’t help but stare in admiration, and with the limitless customisation options available you can make every curve and crease in the bodywork and cabin your own.

    Would I say it’s my favourite design of all time? Perhaps not. That title would go to the second-generation Aston Martin Vanquish, even if the original is actually my favourite car of all time.

    The Gen 2 Vanquish still looks good today, some five years after the last one rolled down the production line. Its timeless aesthetic belongs in a museum, because it’s pure art. Then there’s that V12 – ooft…

    William Stopford: Audi e-tron GT and Aston Martin DB9

    When I was posed this question, my mind instinctively went to Aston Martin but, to be honest, the brand’s current crop of sports cars aren’t as attractive as models like the old DB9. The Ferrari Roma comes closer to offering that level of grace and elegance.

    My pick would have to be the Audi e-tron GT, an answer that surprises me considering I often find the brand’s styling stiflingly conservative. The electric four-door is simply gorgeous, though Audi would do well to cover up those sensors up front. 

    As for the best-looking car of all time, sheesh, that’s like asking a parent to pick their favourite child. I’ve been going back and forth all week over this, and I feel as though I have to pick something from the golden age of automotive design which was arguably the 1960s. 

    The 1967 GM E-Bodies – the Buick Riviera, Cadillac Eldorado and Oldsmobile Toronado – are all stunning, while my favourite Italian beauty would have to be the Giorgetto Giugario-penned Iso Grifo.

    But I’m going to circle back to Aston Martin, specifically the DB9, DBS and Virage.

    They’re perfectly proportioned, equal parts elegant and athletic without looking like they’re trying too hard, and more resolved visually than either the DB7 and Vanquish that came before or anything that came after.

    Jack Quick: Mazda 3 and Holden Monaro CV8-Z

    If I had to pick the best looking new car, I’d have to choose the Mazda 3 hatchback. To be more specific, I’d go for the G25 Astina with Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint.

    I understand the current Mazda 3 has been on the market now for a few years and it’s not necessarily as new as it once was, but its slinky yet aggressive exterior design still makes it stand out on the road.

    I love how there are no major creases on the vehicle’s exterior and instead there are plenty of curves. There really isn’t a bad angle of it in my opinion.

    Now choosing an all-time best-looking car is a bit trickier for me. I could go for the novelty route and say I love how the Suzuki X-90 preceded the coupe SUV boom, but if I’m truthful I’d have to go for the Holden Monaro CV8-Z.

    There’s just something about the Monaro CV8-Z that does it for me. If I had to pin it down it’d likely be the Fusion exterior paint colour and the black-and-orange interior. I also had a poster of the Monaro CV8-Z hung up on my bedroom wall as a kid.

    Derek Fung: Lucid Air and Ferrari F355

    Hands down the best looking car on sale today is the Lucid Air. I’ve seen five of them in the last month or so, and they’re all stunning. The Air seems like it’s hugging the road, and the exterior has just the right mix of aggression and svelteness. Also, I’m a sucker for its wraparound rear windscreen, and the faux stainless steel roof.

    Just as importantly, the interior lives up to the price tag. As is the norm today, there are screens everywhere, but instead of just being a bunch of rectangular slabs sticking out of the dashboard, they’re integrated into the overall design of the cabin.

    While I really want their Air, I also need to feed the kids, and given that it’s not socially acceptable to send them to school in pajamas, I’d plonk my beauty-seeking pesos on a Peugeot 508 wagon, preferably a pre-facelift model if there’s still a few around. Practical and pretty, yes please.

    Plus the jet fighter-inspired interior is cool enough that I might forget that I’m essentially my offspring’s four-star Uber driver.

    Stepping into the time machine, my favourite cost-no-object beauty pageant cars of yesteryear are the Lamborghini Miura, and Ferrari F355. If being a daily driver is also a criterion, I’d jump into my Scrooge McDuck money vault to fish out enough coins for a super rare Ferrari 456GT Venice wagon.

    Assuming again that I haven’t cashed in my unicorn, and want those pesky kids fed, housed and clothed, my pretty car shortlist would include the Peugeot 406 Coupe, Mazda 323 Astina V6 hatch, and Eunos 500.

    Anthony Crawford: Ferrari 296 GTB and too many to name

    We certainly are in strange times when it comes to car design and the ongoing transition to electrification. There’s not much out there that you’d call aesthetically pleasing and even less you’d label beautiful besides, of course, the Ferrari 296 GTB.

    It’s simply stunning in the metal and one of the most magnificent driver’s cars ever to come out the factory gates at Maranello. The MC20 is a close second.

    I’m also massively fond of what Cupra is doing on the more affordable front. The Cupra Born EV is a proper head turner.

    If we’re going for all-time best lookers, its a three-way competition between the Aston Martin DB5 made famous in the Bond classic, Goldfinger, and the Mercedes-Benz W113 Pagoda SL and Jaguar E-Type.

    All are drop-dead gorgeous and representative of the pinnacle in automotive design in terms of sheer aesthetics and desirability. I’d throw in the Ferrari 288 GTO as well.

    Paul Maric: Ford Ranger Raptor and Ferrari F40

    Given I’ve been able to weave it into the last set of these we’ve done, the best-looking car on sale today is clearly the Ford Ranger Raptor (How fun – Ed)

    The design fits the bill and it’s impossible to mistake it for anything else.

    Stepping back in time though it’s hard to look past the Ferrari F40 as the best-looking car ever created. It’s another one that looks exactly the way it drives and even today it’s a timeless design.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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