There are some superlatives where assigning them to cars is a snap. Fastest cars in the world? Find the ones with the highest top speed. (Admittedly, that can be more contentious than you might expect.) Quickest cars? The ones with the shortest 0-60 mph acceleration times, or if you prefer, the shortest quarter-mile times. Most expensive? Check the window sticker. Heaviest? Check the spec sheet.
But coolness is, inherently, subjective. As such, so must any list of cool cars be subjective, as well; the vehicle that sparks drooling in one person might stir up disgust in another. Short of forcing everyone on the planet to sit down and click through a survey of every car on sale, creating a truly definitive list will always be impossible.
Still, even haters would likely need to begrudgingly acknowledge that every car on this list possesses that certain je ne sais quoi that lies at the heart of cool. Whether it’s due to a bold design, a thumping heart of a powertrain or something else entirely, every one of these vehicles seems worthy of being called cool.
That said, a quick note before we dive in: when we say “the coolest cars you can buy right now,” we’re referring to new vehicles that you can walk into a showroom and buy today. No used cars, as that list could run on for days; no future cars, as those remain unproven quantities. Just 2020 and 2021 model year cars you can pick up and park in your driveway...assuming you have the money.
The Acura NSX is the sort of supercar that kids put posters of on their walls. Not only is it wild-looking, and not only is it comfortable enough to drive for a thousand miles, but it’s also a high-tech torque-vectoring machine that leverages a twin-turbo V6 and three electric motors to make it feel even more fun than you’d expect. We have no idea why more people aren’t buying them.
Long out of reach for Americans, Audi’s super-wagon has finally made its way over to the States in all its wide-bodied glory. Not only is it arguably the best-looking two-box you can buy, but it packs 591 horsepower spread across four fat wheels for acceleration and handling that’ll intimidate many super sports cars. Oh, and you can carry a ton of stuff in it.
Coupes, of course, have more inherent coolness than sedans; that’s just science. And no car on sale today blends style, luxury and performance into one incredibly competent package quite like Bentley’s two-door, which could just well be the best — or at least, the coolest — way to spend a quarter-million bucks on a car today.
Speed, of course, is inherently cool. And Bugattis have always been about speed — at least, the resurrected VW Group version of the brand has been, racking up the honor of "world's fastest production car" multiple times. The Chiron Super Sport 300+ is just the latest to do so, having broken the 300-mph barrier in testing. The fact that it looks like this certainly burnishes its cool points, too.
For 2020, Chevy’s iconic sports car made the long-anticipated transition to a mid-engined layout, bringing with it increased performance and a shape that looks more suited to a supercar than a $60,000 machine rolling out of Detroit. It’s not only one of the most important cars to go on sale recently, it’s also inarguably one of the coolest.
Any car packing nearly 800 horsepower has a decent claim to a spot on this list. The Charger Hellcat Redeye Widebody seals its spot by also serving up a wide, aggro body and a top speed of more than 200 miles per hour, all on top of a roomy interior that can carry four passengers along for the ride. Also, it does amazing burnouts and donuts, which is always a coolness plus.
The Ferrari 812 Superfast was already one of the most incredible automobiles you can find, especially when you exclude the ranks of limited-production hypercars. What makes the GTS version even better: it’s the first droptop production V12 Ferrari in half a century. Combine 789 horsepower and a fast-moving power hardtop that goes from roadster to pseudo-coupe in seconds, and you have one of the coolest cars money can buy today.
The new Bronco would be a lock for this list, but for one problem: it hasn’t entered production just yet. However, its smaller Bronco Sport sibling has hit the streets, and it still manages to be pretty cool. After all, it’s a retro-style compact crossover with serious off-road cred and a bevy of options that make it a dynamite pocket overlander — all for the average new car price or less. We’d call that cool.
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The old Shelby GT500 was a rude, crude and lewd muscle car of the oldest order: fast and loud in a straight line, but hardly ideal for when the road curved. The new version is even nastier on the straights, but it also takes turns like an honest-to-God sports car — and while it may not be as classically cool-looking as its predecessor, there’s no disputing that it’s pretty damn badass.
Honda’s hottest Civic redefines just how capable a front-wheel-drive car can be. Torque steer is practically abolished, leaving a beautifully-handling car with 306 horsepower and a six-speed manual gearbox that also happens to have room for four adults...and comes in comfortably under $40,000. Whether the looks add to or detract from its coolness...well, that’s up to you.
Any of Koenigsegg's cars really deserve a place on this list, but we're giving it to the Regera because not only is it a technical marvel that makes 1,500 horsepower yet, thanks to its clever hybrid setup, doesn't need a transmission...but, y'know, it looks like this.
The Lexus halo car is one of those rare vehicles that feels like a bargain even at its $100,000 pricetag. It’s quick, supremely elegant, meticulously made, and looks every bit as fresh and exotic as a concept car even now, several years after it arrived. (That's true for both coupe and convertible versions, too.) And if that’s still a bit much for you, hey, they’re an even better deal on the pre-owned market.
We always knew Porsche’s first electric car would be good, but we didn’t realize how good. 750 horsepower, 774 lb-ft of torque is outstanding for any production car, but it’s even cooler when it’s made with an emissions-free, instantaneously-torquey EV powertrain. Add in a futuristic body that still looks more like a concept car than a roadworthy one yet somehow can seat four, and you have one outstandingly desirable ride.
...do we really need to explain this one?
With the F-150 Raptor, Ford proved just how much latent demand there was Ram’s new 1500 TRX takes that concept and, in the words of Nigel Tufnel, turns it up to 11. Or rather, to 702 — the number of ponies its supercharged V8 spits out. Bigger, faster, more nimble, better-riding and far more comfortable than the Raptor, it’s the meanest meat-eater in the pickup world.
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