Sports cars are supposed to look sleek and stylish! Unfortunately, the designers of these performance cars from the 2000s didn’t get that memo.
Warning, what follows is a selection of 21st-century sports cars that didn’t quite live up to expectations, and we are not talking about performance, but more about aesthetics that for one reason or another missed the mark.
Standing out from your rivals is crucial in order to be successful, no one wants another sports car that looks and goes just like brand “X”, and this is where so many designers have failed over the years. Daring to be different is one thing, but getting the balance between creative genius and design flop is a thin line.
7 IFR Automotive Aspid – Design First, Name Later
Curiously, it appears that IFR Automotive chose the Aspid name before designing the car. Coming from the Spanish name of the small venomous snake which would explain the odd bug-eyed reptilian nose.
Aspid then follows the open-wheel design common among low-volume sports carmakers, a modern take on the classic Caterham 7 roadster, only considerably larger. Extensive use of Formula 1 carbon-fiber construction methods serve as a showcase for the Spanish automaker’s capabilities, only its engine is sourced externally from Honda.
6 KTM X-Bow – Attention-Grabbing For All The Wrong Reasons
For most serious gearheads, the lure of high-performance cars comes with the added benefits of being noticed. The X-Bow, however, will grab people’s attention for being undeniably ugly.
We get that the X-Bow is all about track performance, but with a maximum of 300 HP and a top speed of 143mph, it does beg the question of why KTM went to such extreme lengths with styling, or rather lack thereof. At least the mandatory use of a crash helmet will help to hide its occupant’s identities.
5 Panoz Abruzzi – Desperately Needed A Nose Job Or Three
Lucky gearheads got their first glimpse of Panoz Auto Developments vision of a European GT car in 2011. To date, none of the planned 81 cars has been delivered, we suspect lack of interest in one of the ugliest noses of any car ever might have something to with it.
On the plus side, the US-based carmakers racing expertise means this car is prominently being developed from the successful Esperante Le Mans Racer powered by a 650 HP LS3 motor. No official claims for performance exist, leading us to suspect the project has been dropped altogether.
4 Toyota MR2 Spyder – Mid-Engined Sports Car Spoiled By Cutesy Styling
Third time lucky for Toyota couldn’t have been more wrong. The popular 2-seater sports car was transformed from a pretty and capable coupe into what can only be described as a bug-eyed convertible.
Clearly, Toyota aimed the Spyder at a new generation of owners, and while the driving experience wasn’t too far removed from previous efforts, the visual appeal had been lost compared to its predecessor which is often dubbed a baby Ferrari. At least Toyota hadn’t messed with its class-leading mid-engine handling and thrills.
3 Mini Cooper Coupe – Looks Better In Standard Form
The Cooper branding famously appeared on the Mini’s sportiest editions, something BMW cashed in on with their new model from 2001. However, the once small car had grown in size, the mini had become much larger, in the process losing its once cheeky appeal.
Eagerness to recapture the small car identity led BMW down a slightly different path. Applying the Cooper name to standard Minis was no longer enough, resulting in the 2012 Cooper Coupe. If we are completely honest, it doesn’t work, the chopped roofline looks out of place on what is already an ugly car.
2 Fisker Karma – Promising Concept With Disappointing Results
Until Fisker entered the market with its slightly goofy-looking Karma, all other hybrid cars had been based on more conventional compact sedans with little wow factor about them. However, the Karma didn’t live up to the bold claims, stuck in a middle ground between economy cars and genuine sports cars.
Boasting a pair of electric motors generating a combined 403 HP should have given the Karma much better performance than the official test figures of 125mph. Worse still, the maximum range on a full tank and fully charged batteries provided to be a disappointing 230 miles.
1 Chrysler Crossfire – The Ugliest Car This Century
A perfect example of platform sharing and bad styling, Chrysler’s Crossfire has zero redeeming qualities, even if it had been the best drivers’ car, it would be hard to ignore one of the ugliest cars built, ever.
We are not sure if we believe Chrysler’s claims of 80% of the Crossfire comes from Mercedes SLK. Sure, the small German sports car is not one of the brands finest, but it never looked this bad. Admittedly in roadster guise, things are a little better but not enough to keep the Crossfire alive.
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