For some, classic cars are seen as an investment, while others just want the chance to drive something unusual or special in years to come. Whatever your motives, knowing how to spot a future classic can either save you a fortune in future, or make you one.


We look at ten current cars, or those that have recently gone out of production, to pick some future classics. This piece has the potential to age terribly, but we’ve looked at a range of attributes that would guarantee classic status.

Ignoring those that have been out of production for a while, and qualify under “modern classic” status, such as the Honda S2000, Volkswagen Phaeton, and Audi A2, we’ve gone only for more recent metal. All are either currently available to buy new, or have recently stopped being made, and all are either interesting, rare, or ahead of its time. In no particular order, our best guesses are:

BMW i3


One way to find a sure-fire classic is to look for something that is ahead of its time. So much so, that it’s not even fully-grasped as such by the general buying public. Step forward the BMW i3. A car that, despite being pricy, should have sold in the hundreds of thousands as a brilliant electric runabout.

It’s a popular choice for both short urban trips and longer distance work, proving exceptionally efficient thanks to a lightweight, carbon fibre construction. The punchy electric motor is placed in the rear so that the front wheels can turn further for an agile and tight turning circle.

Available with a pick of three battery sizes over the years it was produced, the first two also came with the option of a range extended model - the i3 REX - which used a motorcycle engine to act as an onboard generator that could charge the battery on the move. A sportier i3S model was also launched with the first range of updates.

Ideal pick: BMW i3S REX

Lotus Elise


Having recently ceased production, the Lotus Elise definitely qualifies for this list. It’s an old enough model that the first generation version definitely qualifies as a modern classic, but now the last models do too.

The essence of driving, Lotus’ Elise was a lightweight roadster, with a small but powerful engine, and varying degrees of lack of equipment in the cabin. Early models lacked electric windows, air conditioning, and a radio even, but these were gradually included over the years to keep the Elise from being too Spartan.

The ethos remained throughout however, with a light aluminium platform and extremely low centre of gravity. It’s not the most comfortable car in the world to drive, but it’s one of the finest, most connected drivers’ cars ever created. A car for those that like to actually drive.

Ideal pick: Lotus Elise Sport 220

Tesla Model S


The Model S is now ten years old, and still being produced, though to give Tesla its due, it’s had more model updates surely than just about any car in history. Those that want a new one can order direct from Tesla, but there are now plenty available on the used market, with a variety of battery sizes, and even the earlier, pre-facelift models around.

Able to use the Supercharger network for easy long-distance EV driving, the Tesla Model S is a future classic that is likely to be driven. Earlier models can suffer with poor build quality, which seems to vary from car to car, so pick carefully and the Model S will cause few problems at all.

Battery life is comfortably standing up to the rigours of mileages well into six figures, and the smallest battery capacity fitted is still a hefty 60 kWh, ranging up to around 100 kWh depending on model. Spacious, cleanly designed, and with little sign of leaving production any time soon, the Model S looks good for future classic status.

Ideal pick: Tesla Model S P90D

BMW i8


From a practical all-electric saloon, we move to BMW’s second entry in this list - the i8. An efficient sports car may seem like a contradiction in terms, but using the same lightweight, electric ethos as found on the i3, the i8 was much wider, lower, and seated only two. 

A plug-in hybrid sports car with a handy electric range, it got a battery upgrade as part of a mid-life refresh that also saw the introduction of a convertible Roadster variant. It looks as futuristic as it was, so qualifies for this list under all three of our our criteria - interesting, uncommon, and advanced.

A combined electric/petrol driving range of more than 300 miles on a charge & tank, plus 20+ mile electric-only range, the i8 managed a fuel economy rating of more than 130mpg, while also completing the 0-62mph sprint in 4.4 seconds thanks to more than 350hp available.

Ideal pick: BMW i8 Coupe 34Ah

Toyota GR Yaris


The Toyota Yaris is a good little supermini; useful, frugal, but a little dull. The Toyota GR Yaris doesn’t qualify for any of those adjectives. The pocket-rocket is a true homologation special, created because Toyota wanted to go rallying in the World Rally Championship, and needed a car with good foundations from which to build it’s full-fat rally monster.

As such, the GR Yaris was born; lower, wider, and significantly faster… everywhere. A four-wheel drive system helps mean this is as close to a current rally car as you can get without putting on a set of racing overalls, helmet, and joining a factory WRC team.

It’s one of the best handling cars available today, though limited production runs mean there aren’t any new ones currently available, and when a new batch does arrive, they sell out in minutes. It’s a definite future classic, and will sit with the likes of the Lancia Delta Integrale and Audi QR Quattro in years to come.

Ideal pick: Toyota GR Yaris Circuit Pack

Lexus LC


Lexus has built up a reputation for eye-catching “halo” models over the years, and the LC continues that fine tradition. Just look at it - the Lexus LC is one of the best-looking cars on the road today. And still available to buy too.

Available as either a coupe or convertible, it’s ideally set-up for the driving style of a drop-top grand tourer, but the lines of the coupe are slightly better to look at. Horses for courses really, either look brilliant and are beautifully appointed inside.

The engines available are superb too. The range-topping V8 powered LC 500 aptures headlines and makes ears prick up when it drives past, but there’s also a more pragmatic, LC 500h hybrid V6 version which is ideal for long trips.

Ideal pick: Lexus LC 500h Coupe

Polestar 1


This pick is for those that really want something different, partly because it only comes in left-hand drive, so you’ll be making certain sacrifices. But it’s a brilliant car - clever, stylish, fast, and efficient.

Featuring a 34 kWh battery, the Polestar 1 has a larger pack than the original Nissan Leaf EV, and can travel 77 miles on electric power alone - more than enough for most weekly distances. But for longer trips, there is a turbo- and super-charged petrol engine, which combined with the twin electric motors allow for 609 hp and 1,000 Nm of torque.

Add in adjustable dampers and six-piston brakes, plus fast charging times, and the Polestar 1 is a true all-rounder. With style and rarity - only around 1,500 were ever made in a three-year limited production run - it’s a strong choice for a future classic.

Ideal pick: Only one

Suzuki Jimny


The latest generation of Suzuki Jimny was almost taken off sale before it really became available. Around for a very short time, it got hit by emissions restrictions and lasted only two years before it was pulled in 2020. It has returned in LCV form, but the passenger model has that rarity that we are looking for here.

It also has cult status, with the compact off-roader a utilitarian yet characterful model, like a dinky Land Rover. It’s not particularly good to drive on road, but is excellent off it, and performs well in rural areas with a small footprint and square stance allowing it to nip down country lanes and tackle muddy stuff easily.

This will be in demand for many years, and as such, picking up a cheaper one now could be a good investment for future.

Ideal pick: Only one

Volvo V60 T8 Polestar Engineered


This is a very specific model, but there is plenty of demand in the classic car world for “sleepers” - a car that’s quicker than it looks. The Volvo V60 T8 PE is one such model - a modern take on the performance estate that has been made famous by the likes of Audi and Mercedes in particular.

Featuring the same practicality and style as a conventional Volvo V60, the T8 PE is a powerful plug-in hybrid model. Combined output of 318hp and 430 Nm of torque and all-wheel drive gives the Volvo plenty of oomph in a straight line. But it’s also been fettled by Polestar Engineering, Volvo’s tuning arm, which has added uprated brakes, performance suspension, and additional struts for sharper cornering,

It looks largely like the rest of the V60 range, but Polestar’s signature golden/yellow accents are visible with seatbelts and brake callipers, plus a few discreet Polestar Engineered square badges about the place. The result Q-car that will carry the shopping and family, but also out perform many sports cars on the road. Unusual, clever, and relatively rare.

Ideal pick: Only one

Alfa Romeo Giulia


The current Alfa executive saloon is a nice car all-round. It can’t compete directly with the likes of BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, or Lexus, but it’s a sound saloon that is comfortable and good to drive. Above all else though, it’s stylish and has the attraction that only a badge like Alfa Romeo can bring.

There are more sensible rivals to pick with your head, but let the heart take control, and there’s little else in this - on many other - classes that can compete with the Giulia. It makes each drive an experience, and even in sensible petrol or diesel versions, it’s an enthusiasts car.

Pick the high-performance Giulia Quadrifoglio however, and the Alfa competes with the very best in its class. It’s head-turning aesthetics, the noise from its V6 engine produces more than 500 hp, and a noise like thunder. It is not the most sensible pick around, but the Giulia Quadrifoglio is the closest thing we currently have to a Ferrari saloon.

Ideal pick: Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio