Enhancing Performance of 1990s Vehicles

On The Face Of It, Future Classics From The 1990s Have The Potential To Be A Bit Of A Let-down

The 1980s, with their affordable hot hatches, enormous homologation specials, and ballistic supercars, were a difficult act to follow, and with insurance costs rising, you'd be excused for believing automobiles from the 1990s would be a letdown.

But don't dismiss them too fast. This was the era when widespread use of fuel injection, ABS, and power steering enhanced reliability, safety, and usefulness. In sum, these vehicles are contemporary enough to be dependable and accessible, but ancient enough - and now scarce enough - to be intriguing. And unlike many '80s automobiles, their successors from the 1990s are still very much within reach, and we provide guiding pricing (for quality examples) for them.

BMW 5 Series (E34) (1988-1996)

The third-generation 5 Series debuted in the 1980s, but came into its own with a 1992 makeover, so we'll include it here. It is famous for handling as well as market-leading performance, particularly the legendary 335bhp M5 variant. Aside from basic versions, most E34s featured powerful, smooth straight sixes with multivalve heads, however the 530i and 540i acquired torquey V8s from 1992.

Volkswagen Corrado (1988-1995)

Volkswagen Corrado (1988 – 1995) Review | Honest John

Another late '80s car that gets in on a technicality: the thick-set, snouty proportions are very 90s. It debuted in the UK with a 136bhp 1.8-litre 16-valve from the Mk2 Golf GTI, with which it shared a chassis, as well as a blown 158bhp 1.8 that required regular oil changes to keep the supercharger from devouring itself - which it generally did, eventually. However, the 2.9-litre 189bhp VR6 variant is the most sought-after and now demands the highest price - more than £12,000 for cars with 90,000 miles on its 205/50-section tires. A 0-62mph performance of 6.4 seconds puts it only a whisker behind the fastest front-drive hot hatches on the market today, thanks to a relatively light 1240kg kerb weight. Top speed was stated to be 146 mph.

BMW 8 Series (1990-1999)

The 8 Series, pointy as a pencil and sharp as a shark, looked great, and its enveloping leathery interior drew in everyone. Choose V8 or V12, but don't anticipate a pleasant ride, pin-sharp handling, or much straight-line speed, given the weight - about 2000kg in the case of the V12. Future classic status is certain, however, and prices are now rising.

Lexus LS400 (1990-2000)

Toyota's premium brand's maiden step into Mercedes S-class area was a success. Quiet, comfy, and wonderfully constructed, especially switchgear. They are also reliable and inexpensive to service, and their dealers are among the finest, but they do not have the same reputation as Germans. Mileage has a significant impact on prices (you may buy them for less £1000).

Vauxhall Calibra (1990-1997)

Vauxhall Calibra (1990 - 1997) review | Exchange and Mart

Consider Vauxhall selling a car like this today: more than simply a three-door variation of the Cavalier, but a real niche coupe with the lowest drag coefficient of any automobile on sale. It was a bold vehicle, and while it was never the most enjoyable to drive, it looked terrific and sparked a vogue for sharp-suited two-doors that lasted the rest of the decade. Prices are on the rise.

Toyota MR2 Mk2 (1990-1999)

The original MR2 was a smart parody of the excellent X1/9, but it got larger and heavier in the second generation, and its mid-engined handling proved a touch erratic for some. Nonetheless, many people appreciated the appearance, and the handling and overall road behavior improved, making it a highly sought-after vehicle.

Read Also: Reviving Retro: Restoring 1990s Vehicles

BMW 3 Series (E36) (1990-2000)

The third version of the 3 Series featured curves reminiscent of the 1980s E30 and considerably increased the vehicle's refinement quotient. The M3 variant was also the first of its sort to include six cylinders, but it didn't stop it from being a bit of a dynamic disappointment. Connoisseurs will steer you towards the 318is instead.

Bentley Continental R (1991-2003)

Bentley Continental (1991 - 2003) used car review | Car review | RAC Drive

In the 1980s, we had turbocharged Bentleys, but they were four-door and resembled a Roller. The Continental R combined turbo V8 power with stately home elegance, cost a lot, and ran like stink. It was also a two-door coupe. If you had enough space, you could also drive this behemoth like a sports car.

Peugeot 106 (1991-2003)

Fast and lightweight. Peugeot classics are becoming increasingly popular, and when you consider how pure and joyful an experience they provide in comparison to their contemporary counterparts, it's easy to see why. Peugeot produced over three million instances of the 106, but the 'fewer frills, more thrills' Rallye is rapidly gaining popularity; 100bhp from a 1.3-litre engine has never been put to greater use. Unfortunately, they are becoming increasingly difficult to find.