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These Are the 15 Most Beautiful Cars You Can Buy in 2019
Aesthetics are subjective, but these stunning cars fit our definition of beauty.
“Beautiful” is a tough word to use when it comes to car design. There are many new cars that are great looking, striking, interesting, or thought-provoking, but it’s difficult to make the jump to beautiful. The bar is high, and the criteria for clearing it is subjective—which is to say, the 15 cars we’ve gathered here are the most beautiful cars you can buy today, according to us. The list includes a Japanese compact sedan, a German luxury coupe, and a British hypercar that you can’t actually buy (we’ll explain). Read on to see the full roundup, and feel free to yell at your screen about how wrong you think we are. Design, after all, is subjective, and we won’t hear you, anyway.
Alfa Romeo’s pointy, shield-shaped grille may not be for everyone, but the Giulia wears it well and is truly gorgeous. This sport sedan is perfectly proportioned, with a long hood and a cabin set back toward the rear wheels, and the body surfacing and details are exquisite. And every Giulia shares the same good looks; Alfa Romeo doesn’t muck up the base models or relegate the choicest style for the range-topping, high-performance Giulia Quadrifoglio. We think that the base Giulia’s tamer front and rear bumpers, lack of side vents, and additional chrome trim actually add to the design’s appeal.
If any automaker knows how to make a beautiful car, it’s Aston Martin. The DBS Superleggera is both the brand’s newest model and the best expression of its current design language. While it is based on the DB11, the DBS’ bodywork is unique save for the roof. The whale shark–like grille design somehow isn’t too big, its yawning opening harking back to Astons of yore, and the squared-off rear, short front overhang, and wide fenders give it excellent proportions. The DBS’ more traditional detailing relative to the more futuristically styled DB11 further helps it earn the b-word descriptor.
In creating the i8 hybrid, BMW designers must have traveled thirty years in the future to see what our robot overlords would consider beautiful. At least, that is what it seems like the stylists did. The i8 is a triumph of interesting surfacing and aerodynamic solutions neatly integrated into the overall design. The buttresses flowing off the C-pillar and floating above the origami-like rear fenders make a 1959 Cadillac’s tailfins look subtle. In profile, the wedge-shaped i8 has Lamborghini-challenging visual drama. And yet, despite its riot of boundary-pushing cues, the i8 remains easily identifiable as a BMW. The droptop i8 Roadster is even funkier than the coupe, but to our eyes, the hardtop’s cleaner lines and fixed roof give it the edge.
Bugatti’s Veyron, while striking and instantly iconic, was not exactly beautiful. To many it was stubby, bulbous, and weird-looking, yet undeniably iconic thanks to its speed-related feats. Its successor, the Chiron, is only incrementally faster and a whole lot prettier. It’s a good thing, too—lacking the Veyron’s moonshot, speed-record-breaking wow factor, the Chiron needs to be beautiful. The design is more aggressive, with larger air scoops and vents; the whole rear end is practically one big mesh grille with taillights stuffed into its void. Each side of the car is dominated by a C-line that curves around the doors and visually bisecting the body into two distinct sections; this demarcation doubles as the color division for the Bugatti’s available two-tone paint jobs. It is all very purposeful and dramatic, and the “it looks like it is moving when it’s standing still” cliché applies.
We like the Infiniti Q50 well enough, but in lopping off two of its doors to create the Q60 coupe, Infiniti created something special. The Q60’s slimmer lights, sportier bumpers, and sleeker rear end all are improvements over the sedan’s pieces, but it’s what’s in the middle of the car that really wins. The Q60’s roofline arcs though a near perfect sweep over the cabin, and it wears the best version yet of Infiniti’s unusual, kinked C-pillar design. The Q60’s shoulder line is higher up and more pronounced than it is on the Q50, and placing the door handle on that shoulder—as opposed to below it—cleans up the bodyside graphic. A subtle, delightful detail? The slightly curved crease that flows from the top of the fender vents to the back of the car; it catches light very well and isn’t present on the Q50.
It’s easy to forget just how radical today’s Jaguar XJ flagship sedan was when it debuted in 2009. The greenhouse, blacked-out D-pillar and all, is superb, keeping the car looking lithe despite its substantial size. The front end might still be the most successful application of Jaguar’s current design language, and the claw-mark taillights remain striking. Subtle updates have kept the slinky XJ looking fresh, even though sales have lagged well behind its German limousine competitors.
Place a few strips of tape over the Stinger’s Kia badge, and it could easily pass for a car twice its price. Particularly in GT trim, the Stinger looks like it drove right off an auto-show turntable and into the real world. After starting out as a 2011 concept that Kia never intended to build, the Stinger launched looking nearly the same as that show car with clearly rear-drive proportions, a fastback roof, and an appealing Kamm tail design. There might be a few too many trim pieces on the exterior, but they all further the Kia’s singular expression of speed and athleticism.
The gloriously outrageous LC coupe began life as a similarly wild-looking 2012 concept car that Lexus had no plans to build. Four years after that show car debuted, it made a nearly edit-free transition to production as the LC coupe, reaching Lexus dealerships as a car people could actually buy. It’s easy to miss the LC’s classic grand tourer shape behind the eye-catching hourglass-shaped grille, squinting headlights, spectacular rear fenders, and “floating” roof. Minimalist the Lexus’s design is not, but we think its sci-fi detailing adds to the car’s beauty, not subtracts from it.
The previous-generation Mazda 3 already was one of our favorite designs on the market, but Mazda’s all-new 3 is even better. Keep in mind, this is an affordable, right-sized car, albeit one with sophisticated body panels shaped to use light and curved surfaces to their advantage. Creases and body lines are held to an absolute minimum. The 3’s shark nose pairs surprisingly well with the sedan’s curving roofline and nicely sculpted trunk, and again, we should remind you that this is a compact front-wheel-drive sedan that looks anything but. We understand that the 3 hatchback, which has a curiously thick C-pillar and sports a severely raked rear window, might appeal to a narrower subset of the public, but we dig it.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata has always been a great looking little roadster, but the fourth-generation ND model is the only one that made the leap to beautiful. Mazda’s kodo design language dictates the Miata’s squinty, smiley face and flowing, gently curving body surfaces and sculpted fenders. The line starting at each door handle and sweeps up around the cabin to the other side of the car is one of our favorite design details; it is subtle and gorgeous, like the rest of the Miata.
Every version of the current Mercedes-Benz S-class looks spectacular and represents an assemblage of upscale details, but our personal favorite is the two-door coupe. The roofline has a graceful, sweeping curvature that blends beautifully into the sculpted trunk lid via the convex rear window. Mercedes puffs out the coupe’s hips more than the four-door sedan’s, and the slight upward curve at the bottom of the rear windows resolves in a fantastic point at the C-pillar. At the rear, a horizontal graphic makes the car look lower and wider, and the long OLED taillights are stunning, to boot. Should the coupe’s pillarless side glass fail to impress, there’s always the S-class cabriolet; it might not look as good with its cloth roof in place, but when that lid is folded and stowed behind the rear seats, it resembles a land-based yacht.
There are few examples throughout the Porsche 911’s history of bad design. Surely somebody loves the 996-generation’s scrambled-egg headlights, and the ’80s 911s’ bumpers could have been better, but the rear-engined sports car has consistently qualified as beautiful. The new 992 generation is the most streamlined 911 yet, all big hips, smooth edges, and clean lines. It represents a wholly modern take on the classic 911 theme, but Porsche tossed some retro 911 touches in for good measure, including the squared-off hood and the full-width taillights.
Rolls-Royce’s two-door Wraith is its sportiest offering and one of its best-looking and dramatic pieces. The bottom half of the Wraith is visually heavy and slab-like, with flat vertical surfaces bridging between the car’s shoulder line and the ground and almost no distinctive embellishment. Consider it a solid base, on top of which Rolls-Royce supports the Wraith’s fantastic fastback roofline. Starting at the raked windshield, the roof flows all the way back to the rear end, not resolving in any sort of visible trunk or hatch. The effect is simultaneously striking and classic, emphasized by the Rolls’ massive scale and available two-tone paint finish.
Volkswagen now-discontinued CC was among the first mainstream cars to feature a so-called “four-door coupe” design. Its spiritual successor, the new Arteon, takes the same theme and puts a fastback spin on it. Unlike the CC, the Arteon is a hatchback, but you wouldn’t know it from the way the roof flows into a vestigial trunk. The wide rear haunches and sculpted front fenders punctuate a body rife with tight lengthwise creases stamped into its panels. The slightly fussy front-end detailing is forgivable given the Arteon’s overly technical appearance and utterly elegant tail.
If we’re being honest, every single car in Volvo’s current lineup could make it onto this list. But the range-topping V90 wagon—in Inscription trim, specifically—is the most beautiful of them all. The profile isn’t as boxy as the mostly rectilinear detailing might have you believe, with a raked rear hatch and imposing length giving it a more modern silhouette than any Volvo wagon prior. Traditional Volvo cues such as the prominent shoulder line and tall, wraparound taillights have been remastered here for, you guessed it, a dash of modernity. Really, it’s quite remarkable how Volvo has designed the V90 to be instantly recognizable as a Volvo and yet uncommonly upscale and elegant. Time will tell if the V90 will age as well (and last as long) as previous Volvo wagons, but we can safely say that it will always be remember as one of the prettiest.
Technically, you can’t actually buy a McLaren Speedtail. Only 106 will be built, and they’ve all been sold already. Each one costs—ahem, cost—upwards of $2.1 million. Even if you could buy a Speedtail, it wouldn’t be street legal in the United States. Lest we discourage your consideration of the Speedtail entirely, we should mention that the McLaren is a thing of absolute beauty, with echoes of art deco and mid-century modern themes combined in a futuristic form. The sports car’s three-seat layout, interesting peaked windshield and teardrop-shaped greenhouse, and extremely tapered rear end are unlike any other car’s. Everything about the Speedtail was designed with airflow and speed in mind, but unlike most other hypercars—McLaren’s own Senna included—the pursuit of performance hasn’t come at the expense of beauty: Note the utter lack of massive air vents and intake openings marring the aesthetic.