With cars evolving and becoming more of a style icon nowadays, we have witnessed some pretty spectacular glow ups of some models over the years. So below, we’ve put together a Top 10 list of the 10 Car Glow Ups.
10) Mercedes A-Class
Probably one of the best glow ups of the century, the Mercedes A-class went from looking like the ugly duckling and transforming into an icon. Nowadays, the A-Class is an icon of the hot hatch market, combining speed, power and performance. The AMG A45s is both a style and performance connoisseur, and it competes directly with the likes of the Audi RS3 and the Golf R.
9) Bentley Continental
It honestly was the ugliest, most dreary thing ever created when the Bentley Continental came up. It also had the stench of Cheshire and was driven by a specific type of individual, footballers or footballer’s wives. After many generations of revisits, edits and updates, the Continental has evolved into something spectacular. Along with an appreciation of the engineering that’s gone into creating it, not to mention the smooth 6-litre W12 engine offers a sense of uniqueness to the experience.
8) Bentley Flying Spur
The Flying Spur first came out around 2006, and it too was an ugly looking thing. It had a sense of pretentiousness, and the people being chauffeured in them were diplomats or bankers. Nowadays, the Flying Spur has become a car you would want and one you would like to drive. It might not be up there with the Rolls Royce Phantom, but what you get in the Flying Spur is the perfect combination of sportiness and comfort.
7) Rolls Royce Ghost
Originally dubbed the “the expensive BMW 7 Series” since the Ghost does share most of its components with the seven series, it had a bad rep for that back in the day. It, too, wasn’t a perfect looking car, and back then, one would buy the Ghost because they couldn’t afford the more extensive and more expensive Phantom. Rolls Royce caught on with that and spent quite a number on rebuilding and revising the original concept to create the updated 2021 Ghost. It shows that even the most luxurious and well-reputed car manufacturers have to go through trial and error to perfect their models.
6) BMW 3 Series
The BMW 3 Series is the firm’s backbone model; it has been around for generations. It went from having a timeless classic look to becoming a fat dreary slob in the mid-2000s. They did revise it a little in 2015, but it still was a work in progress, especially i drive system, which was awful in the past. In 2020 they launched the new version, and I had the opportunity last year to review the new 330i M Sport Plus. Oh my, how pleasantly surprised I was; BMW did hit quite the home run with this model. Check out the full review at this link.
5) Audi RS3
I will get a lot of hate for this, but before the 2021 RS3 was launched, the previous-generation models were excellent but dated. The 2.5-litre engines were terrific, but the overall exterior and interiors looked a little plain and simple compared to its competitors from Mercedes, BMW and VW. The latest edition to the Audi RS3 range brings it into its stride and shows what a hot hatch should look like.
4) Porsche Cayman
I remember still being a child when I first saw the Cayman back in the early 2000s, and it was ugly. The front was too narrow, and the rear was just a mess; in a way, it just did not look well aligned. It was until 2019 I’d say that the Cayman picked up a pace, though it became a little bit of a disappointment when Porsche decided to dump the flat-six engine for a tiny 2.0-litre flat-four engine which ruined the sound of the car in a way. Fast forward to 2022 when they launched the GT4 RS, and what a beautiful piece of engineering that turned out to be. The Cayman went from being a car you’d avoid buying to now becoming an ideal entry-level car in the world of Porsche.
3) Porsche Panamera
Nicknamed the Elephant Man, when the Panamera first came out around 2010, it was god awful looking. The interior was full of buttons, and you needed to have fingers the size of chopsticks to operate them; the exterior was hideous in design. The car felt rushed and lazy; it’s as if Porsche took a 911 and just added two more doors to it. Which truth be told, was probably what they did; Aston Martin was able to pull that off successfully with the Rapide through Porsche struggled to pick up any traction with the Panamera. The 2021 update showed great potential, and they did not disappoint; Porsche has hit their stride in producing some of the best cars in the world right now, and the Panamera is now no exception.
2) BMW Z4
When I saw the old Z4 from when I was a kid, I always said the front looked a bit like a parrot. It looked old and tainted even though, back then, it was a relatively brand new car. The equivalent Mercedes SLK was a better alternative. Though from 2010 onwards, the Z4 became better and better looking each time it was revised, you can see the progress, the time spent and the dedication BMW went through to produce a compact sports coupe. The current generation Z4 M40i probably ranks top for the best sports coupe money can buy at the moment.
My last choice is weird; I didn’t pick out a particular car model; instead, I picked out an entire brand. Volvos have just been seen as a giant rectangle estate for many years, safe but boring, reliable yet unimaginative. Make no mistake; they were fantastic cars; I remember our old 2002 Volvo V40 estate. I fell in love with it and travelled across Europe with my family. That’s what Volvos were; they’re like a family Labrador. Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, they refined their entire range, giving their models Thor hammer styled headlights, following a Swedish, Ikea looking interior layout. Volvo honestly stunned the world by giving us a big face slap across the face; they are still the leaders in automotive safety and, dare I say it, automotive design too?
What are your thoughts? What do you reckon has been the most significant car glow ups you’ve seen?