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The best limited-edition cars of all time

Motors | Published:

We take a look at some of the greatest and rarest cars ever made

Yes, conventional cars are all well and good, but sometimes rare, limited-edition models just tickle our fancy a little more. Ultra-sought after and therefore a little more special than ‘regular’ models, these cars have consistently set the motoring world alight.

We’re not talking about just high-end cars, either. Some limited-edition cars have appeared at the lower end of the price range – but are still just as memorable as top-price models.

Toyota Yaris GRMN

(Toyota)

You may not have heard of the Toyota Yaris GRMN, but you’ll be grateful you know about it now. Based on the tiny Yaris city car, the GRMN takes things in a sportier direction courtesy of beefed-up brakes, suspension and steering.

The engine is a supercharged 1.8-litre too — the same deployed in some of Lotus’ cars — and this gives the little GRMN a 0-60mph time of 6.3 seconds. However, this limited-run Yaris isn’t all about power – it’s the way this thing corners which makes it quite so impressive, with a set of Sachs dampers and track-like Bridgestone tyres delivering incredible grip.

Audi R8 RWS

(Audi)

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Audi’s sports cars have traditionally utilised four-wheel-drive for the very best traction and power deployment in all manner of conditions. The RWS, however, is different. Rather than going to all corners, the V10 engine sends drive to the rear wheels only – an Audi first.

Thanks to that change, the RWS is lighter and keener to drive – and it’s restricted to just 999 units. It’s a limited-edition car, and one that really broke the mould for Audi. Though a rear-driven car is coming to the regular R8 line-up soon, there’s sure to be a collector’s demand for the RWS someday.

BMW Z3 M Coupe

(BMW)

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The Z3 M Coupe was a limited-edition take on BMW’s two-seater Z3. However, this breadvan-shape sports car stands out against the ‘regular’ model thanks to its iconic styling and powerful engines. It first appeared with the engine from the E36 M3, before being updated with the 3.2-litre from the later E46.

It’s gone down as one of the most memorable BMWs ever made, and is a distinctly rare sight on UK roads.

Ford Racing Puma

(Ford)

The Ford Racing Puma was an incredibly limited-run car, with just 500 examples produced. Underneath the bonnet is a 1.7-litre petrol with 153bhp, while the flowing bodywork featured wider arches to support larger alloys.

An impressively powerful brake system was fitted too, giving the Racing Puma a lot of stopping power – and the bright blue interior wasn’t bad, either. We’d love to see a tribute of this car on the upcoming Puma crossover…

BMW M3 CSL

(BMW)

The BMW M3 is a lightweight, more powerful version of the popular 3-Series. The E46 is easily one of the most iconic incarnations of all time, and the CSL version only builds on this reputation.

The CSL – or Coupe Sport Leichtbau – was produced in extremely limited numbers, with just 1,400 cars rolling off the production line. It was 110kg lighter than the standard M3, thanks to its use of lightweight materials while redesigned suspension made this one of the best-handling M3s of all time.

Renault Clio Williams

(Renault)

The Renault Clio Williams waded into battle that was raging between hot hatches in the early ‘90s, squaring up against rivals such as the Peugeot 205 GTI. Just 390 arrived in the UK, which makes the icon incredibly sought after.

The suspension borrowed components from the Clio Cup racer, and this made it as agile and corner-hungry as can be, while the bulging arches housed wider wheels wearing wider rubber. It took the hot hatch world by storm, and remains one of the true greats.

Volkswagen Lupo GTI

(Volkswagen)

The GTI moniker is one of the most recognisable in motoring, having adorned some of the all-time hot hatch greats. However, it also appeared on one slightly less-known model – the Lupo GTI. Extremely compact yet packing a 125bhp 1.6-litre engine, the Lupo GTI was, despite its small size, a fully-fledged hot hatch.

It’s now turned into somewhat of a cult classic, with prices rising each and every year. Just under 1,000 examples came to the UK – and the number on roads now is only going down.

Ford Focus RS MK1

(Ford)

The first incarnation of the Focus proved immensely popular, offering plenty of practicality as well as a surprisingly involving drive. The RS version built on this by offering supercar-beating performance, but the base car’s decent boot and interior spaciousness.

Some 4,500 examples were produced – so it’s not the most limited car you’ll find on this list – but it’s also not one you’ll see on UK roads all that often either. A turbocharged 2.0-litre engine gave the RS a 0-60mph time of 5.9 seconds, along with a top speed of 143mph.

Mercedes-AMG 300CE ‘Hammer’

(Mercedes)

A performance car called ‘Hammer’ is sure to be a hit. Mercedes-AMG produced just under 30 of these V8-powered super-saloons back in the late 80s, and it went on to become one of the German manufacturer’s most iconic creations.

With around 350bhp being produced from the car’s 5.5-litre V8, the Hammer could take all four occupants in supreme comfort up to a top speed of 180mph. Incredible now, and other-worldly when it first came out.

Fiat Panda 100HP

(Fiat)

The little Fiat Panda is best known as a reliable and nimble city car. The 100HP, however, was a more serious affair. A peppy 1.4-litre engine sent 99bhp to the front wheels, but the 100HP is more about cornering than all-out pace. Lowered suspension over the regular city hatch makes this special edition incredibly good in the bends, where maintaining momentum is the name of the game.

These make for an exceptionally good used purchase — but values are only heading up.

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