It was hard getting this list down to just seven cars.
A special or limited edition vehicle has the potential to be absolutely sublime and truly memorable; but it can also be a disaster dreamt up by a bunch of marketing people who want to remind you that a particular car still exists. Prime examples of special edition suckage mostly come from Mini, which launched more limited cars than any other brand. It's so bad that if you want an exclusive Mini, you need to buy a base Cooper in white. But Mini is not the only offender.
Take a look at the car below. It's a Volkswagen T-Roc Convertible Edition Grey. It was sold in Germany, thankfully. Not only is the base car a dumb concept, but VW adds blacked-out trimmings, larger alloy wheels, and model-specific matte grey paint. And because of all these features, VW charges €51,600, which works out to around $55k.
The T-Roc kicks off our list of terrible, tone-deaf, and awkward vehicles launched this year. Here they are, in no particular order.
We'd love to get the Honda e in the USA. It would be an epic commuter car for city dwellers, and it looks amazing, too. That said, Honda used the marketing trick of building a half-assed limited edition to remind folks the car exists because sales were slipping. Only 50 of these were made, and there's actually nothing really special about it. The electric motor's output wasn't even upgraded slightly to decrease the 0-60 mph time. Instead, Honda painted it a special red, added some black piano accents, and gave it a set of black wheels.
But wait, there's more. To ensure this limited edition got maximum traction, Honda roped in a contractually obligated Max Verstappen to pose next to the car and provide a comment. "The Honda e Limited Edition is simply lovely. It has funky looks, a compact design, and is fun to drive. It's a great electric urban vehicle," said a visibly awkward Max Verstappen. The man looks like he'd rather be at a dinner hosted by Hamilton fanboys.
Yet another F1-related disaster, but this one was all down to timing. The Alpine A110 is, by all accounts, a brilliant sports car. While the USA has never been a big fan of French cars, it's safe to say that these things would sell big time if they were sold locally.
As you might have noticed, Alpine named this limited edition car after its most famous employee, two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso. It was a reasonable effort, not just a Racing Matte Blue 110R with orange brake calipers. Alpine also claimed "unique on-track sensations" thanks to Alonso's input. Basically, they tuned the suspension setup according to the Spaniard's input, and that alone makes it pretty special.
Unfortunately, the Alpine A110 R Fernando Alonso was unveiled in October, two months after Nando announced his departure from the team. By the time these 32 examples are delivered to their owners, Alonso will be driving for Aston Martin.
The French brand did no damage control whatsoever. It could easily have removed Alonso's colors from the C-Pillar and replaced the hood signature with Esteban Ocon's, but no.
In May, Volkswagen unveiled the 328-horsepower Golf R 20 Years. It was built to celebrate 20 years of Golf's existence, which VW USA needed to take advantage of. The Golf R has a large following in the States, as one of the few hot hatches in the market. We missed out on the Golf R 20 Years, but Volkswagen USA introduced the Golf R 20th Anniversary Edition. Reading the name on top of the press release gave us heart palpitations. But reading any further than that only led to disappointment. Instead of 328 horses, the US version was equipped with the same EA888 evo4 TSI as the regular Golf R.
All of the special edition bits were cosmetic. The car looked good but lacked an Akrapovic exhaust, an Emotional Start Mode to wake up the neighbors, and a basic anti-lag system. All of these goodies were standard on the Euro model. But hey, at least we got a limited-edition key fob with a blue R logo.
Mini Malaysia introduced The Coopers Edition, meant to be an homage to John Cooper and the rally machines he built for Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, and Jim Clark. These rally Minis were iconic, but the one that really stood out was the Monte Carlo Rally winner. The look and livery were so iconic they inspired thousands of Mini owners to mount spotlights on the front of their vehicles. In 2020, Mini launched a proper tribute to the Monte Carlo livery.
What was so wrong with the Mini Malaysia special? Well, see for yourself. It's the wrong color and has five doors, not to mention the glaring absence of spotlights. For reference, we also attached an image of the Monte Carlo Rally Mini to see how badly this special edition was messed up. It's like they weren't even trying.
The WILL.I.AMG is proof that people should stay in their lanes. Former Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am should not be allowed near a car design studio in the same way that Merc's design department must not be authorized to record music.
We are still determining what this is. It appears to be a Rolls-Royce Wraith with a Mercedes-AMG G63 face pasted to the front.
This is not a GR Yaris. If it were, we would have approved. Instead, it's a hybrid Yaris with 114 hp, 18-inch wheels, and a sporty exhaust finisher. To make it more attractive, Toyota chucked in a Sony Playstation 5 and a hard copy of Gran Turismo 7. Only 100 were made, and the model was only offered in Spain.
At the time, the Playstation 5 was in short supply, so it sounded like a good idea. But now, many months later, the shops are full of the latest-generation console, and 100 Spaniards are stuck with a standard Yaris, which is basically 160 inches of generic hatchback.
Ford asked the public to name a new Mustang special edition, and the final options were Shadow Stallion, Alastor, Shadowmare, and Nite Pony. We can all agree that three of those four names are acceptable, and yet Ford went with the worst option.
It is the least intimidating name for a car ever, and Mitsubishi once called a car the Minica Lettuce. Note to Ford - if you want to strike fear into the hearts of your rivals, don't use the word "pony."
These are seven of the worst special edition cars we've come across this year, and while they may be nonsensical for the most part, at least they made us laugh.