Manufacturers need to update their vehicles every few years in order to keep up with the ever-changing market and the customers’ expectations. In most cases, the refreshed vehicle turns out a lot better than its predecessor.
A facelift, a new generation of a vehicle, or a completely new automobile in the automaker’s lineup can massively improve many aspects of a car, resulting in skyrocketing sales figures. Continue reading to check out cars that were extremely improved by a redesign.
Mazda MX5 (ND)
The Mazda MX5 was never a bad car. In fact, the first generation Miata (NA) became adored by car enthusiasts worldwide. Its small size and a stiff suspension made the MX5 an incredibly fun car to drive. The fourth-gen ND released in 2014 was a dramatic change of styling inside and out and has made the MX5 look a lot more modern.
Mazda’s design team went for a more aggressive look when designing the ND. Despite the updated styling, the MX5 ND is still a real Miata in every way. The car weighs just a little over 2300lb and makes 181 horsepower in its most powerful variant.
Porsche 911 (997)
The 996 was never a favorite among die-hard Porsche fans. It was Porsche’s first 911 generation which had a water-cooled powerplant, instead of the air-cooled boxer engines that were fitted on the cars since the 1960s. The car’s “fried egg” headlights and unconventional styling wasn’t too appealing, either.
In 2004, Porsche unveiled the all-new generation of the 911, internally referred to as the 997. Although Porsche did not bring back the outdated air-cooled motors, the 997 was a huge success. The car’s performance is still impressive today. A 2006 997 Turbo can reach 60 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds!
2017 Porsche Panamera (971)
The first-gen Panamera was one of the fastest 4-door sedans available on the market at the time of its 2009 debut. Its most powerful variant, the twin-turbo Porsche Panamera Turbo S could accelerate up to 60 miles per hour in just 3.2 seconds. Although the Panamera’s performance was impressive, its exterior styling was questionable. A long-awaited facelift in 2013 slightly updated the car’s styling, though it was not enough.
The all-new Porsche Panamera, internally referred to as the 971, was released in 2017. Once again, the car features incredible performance and handling. This time, however, it looks the part too.
BMW M3 (E46)
The predecessor of the BMW M3 E46, the M3 E36, was a quick, tail-happy sports car that peaked at 316 horsepower. At least the one sold in Europe. The North American version of the E36 was fitted with a less-powerful 240hp motor. The car’s manual gearbox had only 5 gears, while the European version was equipped with a 6-speed transmission. American dealers believed that the European specification would be too expensive to sell well in North America.
The E46 M3, however, was fitted with the same 3.2L S54 motor for all markets. This time, the North American variant only made 5 horsepower less than its European counterpart. The E46 M3 could sprint to 60mph in just 4.8 seconds.
2012 BMW M6 (F12/F13)
The previous-generation BMW M6 was in production for a whopping 15 years starting in 2005. The car was powered by a 5.0L V10 powerplant, which proved to be a controversial choice. Though the powerful engine peaked at 500 horsepower, it was quickly deemed unreliable. Despite a 15-year-long production run, a total of just 9 087 units were sold.
BMW released an all-new generation of the M6 in 2012, based on the F12 6-series. The unreliable V10 was dropped in favor of the twin-turbo 4.4L V8 taken from the BMW M5. The new M6 could reach 60 miles per hour in just 4.2 seconds. A powerful Competition Package was introduced in 2014 which improved the car’s performance even further.
2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class (3rd generation)
The second-generation A-Class is a small hatchback produced by Mercedes-Benz between 2004 and 2012. The car was fitted with a variety of engines ranging from a 1.5L inline-four up to a 2.1L Diesel. The second-gen A-Class was not exciting in any way, and its styling was rather ugly.
In 2013, Mercedes-Benz unveiled a third-generation A-Class sedan. This time, the vehicle looked a lot more modern and was fitted with more powerful motors. What’s more, Mercedes introduced the A45 AMG, a top-notch performance variant of the A-Class (pictured above). Its flat-four motor made a whopping 376 horsepower, it was the most powerful 2-cylinder engine fitted in a passenger car at the time.
Dodge Charger (7th generation)
The Charger is a legendary American muscle car that dates back to the 1960s. After production of the 5th-gen ceased in 1987, the car wasn’t reintroduced until its revival in 2006. For the first time ever, the Charger was only available as a four-door sedan. Although its design paid homage to its iconic predecessors, the sixth-generation Charger was never a favorite among enthusiasts.
In 2011, Dodge updated the Charger yet again. The all-new 7th-gen featured a completely new, modern design. Its improved handling and an updated interior made the new Charger a great choice for its price. The car was improved further with a facelift in 2015.
2004 Rolls Royce Phantom
After BMW acquired Rolls Royce in the late 90s, development on the automaker’s revival began. The seventh-generation of the iconic Rolls Royce Phantom debuted in 2003. It was the first Rolls Royce of the 21st century and the only car available in the manufacturer’s lineup until the premiere of the Ghost in 2009.
Rolls Royce’s new flagship was stunning. The luxury sedan was powered by a 6.75L V12 that made 454 horsepower. The massive luxury-packed Phantom VII is 230 inches long!
2010 Chevrolet Camaro (5th generation)
The Chevrolet Camaro, much like the Dodge Charger, is another iconic American sports car that has been around since the 1960s. However, Chevrolet did get it wrong with the fourth-gen Camaro released in the 90s. The car’s controversial styling wasn’t the best, and the base model was quite underpowered.
The fifth-generation Camaro was unveiled in 2009 for the following model year. The car had undergone a complete redesign, its styling paid tribute to the first and second generations. The 2010 Camaro SS was fitted with a 6.2L V8 that peaked at 426 horsepower. It could reach 60 miles per hour in just 4.8 seconds.
Chevrolet Camaro (6th generation)
Chevrolet revolutionized the Camaro yet again in 2015 with the launch of the latest sixth-generation Camaro. The car received an updated, sleek exterior, a modern interior equipped with Apple Carplay, and an all-new economical trim with a 2.0L 275-horsepower inline-four.
The new sixth-gen Chevrolet Camaro is the best-performing generation of all time. In fact, its hardcore souped-up variant, the Camaro ZL1, lapped the infamous Nurburgring in just 7 minutes and 16 seconds. The ZL1 has a top speed of over 200 miles per hour!
Chevrolet Corvette C5
The Chevrolet Corvette is another icon in the world of American automobiles. The fourth-generation Corvette C4, released in the early 1980s, became a symbol of that decade. The exterior resembled its predecessors, though the interior was futuristic. As cool as it was back in the 80s, the car desperately needed to be updated by the mid-1990s.
The answer was the Corvette C5, unveiled in 1996. The all-new Corvette looked sleek and modern. The car’s performance was drastically improved, too. A base model C5 Corvette could sprint up to 60mph in just 5.3 seconds.
Chevrolet Corvette C7
Chevrolet brought back the iconic Stingray moniker together with the debut of the seventh-generation Corvette C7 in 2013. The Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray, apart from paying homage to the Corvette’s legacy, proved to be a record-breaking, award-winning sports car. The C7 was dubbed, among others, the Car Of The Year 2014 by the Automobile Magazine and Performance Car Of The Year 2013 by Road & Track.
The base model Corvette C7 peaks at 455 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Nearly 190,000 units were sold in total. The Corvette C7 Stingray is available with a manual transmission, too.
Chevrolet Corvette C8
The latest generation of the Corvette, the C8, was unveiled in 2019. The eighth-gen Chevrolet Corvette is groundbreaking for a variety of reasons. Not only is it the first-ever mid-engine Corvette, but it is also the first mid-engine automobile produced by GM since the 1980s.
Under the hood, the C8 still packs a 6.2L naturally-aspirated V8. The car is available with either a Targa top or a retractable convertible roof, just like its predecessor. Mounting the engine in the middle of the car was a controversial decision by GM, though it resulted in exceptional performance. The C8 Corvette is the most capable Corvette to date.
Cadillac CTS (3rd generation)
The third-generation Cadillac CTS, introduced for the 2014 model year, was an enormous improvement compared to the second-gen. Unlike its predecessor, the new CTS was slightly larger and fell within the midsize category. The sleek visual update gave the car a fresh, aggressive look.
Sadly, coupe and wagon body styles were dropped from the lineup. The third-gen CTS, however, was fitted with a supercharged 640hp 6.2L V8 in its most powerful variant, the CTS-V (pictured above). The economical base model came equipped with a 2.0L inline-four that made 272 horsepower. Production of the third-gen Cadillac CTS was discontinued in 2019.
Lincoln Navigator (4th generation)
Despite being in production since 1997, sales of the Navigator have been continuously dropping since 2010. Sales hit an all-time low in 2011, with just 8018 units of Lincoln’s full-size SUV sold that year. The American manufacturer had to freshen up the Navigator in order to stay relevant.
The fourth-generation Navigator was launched for the 2018 model year. Its updated exterior styling was inspired by the Lincoln Continental, and the 3.5L V6 Ecoboost motor was carried over from the facelifted third-gen Navigator. The fourth-gen proved to be successful, as its sales doubled in comparison to its predecessor. Nearly 20,000 units were sold in 2019.
Ford Mustang (5th generation)
The fourth-gen Ford Mustang, sold between the mid-90s through to 2004, was far from the best car produced by Ford. Owners complained that the pony cars often had water leaking into the car’s cabin, as well as frequent problems with rust and paint peeling off the body. The fourth-gen Mustang’s exterior wasn’t too appealing, either.
In 2004, Ford introduced the fifth-gen Ford Mustang. The refreshed exterior looked stunning, and the car’s high-performance variant (the Mustang GT) came with a naturally-aspirated 4.6L V8 that made 300 horsepower. Sadly, the fifth-gen Mustang still suffered from frequent rust and paint issues, much like its predecessor. There was still room for improvement.
Ford Mustang (6th generation)
After a whopping 11-year-long production run, it was time for Ford to retire the fifth-gen Mustang. In 2013, the automaker presented the all-new sixth-generation Ford Mustang. The updated sleek design, paired with a new entry-level 2.3L Ecoboost variant, was an instant hit around the world. The car’s handling was dramatically improved. Back in 2015, the Mustang GT350R set the world record for the fastest American muscle/pony car around the infamous Nurburgring, lapping the track in just 7 minutes 32 seconds.
The sixth-generation Mustang was the first-ever Mustang to be sold globally. Ford even makes right-hand drive variants! In addition, the new entry-level Ecoboost trim provided a Mustang experience for a fraction of the price of the V8-powered Mustang GT.
2004 Fiat Multipla
The original Fiat Multipla is infamous in the car world. Top Gear dubbed the Multipla the “Ugliest Car” back in 1999. The Fiat Multipla was a spacious 5-door estate that was supposed to be an exciting look into the future of the automobile. Instead, the car became one of the most hideous vehicles ever made.
In 2004, Fiat decided to refresh the infamous Multipla. The restyled vehicle was nowhere near as hideous as the earlier models, and its interior was clever and highly functional. Sales figures went up by over 30% the following year, before plummeting in 2009. The Multipla was discontinued once and for all in 2010.
Volkswagen Golf GTI (5th generation)
The Volkswagen Golf is one of the best-selling compact cars in Europe. It’s small, fuel-efficient, reliable, and affordable. The performance variant of the fourth-gen Golf, the GTI, was fitted with a 178-horsepower 1.8L flat-four.
When the fifth-gen Golf made its debut in 2003, the GTI returned as well. This time, the tiny hatchback came powered by a turbocharged 2.0L flat-four that peaked at 197 horsepower. It may not seem like much, though the Mk5 Golf GTI weighs below 3000 pounds. In effect, the 2005 Volkswagen Golf GTI could sprint to 60 miles per hour in just 6.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 145 miles per hour.
2017 Honda Civic Type R
Believe it or not, the high-performance version of the Honda Civic is a proper sports car. The car is lighter than standard, fitted with a stiffer suspension and larger brakes. It’s only offered with a manual transmission, too. However, the fourth-generation Honda Civic Type R, based on the ninth-gen Civic, was far from the best in the lineup.
The FK8 Honda Civic Type R was introduced for the 2017 model year. A completely new exterior is more aggressive than ever before, with impressive performance figures to back up the sporty styling. The new Type R is powered by a 306hp turbocharged 2.0L flat-four. At the time of its release, The Type R was the quickest front-wheel-drive car to ever lap the Nurburgring.
BMW M5 (E39)
Despite being around since the mid-1980s, BMW has never fitted the high-performance BMW M5 with a powerful V8 motor. Instead, the first two generations of the M5 came powered by straight-six powerplants. BMW introduced the first-ever V8 M5 in 1998, it was based on the E39 5-series (pictured above).
The all-new M5 featured the powerful 4.9L S62 V8 engine that made 394 horsepower. In comparison, its predecessor peaked at 311 hp. The souped-up E39 M5 could sprint to 60 miles per hour in under 5 seconds. The top speed was electronically limited to 155 miles per hour.
The McLaren MP4 12C was the first production car wholly designed and built by McLaren. In the past, the British manufacturer has contributed to projects such as the legendary McLaren F1, or the Mercedes McLaren SLR. While the 12C was certainly good enough as the automaker’s first roadgoing car, there was still plenty of room for improvement.
McLaren replaced the 12C with the 650s in 2014, just 3 years after the launch of the 12C. The car is based on its predecessor, around a fourth of the parts are shared between the two cars. An updated exterior combined with the superior performance made the 650S a great supercar.
Nissan GTR R35 (2017 facelift)
The Nissan GTR R35 is a high-performance sports car that has been in production since 2007. The car’s exceptional, record-breaking performance has earned it lots of awards. In fact, the 2020 Nissan GTR Nismo set the production car record around the Tsukuba track in Japan. However, the R35 needed some tweaks during its 13-year-long production run.
In 2017, Nissan updated the R35 GTR. The car was equipped with a revised transmission that was able to shift quicker than the earlier models. What’s more, the engine was tweaked to make 562hp (prev. 480hp). The 2017 facelift introduced a refreshed exterior design, too.
2008 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG (5th generation facelift)
The Mercedes-Benz SL is an iconic model by the German automaker. It’s most legendary variant is perhaps the SL 300 Gullwing from the 1950s. At the beginning of the 21st century, Mercedes-Benz launched the fifth-generation of the SL. The small 2-door convertible provided a balance between sporty performance and a luxurious, comfortable experience.
In 2008, the 5.4L V8 SL55 AMG was dropped in favor of the SL63 AMG. The revised high-performance variant of the SL featured a roaring 6.2L 518-horsepower V8, in addition to aggressive cosmetic enhancements. The 2008 SL63 AMG could sprint to 60 miles per hour in just 4.3 seconds!
Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG (W204)
The Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG (W204) is the first-ever automobile produced by AMG from the ground up. The previous high-performance AMG C-Class was the Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG, based on the W203. All of the high-performance parts installed by AMG were pretty much bolt-on. In effect, the cars suffered from handling issues. This was not the case with the W204 C63 AMG.
The all-new Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG featured a revised suspension. Apart from a massive naturally-aspirated 6.2L V8 that made 451 horsepower, the sports car features the most responsive steering system of any Mercedes-Benz at the time.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class (5th generation)
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is an executive car that’s cheaper than the lavish S-Class and more luxurious than the C-Class. The previous generation E-Class had been around since 2010, so it was high time for an update.
The all-new fifth-gen E-Class was presented in 2016 and production began the following year. The brand new sedan featured an array of high-tech comfort and safety features, including the Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot (similar to the AutoPilot found in Tesla cars). A completely revised, upscale interior paired with a refreshed exterior styling made the new E-Class an instant hit. The E63 AMG 4Matic+, the car’s most souped-up high-performance variant, remains one of the fastest sedans of all time.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class (7th generation)
The S-Class is Mercedes-Benz’s flagship top-of-the-line luxury sedan that’s been around since the 1970s. This year, the German automaker unveiled the seventh-generation of the lavish S-Class limousine, and it’s more luxurious than ever before.
The S-Class has always been the trendsetter among automobiles. This time, the exquisite sedan is the first car to feature rear seat airbags that use ambient air rather than gas. What’s more, the S-Class features an augmented-reality HUD, five high-resolution displays, and some of the most advanced tech features in the industry. The new S-Class comes equipped with the all-new MBUX 2.0 software, a successor to the automaker’s award-winning MBUX.
Mercedes-AMG GT R
The Mercedes-AMG GT made headlines when it was first unveiled in 2014. It is the second sports car that was developed wholly by AMG, with legendary F1 driver Lewis Hamilton helping out with the development. The powerful 2-door coupe/roadster made 469 horsepower. As fast as it was, there was still room for improvement.
The Mercedes-AMG GT R, a high-performance variant of the GT, was unveiled in 2017. Though the car was fitted with the same 4.0L V8, the power output was raised to a whopping 577 horsepower. In effect, the GT R could reach 60 miles per hour in just 3.2 seconds, as opposed to the base model’s 3.8 seconds. That same year, Mercedes updated the entire GT line up cosmetically, too.
BMW M5 (F90)
The latest generation of the 5 series, the G30, premiered in 2016. Its high-performance variant, the M5, was unveiled just a year later. The design team at BMW went above and beyond to ensure that their newest creation was a good successor to the mighty F10 M5.
The new M5 is the first-ever M5 to feature an AWD-drivetrain rather than RWD. Under the hood, the new M5 packs a twin-turbo 4.4L V8 that makes 600 horsepower. What’s more, the drivetrain can be configured to only send power to the rear wheels and provide a very tail-happy experience for the driver.
Jaguar XF (X250)
Today, the 2011 Jaguar XF (pictured above) may not look like the most beautiful car ever made. Back when the XF first debuted in 2008, however, it shocked practically everyone. It was the first truly modern Jaguar, its elegant exterior paired perfectly with the modern interior. The XF was an exciting symbol of what Jaguar had become.
The weakest points of the XF were the available powerplants. The base model came fitted with a weak 2.0L flat-four that made less than 250 horsepower. For the diesel variant, Jaguar used a 2.2L from a Ford Transit Van! Luckily, a powerful 5.0L supercharged V8 was introduced for the XFR in 2009.
Ford Mustang (3rd generation)
The second generation of America’s favorite pony car was a tremendous disappointment, largely due to the fuel crisis in the US and strict emission and safety regulations. The base model only made 83 horsepower, and even the V8 variant wasn’t considered fast. Ford introduced year-by-year changes to fix the vehicle, though production was ceased in 1978.
That same year, the all-new third-gen was introduced. Although it may not have been perfect at first, Ford introduced a series of changes throughout the car’s 14-year-long production run. Today, the “Fox-Body” third-generation Ford Mustang is becoming a sought-after classic.
Toyota Yaris GR
At first sight, the Toyota Yaris is a boring, fuel-efficient subcompact car. While that may be true for the standard base model, the small Yaris turned out ideal for motorsport use, particularly in WRC (pictured above). After an array of modifications, of course.
In 2020, Toyota’s performance division, Gazoo Racing, unveiled the performance-oriented Toyota Yaris GR. The car is powered by a 3-cylinder 1.6L motor that peaks at 261 horsepower. Thanks to an AWD-drivetrain and a light body, the Yaris GR can accelerate to 60 miles per hour in just 5.2 seconds. It is only available with a manual transmission. All of a sudden, Gazoo Racing turned the Yaris into an exciting, affordable hot hatch.
Maserati Quattroporte (5th generation)
The fifth-gen Maserati Quattroporte debuted in 2003 and featured an all-new platform, unlike its predecessor which was based on the Maserati Biturbo. The Quattroporte was elegant and fast. In fact, it could reach 60 miles per hour in just 5.2 seconds! The top speed was a whopping 171 miles per hour, making the Quattroporte one of the fastest sedans of its time.
The stunning 4-door sedan was designed by Pininfarina and powered by a naturally-aspirated 4.2L V8 engine borrowed from Ferrari. What could be better than a stylish Italian saloon with a Ferrari powerplant?
Audi A4 (5th generation)
Although the fourth-generation Audi A4 was overall a good car, it could not compete with the driving pleasure of a BMW or the luxury experience of a Mercedes-Benz. Audi bridged the gap with the release of the latest, fifth-generation of the A4 4-door sedan.
Audi has preserved the elegant exterior of the car’s predecessor, and instead focused on updating the interior along with the engine variants. The latest A4 is equipped with high-tech features similar to those found in Mercedes-Benz. Engine variants range from an economical 148hp 1.4L to a 3.0 V6 that makes 268hp, making the A4 a great rival for the BMW 3-Series.
Acura NSX (2nd generation)
The original Acura/Honda NSX is an iconic sports car sold from 1990. Despite its impressive performance, the NSX was not selling well in the United States. Sales figures peaked in 1991 with just 1940 units sold in the US. The NSX was discontinued in 2005, although it was sold in the US until 2007. Only 3 units were sold that year.
In 2016, Honda unveiled the successor to the NSX. The all-new NSX features a modern hybrid powerplant, a twin-turbo 3.5L V6 paired with 3 electric motors that produce almost 600 horsepower in total. The new NSX is a supercar beater for a fraction of the price of its rivals.
Honda Pilot (3rd generation)
The third-generation Honda Pilot was unveiled in 2015 for the 2016 model year. The Pilot received a visual update, along with a refreshed the interior. The reliable 3.5L V6 from its predecessor remained unchanged. The car is ideal for families- it received a 5/5 star rating in the NHTSA safety tests.
Restyling the vehicle and updating the interior proved to be very successful. Sales figures in the US increased by over 25% as soon as the new generation was unveiled.
Chrysler 300 (2nd generation)
Chrysler released a redesigned version of the Chrysler 300 4-door sedan in 2011. Although the first-generation wasn’t a bad car, it desperately needed an update after its launch in 2004.
The new Chrysler 300 featured a revised exterior, with updated headlights and taillights, as well as flashy 20-inch rims. The base model comes powered by a 3.6L Pentastar V6 that generates 292 horsepower. A V8-powered SRT variant made its debut in 2011 as well. The 6.4L HEMI generates a whopping 470 horsepower, resulting in a 0-60 sprint in just 4 seconds.
2018 Peugeot 508
The second-generation Peugeot 508 premiered at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show. The all-new, sleek exterior design makes the new 508 a much more appealing executive car than its predecessor. Inside, the 508 features a very modern and futuristic interior finish. The NCAP gave the second-gen Peugeot 508 a 5-star safety rating.
The base Peugeot 508 comes fitted with an economical 1.6L flat-four that makes 178-horsepower. The most souped-up variant of the 508 comes with a 1.6PSE flat-four combined with two electric motors. The total power output is 355 horsepower. In effect, the 508 can reach 158 miles per hour and sprint to 60mph in just 5.2 seconds.
Bentley Continental GT (3rd generation)
The Bentley Continental GT first made its debut in 2003. It was Bentley’s first automobile produced after Volkswagen acquired the British automaker. Although the second generation was unveiled in 2011, the vehicle had undergone the most dramatic change in 2018.
In 2018, Bentley presented an all-new third-generation Bentley Continental GT. The luxurious 2-door sports car is available in either coupe or convertible body styles. The car features a more modern exterior and a contemporary, classy interior design. Two engine variants are available: a 4.0L twin-turbo V8 or an iconic 6.0L twin-turbo W12.
Toyota Supra (4th generation)
The Toyota Supra is one of the most famous Japanese sports cars. The legendary fourth-generation of the Supra was in production between 1993 and 2002 and quickly became an icon of the 1990s.
Unlike the third-gen Supra which classified as a grand tourer, the Supra Mk4 is a proper sports car. The car features an iconic 2JZ motor under the hood. The base model makes 220 horsepower, though the turbocharged variant peaks at 325hp (320hp for the US market). The twin-turbo Toyota Supra Mk4 can reach 60 miles per hour in just 5.3 seconds!