The eight most overrated cars ever

11th August 2021
Ethan Jupp

Oh boy are we ready to rustle some feathers with this one. What is an overrated car? Well, by our reckoning it’s a car that is lauded to quite simply unrealistic and unattainable standards. Even really great cars can be overrated in this way. So yes, we’re about to slightly drag a number of what you might consider to be the all-time greats. Buckle up.


Bugatti Veyron

We open with the big Bug. Even the build-up to this car had expectations soaring. A 1,000PS (735kW) machine that could do 250mph without so much as a squeak or a rattle, with the driver in commensurate comfort. Sounds like a new standard, right? And to be fair to the Veyron, it was… in some areas. Achieving all of its goals as it did, it might have been best described at the time as the world’s greatest GT. But refinement and outright performance do not a perfect car make. The Veyron was heavy and with its all-wheel-drive and champion refinement, a touch numb, by all accounts. This was a hypercar that save for the speed, didn’t handle or feel all that hyper.


Nissan GT-R (all generations)

Ah yes, the GT-R badge. We could just about rake every generation of Skyline and indeed the current R35 GT-R over the coals with ease. That is, in comparison to the lofty unrealistic expectations the entire internet has of these cars. In reality, most of those older Skyline GT-Rs are heavier, less agile and their engines less happy to hold four figures than any blindly obsessed superfan will seemingly ever realise. Yes, Godzilla was king of the mountain. On the road, it’s no such fairy tale. As for the R35? Well it was a mighty achievement in its day but it was hardly a bargain. Steep price jumps six months into being on sale haven’t stopped in its 14 year stint, leading to a base price in 2021 of over £88,000! Want a Nismo GT-R? That’ll be over £180,000 please and thank you. Hardly the people’s champion the, er, people seem to think it is.


Toyota Supra (Mk4)

Today as we dunk the Mk4 Supra, the internet may explode. But they’ll be back to selling for six figures next week as if nothing had ever happened. Why? Who knows why we do the things we do. Is the Supra the greatest car to ever exist as the internet would have you believe? Of course it’s not. It’s big, heavy, good-handling for its mass but by no means the be-all and end-all of driving precision. In reality, it was a pleasing GT that was too expensive and too Toyota-badged to bother Porsche for sales. The Mk4 Supra actually killed the idea of a proper Toyota sportscar because of those terrible sales figures. The engine we have no qualms with. Unlike the Nissan RB motor, the JZ engines are absolute tanks. But  “doughy 1,000 horsepower traffic light grand prix winner” is not interchangeable with “greatest car ever made”.


Land Rover Defender

Here’s one that’s fresh in our minds, right? With the release of the new Land Rover Defender, came comment sections clotted with detractors, saying it’ll never be a match for the original. Here’s a newsflash: no one in their right mind should want to build the original as-was in 2021. Drive one, we promise, they’re not good. Cramped, rattly, unsafe, slow, expensive to build and whisper it, not as good as the new one for off-roading as standard. Axle articulation? Once again, the affections of the masses lay not in a car as it was from factory but one modified to extremes. Your expectations are unrealistic.


Porsche 911 (991)

Oh boy, this is going to be a difficult one to swallow. We must add a caveat, however. With the near-flawless reputation of and mass of love for the Porsche 911, every so often Porsche puts a foot wrong. The original 991 is a case in point. Gone were the signature Mezger engine, feelsome hydraulic steering and perfectly-judged six-speed manual gearbox. In came a smooth but less characterful direct fuel injection engine, vacant electric steering and a wonky seven-speed manual. In 2012, the 911 Carrera was off its best game. There are plenty of other examples, too but the lesson here is, unless you get the right 911, your expectations may not match the reality.


BMW M3 (E30)

This one will sting a bit too. The E30 BMW M3 is objectively one of, if not the worst, M3. The beam rear axle, the underpinnings that could be traced to the 1960s, the thrashy race engine that didn’t quite work on the road. It was a homologation car in the way most are, in that it didn’t really work on the road. That’s perhaps best exemplified by how much sweeter a car most say the 325i was. Subsequent M3s deliver the goods you’ve been lead to believe are there in the E30. Yes, even the E36, derided as it was, is a far sweeter performance road car by most accounts, than the boxy racetrack refugee.


Jaguar E-type

The E-type is quite rightly considered to be one of the most beautiful cars ever made. But beauty is only skin deep. Those who know these cars know that the standard period-correct non race cars betray their exotic looks with their driving dynamics. They’re not fast, they don’t handle all that well and most consider them quite unpleasant to operate given the wrong circumstances. Like the Lamborghini Countach, the E-type does its best work when you're on the outside and sitting still. Unlike the Countach, people seem to forget that the E-type’s drop-dead gorgeous looks write cheques the driving experience can’t cash.


NA Mazda MX-5

And on the third day, the Lord said “the answer is always Miata”. At least, that’s what the swarms of internet MX-5 bots will hammer at you until their keyboard is a rattling husk. With a catchphrase like that, could the NA MX-5 be any more overrated? The answer is more often than not, definitely not Miata. It delivers the very basics of sportscar driving, to no more than a very basic standard. This is the starter car for people who love driving. Great as it is, it’s healthy to move on. To graduate. To grow up. It’s okay. Other cars are good as well.

  • Bugatti

  • Veyron

  • Nissan

  • GT-R

  • Toyota

  • Supra

  • Land Rover

  • Defender

  • Porsche

  • 911

  • Jaguar

  • E-type

  • BMW

  • M3

  • Mazda

  • MX-5

  • List

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