A special edition car typically highlights a special moment or event in the carmaker’s history. A landmark anniversary? A motorsport victory? A tribute to an iconic model? Sure. Why not? It’s just that automobile brands sometimes miss the mark with their ‘special’ cars, leaving us scratching our heads.
Now, I do not hate special edition cars and bear no grudge against the carmakers listed here. In fact, some of them are among my favourites. It just feels like some of the highlighted vehicles could have been better presented, while some—without mentioning names—should have been left on the drawing board.
Audi RS7 Exclusive Edition
Now, this German carmaker is one of my favourites, with a well-established brand presence. However, even the best falters, and the $166,000 RS7 Exclusive Edition is proof of that.
It’s hard to see what’s ‘exclusive’ about the car. Sure, it’s got fancy black paint and carbon-fibre exterior add-ons. The interior is also decked out with Audi’s exclusive leather package. However, this is still scant justification for the hefty $50,000 premium over the price of a regular 2022 Audi RS7.
I bet there are aftermarket outfits that can get a non-limited RS7 to look exactly like the Exclusive Edition for far less than $50,000. Oh. Did we mention that the Audi RS7 Exclusive Edition offers no performance advantage? It is powered by the same 591-hp BiTurbo V8 found in the regular RS7 model.
Pagani Zonda F Clubsport Final Edition
The Zonda F Clubsport Final Edition is elegant, a carbon-fibre-laden wonder on wheels to commemorate the end of the Zonda hypercar’s production and make way for its successor, the Huayra. It was announced in 2011 and had a price tag north of $2 million. There’s only one issue—it isn’t actually the ‘final’ Zonda.
From 2011 until now, there have been at least 20 Zonda hypercars, each touted as one-offs commissioned by uber-wealthy clients. The latest iteration of the car was unveiled as recently as January 2022. We can only imagine that the owner of the Zonda F Clubsport Final Edition wasn’t too pleased to learn that it was not the final Zonda after all.
Lamborghini Aventador Miura Homage
As implied by the name, Lamborghini unveiled this limited-series Aventador to mark the 50th anniversary of the Miura: the first true supercar. It was the Miura that started the mid-engined supercar trend. The Aventador Miura Homage reflects the colours of the original Miura models. That, coupled with a few Ad Personam touches on the interior, was about all the ‘special’ treatment given to an otherwise stock Aventador.
It’s a bit of a let-down, considering how revolutionary the Miura was in its time. A completely redesigned model from Lamborghini would have been a more fitting tribute, just like the carmaker did with the Countach LPI 800-4.
BMW M5 Edition 35 Years
BMW launched this sports sedan to mark the 35th anniversary of the M5’s production. However, once you got past the numerous ’35th edition’ badges and single colour option, you would quickly discover that this was nothing more than a heavily optioned M5 Competition.
A ‘symbolic’ 35hp bump—a nod to the anniversary—would have been pretty significant in this case, but no; the M5 Edition 35 Years gets the same 617 hp twin-turbocharged V8 powertrain. The $128,000 M5 Edition 35 Years, limited to 350 examples, carried an $18,000 premium over the price of a standard M5 Competition. However, pointless special edition or not, we are sure the German carmaker had no problems finding buyers among its legion of loyal followers.
Aston Martin DB9 GT Bond Edition
Aston Martin launched the DB9 Bond Edition to celebrate the carmaker’s long-standing relationship with the Bond movie franchise and the launch of the Bond movie ‘Spectre’ in 2015. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to commemorate such an impressive partnership. The only problem was that for anyone to notice its status, you’d probably have to tell them.
To be fair, the car was coated with an exclusive Spectre silver paint, but apart from that and a few ‘007-themed’ badges, it looked just like any other DB9. The DB9 Bond Edition did come with a ‘feel good’ premium luggage set and a $7,000 Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra “James Bond Limited Edition” watch, though.
Porsche 911 Turbo S Edition 918 Spyder
Yes, that’s the full name of this special edition Porsche. In 2012, Porsche offered this supercar to customers who had placed deposits and were expecting the Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid hypercar. At its core, the car was a 911 Turbo S with add-ons that included carbon-fibre trims, upgraded leather and the 918 Spyder’s acid green paint for the brake callipers.
Like the 918 Spyder, the exclusive Turbo S model was limited to 918 units. At best, it was a clever marketing ploy by the German carmaker to increase revenue. Still, beyond that, it’s tough to come up with any reasonable justification for this special edition Porsche.
Chevrolet Camaro Transformers Edition
In reality, this was just a $995 appearance package applied to the LT (V6) and SS-trim Chevrolet Camaro. That did not stop Chevy from marketing the car as a complete special edition model, one that was styled after the vehicle mode of Autobot Bumblebee from the 2009 “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” movie.
The appearance package included conspicuous Transformers logos, fender badges and wheel caps. All the cars were finished in the same shade of Rally Yellow, complemented with gloss black rally stripes (hence the ‘Bumblebee’ nickname).
Mitsuoka Orochi Evangelion Edition
The Mitsuoka Orochi is often regarded as one of the ugliest supercars ever. That might be unduly harsh, but the car’s design, with an abundance of weird angles and contours, did not do it any favours either.
The Orochi spawned a special edition variant dubbed the Mitsuoka Orochi Evangelion. It was launched in 2014 to celebrate the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series. Eleven units were planned, each finished with a unique paint scheme. Mitsuoka had already announced the end of the Orochi supercar at the time, and the Evangelion edition, with its garish colours, was unable to prolong the life of the infamous supercar.
McLaren 570S Spider Canada Commission
This McLaren 570S Spider only boasts cosmetic changes over the standard model, yet it cost nearly $50,000 more when it was first launched. The car resulted from a partnership between McLaren and Pfaff Automotive Partners, the distributor for McLaren cars in Canada, to celebrate the carmaker’s racing and road-car history in the country.
The cars were finished in Silica White with contrasting red-tinted carbon fibre elements. Maple leaf and Canadian flag decals gave the supercar a distinctive ‘Canadian’ feel. The end result does look beautiful, but we are not sure if it works well as a special edition car, especially with that price difference compared to a regular 570S Spider.
Any Edition 1 Mercedes Benz
The rationale behind any ‘Edition 1’ Mercedes Benz is hard to understand, except you file it away as another money-spinning strategy from the German carmaker. As the name implies, they are typically the first examples of a new model rollout. However, the only differences are mostly limited to exclusive paint schemes, a few badges on the interior and, of course, a chunky price difference over the regular models.
It is undoubtedly a strategy that helps the carmaker sell more cars, but how about putting more effort into differentiating the ‘Edition 1’ cars? Consider carmakers like Lotus and Lucid—their First (launch) Edition cars boast power advantages and theoretically more performance. What if Mercedes Benz tried something similar? Just saying.