With every year comes a new batch of special editions from nearly every car manufacturer. Whether it’s to celebrate an anniversary, special event, recent success, or just to drum up sales, sometimes a special edition is just a badge or a bit of paint, but other times it includes enough changes to the regular car to make it a future classic. To help you separate the interesting from posers, the editors at Autobytel have gone through this year’s entries and come up with a list of the ten best special edition cars for 2018. Read on to discover a few of our favorites.
10 Best Special Edition Cars for 2018
Photo Credit: General Motors
10) 2018 Chevrolet Camaro Redline Edition
The Redline Series is available on a wide number of models in Chevrolet’s lineup, but we think it looks best on the Camaro (though the Malibu is a close runner-up). The Redline edition is mostly a styling package, and on the Camaro, it includes black front and rear bowtie emblems, black Camaro fender badges with a red outline and fender ‘hash marks’ in gloss black with a red outline. Unfortunately, the Redline edition doesn’t offer much in the way of performance enhancements, but it does include 20-inch black-painted aluminum wheels with red accents (and summer-only tires on SS models). A little something extra to make this model truly special would be nice, but we like that it’s available on several trim levels.
Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
9) 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T Plus with Classic Package
The Dodge Challenger R/T is a 375-horsepower rear-wheel-drive muscle car that’s available with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. The retro fun really starts though when you step up to the R/T Plus package and add the R/T Classic Package. That gets you 20-Inch Classic II Polished Aluminum Wheels, Black R/T Classic Side Stripes, High-Intensity Discharge headlamps and Nappa / Alcantara performance seats. Most important of all, however, are the included classic "Challenger" script fender badges that somehow make us nostalgic for the late ‘60s models, even though we know that today’s cars are faster and handle better. It’s just unfortunate the package isn’t available on R/T Plus Shaker (or any of the 392) models.
Photo Credit: Volkswagen
8) 2018 Volkswagen Beetle Coast Special Edition
The Volkswagen Beetle Coast is a new special trim level for the 2018 model year, available as both a coupe (with sunroof of course) or Cabrio. Included in the Coast version are unique features including available Deep Sea Teal paint (though other cool colors such as Habanero Orange, Tornado Red, and Blue Silk are also available), two-tone ‘Pepita’ houndstooth cloth seats and a surfboard wood-look dash pad. You also get an extra ‘kaeferfach’ glovebox or ‘Beetle bin’ in the dash, with a lid that opens upwards (instead of the normal downwards). Power comes from the same 174-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder that powers other Beetles, paired with a six-speed automatic, making the Coast perfect for a relaxing cruise to the beach.
Photo Credit: Volvo
7) 2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD Volvo Ocean Race
While you might initially think that Volvo has gotten a bit too specialized with the V90 Cross Country T6 AWD Volvo Ocean Race, once you see how nice it is (especially on the inside) you won’t care about the long name. Like the normal T6 you get a 316-horsepower turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder, all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission, but you also get a unique color scheme that combines Crystal White, Kaolin Grey and Flare Orange, 20-inch 5-Spoke Silver Diamond Cut wheels and a mesh grille. Inside you get Volvo Ocean Race illuminated sill moulding and the lovely ‘Volvo Ocean Race Decor’. To complete the theme you get a panoramic moonroof and features such as a water-resistant storage bag and a water-resistant load compartment floor.
Photo Credit: ZR1 Registry
6) 2018 Mini Oxford Edition
The Mini Oxford Edition is unique in that it is a special edition targeted (and only available) to students and recent grads. Named not after the university but instead, after the plant that builds them, the Mini Oxford Edition is only available as a two-door hardtop, and only with the 134-horsepower turbocharged three-cylinder engine. The main selling point of the Oxford Edition is that it’s priced less than a normal Mini yet comes standard with a number of features that would normally be extras, including 17-inch alloy wheels, heated seats, an automatic transmission (though a manual is still available if you choose) and premium paint choices. If you want, Mini will even sell you a Panoramic sunroof at half price.
Photo Credit: BMW
5) 2018 BMW M3 CS
The BMW M3 CS is a more performance-focused variant of the M3, offering slightly more power and cutting a bit of weight without totally eliminating the creature comforts. You get a 453-horsepower version of the turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine found in the M3 and the same carbon fiber reinforced plastic roof as the M3, but the CS adds a hood and various other pieces made from the same material as well as 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels. The interior uses leather-covered lightweight M sport seats and gets a weight-optimized climate control system and Harmon Karmon sound system as standard. BMW says that there is only a limited number coming to the US, making this a true special edition.
Photo Credit: Ford
4) 2018 Ford Focus RS
The Ford Focus RS is already a special car, with a 350-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine that sends its power to the ground through an all wheel drive system by way of a six-speed manual transmission. For 2018 Ford is offering a limited edition of only 1500 units (1000 in the US and 500 in Canada) to celebrate the end of production of the Ford Focus RS. Available in Race Red or Nitrous Blue, the limited edition includes a gloss black roof, 19-inch wheels, and equipment from the RS2 Package as standard. This limited edition isn’t all show and no go though, as it also comes standard with a Quaife limited-slip front differential that improves the car’s already good handling performance.
Photo Credit: Subaru
3) 2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA
The Subaru WRX STI Type RA is inspired by a 2017 Nurburgring record attempt where a modified WRX set the fastest lap time for a four-door sedan. It seems like Subaru has tweaked just about every part of the RA: The engine gets a new cold-air intake, performance exhaust and stronger pistons to generate 310 horsepower from the turbocharged four-cylinder boxer. The six-speed manual features a short-throw shifter and a revised third-gear. On the outside the Type RA includes an adjustable STI carbon-fiber trunk spoiler and a carbon-fiber roof panel. The suspension gets revised spring rates and Bilstein dampers. The brakes use Brembo calipers and cross-drilled rotors, and the wheels are lightweight BBC 19-inch alloys. With only 500 available, this is one special WRX.
Photo Credit: Audi
2) 2018 Audi R8 RWS
The Audi R8 RWS is one special edition that most enthusiasts would love to get their hands on, but with just 320 coming to the US (and only 999 sold worldwide) this R8 is a rare machine. The core of the R8 RWS is the same as the regular R8, but by leaving out the propshaft, multi-plate clutch and center differential Audi has turned the R8 into a rear-wheel drive beast (a first for Audi), and saved 110 pounds in the process. Power for the R8 RWS comes from the same 532-horsepower V10 found in other R8s, and it uses the same seven-speed S Tronic gearbox, but the R8 RWS features a unique chassis tune and a stability control system that’s been re-tuned to be a bit more relaxed.
Photo Credit: General Motors
1) 2018 Cadillac ATS-V and CTS-V Championship Edition
In order to celebrate the brand’s 2017 IMSA Manufacturer, Driver, Team and Endurance Championships Cadillac is offering special Championship Edition versions of it’s high-performance ATS-V and CTS-V models for 2018. No matter which model you choose the cars are available in either Black Raven or Crystal White Tricoat and add Cadillac V-Performance graphics on the hood and rear spoiler, Red Obsession colored mirror caps, red Brembo brake calipers and the Carbon Fiber Package which includes a carbon fiber front splitter, hood vent, rear spoiler and rear diffuser. Only 200 Championship Editions are available for North America, but to help make you a better driver (though not necessarily a champion) all new Cadillac V-Series models include tuition and accommodation at the 2-day Cadillac V-Performance Academy.