Need for Speed has been thrilling us for over 25 years now and we're sorely missing the series this year. The next NFS won't drop until at least next year, so we're looking to the past for what to expect. There have been a massive 24 main series NFS games, but which cars stand above the rest as icons?
We ranked the best villain cars in NFS history earlier this year. So today, we will rank the focus on the rides that you, the player, can take the reins of. Here are our top five!
#5 - Mitsubishi Eclipse, Underground
Need for Speed and Fast & Furious are two franchises that seem to piggyback off of one another. The makers of Tokyo Drift (2006) definitely took inspiration from Underground (2003) and its sequel for the design of its cars. One of the coolest motors from Underground is the Mitsubishi Eclipse used by Melissa.
The purple and green paint scheme may remind you of Barney the Dinosaur, but we think it looks badass. What's more, it's sporting a body kit that is very aggressive and turns what's already a snarling beast into a dragon of the night races.
This Evo is also one of the best cars in the game, sporting maximum top speed with a near-perfect handling and acceleration stat as well.
#4 - Nissan 240SX, Prostreet
The PS2 Need for Speed titles had some excellent cars, and few were better than the Nissan 240SX from Prostreet. The 240SX is heavily modified towards being a drifter rather than for straight-line speed. That's not to say it's slow though, around a circuit, it'll beat a lot of cars, especially if it's tight and twisty.
The control you have when drifting though means that it's unbeatable during these kinds of contests. We all know that leaving smoke in your wake as you power around a corner is the coolest way to go, even if it's not the fastest. Ryan Cooper's decals are badass as well, this is definitely a car you'd notice if it drove past you.
#3 - Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake, The Run
Even though The Run was one of the worst Need for Speed games, one of the protagonist's cars stands out. The Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake is exactly the muscle car that you need to race across America in. The sheer grunt from its 725 bhp V8 engine is incredible, and can achieve over 200 mph in a straight line.
While the other rides available are great, this one is the best and rightfully stars as in its cover art. In typical muscle car style, it doesn't handle the best, but on the highways out west, that's exactly what you want to outrun the law.
#2 - Nissan 350Z, Underground 2
If there's one word you associate with the Need for Speed Underground games, it's "flash". One of Underground 2's most memorable cars is the Nissan 350Z. The 350Z is also one of the fastest cars in Underground, capable of topping 220 mph (354 kph) but its handling is not the best.
When it's got the green dragon paint scheme, alloy rims, spoiler and purple neon lights, it's one of the best-looking cars in NFS history.
The 350Z also makes appearances in the original Underground, Most Wanted, Carbon, Undercover, and Heat. Underground 2, though, is where it's best-known and most well-remembered.
#1 - BMW M3 GTR E46, Most Wanted (2005)
When you think of any Need for Speed game, this is the car that comes to mind first. The BMW M3 GTR E46 is your car when you begin Most Wanted (2005), but you only get to use it for one race. You end up losing this Beemer's pink sheet thanks to a sabotaged engine and spend the game trying to earn another chance to win it back.
The M3's iconic status is definitely helped by the fact that Most Wanted is considered to be one of, if not the best NFS title ever. However, the M3's credentials are up there with the fastest cars of them all. The M3's top speed, acceleration, and handling are all maxed out once you win it back, meaning nothing is quicker nor handles better.
It also looks cool, so very cool. Everything from the body kit, to the wheels and its white and blue paint scheme is something everybody's inner ten-year-old yearns to own.
The M3 also appears in other NFS games after Most Wanted. In Carbon, you start the game in the M3 before it's totalled. The M3 is unlockable via DLC packs in World, Most Wanted (2012), No Limits, and Heat. Heat is where it gets the biggest amount of airtime since the original Most Wanted, so we could see it reappear in the next game.
For more articles like this, take a look at our Need for Speed page.