Search Cars for Sale

We’re Living in the Age of the Sports Car Special Edition

It has recently come to my attention that we’re living in the age of the sports car “special edition.” I noticed this when I started thinking about modern sports cars, and I realized that every single one of them seems to offer some sort of special edition, usually to attract more sales after the initial version has already made its splash.

The best example, of course, is the Porsche 911. Just 20 years ago, Porsche had a 911 Carrera, a Carrera S and 4S, and a Turbo, and that was pretty much it. No longer. Now the 911 lineup is released in tiers designed to extract the maximum sales possible: first the regular version, then the Turbo, then the GT3, then the GT3RS, then the GT2RS and mixed in there are the GTS and various anniversary editions, among other things.

Other sports car automakers seem to be following Porsche’s lead. We had the Lamborghini Gallardo and then the Gallardo Superleggera. We had the Ferrari 458, then the 458 Speciale and finally the 458 Special A. Even the ultra-crazy supercars don’t seem to be immune: the McLaren P1, followed by the P1 GTR. And there was the Porsche 918 Spyder, followed by the 918 Spyder Weissach Edition.

And not just exotic brands are releasing all these sports car special editions. There was also the Nissan GT-R — and once Nissan had maximized sales of the “original,” we got the GT-R Nismo and the GT-R Black Edition. The Audi R8 V10 wasn’t enough — we needed a V10 Plus. Even the Subaru BRZ did it, with the “tS” model that’s intended to be a more focused version of the original.

It’s obvious why automakers do this, and I hardly fault them for it: They can sell the same car twice. Someone who buys a 911 might be seduced by the 911 Turbo when it comes out, so they sell the 911 and get a Turbo. Then the GT3 comes out, and again they’re intrigued — so they buy that next. And the pattern continues, with people remaining loyal to their brand because new models keep coming out to entice them.

The only recent sports car I can think of that doesn’t have a “special edition” is the Acura NSX; Acura seems to have built the NSX basically one way, without any new models or editions. Of course, now that I’ve said that, expect Acura to release the inevitable special edition sooner or later.

Video | Here’s Why I’ve Already Spent $28,000 On My 2005 Ford GT
This Chrysler PT Cruiser Looks Like a London Taxi
Autotrader Find: Never-Titled 1997 Plymouth Prowler With Matching Prowler Trailer

Sign up for Autotrader newsletters

The best cars and best deals delivered to your inbox

Email Address 

By subscribing, you agree to our privacy policy

Where You Can Buy

Loading dealers...


  1. I think you are giving Acura too much credit. It’s not that they are above the special edition craze, they just can’t sell the original NSXs to make the proposition worth it.

    • I don’t know about that. Here around Toronto ive seen 3 NSX’s, about the same amount of new Ferrari’s I have seen in the past 5 years,

  2. Yeah the NSX still has plenty of time to have some sort of edition come out.  We can hope and pray it’s a “Type R” but we’ll see. 

Leave a Comment

Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

Most Popular Articles

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: First Look

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid jumps to the head of the hybrid class.

Best Truck Deals: June 2022

These are the best deals on trucks for the month of June 2022.

Here Are 5 Great 1980s Performance Cars for Sale on Autotrader

Looking for a fun 1980s car? Look no further.

Search By Style

More Articles Like This