We love German cars. Can’t get enough of them. From Audis and BMWs, to Mercedes and Porsches, the German automobile has, over the last half century or so, established a reputation for being the pinnacle of engineering proficiency, championing cabin quality, driving dynamics and ease of use.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, German cars are also hugely desirable, topping buyers’ wishlists again and again, and making up a vast proportion of what’s known as the UK’s car ‘parc’.
None of this is to say that other countries’ cars aren’t often equally good; indeed, look at any reliability survey and it will typically be Japanese, and increasingly Korean firms, that sit astride the top, with German companies often seeming to have work to do.
But car journalists love nothing more than classifying vehicles and coming up with lists, so if it’s a German car you’re hankering after, we’ve got a great selection of the top German cars on sale today for you.
The top German cars you can buy today are:
- BMW 3 Series
- Mercedes E-Class Estate
- Porsche 911
- Volkswagen Golf
- BMW iX
- Volkswagen Tiguan
- Audi R8
- Porsche Taycan
- Mercedes A-Class
- Audi RS3
1. BMW 3 Series
Best for: handling and prestige
The BMW 3 Series does so much, so well that it’s a tricky car to fault. It handles superbly, for one thing, with direct steering, well-judged suspension and feelsome, progressive brakes. It’s also pretty affordable to run, especially if you get the frugal yet potent 320d, or the efficient 330e plug-in hybrid.
Offered as a saloon or in Touring estate guise, the BMW 3 Series should meet all your motoring needs, while the plush cabin has a hewn-from-rock quality, the driving position is spot on and the infotainment is among the best on the market. There really is very little not to like.
2. Mercedes E-Class Estate
Best for: load-lugging luxury
We’re singling out the Estate variant of the E-Class here not because the saloon is inferior, but just because the wagon version is so massively spacious, offering more room in its boot than any other car in this class.
In addition to that immense practicality is a properly luxurious cabin, superb levels of refinement and the ability to soak up extremely long journeys without batting an eyelid. Factor in comfy seats, a cool widescreen infotainment and driver display and the smooth-as-silk automatic gearbox, and an E-Class Estate really is a lovely thing to behold. We’ve even got some great deals on used Mercedes E-Class Estates if you’re not in the market for a brand-new one.
3. Porsche 911
Best for: pure driving thrills
In a way, the Porsche 911 shouldn’t work. With a fundamental design that stretches back to the 1960s and beyond, and its engine in the ‘wrong’ place (which presents significant challenges for weight distribution), it’s easy do dismiss the 911 as something of an atavistic throwback. And then you drive it, and realise it’s as close to sports-car perfection as it’s probably possible to get, and that it contains over half a century of engineering excellence distilled into a modern motorcar.
Yes, the 911 – even in its most ‘basic’ Carrera form – is splendid: fast, exciting, amazing to drive and really quite special. The fact it has a pair of (small) rear seats and a decent size boot up front almost makes it easy to justify from a practicality point of view, too.
4. Volkswagen Golf
Best for: being all the car you’ll ever need
‘Get a Golf’ is often a phrase that’s uttered whenever someone asks a car journalist for buying advice, and with good reason. The Golf does almost everything well: it’s nice to drive, pretty spacious, well made, has a decent cabin and brings reasonable purchase and running costs. The Golf also has just the right amount of kudos without being unduly flashy.
Also in the Golf’s favour is just how many variants there are. Want a fast one? Get a GTI. Want a really fast one? Get a Golf R. A practical one? There’s the Estate. A tax-friendly, economical one? Get the eHybrid. There really is a Golf for all seasons, and while the touch-based controls aren’t as good as they should be, that’s about the only blot on its copybook.
5. BMW iX
Best for: interior opulence
Eyebrows were raised when BMW launched the, shall we say, assertive-looking iX electric SUV. That vast front ‘grille’ (which is actually solid) is certainly hard to mistake for anything else, while the iX’s sheer size also makes itself felt somewhat.
But once we’d all got over the sheer imposing nature of the iX, it was hard not to be impressed by its qualities. The interior is perhaps its best attribute, with the iX ushering in a new cabin-design language for BMW, and one that puts it head and shoulders above the competition. The iX is also excellent to drive given its sheer heft, and also has an impressive official range of over 300 miles.
6. Volkswagen Tiguan
Best for: being the perfect family car
It’s almost impossible to take even a short journey in the UK without seeing a Tiguan on the road, which is a testament to just how good a car it is. With enough space for all but the most demanding families, low running costs and a great sense of solidity, the Tiguan does almost everything well, while also being pretty decent to drive.
Sure, it’s not the most exciting car on the planet, and sure, there are more rivals in this class than you could shake a stick at; but if you want a family SUV that does precisely the job it was designed to do, and does it with aplomb, the Tiguan is almost perfect.
7. Audi R8
Best for: speed, engine note
There will come a time in the not-too-distant future when everything is electric that cars like the Audi R8 will be looked on wistfully. Here is a mid-engined supercar with a screaming 5.0-litre V10 powerplant making up to 620hp, that you can genuinely use every day.
Obviously you’ll need deep pockets to buy an R8 and feed its thirst for petrol, insurance and servicing (though the latter should be budgetable with an Audi service plan), but given how much performance it offers, and how expensive comparable supercar rivals are, the R8 really is an exceptional car.
8. Porsche Taycan
It would be reasonable to expect Porsche to inject its performance and handling DNA into any electric car it engineered, as was proven when they Taycan arrived.
The Taycan is a fantastic handling car first and foremost, and the fact it’s battery powered is arguably secondary to that characteristic.
9. Mercedes A-Class
Best for: affordable luxury
The immensely popular Mercedes A-Class is a premium family hatch that offers a reasonably low purchase price, but also comes with an interior that wouldn’t seem out of place in a much more expensive car.
This is chiefly down to the pair of large screens that take up the top portion of the dashboard, but while rival cars may have caught up and now offer similar setups to the A-Class, it remains a class act, and one that’s also nice to drive, affordable to run, and pleasingly refined.
Best for: having one of the greatest engines on sale today
There’s an old joke about Ferraris that says you buy the engine and get a car thrown in for free, and it arguably applies to the Audi RS3 as well.
With a unique five-cylinder engine that produces a stonking 400hp as well as an absolutely joyous exhaust note, the fact you get an excellent Audi A3 if you go for the RS3 is just a bonus. Sure, it’s not the most delicate thing where handling is concerned, but in terms of noise and performance, the RS3 is hard to beat. There’s even a saloon version if you’d prefer this body shape, and we’ve got a nice selection of used deals on these, as well as the hatch.
What German car brands are available in the UK?
The ‘big three’ German premium brands comprise Volkswagen Group, BMW and Mercedes, although each of these firms owns other brands that can, to a greater or lesser degree, be classed as German.
Wholly owned by Volkswagen Group, Audi’s cars tend to be understated, plush, and filled with the latest tech, while the firm’s quattro four-wheel-drive systems are also core to the brand’s appeal. With everything from the diminutive A1 hatchback to the R8 supercar, there really is an Audi for everyone. Electric models are badged e-tron.
It may have dropped the ‘ultimate driving machine’ strapline, but BMW’s reputation for building great handling cars remains unchanged. The range starts with the Audi A3 sized BMW 1 Series, and rises up through the numbers, topping out at the 8 Series luxury coupe (available with two or four doors). EV BMWs have a lower-case ‘i’ prefix, with the i4 essentially being an electric 3 Series, and the iX a large EV SUV. BMW also owns Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, though that firm’s headquarters resolutely remain in England. Same goes for MINI, which is also headquartered in the UK.
The oldest of the German manufacturers, Mercedes’ focus on luxury and comfort hasn’t stopped it making extremely powerful performance cars, all of which are badged AMG (a tuning company Mercedes has long worked with, and bought outright in 2005). The Mercedes range starts with the BMW 1 Series rivalling Mercedes A-Class, with the Mercedes GLS SUV being the largest model. Super-posh versions are badged Maybach, while electric Mercedes have an EQ moniker. Mercedes also owns the firm Smart, which is being rejuvenated with the upcoming Smart #3 electric SUV.
Also owned by Volkswagen, Porsche’s sports-car heritage is almost unrivalled, with the Porsche 911 having been in production since the 1960s. SUVs are much big sellers for the firm, though, with the Porsche Macan and Cayenne being as great to drive as they are practical. The electric Porsche Taycan, meanwhile, has been a strong success for the firm, signposting that the switch to electrification is by no means incompatible with the Porsche ethos.
Famed for cars like the Volkswagen Golf and Tiguan that blend sense and style, VW makes everything from the affordable Polo hatchback to the plush, large Touareg SUV. As well as owning the Audi and Porsche brands, Volkswagen also has modern SEAT, practical Skoda, super-plush Bentley, supercar maker Lamborghini, and hypercar firm Bugatti on its books. EV VWs have an ID moniker, comprising everything from the Golf sized Volkswagen ID3, to the ID Buzz people carrier.
Change cars online with carwow
Looking for an easy way to change your car? Then carwow is the place to go. You can sell your old car for a great price, and get the best deals on a new one or a pre-loved used car. We even offer fantastic car leasing deals, all through our network of trusted partners, and all from the comfort of your home. Tap the button below to get started today.