Germany is a country famed for its engineering prowess and this includes German auto manufacturers, who have a reputation for producing incredibly well-made and reliable vehicles. With some of the world’s most famous and recognisable brands, such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volkswagen, it’s very easy to see where this outstanding reputation comes from.


Knowing German vehicles have a solid build quality and a history of reliability, allows buyers to purchase a used car with confidence. Nonetheless, you still want to do all the regular checks as you normally would when purchasing any pre-owned vehicle. It is always a good idea to:

  • Check the car with the seller and make note of any bumps, scratches or faults
  • Check the interior quality and how well it has been cared for and maintained
  • Look for any accident damage, from dents, to paint discolouration, and panel gaps
  • Be prepared in advance to negotiate
  • Be ready to walk away if the car or price is not right for you, but be honest and give the seller a chance to meet your expectations

Of course, first of all you want to consider which car is right for you. The German automotive industry is not the only one recognised for its engineering prowess. Japanese, South Korean, French, American, and British cars are equally popular and often have an equally reliable build quality – and in some cases even greater. If you still have your heart set on a used German auto, be sure to take into account:

  • The car’s mileage (lots of models can still be very reliable over the 100k mile mark, others not so much)
  • The price – you may be able to find a rival model from a different country for less


All of the cars featured in this list carry the hallmarks of German engineering, with great build quality, reliability, and those all-important stylish German looks, finished with a level of sheen and luxury. So please, read on to find out our top 10 best German used cars.


The ever-popular BMW 3 Series is a best-selling model for the German manufacturer and it is easy to understand why. The car is a textbook example of ultra-fine engineering, the kind Germany is renowned for. Whether in its original executive saloon guise, or as a different body style like a convertible, coupe, or estate, the BMW 3 Series has excellent build quality, iconic looks, impressive performance, and, most importantly when looking for a used car, fantastic reliability. In fact, the 3 Series is undoubtedly one of the most reliable cars from a German auto manufacturer and that is a big stamp of praise. But the 3 Series earns it and continues to this day to set the benchmark for this class of car.

Best features:

  • Fantastic reliability
  • Excellent build quality
  • Sets the benchmark



One of the best cars for new drivers, but also for any driver looking for an excellent used vehicle for everyday use, the Volkswagen Golf has broad appeal. And no wonder. Golfs are excellent fun to drive (whichever model you choose), they have solid build quality, outstanding practicality for a small family car, and strong performance. For used car buyers, you can take comfort in the VW Golf’s great reliability and usually have the pick from a brilliant bunch of models packed with kit and tech. With thousands of second-hand Golfs on the market, it’s always easy to find a deal nearby as well. When it comes to hatchbacks, the Volkswagen Golf is the benchmark by which others are measured.

Best features:

  • Great reliability
  • Solid build quality
  • Fun to drive


3. PORSCHE 911

When it comes to sporting benchmarks, there’s no other car like the Porsche 911. Arguably the best and most successful sports car of all time, the 911 is and always has been a marvel of German engineering. From the car’s iconic looks, to the deft handling, and astonishing performance, not to mention the quality cabin, there’s a reason the Porsche 911 is considered such a prestigious vehicle. With a new price tag upward of £80k, the best way for many to enjoy the sheer unadulterated pleasure of driving a 911 is via a pre-owned model. Yet second-hand or new, a Porsche is always a Porsche. And as owners of the car will often testify, the German manufacturer’s unrivalled build quality and careful attention to detail have resulted in one of the most fun and reliable cars on the market.

Best features:

  • Unrivalled build quality
  • Benchmark sports car
  • Sheer fun to drive



The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, with many different body styles and variations, is one of the most successful models for the German car maker. Synonymous with luxury, quality, and performance, it is naturally a popular choice for second-hand car buyers as well. The C-Class carries that unmistakable Mercedes-Benz hallmark of quality, with outstanding workmanship and superior build quality. It offers an effortless driving experience and a very comfortable interior. It is a refined and luxurious car, with desirable styling and a good reliability record too. And the popularity of the C-Class means there’s always a great selection of used models to choose from at various prices to suit various budgets.

Best features:

  • Refined and luxurious
  • Superior build quality
  • Very comfortable



An instant hit, the Audi TT offers the kind of top fun motoring and fantastic handling that you’d expect from a two-door sports car. Sleek and beautiful to look at, it also enjoys superb build quality with that unmistakable Audi finish. Best of all, used Audi TTs can be picked up for affordable prices, and, with good levels of reliability, buyers can do so with confidence. Part of what makes the Audi TT so special, aside from its quality manufacturing and now iconic looks, is the fact the car is perfectly suited for everyday use and it doesn’t feel ostentatious for it. Yet, equally, the TT is happy to draw on its incredible performance and bring a sports car smile on those twisty country lanes.

Best features:

  • Superb build quality
  • Great fun to drive
  • Good level of reliability



The Volkswagen Passat has a strong reputation for being a durable and reliable car, known for its high-quality engineering, top build quality, and great looks. It has affordable pricing too, and is especially good value for money (particularly when buying a pre-owned model). Unsurprisingly, the car is very popular amongst second-hand buyers, it’s also a favourite fleet car thanks to its elegant style and, again, that all important reliability factor. As you’d expect from an executive car, the Passat is comfortable and spacious inside. What you might not expect is that it is also quite good fun to drive, albeit in a relaxed and sophisticated manner.

Best features:

  • Good value for money
  • Great reliability
  • Top build quality



Porsche’s first foray into the world of SUV’s, the Cayenne blends practicality with sports car performance and a great helping of luxury. It offers impeccable ride quality, a well-appointed cabin, and exemplary handling, particularly for an SUV of its size. The Porsche Cayenne also enjoys the solid build quality that you’d expect from the prestigious marque, and proves especially reliable, showcasing the German manufacturer’s outstanding commitment to engineering quality. For second-hand buyers, you can actually find a great selection of used models at genuinely reasonable prices, particularly if you’re willing to opt for a car with higher mileage. And you can take confidence in the fact that Porsche cars are made to last, even when driven hard, and in this respect the Cayenne is no different.

Best features:

  • Especially reliable
  • Exemplary handling
  • Impeccable ride quality


8. AUDI A3

Offered in both 3 and 5-door versions, the Audi A3 impresses with its sleek design, agile handling, and refined driving experience. It has excellent build quality, as you’d expect from Audi, and good reliability. All-in-all, it is an excellent, all-round small family car with great practicality and performance. The popularity of the model means there are a lot of used Audi A3s on the second-hand car market, with varying prices to match. So it is always easy to find a used deal close to home. Typically, the average cost for a slice of Audi’s impeccable German manufacturing is roughly around £15k for the A3, which is a great price for such a quality car.

Best features:

  • Excellent build quality
  • Refined driving experience
  • All-round small family car


9. BMW X3

The smaller brother of the X5, the X3 is a crossover SUV based on the BMW 3 Series, which just so happens to sit at the top of this list. Typical of a BMW, the X3 delivers on the driveability and reliability front. It is practical and comfortable, with plenty of space for passengers, and it proves surprisingly agile as well. Perhaps even more surprisingly, the X3 works exceedingly well off the road just as much as it does on the road, thanks to an excellent four-wheel drive system that showcases the German car maker’s automotive skills and knowledge. For buyers, you can find a decent range of used BMW X3s to choose from, with average prices sitting around £20k.

Best features:

  • Very capable off-road
  • Practical and comfortable
  • Agile handling



With its incredibly distinctive style and diminutive features, the Volkswagen Beetle is a car brimming with character. Whilst it doesn’t quite match the other vehicles on this list, in terms of performance, it more than makes up for it with its unique personality. And that alone is largely responsible for the VW Beetle’s enduring popularity. Also, it’s not often that you can enjoy a slice of iconic motoring at genuinely affordable prices, yet the Beetle, despite holding its value, has an average used car price of just £7k. There is always a good selection to choose from too, from newer models to old classics.

Best features:

  • Very distinctive style
  • Affordable iconic motoring
  • Unique and characterful car


Interested in finding a reliable used car? We’ve got loads to choose from at

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Back to articles February 4, 2021

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