But what makes German cars so desired? It’s probably because the key German manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes and Audi have always created cars that inspire people to get behind the wheel. Highlights like the Mercedes SL, the Audi R8 and BMW’s performance range of ‘M’ cars have always trickled down to more ‘normal’ models, meaning if you’re opting for a standard diesel saloon it still feels like you’re getting a little bit of that sparkle.

Its why the best German cars are often seen as the pinnacle of motoring and remains a key reason why so many people aspire to driving a car made in this motor-mad country.

The Best German Cars

The good news is that if you are fancying yourself as a driver of a German car then there’s loads of variety to choose from. We’ve picked out some of the tip-top German models from all kinds of segments, ranging from the spacious SUV to the go-faster coupe. Let’s take a little look at what’s on offer.

1. BMW 5 Series (2017-2023)

It’s hard not to fall for the BMW 5 Series. It is easily one of the best German cars around due to its breadth of abilities; spacious, comfortable and easy to live with, it’s a car with very few drawbacks. Plus, you can get it in conventional saloon or roomier estate (or Touring, in BMW-speak) layouts, giving you the flexibility to choose.

This generation of 5 Series is often seen as one of the most capable. It’s efficient when equipped with smaller diesel or petrol engines, but they’re still punchy enough to deliver an exciting drive. The build quality is also exceptional and, because of its popularity, there are loads to choose from on Motors currently. Sportier M Sport models brought larger alloy wheels and a greater level of standard equipment, but even ‘standard’ trims had more than enough features for most people.

Best Features

  • Great to drive with good handling and pleasant engines.
  • Loads of equipment as standard and excellent build quality.
  • Available in both saloon and estate layouts.

Things to consider

  • Ride is firmer on M-Sport models.
  • Expect higher repair and maintenance costs.
  • Diesel models are often quite high-mileage – make sure all repairs and servicing has been routinely sorted.

2. Volkswagen Golf (2013-2020)

We couldn’t talk about the best German cars and not mention the Volkswagen Golf, right? The original mass-production hatchback, the Golf has only gone from strength to strength with each passing generation while maintaining the practicality and user-friendliness that shot the original model to stardom.

We’re big fans of this seventh-generation Golf as it has all of the modern creature comforts that you could want, while still having that ‘connected’ feeling to the road which ensures it’s great to drive. Remember, you still get the iconic GTI in this generation if you’re after something a little sportier, while even more powerful ‘R’ versions are something of an icon of this generation.

Best Features

  • Easy to drive and great to live with.
  • Loads of specifications to choose from with plenty of equipment as standard.
  • There’s a powertrain for everyone with petrol, diesel and electrified setups available.

Things to consider

  • Golf models can have hard lives, so look out for above-average wear-and-tear.
  • Doesn’t have the best reputation for reliability so make sure routine servicing has been completed.
  • Go-faster GTI and R models can be driven hard – look out for worn tyres and soft brakes as red flags.

3. Mercedes C-Class (2014-2021)

The Mercedes C Class is the compact model which has brought upmarket touches to the masses for a long time. In more recent generations of the C Class you’ve been able to get it in coupe, saloon, estate and convertible guises, delivering the same classy experiences in a variety of different layouts.

This generation of C Class is polished and great to look at, while still being as refined as you’d expect a car with a three-pointed star on the bonnet to be. Inside, there’s plenty of tech which still looks fresh today while the diesel-powered models are particularly frugal and make a great option for long-distance drivers looking to save money on topping-up.

Best Features

  • All versions look great and have plenty of equipment.
  • Interior tech still feels good by modern standards.
  • Estate versions offer loads of boot space and are very reliable.

Things to consider

  • Some interior plastics can feel a bit squeaky – give everything a good prod on any car you’re looking at.
  • Diesel engines can be quite clattery at slow speeds and when cold.
  • Ride can be firm on models with larger wheels.

4. Audi Q5 (2017-present)

What’s not to like about a premium-feeling SUV? Audi hit the nail on the head when it created the Q5 and, as one of its first high-riding models, it has been around for a little while but created a big impact during that time.

The most recent version of the Q5 is by far the most rounded but, because it’s been around since 2017, there are loads of examples to choose from so you can find one that fits your budget. Packed full of technology and with plenty of standard features, the Q5 is a family favourite as its large boot and spacious interior means it feels usefully sized for all kinds of occasions. A performance SQ5 version is also there for people who want to travel a little faster – but bear in mind that you’ll have higher running costs than with a ‘regular’ Q5 model.

Best Features

  • Loads of specification and engines to choose from.
  • Robust build quality means the Q5 can handle busy family life.
  • Flexible interior – lower the rear seats to extend the boot space easily.

Things to consider

  • Expect higher costs for servicing and repairs.
  • High as-new price means used examples are more costly.
  • Versions on large alloy wheels can have a firm ride.

5. BMW i3 (2013-2022)

Fancy a slice of the electric life from your German-made car? The BMW i3 is a great place to head. It was one of the German firm’s first mass-market EVs and, in classic BMW fashion, was engineered to a high standard from top to bottom.

Utilising a clever carbon structure and a quirky ‘suicide’ style door setup, the i3 still feels perfectly modern today, while early versions with a range-extending petrol engine (which acts as a generator for the electric motor) can provide an option for people who don’t want to go entirely electric just yet. Later versions of the i3 could return up to 193 miles of range and while earlier examples won’t be able to match this, it’s hard not to be charmed by this compact BMW’s incredible build quality and futuristic interior.

Best Features

  • The i3 still looks modern despite having been around for over 10 years.
  • Electric motor provides nippy, agile acceleration.
  • Compact size makes the i3 great around town but there’s more interior space than you’d expect.

Things to consider

  • Range on early models won’t be the best.
  • Infotainment system feels a little behind-the-times.
  • Can’t charge at the same speeds as modern EVs.

6. Porsche 911 (2012-2019)

The Porsche 911 is like the Manchester United of the motoring world – even people who aren’t into cars know about it. This iconic rear-engined model is seen by many as the epitome of sports car development and, throughout its many similar-looking generations, it has routinely come out on top as one of the best-handling cars you can buy. And guess what? It’s a die-hard German.

We’re big fans of this 991-generation car as it’s great to drive but has plenty of availability on the used market. Naturally, if you’re looking at 911 you can’t be too concerned with practicality but with a well-sized ‘frunk’ in the nose and another storage area at the back, it’s not as hard to live with as you might expect. Like all high-end sports cars, the 911 will need to be well serviced to avoid some hefty bills down the line.

Best Features

  • One of the best-handling cars you can buy.
  • Feels special both inside and out.
  • Excellent build quality means even earlier models still look fresh.

Things to consider

  • Rear seats are only roomy enough for very small children.
  • Will cost a decent amount to service and repair when required.
  • Expect steep insurance premiums – particularly if you’re younger.

7. Audi TT (2014-2023)

Audi’s TT was a breath of fresh air when it first arrived, with its curvaceous design helping it to establish a foothold in the sportier end of the motoring spectrum almost immediately. As far as German all-star cars, the TT is right up there. While that opening model sure is appealing, we’d lean towards the latest incarnation which is where the TT story actually came to an end.

That’s right, Audi decided that the end was nigh for the TT in 2023, but that doesn’t stop it from being a superb used buy. Available in both hard- and soft-top layouts, the TT is a great sports car to use each and every day. Sportier TTS and TTRS model are both there to cater for drivers who want some extra performance from their next car, too.

Best Features

  • The TT is great to live with day-to-day as it’s comfortable and well-appointed inside.
  • ‘Regular’ versions are surprisingly good on fuel – though expect higher servicing costs.
  • Quattro all-wheel-drive on certain models makes the TT a breeze to drive even in bad conditions.

Things to consider

  • The TT isn’t a spacious car so probably isn’t the best bet for families.
  • Ride is firm and visibility isn’t the best.
  • TTS and TTRS models will bring with them hefty fuel bills.

8. Volkswagen Tiguan (2016-2024)

The Tiguan is one of Volkswagen’s most popular models and it’s not hard to work out why. Large, comfortable and packed with features, it’s a car which fits the bills for all type of drivers. Thanks to its efficient engines it’s relatively inexpensive to run, too, while reliability has been one of the Tiguan’s strong suits during its entire lifetime.

This most recent Tiguan makes for an excellent used buy, too, as all models get lots of equipment as standard. You can get it with four-wheel-drive, plus, if your’e after seven-seater versatility then you can opt for the Allspace version which brings two additional seats over the standard car – it’s a good pick for larger groups.

Best Features

  • Comfortable ride makes the Tiguan great over long distances.
  • Diesel engines are refined, but petrols are there for shorter-distance drivers.
  • Robust interior can handle a lot of abuse.

Things to consider

  • Some issues with the DSG automatic gearbox have been reported – make sure it’s shifting smoothly on any car you’re looking at.
  • Because they’re popular with families, Tiguans are prone to car-park dings and interior rips and tears.
  • Later models get a better infotainment system with more smartphone integration systems.

9. Mercedes EQC (2019-present)

While it’s easy to think of the S-Class and C-Class as some of the most important models in the Mercedes line-up, you could argue that the EQC has been one of the most innovative. It was one of the first production electric vehicles from the German brand and announced its entry into what would become one of the most competitive segments out there.

With a range of up to 255 miles it’s got plenty of miles in the ‘tank’ while its interior has all of the technology and features that you’d expect from a Mercedes. Plus, because of quite steep depreciation. there are some bargain EQC models out there and, when coupled with lower running costs, make this a car more value-focused proposition than you might think initially.

Best Features

  • Decent amount of range and an 80 per cent charge can be conducted in just over an hour with a fast charger.
  • Interior is well finished with loads of technology.
  • Just as spacious as a ‘traditional’ SUV.

Things to consider

  • You’ll need a home charger to make topping up easy.
  • Ride is quite firm thanks to larger wheels.
  • Might not be the best choice for drivers who routinely do very long distances.

10. Porsche Macan (2014-present)

While it might be the famous 911 which is the poster star for Porsche, it’s actually cars like the Macan which make up the bulk of the sales for this German brand. It actually shares a platform with the Q5 but, in traditional Porsche fashion, is sharper to drive and available with a series of powerful engines.

Like the 911, you can get the Macan in a series of specifications – such as the range-topping Turbo – but whichever model you opt for, you’re getting a car which handles far more like a hot hatch but brings a lot more space and versatility. Loads of standard features combine with excellent build quality to make the Macan into a go-faster SUV which is perfectly usable on a day-to-day basis.

Best Features

  • Has excellent handling which makes the Macan fun to drive.
  • High-performance engines mean many Macan versions can out-pace sports cars.
  • Interior is smartly finished and feels pleasingly robust.

Things to consider

  • Expect higher running costs than ‘usual’ SUVs.
  • Strong residuals mean used Macans still command a high price tag.
  • Will need to be serviced routinely to keep them at their best.

Why should you buy a German car?

German cars are all about heritage and prestige. Because German-made cars have always been sought-after over the years, they’re recognised as some of the best-made cars today. Sheer variety means that there are all types of German-made cars to choose from, but they all have a common thread of being well-made and good to drive. Refinement is usually high up on the list of attributes for a German car, too.

Tips for finding and buying a German car

As with all types of cars, finding out whether or not a German-made car is right for you comes through research. We’ve got plenty of tools to use here at Motors, including a vast selection of reviews for some of the most popular German cars out there.

German-made cars do tend to focus on the driving experience, too, which is why taking a test drive of any car you’re interested in is so important. As we’ve touched upon, many of the cars on this list need to be kept well-maintained to prevent breakdowns in the future – so make sure any car you’re looking at has been looked after properly. You could also pay for a vehicle history check in order to flag up any issues in the car’s past.

Popular German car brands


Audi is one of the most popular German car brands out there. Much of its heritage surrounds its cars being great in all weathers, with the firm’s legendary quattro all-wheel-drive system being one of the best-regarded setups in the segment. Today, Audi is often seen as one of the cutting-edge firms in terms of in-car technology, too.


Out of the ‘big three’ – Audi, BMW and Mercedes – BMW is always seen as the most sporting. It has always been able to deliver an exhilarating driving experience in its cars, even in more ‘regular’ cars. Backed up by its range of ‘M’ performance cars, today’s BMW models remain some of the finest-handling around.


It’s all about that premium feeling with Mercedes. Regardless of which model you get behind the wheel of, you’ll find that modern Mercedes cars all have a high-end finish with loads of smart interior touches to help make it feel special. The latest Mercedes models get some of the biggest in-car screens available today, too.


As the original ‘people’s car’, Volkswagen is one of the best-known mass-market German cars around. What kicked off with the iconic Beetle has grown to become a brand that is recognised around the world with its range of efficient, well-made and refined cars providing options to all types of drivers.


Though you might turn to Italian brands if you’re after something flamboyant, it’s Porsche that you’ll want if you fancy precision, razor-sharped driving. Porsche is typified by its 911; it’s a car which both superbly made and fantastic, wrapped up in a package which remains iconic to this day.