Thursday Sep 28, 2023

5 Best German Performance Cars On The Market Today (5 Classics We’d Rather Buy)

5 Best German Performance Cars On The Market Today (5 Classics We’d Rather Buy)

Germany has long been associated with performance and sports cars, and as such some of the greatest, most powerful and revered performance cars ever produced have hailed from there — which offers not only a great selection of new cars to drool over, but also a sublime back catalog of forgotten heroes and outright legends.

The classic counterparts of today’s powerhouses may not be as versatile or reliable, and almost certainly wouldn’t work for daily drivers, but they would surely still be the pick for a dream garage floor filler. This article looks at the latest and greatest from some of the most renowned German performance car manufacturers, and then revisits their greatest hits — which are you choosing?


Gray BMW M4 CSL parked

German manufacturers are well established as producers of modern sleeper cars, with models such as the RS6 and M5, which are long-running 200mph beasts that fly under the radar for most people.

The 2023 M4 CSL is no such car however, with wings and canards flicking out from the corners, plenty of carbon fiber trim and a super purposeful diffuser sitting pretty at the back — the new CSL isn’t hiding from anybody, it’s got 550hp, does 0 – 62 in 3.7 seconds, and it wants everybody to know!

9 1973 BMW 3.0 CSL

Silver BMW CSL parked

Anyone with love for the new M4 CSL owes a thanks to this 1970s icon; the original M car! With a lightweight aluminum construction, 206hp and flared bodywork (which earned this Bavarian beast its ‘Batmobile’ nickname) this was a seriously purposeful car in its day. Nothing was left to chance — wind up windows, lightweight racing seats and even perspex windows all helped make the original CSL the successful road and race car it was.

Surviving examples today fetch a healthy sum, but surely every serious collector should be clearing a space for one of these — the blueprint for the modern M car.

8 Audi RS6 Tribute Edition

Nogaro blue Audi RS6 parked

The Audi RS6 has built a solid reputation as the ultimate daily driver, and this Tribute Edition packs an extra über cool punch thanks to the special Nogaru Blue paintwork. This latest iteration of the RS6 makes do with a 4.0-liter twin turbo V8 delivering 591hp which is capable of propelling this 5,000lb behemoth from 0 to 60 in sub 3.5 seconds — just the same as the RS’s sportier sister, the V10 R8.

Not impressed? It’ll also take you, your whole family, all your luggage and even the family dog away anywhere in perfect comfort — the RS6 truly is the ultimate one car garage.

Related: Why The 2008 Audi RS6 Avant Was The Ultimate V10 Sports Wagon

7 1993 Audi RS2 Avant

Blue Audi RS2 front

We’d still rather buy this, though! Very few cars truly earn icon status, but the RS2 is one such car. A real trailblazer at its birth, the RS2 is often heralded as the first performance station wagon, and Audi pulled out every trick in the book to ensure it was a serious offering.

Manufactured in conjunction with Porsche, the RS2 came equipped with a 315hp 2.2 five-cylinder motor with a chunky turbocharger slapped on the side, and to keep the rest of the car tame Audi borrowed a big brake kit and super light 17″ cup style alloys from the more performance oriented Porsche’s of the time. Equipped with the revolutionary Quattro all-wheel drive system, this boxy family car could accelerate from 0 to 30 quicker than a McLaren F1 — how’s that for bragging rights?

6 Brabus 700 Widestar

Black Brabus G Wagon parked

Prefer a little more ‘shout’ with your performance car? Then look no further than tuning house Brabus. These guys have built a fantastic reputation for building some of the loudest Mercedes-based performance cars anywhere in the world, and this latest G-Wagon certainly is loud – in all senses of the word.

700hp ensures this 4×4 has the ‘go’ to match the abrasive styling, which is of course fully customizable to your exact tastes, depending on how much carbon fiber you’d like strapped to your $300,000 G63.

5 2003 Brabus G Wagon V12 Bi-Turbo

Black Brabus G Wagon parked

There are many reasons why you wouldn’t, or perhaps shouldn’t, buy this Brabus. For starters, these previous generation G-Wagon’s were unreliable and prone to corrosion, the drive resembled that of a tractor rather than a luxury SUV, and it’s not as if you could pick up spare parts from your local parts’ dealer.

There are, however, a few reasons why you may be tempted to buy this. Twelve reasons, in fact. It takes a company as crazy as Brabus to slap a twin turbocharged V12 into an antiquated 4×4, and therein lies the charm. You certainly won’t see another one at the lights, and you also stand a solid chance of beating anything you do see at the lights, too. It’s pretty badass, too.

4 Porsche 911 GT3 RS Carrera RS 2.7 Tribute

White Porsche 911 GT3 RS on race track

A clear theme from these modern German offerings is the play on company heritage, and Porsche aren’t one to miss a trick either. Striking in any spec, the latest GT3 RS is a clear track car for the road, and this 50th anniversary tribute model looks spot on with nostalgic splashes of green as a respectful nod to the icon that inspired it.

GT3’s have long been the king of the Nürburgring, and this latest one is keen to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors with a cracking time of 6 minutes 49 seconds — cementing its status as a true RS. Adjustable suspension and carbon ceramic brakes help shave the seconds away in the corners, and a characterful 4.0-liter flat-six developing 518hp helps ensure you won’t run out of puff on the straights, too.

Related: A Peek Inside The New Porsche 911 GT3 RS’ Interior

3 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7

White Porsche 911 RS parked on race track

So, how can a 50-year-old 911 possibly compare with a record shattering, 518hp monster like the GT3 RS above? In many ways, it cannot. The original here only has 213hp, takes 5.6 seconds to accelerate up to 60 and tops out at 150mph thanks to the 2.7-liter flat-six under the hood. That’s a way off the figures that Porsche have managed to put together in the new RS – so what makes this 911 so special?

Only 1,580 examples were ever produced to homologate the 2.8 RSR Porsche were entering into Group 4 racing series’, which makes this a very important 911 indeed. The ultimate road racer with all the charm of a 60s 911, but with all the grunt of a real racer. For collectors and enthusiasts, the 2.7 RS is the holy grail, and they command a serious premium on the rare occasion that one actually does come up for sale.

2 Mercedes-Benz E53 AMG

Mercedes E53 AMG in silver driving
Mercedes Benz

Another, more practical entry, the E53 AMG is a sublime offering from Mercedes that combines the latest in luxury and comfort with a healthy dollop of poise and performance. A relatively sensible (for AMG at least) 3.0-liter inline-six turbo pushes out a not-too-inconsiderable 429hp to the rear wheels, which keeps this super sedan deserving of that infamous three letter badge on the trunk.

Inside, you’ll find massaging leather seats, heated armrests and powered rear window sunshades amongst a whole host of other mod-cons you haven’t even heard of. The cost for all of this? $75,000 — that’s the kick-off price at least, and that’s a lot of car for the money.

1 1991 Mercedes-Benz 500E

Mercedes E500 silver driving

You wouldn’t be alone in thinking the E53 is lacking something, though, many wouldn’t look twice at it in a car park or on the road. With soft, smooth lines, it’s certainly a smart looking car, but the subtle styling doesn’t give any hints about the punch that’s packing under the hood. Wind back 30 years, though, and we think Mercedes did a better job with the 500E. Now a modern classic with a super status of its own, the 500E just ticked every single box.

Related: 5 Best And 5 Worst Mercedes-Benz Sports Cars Ever

The storming great V8 under the hood delivered a solid 322HP (that’s more than a Ferrari 348) and the huge flared arches, gaping grills and wide diamond cut alloy wheels give a lasting impression to anyone that is fortunate enough to spot one. The perfect super sedan, and just modern enough to still be a viable daily driver — Mercedes can keep their massaging seats, heated armrests and soulless inline-six’s as we’d take this 90s greatest hit over an E53 every day of the week.


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