German cars have a knack for being some of the best performers bar none, with a very light sprinkling of soul to make every car that much more
unreliable special. That’s why I asked you to find the fastest German cars for a $15k budget, and deliver y’all did. Achtung!
10. 2004 Mercedes-Benz SLK32 AMG
This Mercedes-Benz SLK32 AMG is the car that the Miata and BMW M Roadster wishes it could be. Contemporary looks, a retractable hardtop, a supercharged six cylinder engine and enough creature comforts to make any driver forget they’re driving a moderately successful hairdresser’s mid-life crisis. It’s bonkers fast for a car of its stature and if you’re a car lover, you owe it to yourself to try it out.
(Suggested by PikaZoned)
9. 1993 Mercedes-Benz 500E
This super-rare 500E is what happened when German automakers Mercedes-Benz and Porsche worked together to make a car that was head and shoulders above anything either of the brands had in terms of performance at the time, with enough understated good looks and build quality to last, well - how long have these cars existed? Yeah, that long. These are appreciating classics and can cruise at north of 160 miles per hour given enough autobahn, so there’s no reason not to pick one up.
(Suggested by Brian Silvestro)
8. 2004 Volkswagen Golf R32
This Volkswagen Golf R32 is the economy car lookalike that’s packed with top-of-the-line equipment for the model, making it a serious contender for performance bargain of the decade. The 3.2 liter VR6 engine and Haldex all-wheel-drive system work together in such a way that it’s competitive against any of its modern day rivals, bar none. It sounds great, looks great, is ridiculously fast for its size, and has one of the best exhaust notes of any car, ever. What’s not to like?
(Suggested by For Canada - Save the automatics!)
7. 2002 Porsche Boxster S
It’s a well-known fact that most German cars are limited to 155, and that removing the limiter is an easy way to get many of them (particularly the obvious V12 Mercs) to go much faster. But with this, you don’t have to. It’s a 2002 Porsche Boxster S, and it will zip to 60 in 5.2 seconds and on to an S65-trumping 160mph. Provided the S65 hasn’t had the limiter removed. Plus, handling.
6. 2000 BMW E39 M5
It always comes down to BMW E39 M5, doesn’t it? I mean, sure, it has a high-revving V8 with independent throttle bodies, is available with only a six-speed manual transmission, and has a chassis that’s so rigid that a front strut bar literally does nothing but add weight, but you have to look at the downside: carrying five adults can get a little cramped if you’re all a little chunky.
(Suggested by hankolerd)
5. 1974 Trabant 601S
When you’re compiling a list of the world’s worst cars, the most hackneyed and novice journalists would put this Trabant at the top because they live in a world with Yelp reviews, Netflix, and $10 year-long subscriptions to Hot Rod Magazine. However, we know better because of the potential it may possess. I’ll let BigNSlow EH explain:
The answer should be painfully obvious. Buy this Trabant. Then do LS swap since it’s so good, cheap and easy to do according to this.
In a car that’s made of recycled cardboard and cotton the LS would easily go 200+ mph assuming you can find someone crazy enough that would be willing to pilot this thing to his ultimate death to prove my theory.
(Suggested by BigNSlow EH)
4. 2008 BMW 135i
This BMW 135i is basically a more compact, lighter 3 series with the addition of a twin turbocharged powertrain that reacts like post-spinach Popeye when you throw any and all power adders at it. It’s the best coupe BMW could have made with the platform and the fact that it’s within reach of even the most frugal car buyers is a testament to how insane this car’s true value is. Get it before someone less interesting does.
(Suggested by Hofmeister Kinky)
3. 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC 6.9
This Mercedes-Benz 560SEC is the closest you’ll get to the AMG Hammer without actually shattering your wallet. This car is built like a tank with enough brute force to catapult you to triple digit speeds without much of a fuss. It’s the lumbering old-school Merc that you’ve always wanted with enough modern grunt that’ll make you wonder why they ever bothered making cars any other way.
(Suggested by Arch Duke Maxyenko, ಠ_ಠ)
2. 2004 Mercedes-Benz S600
I’m a bit biased concerning this Mercedes-Benz S600 because I used to own one and I loved every second. I miss it dearly and think about it every God-given day. My first born shall be named “Designo” because of this car. The instant I pressed the accelerator in anger marked the point when I truly became a man and learned what love was. Are you catching what I’m putting down? This car is fucking awesome.
(Suggested by PardonMyFlemish16)
1. 2005 Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6
This Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 is too a German car because it was made by Daimler Chrysler in Osnabruck, Germany. It also shares its underpinnings with the Mercedes-Benz SLK320. While it does look like a dog hunching over to take a crap, the car’s looks do grow on you, if only just. For the build quality and frankly ludicrous speeds that this forgotten German can achieve, it’s worth checking out.
(Suggested by Manwich)
Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes and makes videos aboutbuying and selling cool cars on the internet. He owns the world’s cheapestMercedes S-Class, a graffiti-bombed Lexus, and he’s the only Jalopnik author that has never driven a Miata. He also has a real name that he didn’t feel was journalist-y enough so he used a pen name and this was the best he could do.