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The 20 Best-looking German saloons

5d ago


I'm trying out a new type of article format: for once, rather than a relatively short list with lengthy explanations, I'm experimenting with a longer list with brief explanations.

Do let me know if you like it or not - and also let me know if you want to see more!

Anyway, let's delve into the styling of some German expresses, shall we? This is my own opinion of course - it will differ from others!

Audi 100 C1

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

I had to include this; Audi was so beautifully humble before all the fuss about rallying and turbocharging came along, and the 100 was nothing short of a lovely, dependable family car.

A very pretty one at that.

Opel Diplomat V8

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

I've always thought of the front end as a resemblance to both a Chevy Nova and the first-gen Pontiac GTO. And funnily enough, a stateside engine even powered it - a small block 327.

Thought Opel couldn't compete with premium brands? You were dead wrong.

Borgward Hansa 2400

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Borgward recently made a quiet comeback from the dead and have started to make a couple of neat SUVs.

But back in the fifties, they were serious competitors to the likes of Mercedes Benz. The most famous being the Isabella Coupe, but the Hansa was also a great car for its time - especially this larger 2400.

Mercedes W108/109

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/83468718@N06/

It was hard to pick out which S-Class was my favourite to look at, but the preseance and timeless-ness of the W108/109 (depending on the spec) just won me over.

Any variant has always been on my list of dream cars, and I'm sure it's been on yours too.

BMW New Class saloon

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/peterolthof/

Immensely popular in touring car racing, available with a range of engines from a little 1500 to the powerful 2000tii. BMW's New Class range sparked a new formula for the brand and defined traditions for many decades to come.

The saloon kicked it all off; and it also happens to be a gorgeous thing as well.

Audi S8 D2

Image credit: FavCars.com

I've always loved these since watching Ronin; I always found it baffling how such a powerful car it manages to not accidentally overtake a significantly slower Citroen XM... hmm.

But still, the real fight for horsepower with the big German barges really kicked off in the 90s - and the S8 was in the midst of that battle.


Image credit: FavCars.com

The rare pre-cursor to the 7-Series and the more practical version of the much-loved E9, the E3 - or 'New Six' - was BMW's shot at rivalling the Mercedes S-Class.

It was a lot sportier than Stuttgart's barge and the top-end 3.3 LI was a fabulous all-rounder.

Mercedes W114/115

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

I was tempted to throw the W123 on this list, but two things stopped me:

1. I didn't want to appear biased since I own one.

2. I mean, come on! The predecessor is a desperately pretty thing and it would've been rude not to include it.

Mercedes CLS C219

Image credit: FavCars.com

An absolutely timeless piece of car design that I don't think has aged one bit. The aggression of the AMGs only makes it better.

Not only did the CLS look good, but it drove very nicely as well. A great second-hand bargain too!

BMW E12 M535i

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Before the E28 M5, we had this. The trusty 3.5 litre M30 staight six engine was shoved into the E12 - and along with some motorsport chassis tweaks - the rather gorgeous M535i was born.

It's often the forgotten one amongst all the generations, but perhaps the fact it didn't bear the official M5 badge is part of the reason for that.

Audi 200 C2

Image credit: FavCars.com

Boxy. Conservative. Subtle. At the time, the C2 must've looked incredibly normal amongst crowds of other cars. Now however, it's aged better than Jennifer Aniston!

There's something about sharp edges and chrome that makes a car look absolutely timeless. And this old Audi is no exception.

Ford P7

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Ford of Germany had quite an interesting lineup of cars which really differed from those sold in the UK or the USA.

The P7 is a nice example: appropriately, it used a range of German-built engines including the Cologne V6 as opposed to the Essex unit we used in Britain. This car represents a rare oddity in the executive saloon market.

Mercedes 600 Grosser

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I couldn't ignore the big Grosser; it's one of the most majestic cars of all time and one of Merc's absolute finest in their illustrious 134-year history.

Fit for rock stars, dictators or even a successful motoring journalist, the SWB 600 is one of motoring's true highlights in the engineering department. It just so happens to look the part as well.

Mercedes 190 E Cosworth

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Some called it the thinking man's M3, and I'd agree considering the 190 Cossie arrived a good few years before the M3.

It was so good, even Ayrton Senna bought one. And personally, I prefer the conservative, subtle exterior of the standard Cossies rather than the Evo versions - those are overkill in my eyes.

BMW E23 7-Series

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/39302751@N06/

The replacement to the E3 was a rather beautiful one. The 7-Series was up-to-date, used advanced tech and now a closer rival to the likes of Mercedes, Maserati and Jaguar.

Not only did it handle well, but it was healthily quick too; the 745i with its turbocharged 3.4 litre straight six was capable of 0-60 in just under 8 seconds. Good stuff for a barge!

BMW M6 Gran Coupe

Image credit: FavCars.com

In my eyes, this is one of few BMWs of recent times in which they undoubtedly nailed the design of. The proportions are nothing less than perfect!

Couple the beauty to an absolute powerhouse of a 4.4 litre V8 and supercar-bashing performance numbers, and you have an instant classic. It's just a shame they couldn't make the engine sound a bit fruitier.

Audi A7

Image credit: Audi Media Centre

I see the A7 as a hark back to the pretty 100 Coupe in some respects, and to be honest, that's hardly slamming it. This is one the best-looking Audis there's been in years.

The simplicity of the shape coupled with the practical hatchback boot design marries both style and practicality all in one. Small wonder the A7 ended up being a massive success.

Mercedes 300 W189

Image credit: Wikipedia

If you wondered where the engine powering the famous 300SL Gullwing came from, it was the enormous W186 saloon. Albeit, the fuel-injected engine didn't arrive in the 4-door until 1957.

Nevertheless, this was a great example of what Mercedes could do, despite the post-war struggles in Western Europe. The 300B was particularly notable as Konrad Adenauer, West German chancellor of the time, had one while he was in office.

BMW E21 3-Series

Image credit: FavCars.com

The well-coveted E30 was preceded by this: BMW's 3-Series was the successor to the 02 series and it was a step-up with a new range of six-cylinder engines and was also part of a significant shift in their motorsports program.

Not only was it a pretty face, Tiff Needell described the 323i as one of the best-handling cars he'd ever driven. High praise, don't you think?

Opel Rekord B

Image credit: Wikipedia.

If Western Europe ever needed an affordable family saloon in the sixties, this was it. Opel's response to the equally German Ford Taunus was a competitive one. The Rekord A was a pretty thing, but the Rekord B was even prettier in my opinion.

Styling was inspired by the American GM cars like Chevys, Oldsmobiles etc. and it really shows in areas of the Rekord. I must say: they executed it fantastically.

Thanks for reading

So, that was my list of 20 of the best-looking German saloon cars. Feel free to throw in any more suggestions in the comments.

Nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed this article. And as said in the introduction: please let me know if you like this format of more cars, less description!


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