Recognized globally for engineering and design efficiency, German automakers produce more capable cars than most sports car manufacturers can even dream. Sure, an Italian exotic is going to attract more admiring glances, but these sleek two-seaters are anything but a joy to drive every day. And if you could, how many would be faster than this collection of Germans anywhere other than their home countries on the unlimited highways? Lamborghini’s iconic Countach sports jaw-dropping styling and a fearsome rear-sprung V12, to be a nightmare to drive even the shortest distances.
It’s no secret that going fast is no longer a two-door, two-seat dream affair, and Germany has been giving gearheads more smiles per mile for decades with these cool daily drivers.
9 Wiesmann GT MF5
Look past the quirky retro styling and equally confusing Gecko badge and what’s left with a curiously quaint two-seater coupe knocking on doors from 200 mph flat out with the mannerisms you’d normally find in an executive sedan medium sized. Handcrafted from the ground up with maintenance-free bodywork and underbody.
Slip into one of the leather-trimmed leather seats and there’s no telling what awaits unwary gearheads. Confused? Ignition of the engine transforms the image of the retro MF5 roadster into something more emotional, cutting the throttle serving as a wake-up call for anyone within half a mile. The noise could hint at an exotic power plant requiring hours of TLC, in reality The BMW S85 V10 engine delivers a lazy 507 hp.
8 Mercedes CLK DTM AMG
Mercedes Coupe Leicht Kurtz (CLK) Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) Aufrecht, Melcher and GroBaspach (AMG), fortunately the German meaning remained with the acronyms, otherwise the trunk of this special Mercedes would have desperately lacked real estate. For the most part, a standard CLK was modified in recognition of the success of Mercedes races performed by the faster AMG dealers.
Are the changes so subtle that the removal of any special edition badging is sure to confuse other road users into thinking this is another CLK in a body kit? Smashing the throttle tells a different story, unleashing the 574bhp of the AMG 5.5-liter V8 that sends the CLK towards the horizon at breathless eye-jamming speeds of 199mph.
seven Alpina B6 S Coupe
BMW M-sport or Alpina, which is better? The answer largely comes down to personal preference. The BMW M range is more mainstream, built in greater numbers for everyday gearheads. Alpina, on the other hand, takes the best efforts of BMW (M included) and makes them much better.
Based on the BMW 650i rather than the M6 for drivetrain reasons, the B6 S coupe hit dealerships in 2005, giving gearheads the best combination. a more efficient 4.4-liter supercharged V8 on an atmospheric V10. With fewer cylinders, weight and, most importantly, 523bhp, the B6 also has a performance edge, peaking at 198mph.
6 Volkswagen Golf R32
Revolutionary for reasons you probably don’t think. Produced between 2002 and 2004, Volkswagen, already a supplier of fast and affordable hatchback machines, took things one step further with the Golf R32. A peak under the bonnet reveals the biggest change, ditching the 16v four-pot engines for a muscular 3.2-litre V6 from the Audi TT 3.2 Quattro, with all-wheel drive.
The visual changes are there if you know what you’re looking for, the R32 is nearly identical to VW’s Mk.5 Golf except for a 20mm drop in ride height, specific 18-inch alloys to the model and a revised rear bumper that can accommodate two exhausts. VW/Audi parts whether special or not, fast Golfs have always been synonymous with accessible performance on a daily basis.
5 Audi RS6 Avant
Crazy fast by any standard, Audi engineers stuffed the A6 with the biggest engine from the VAG parts bin and bolted on a pair of turbochargers for even more drama. Anything that wears the RS badge is sure to be special, A6 Avant with its stuffed nose with 571hp V10 engine is no exception.
Everything for all gears, happily dragging the family around town during the week, or if you need speed, equally at home on a track where weight issues aside, the RS6 still has the capability to embarrass junior supercars sprinting at 60 mph 4.5 seconds.
4 Porsche Boxster S (987)
Ask any gearhead to name a usable supercar and the 911 comes out trump every time, great news for Porsche fans, but less so for the lower ranks of Stuttgart’s performance models. Largely overlooked, the Boxster (987) deserves more recognition, and not just for its cheaper price tag.
In true Porsche tradition, model numbers, variants and engine sizes are confusing at best. However, stick with the 987.2 and things are simplified with just two engine choices. Both options (2.9/3.4 litres) are available with Porsche’s 7-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission offering maximum performance, with the Boxster S having the edge in acceleration and top speed.
3 Audi TTRS
A scaled-down lookalike of the R8, Audi’s TT RS has been a favorite ever since the German automaker gave the 2+2 coupe a midlife makeover in 2006. Badder and less cutesy, backed by a revised engine lineup , TFSI engines make their peak debut in the 2009 TT RS with five cylinders producing 340 hp.
The fun police took over the ultimate performance TT RS, Audi like most German automakers mandating a top speed of 155mph, thankfully the acceleration remains intact with the RS crawling to 60mph in 4.5 seconds.
2 Volkswagen Phaeton
Good car, bad badge? The Phaeton by Volkswagen standards is a flop, the gearheads never taking the big sedan to heart despite the best efforts of VW’s marketing executives. Under the hood is the same 6-litre W12 engine you get in a Bentley Continental GT, naturally detuned to avoid direct competition.
Detuned is often frowned upon as a dirty practice, why would we want less power? Considering the Phaeton is limited to 155mph, the W12 should be more than enough, accelerating to 60mph in 5.9 seconds. Either way, the big VW is extremely reliable, and if you’re a speed freak, removing the governor is said to be worth another 40mph.
1 BMW M3 E93 Coupe
Exiting on a high level of induction and exhaust noise, the E93 coupe was BMW’s last V8-powered M3, with all subsequent models using turbochargers drowning out the M’s greatest appeal, noise.
The S65 V8 found under the hood of this 2000s super coupe sidelined induction and clever exhausts, freeing the 4-litre V8 to roar to its 8300 rpm redline producing 420 bhp in the process.