So you’re planning to buy a German car… but which model should you choose? German carmakers have become famous for creating “innovative” models that hardly differ from their existing lineup, which can make your decision a complex and sometimes, frustrating process. Performance or practicality? After taking a look at the most popular German cars taking today’s headlines, we picked out the smarter buy.
2017 Audi S3 (instead of Audi TT)
Both cars have the same engine, yet the S3 has more horsepower (292 versus 220), is quicker to reach 60 mph than the TT (4.7 seconds versus 5.3 seconds) and only carries around 300 extra pounds. But remember that the extra weight comes in the form of two extra practical doors and interior space.
Buy now: $42,900
2017 BMW M240i (instead of the M2, M3 or M4)
When you compare the M240i and M2 pricing and options lists, it becomes obvious that the M2 is just a fully loaded version of the “lesser” 2-series. The two cars are almost identical, mechanically. The contrasts are so subtle that just don’t justify the initial $7,000 price difference. As for the M3 and M4, the 2-series counterpart does a better all-around job considering the BMW legacy: the joy of driving. These last models have become significantly more expensive.
Buy now: $45,445
2017 330i xDrive Sports Wagon (instead of the X3, X4 or X6)
The typical X3 buyer usually gets BMW’s smaller SUV as a family hauler, not as a car for adventures. So, the Wagon is a better option – not only is the Wagon better-looking car, but it handles better, has nearly the same amount of cargo space when the rear seats are folded down and gets better gas mileage. The X4 and X5 try to do the same job, but with higher price tags, less cargo capacity and lower MPGs.
Buy now: $42,950
2017 Mercedes GLE 350 SUV (instead of the E-Class Wagon)
Practicality always seems to favor a wagon over a large SUV, but in this case, GLE 350 SUV wins. It has 80 cubic feet of cargo space versus 57 from the E-Class and a 6,600-pound tow capacity for almost $10,000 less.
Buy now: $52,000
2017 Porsche Boxster S (instead of the 911 Carrera)
Porsche has always been very careful to let the Cayman get too close to the 911 in performance, for a good reason. The 718’s mid-engine layout is clearly better for balance the 911’s rear-engine placement: if the brand gave the 718 enough power, it would embarrass the 911 on the track. But the Cayman S has 350 horsepower and a 4.4 second 0-60 time while the 911 Carrera has 370 horsepower and the same 0-60 time. Close enough!
Buy now: $66,300