The 5 Most Beautiful German Cars (And 5 You’ll Regret Never Seeing)
German is not known as a beautiful language, but German design language is different. There’s Bauhaus architecture, Adidas shoes and German cars. From economy cars to luxury cars and from sports cars to family cars, the The big three German car manufacturers (BMW, Mercedes and the VW Group) represent more than a third of the total innovation of the 38 car manufacturers in the world. There were a lot of these ideas that other manufacturers saw and couldn’t wait to copy because the Germans often set the benchmarks that other companies strive to meet.
However, everyone has good days and bad days, including German manufacturers. When they have good days, their days are legendary, but when they have bad days, at best they are forgotten, or at worst they become legends for the wrong reasons. There are many examples of this, and some people will disagree on what works and what doesn’t. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes though, manufacturers need to have their vision checked.
These are five of Germany’s finest cars and five you can only hope to forget.
ten Magnificent: Porsche 356 Speedster from 1950
Between 1948 and 1965, Porsche built four versions of the 356, starting with the Pre-A. These are the first cars produced in series by them. In 1954 they began building the available coupe, convertible and speedster, a stripped down, inexpensive and sport-oriented version. Car importer Max Hoffman suggested it might be popular in the United States, a move that turned out to be a stroke of genius.
The 200 speedsters built featured a reduced windshield, lightweight removable roof, and side curtains instead of roll-up windows. It was an instant hit, especially in California, where it was perfect for the weather, and its all-aluminum body was less likely to rust. The shape should be immediately recognizable because its shape will be used for the 911 for the next 70 years.
9 Magnificent: Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing from 1955
In 1955 Max Hoffman worked his magic again and imported another beautiful automobile. This time it has teamed up with Mercedes to bring another dynamic sports car, the 300 SL Gullwing. The bet is won again and the SL 300 will eventually win the Sports car of the century in 1999
This magnificent car was designed to maximize aerodynamics and minimize weight, as SL (Sport Light) would imply. The curvaceous body was steel, but the hood, trunk, dashboard and door skins were aluminum. The centerline of the car was too high for the standard doors, so the only option was the gullwing door. Its design and its 3L V6 engine would make it the fastest production car of the time.
8 Beautiful: BMW Z8 2001
After the success of the Z3 roadster in the late 90s, BMW decided to step up a gear and in 2001 built the Z8. He was bigger, twice as powerful and 10 times more beautiful. Its design was pioneered by Chris Bangle’s group, which was responsible for many other BMW models, including the Z4, 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 series versions and the X3, X5 and X6 SUVs. During his time at BMW, he overtook Mercedes as the leader in luxury car sales.
The Z8 is inspired by the design of the BMW 507 built from 1956 to 1959. The Z8 has its classic car feel balanced with a dose of modernity that makes it fresh and exciting. The 507 was a convertible, but the Z8 came with a color-keyed removable hardtop that kept its styling and shapes consistent.
seven Magnificent: 2022 Audi R8 convertible
Audi is known for its conservative and minimalist designs. Its top-spec cars are never flashier than the standard models. The last flashy model they built was the TT, which was more noticeable for its different looks than for its flashy styling. Then in 2008 they introduced their first mid-engined supercar, the R8. It was popular as a cheaper option over other supercars while looking radical yet still stylish.
The R8 is built on the same platform and shares an engine with the Lamborghini Huracan but is less ostentatious. The new design has more aggressive styling than in the past, with square bumpers, a wider grille and exposed carbon fiber on the sides and rear. It should also be noted that under the headlights the air intake is divided into three sections as was the case in the Audi Quattro.
6 Gorgeous: 2015 Porsche 918
There haven’t been many more important cars than the 918 in the last 15 years, and that had to be because it came out at the same time as the Ferrari LaFerrai and the Mclaren P1. Looking at it from the front, you can see there is something different about this Porsche, but when you walk around to the side to look at the profile, you can tell it’s not an old car.
The rear of this mid-engined car is particularly exciting. It mimics the rear of Porsche’s previous halo car, the Carrera GT, with its top exhaust to ventilate its engine and maintain speed. You can also take off her top and stow it in the frunk if you want to feel the air blow or decide to put it back on in the middle of a trip. Top or off, the car has perfect flowing lines that accentuate its racing heritage.
5 Hideous: Messerschmitt KR200
After World War II, the Germans had to disarm. Messerschmitt built airplanes and had to find a new business. After seeing the success of Porsche and VW, they decided to give it a try as well. Things were tough in Germany, and metal and gas were scarce. This led to the growth of micro cars, otherwise known as bubble cars. Its main competitor was the BMW Isetta, but while neither is particularly beautiful, the KR200 is clumsier.
It is clear from its form that Messerschmitt was still recovering from aircraft manufacturing with its pointed nose and cabin with the passenger sitting behind the driver and the way the canopy opened to serve as his door. Fortunately, they only built two different models, and in 1968 they were able to start making planes again.
4 Hideous: the Smart ForTwo
In 1998, Daimler under the name Smart (Swatch Mercedes Art) put a new car into production. Designed with the help of Swiss watchmakers Swatch, builds the ultra-mini ForTwo. It was designed for use in cities with fuel economy and ease of parking. While that might have been true, they had to sacrifice the ability to carry even a small bag of groceries and any aesthetic appeal to make it work.
When people started buying them, they certainly created a buzz, but once it became a joke, the possibility of selling them disappeared from its tiny windows. It was the same height, but at eight feet two inches wide, it looked like it had been double-ended, which was possible because it often broke down. There was also the problem of a rough ride, which was not conducive to cities full of potholes. Anyone who doesn’t think it was a toy just look at the Little Tikes car produced by Fisher-Price from 1979. The same car, but for a much lower price.
3 Hideous: 2001 Meredes-Benz A-Class (168)
If one of the problems people had with the ForTwo was that it only carried two people, Mercedes found a workaround in 2001 with their Class A (model 168). It was essentially the same car but lengthened to accommodate four passengers. It didn’t make her look much better, but four people could be embarrassed instead of two.
Realizing this, Mercedes gave it a minor facelift in 2004, making it less box-like by rounding it slightly at the rear. It took them 13 years, but ultimately the total redesign of the A-Class made it a car people would want.
2 Hideous: Volkswagen 181
The VW 181 was originally designed for the West German army, but became a civilian vehicle in 1973. In 1974 it made its way to America, where it was nicknamed the Thing. The thing is, it looked terrible. In 1974 they admitted it wouldn’t work in the US and stopped sales.
The body was made from sheet metal painted in your choice of white, sunshine yellow, pumpkin orange and in 1974, avocado green. This choice did not facilitate its sale. You could buy a hood to cover the passengers, but you had to bring a towel because it might leak.
1 Hideous: 2018 Sin S1
The Germans still didn’t learn their lesson and continued to make unattractive cars. In 2018, with the help of the Bulgarians. Sin S1 was designed for track performance which is fine because you’ll want to leave it there.
There’s not much to redeem the S1. The eerie creases around the headlights make it look like it’s just woken up after a restless night. The bad news is that you can’t watch it from behind either. The rear looks like it used to be nice at one point, but they forgot it on the track in the summer, and when they came back it was melted.