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Wunderbar: Germany votes for its favourite German cars

German flag

There’s something delightfully German about the readers of a German car magazine voting for their favourite German cars.

It’s wonderfully patriotic and so very, very German.

And we mean this with the greatest level of affection. It’s not as though they haven’t got a fantastisch selection of autos to choose from.

Around 105,000 readers of Auto Motor und Sport voted for their favourite cars in 11 classes, before the magazine declared the winners. When the votes were counted, Volkswagen wheeled away with four class wins, Porsche claimed three, Mercedes two, with BMW and Audi grabbing one apiece.

Germany’s best German cars

Porsche 911

Without further ado, allow us to reveal the best German cars according to German people:

  • City car: Volkswagen Up
  • Small car: Volkswagen Polo
  • Compact class: Volkswagen Golf
  • Middle class: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  • Upper middle class: BMW 5 Series
  • Minivan: Volkswagen Transporter
  • Luxury: Porsche Panamera
  • Sports car: Porsche 911
  • Convertible: Porsche 911
  • Compact SUV: Audi Q3
  • Large SUV: Mercedes-Benz G-Glass

Germany’s best imports

Alpine A110 on track

But the Auto Motor und Sport poll isn’t a total German love-in. Readers were also asked to name their best imports from each category. 

It’s a decidedly Euro-centric list, with the Mazda MX-5 the sole representative of Japan. People of Germany, we salute the selection of the Alpine A110. 

  • City car: Abarth 595/695
  • Small car: MINI Hatch
  • Compact class: Skoda Octavia
  • Middle class: Alfa Romeo Giulia
  • Upper middle class: Volvo V90/S90
  • Minivan: Renault Espace
  • Luxury: Aston Martin Rapide S
  • Sports car: Alpine A110
  • Convertible: Mazda MX-5
  • Compact SUV: Jaguar E-Pace
  • Large SUV: Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Just over 3.4 million new cars were registered in Germany in 2018, as the market shrank by 0.2 percent. The Volkswagen Golf remained Europe’s best-selling car, but the market was hit by the effects of the diesel demise and WLTP emissions testing.

 

England v Germany: the World Cup of cars

Do you hear that noise? That’s the sound of the World Cup bandwagon, and we’re just about to climb aboard for a ride. We’re comparing the ‘best’ English and German cars from each World Cup year since 1966 with the aim of selecting an overall champion.

We can’t promise you will learn anything from it, but we can assure you of a nail-biting finish. And by the end of it, you probably won’t be feeling quite as bad as David Luiz at the end of the 2014 World Cup semi-final.

Rules of engagement

First, we need to establish some ground rules. This ‘World Cup’ will be split into 14 rounds – one for each World Cup year since 1966 – and we’ve selected important, successful or great cars from each country.

Remember, kids, it’s just for fun, so don’t write in. Oh, and our decision is final – we won’t be using VAR in the event of a questionable decision.

1966

England – Jensen Interceptor

England v Germany: the World Cup of Cars

Ah, 1966 and all that. Memories, if you’re old enough to remember, of Bobby Moore lifting the Jules Rimet trophy, Nobby Stiles dancing and a ball that was certainly over the line. There can only be one winner in this round, especially with a name like Interceptor, which sounds like the nickname of a tough-tackling holding midfielder.

Germany – BMW 02 Series

Germany’s response to the Jensen Interceptor is the BMW 02 Series, the svelte, continental and nimble executive from Bavaria. It lacks the performance needed to topple the West Bromwich powerhouse in this instance, but as the forerunner to the 3 Series, we’re expecting great things in future tournaments, Clive.

1970

England – Range Rover

In 1970, the first Range Rover rolled off the production line in Solihull, making it the ideal car for England’s 1970 World Cup bid. In Mexico, the then-champions succumbed to the midday heat, going down 3-2 against semi-finalists West Germany. In our ‘World Cup’, it’s going to take something mighty to stop the Range Rover from making it 2-0 to England.

Germany – Opel Manta

If you’re still with us, thank you. We can’t promise things will improve by the time we reach 2018, which sounds a bit like the England World Cup team. For its 1970 entry, West Germany wades in with the handsome Opel Manta, which would be happier taking on a Ford Capri in a traffic Grand Prix than it would a Range Rover. Sorry, Opel, it’s 2-0 to England. But fear not, Germany, because England took a two goal lead in 1970, and we know what happened next.

1974

England – Lotus Elite

England isn’t exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a squad for 1974, unless you fancy taking on the Germans in an Austin Allegro Vanden Plas. Instead, it’s left to Hethel’s elite – quite literally – in the form of the Lotus Elite. The 2+2 hatchback-cum-coupe represented a shift upmarket for Lotus, but we sense Germany might have this covered.

Germany – Volkswagen Golf

Indeed, West Germany is toying with England’s defense, demonstrating some fancy footwork with the Volkswagen Scirocco, before going in for the kill with the all-conquering Golf. England is powerless to prevent the Germans clawing a goal back, courtesy of elegant Italian styling and ruthless German efficiency. England 2-1 Germany.

1978

England – Vauxhall Chevette HS

Time for England to restore a little pride with some rallying of the troops. Vauxhall is channeling its inner ‘Flying Finn’ with the 2.3-litre Chevette HS, a highly capable homologation special, especially at the hands of Pentti Airikkala. But England is unable to call upon help from Finland in this instance…

Germany – BMW M1

Boom: have some of that. The BMW M1 may have had its problems during development – a rare lack of commitment from the Italians didn’t help matters – but Vauxhall cannot stop the 3.5-litre mid-engined sports car from romping to victory in 1978. It’s an equaliser for West Germany, with the score tied at 2-2.

1982

England – Bristol Brigand

England head to Spain for the 1982 World Cup in need of a strong performance. Time to restore some pride. A development of the earlier 603, the Bristol Brigand can call upon the might of a V8 engine to launch a string of attacks, with the large two-door coupe capable of speeds of up to 150mph. Enough for England to retake the lead?

Germany – Mercedes-Benz 190

There are a few players jockeying for position in West Germany, with the new E30 BMW 3 Series and Audi 100 lining up to take on the Bristol. In the end it’s left to the Mercedes-Benz 190, the most important new car from Stuttgart in many years. But while the 190 was a quantum leap forward over the old 200, it cannot tackle the mighty Brigand in Spain, which puts England back in front.

1986

England – Jaguar XJ

None other than Gary Lineker finished as the top scorer at the 1986 tournament in Mexico, which will remembered for Diego Maradona’s brilliance (not to mention his handball). England take on West Germany with the Jaguar XJ40.

Germany – BMW 7 Series

But the XJ40 is powerless to see off the BMW 7 Series, which scythes down England like a Thomas Berthold tackle. This was a hugely important car for BMW, not least because it replaced an ageing product and was destined to spend its entire time running down the left-hand flank (of the German autobahn). That’s 3-3. Are we destined for a penalty shootout? Nobody tell Gareth Southgate.

1990

England – Lotus Carlton

This will hurt Germany, as the Lotus Carlton also wore an Opel badge. But, as a product of Hethel, it qualifies for the England team, and it’s hard to see how Germany could respond to the 176mph supercar-slayer. Ah, the sweet taste of revenge for the 1990 penalty shootout, although this tie isn’t over yet.

Germany – Mercedes-Benz 500E

Besides, Germany isn’t going down without a fight. Don’t let the subtle looks fool you, because the Mercedes-Benz 500E is as powerful as Lothar Matthäus and as ruthless as Jürgen Klinsmann at his peak. MB’s performance saloon was powered by a 5.0-litre V8 and assembled by Porsche in Stuttgart. It’s a bona fide legend, but the Carlton manages to hang on to put England in front.

1994

England – Jaguar XJ

Sorry, England, but you’re not winning this one. Failure to quality for USA ‘94 meant that England had to sit this one out, so there’s no way a Jaguar XJ (X300) is going to perform well here, even with a choice of six and 12-cylinder engines.

Germany – Audi A8

With its groundbreaking aluminium construction, lightweight body, huge array of engines and choice of interior comforts, the Audi A8 made the Jaguar XJ look rather outmoded. A unified Germany may have lost against Bulgaria in the US tournament, but the A8 cruises to an easy win against England. It’s 4-4, Jim.

1998

England – Bentley Arnage

It wouldn’t be a World Cup without a little controversy, which is why we’re not afraid to give the Bentley Arnage its England debut. Some fine players have emerged from Crewe’s academy, most notably Dean Ashton, Danny Murphy and David ‘in the last minute of extra-time’ Platt. So what’s controversial about another Crewe export? That’d be the 4.4-litre BMW engine, used to power the Arnage at its launch. Don’t mention the engine and we might just get away with it.

Germany – Audi TT

Actually, it would be controversial if England win the 1998 tie, but there’s no chance of that with the Audi TT looming into view. The oh-so-fashionable TT arrived in 1998, dressing to impress like a concept car for the road. With its trendy suit and bespoke interior, the TT knocks the Arnage into submission and gives Germany the lead. Five rounds to go, it’s up for grabs now, Ron.

2002

England – Range Rover L322

The design of the 2002 Range Rover was inspired by yachts, fine furniture and first-class seating, but today it must grab its shin pads for a battle royale. Sure, there’s the small issue of the launch-spec BMW powertrains to gloss over, but the L322 feels like it stems from the golden generation of luxury SUVs.

Germany – Volkswagen Phaeton

Ferdinand Piech’s flight of fantasy faces an uphill battle if it hopes to give Germany a two-goal advantage. Indeed, much like Germany in the 2002 tournament, the Germans must be content with a runners-up medal in our ‘World Cup’. Blimey, this really could go to penalties. That’s 5-5.

2006

England – Lotus Europa S

We head to Germany for the 2006 World Cup, so this will be a tough challenge for England. We’re using a wildcard in the shape of the Lotus Europa S, hoping that, much like Michael Owen at the 1998 tournament, it can surprise a few people.

Germany – Audi R8

Sorry, but not a chance. Germany’s response to Hethel’s lightweight challenger is ruthless in its execution. How could it fail? Based on the Lamborghini Gallardo, the R8 could boast 5,000 unique parts and, at launch, a 4.2-litre V8 engine. With three rounds to go, Germany race into a 6-5 lead.

2010

England – Bentley Mulsanne

It’s perhaps fitting that England’s entry for 2010 is a £220,000 luxury motor, as it seems to reflect the rise in footballers’ wages. The Mulsanne was the first entirely new Bentley in 80 years, with an opulent cabin and a 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine. How will Germany respond?

Germany – Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

There’s a lot to love about the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. The gullwing doors provide crowd-pleasing theatrics, while the 6.2-litre V8 is a German masterpiece. This is a tough one. Keen not to show any bias, we’re giving this one to the Germans, but it’s by the narrowest of margins. That’s 7-5 to Germany with two rounds to go. It’s not looking good for England.

2014

England – Aston Martin DB10

But we needn’t have worried, because you can always rely on James Bond to keep the English end up. The Aston Martin DB10 was created for Spectre, in which 007 takes on Mr Hinx in a Jaguar C-X75.

Germany – BMW i8

On another day, BMW’s futurist i8 might have won this, but not today. This round belongs to James Bond and to England. To paraphrase a Bond villian, do you expect us to justify our decision? That’s 7-6 to Germany.

2018

England – McLaren Senna

Chasing a goal to grab a late equaliser, England has a formidable bench to choose from. The Jaguar I-Pace, Aston Martin Vantage, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and TVR Griffith fail to make the cut, leaving it to the McLaren Senna. We’re out testing it, so we’re unable to deliver our definitive verdict, but the signs are good. Besides, adding some Brazilian flair to the England attack is a compelling proposition.

Germany – Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Germany isn’t short of new talent: the BMW 8 Series, Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door, Ruf SCR and Audi Q8, to name a few. But even the Porsche 911 GT3 RS is unable to resist the full force of the McLaren Senna. The tournament has finished 7-7, so it’s time for penalties.

2018: Penalties

The Jaguar I-Pace steps up like a silent assassin to win it for England. Why? Because the electric car takes the fight to Tesla and sees Jaguar beating the Germans to the market. England winning against Germany on penalties – now there’s a thing. If you’re still here, thank you, we know you have better things to do.

Techno Classica: Europe’s best classic car show

Techno ClassicaIn 2016, more than 200,000 visitors from around the world visited the Techno Classica car show in Essen, Germany. It’s considered to be Europe’s best classic car show, as demonstrated by these photos taken at this year’s event.

Skoda standTechno Classica

The Skoda Fabia or Octavia parked on your street can their roots back to Václav Laurin and Václav Klement and the founding of a bicycle factory in 1895. Laurin & Klement – as Skoda was formerly known – began building motorised bicycles in 1899 and cars in 1905.

Skoda looked back on 122 years of the history with the help of so-called “impressive milestones”, including the 935 Dynamic aerodynamic prototype, Popular Monte Carlo, Rapid Dalnice and a display of Favorit variants. The Favorit was the last car built by Skoda before it was swallowed by the Volkswagen Group.

Volkswagen Karmann-GhiaTechno Classica

If we were dishing out awards for the coolest car in Essen, the Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia would be in with a shout. The Beetle-based coupe may have flattered to deceive when it came to performance, but it oozed West Coast cool.

As the name suggests, the pretty 2+2 was styled by Ghia and built by Karmann, positioned as an affordable – and slower – alternative to the Porsche 356. The Karmann-Ghia was superseded by the Porsche 914, the bodies of which were built at the Karmann factory in Osnabrück.

Volkswagen T1Techno Classica

The Type 2 was unveiled at the 1949 Geneva Motor Show and so-called because it was the German carmaker’s second model. The first generation models – built between 1950 and 1967 – retrospectively became known as the T1.

We suspect this 1950 model has never been stuck in a jam on the A303 or queued to get into a National Trust car park in Cornwall.

Ferrari 225 STechno Classica

The Ferrari 225 S first appeared at the 1952 Giro di Sicilia and was powered by a V12 which was being continually developed at the time. In this race, both open and closed versions were on show, each one bodied by Vignale, as seen here.

The 225 S emerged victorious in the 1952 Monaco Grand Prix, with Italian Vittorio Marzotto at the wheel. In the book, Ferrari 70 Years by Dennis Adler, it is claimed that 20 were built and that all but one had coachwork by Vignale.

Dino 246 GTTechno Classica

Despite looking almost identical to the earlier 206 GT, the Dino 246 GT introduced a number of changes. Eagle-eyed Ferrari fans at the 1969 Turin Motor Show would have noticed a repositioned fuel filler cap, longer engine cover, larger exhausts and new alloy wheels.

The wheelbase was increased by 60mm, while the engine capacity was boosted from 2.0- to 2.4-litres. A total of 2,487 units were built between 1969 and 1974.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR ‘Uhlenhaut Coupe’Techno Classica

The hardtop version of the 300 SLR ‘Uhlenhaut Coupe’ was built to go racing in the 1956 season, but with Mercedes-Benz withdrawing from racing in 1955, it was left without a competition.

Instead, it provided transport for the head of the test department, Rudolf Uhlenhaut. Two were built, but while this one lives in the Mercedes museum, the whereabouts of the other model is unknown. Check your nearest barn…

BMW 328Techno Classica

The BMW 328 was the car that put the Bavarian company on the map and would influence the styling of roadsters for years to come. Indeed, the 328 – introduced in 1936 – inspired elements of the Z3 and Z4.

It was hugely successful on the race track, too, notching up a win whilst still in prototype form at the Nurburgring, averaging 67mph over 70 miles. Only 462 units were built, making it one of the most prized sports cars of the pre-war era.

Cadillac Eldorado BroughamTechno Classica

The Cadillac Eldorado Brougham was one of the finest automobiles of the 1950s, driven exclusively by the rich and famous. None other than Frank Sinatra owned a third generation model, as seen here on display in Essen.

The Brougham cost a staggering $13,074 – more than double the price of a regular Eldorado – a price justified by opulent styling and lavish features. Air suspension, power seats, automatic boot opening, air conditioning and a perfume dispenser were just a few of the trinkets.

Porsche 356 BTechno Classica

The Porsche 356 B arrived in 1960 and introduced a number of styling changes to mark it out from the 356 A. The larger bumpers, increased amount of chrome and the repositioned headlights are just three of the distinguishing features.

Three body styles were available – Cabriolet, Roadster and Speedster – with power ranging from 60hp in the standard 1.6-litre 356 B to 140hp in the 2000 GS-GT Carrera 2.

Maserati 250FTechno Classica

According to Sir Stirling Moss, the Maserati 250F was “probably, of its era, the nicest Formula One, front-engined car to drive”.

Others believe the 250F is the most beautiful single-seater racing car of the post-war era. Is it? One to discuss over dinner…

NSU Prinz 30Techno Classica

The Prinz 30 was launched at the 1957 Frankfurt Motor Show and was the German company’s first post-war vehicle. It was powered by a motorcycle engine and despite its diminutive size, there was enough room for four people. It was a bit of a tight squeeze, mind.

Mercedes-Benz Model STechno Classica

The model S of 1927 was the first in a series of supercharged Mercedes-Benz sports cars nicknamed ‘White Elephants’. The ‘S’ stands for Sport and the Model S was victorious in its very first race at the Nurburgring.

BMW IsettaTechno Classica

Until the Mini arrived, microcars such as the BMW Isetta were all the rage. They provided cheap and reliable transport for many, and were economical enough prove invaluable during the Suez Crisis.

BMW 502Techno Classica

The 501 was the first car be produced by BMW after the Second World War and was nicknamed the ‘Baroque Angel’ by the German public. The 502 – which arrived in 1954 – was powered by a new V8 engine and was, at the time, the fastest saloon car in Germany.

Opel KapitanTechno Classica

This Opel Kapitan rolled off the production line in 1956 and took the honour of being the two-millionth Opel vehicle ever built. Note the gold-plated fittings, which were also a feature of the cabin.

Mercedes-Benz 540 K StreamlinerTechno Classica

The one-off Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner was designed as a vehicle for competition but became a test vehicle for aerodynamics and efficiency. The priceless car was put into storage in 1945 before being restored in time for the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours.

Skoda Popular Monte CarloTechno Classica

Speaking of aerodynamics, the Skoda Popular Monte Carlo was at the forefront of research and development in this field. Only 72 coupe and cabriolet models were built between 1936 and 1938, each one marking the success of Skoda at the 1936 Monte Carlo Rally.

Best of Show: Alfa Romeo 3000 CM Superflow IVTechno Classica

This car was produced in four different body styles and had a clear influence on the original Alfa Romeo Spider. It was awarded ‘Best of Show’ at Techno Classica 2017.

BMWTechno Classica

BMW put on quite a show in its home country, as demonstrated by this stunning line-up of vehicles.

1937 Lagonda LG45 RapideTechno Classica

The Lagonda LG45 Rapide can boast an enviable competition history, including victory at Le Mans in 1935. Designed to rival contemporary Bentley models, the Lagonda was enjoyed by wealthy motorists of the time. Only 25 were built.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupe Black SeriesTechno Classica

When new, the 6.2-litre V8 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupe Black Series – catchy name – cost around £230,000. Top speed is limited to 196mph and it’ll sprint to 62mph in 3.6 seconds.

Citroen Traction Avant 11CVTechno Classica

The game-changing Citroen Traction Avant is the godfather of the modern motor car. It was the first front-wheel drive production car to boast a steel monocoque body, and also featured fully independent suspension.

Mercedes-Benz E500 LimitedTechno Classica

Given the popularity of the W124 in the early 90s, you’d have been forgiven for not spotting an E500 Limited looming into view. That’s until the Porsche-built, 5.0-litre V8 super-saloon breezed past you without breaking sweat.