Sometimes getting behind the wheel of a dream car turns out to be easier than a gearhead may think. Cars that once seemed out of reach, reveal themselves as viable options. Thanks to depreciation, or market factors, getting that desirable vehicle on the driveway becomes achievable, and waking up to find a Chevrolet C5 Corvette waiting to be daily driven, is no longer a fantasy.
In a lot of cases though, it’s simpler to leave a dream car up there in the clouds. As any secondhand Maserati owner can testify to, what seems like a wonderful slice of exciting motoring, a supposed bona fide investment, may lead to financial ruin. So, buying an affordable dream car can appear to be something of a balancing act. Yet, it doesn’t have to be.
Out there are several tempting German sports cars that tick the dream car box. Rip-snorting stars that will bring joy into a gearhead’s life, without causing them financial pain. Here are 10 proper German sports cars that are surprisingly cheap to own and maintain.
10/10 The Porsche Cayman S
The Porsche Cayman has proven itself to be worthy of its nose badge. A compact, precise sports car that brings joy back into driving. Best experienced on twisting mountain passes, the Porsche Cayman hooks itself to sweeping roads with skill, and it’s quite breathtaking.
The original S version gets a tasty 3.5-liter engine. It is making 295hp, blitzing to 60mph in 5.1 seconds. Light on its toes, the Cayman S encourages a gearhead to explore its full potential. Supplying ample feedback through the steering wheel, it’s simply a great Porsche.
9/10 The Audi TTS
The often-forgotten Audi TTS remains a performance bargain. Its tried and tested 2.0-liter engine has gained a power bump. Now producing 272 hp, the 1st gen TTS will hit 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. Its turbo-fed acceleration is best felt in the engine’s mid-range.
Underpinned by the fantastic Quattro all-wheel drive system, road holding is superb in all weathers. Beautifully finished inside, the Audi TTS is a comfortable place to spend time behind the wheel, whether punishing a favorite road, or simply tackling the daily commute.
8/10 The BMW 650i Coupe
Sometimes mistaken for a lazy grand tourer, the BMW 6-series is a sports car at heart, especially when equipped with the mighty 4.8-liter V8. Pressing the throttle uncorks 362 hp and 361lb/ft of thrust, this equates to a 0-60 mph time of 4.8 seconds and a limited 155 mph max.
It may present itself as too civilized, being lavishly equipped with sumptuous leather seating and a raft of impressive electronics. However, push the 650i and it will deliver. Quickly falling into a wonderful point and squirt rhythm of driving. What it lacks in agility it makes up for in grunt.
7/10 The Opel Monaro VXR
It may have been born in Australia, but it was perfected in Europe. Suspension revisions allow the LS2 powerplant to make the most of the chassis. All the 6.0-liter V8s might get thrown into the rear tires, but there is a beautiful amount of raw control to the proceedings.
Being too heavy with the throttle will see 397 hp torch some rubber. However, the secret is to be gentle and learn to ride the huge tidal wave of power. Then progress becomes effortless. The Monaro wants to dance, skip, and slid into a gearhead’s heart, where it will stay forever.
6/10 The Porsche 911 996
Often referred to as the unwanted Porsche 911, the outcast. The 911 996 was the first of the family to adopt a water-cooled engine. To some, it was a disgusting upstart, others view it as a visionary. Thankfully, the secondhand market still flags it up as the cheapest way into a 911.
Being cheap doesn’t mean it’s nasty. Everything that fans love about the Porsche 911 is here. The fine handling, the exuberant need to be pushed hard across challenging roads. Also, a base 996 Carerra also gets 296 hp and hits 60 mph in 5.2 seconds, which is plenty fast enough.
5/10 Volkswagen EOS V6
The Volkswagen EOS was a fashion purchase back when hard-top convertibles were all the rage. It came in a range of different engine flavors, but the best is the one with the V6, as that unit got pinched from the Golf R32, giving the quirky VW EOS plenty of get-up-and-go.
A feisty growler, the 3.2-liter engine generates 250 hp. That’s enough power to propel the front-wheel drive EOS to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. Its handling is controlled, rather than sharp. But it is still a rewarding sports car to drive fast, especially with the gutsy soundtrack on offer.
4/10 The Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG
Still looking aggressive, the Mercedes-Benz SL63 delivers plenty of German speed with a suitable amount of glamour. Under its rakish hood lurks a 6.2-liter V8, a Bavarian brute that spits out 518 hp combined with 464lb/ft of torque. Those used to be supercar numbers.
Top-down, hit the throttle, listen to the roar, then watch as the speedometer hits 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. On the move, the SL63 never feels ungainly. It hides its mass, with surprising amounts of agility. Drop-dead gorgeous, and very exciting, an SL63 won’t get tiresome.
3/10 The Audi RS5 Coupe
The Audi S5 is a sports car aimed at a more sophisticated gearheads. Boasting all the usual Audi refinements, like sure-footed Quattro all-wheel drive, a luxurious interior, brimming with equipment, and subtle, yet sexy looks. It also hides its best feature, a potent and fiery engine.
A tidal wave of power is on offer in the RS5. As its 4.2-liter V8 spools out 444hp and 317lb/ft of torque, a clever central-differential funnels this to where it is needed. Meaning the RS5 hits 60 mph in a ballistic 4.6 seconds. Mature, yet offers great fun. It’s an accomplished vehicle.
2/10 The BMW Z4
You don’t need a big engine in a BMW Z4 to have a good time. And that is all thanks to the car’s wonderfully balanced handling. Every car hugs the road looks fantastic, and delivers enormous pleasure when driven. The performance on offer rises from strong to breathtaking.
Opting for the 3.0-liter straight-six engine gets driver access to 231 hp. That’s enough to punt the little BMW Z4 from a standstill to 60mph in 5.8 seconds. Tail-out action and some lift-off oversteer are just a throttle press away. Bucket loads of fun crammed into a neat package.
1/10 The Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG
It makes gearhead sense. Take one of the smallest cars and introduce it to one of your largest engines, then watch the magic happen. So, when AMG stuffed a 5.5-liter V8 under the hood of the Mercedes-Benz SLK, a monster was born. A gorgeously overpowered behemoth.
The sharp looking German now found itself to have 354 hp on tap. It would rocket to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and top out at a limited 155 mph. Capable of bullying roads into submission, the SLK55 AMG was a miniature supercar for those that loved to look good.
Sources: Mecum, Classic