Best German cars 2021

Luxurious, well made, and with valuable street cred: German cars are some of the most desirable cars on the market

BuyaCar team
Feb 15, 2021

Looking for a new car with a solid reputation? One that's renowned for superior build quality and pristine engineering? You've basically gone and defined what it is to be a good old reliable German car. The country is home to some of the worlds most famous and popular brands - BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Volkswagen. Together, these four manufacturers accounted for more than 30% of all new cars sold in the UK in 2020, which says a lot about their popularity.

The stereotype has long been that German cars are engineered with military precision and designed with pragmatism - they are no nonsense, fit for purpose and normally the best you can buy. But does that still ring true in 2021? Well, it's difficult to compare many other manufacturers to this quartet in terms of interior quality. Audi, in particular, has long been one of the best when it comes interior design, while Volkswagen and BMW are also consistently producing top-quality models.

But you could argue that even the most affordable models on offer by the likes of Mercedes are simply too expensive in comparison to modestly priced rivals such as the Ford Focus, so it's almost impossible to recommend buying a brand new German car straight off the production line. Add to that a growing perception that German cars are beginning to fall in the eyes of the public; in Auto Express’ 2019 Driver Power Survey, the top rated German car was the Audi Q5 - in at number 37 - behind a whole selection of Japanese, French and South Korean alternatives.

If however, you've been won over by the lure of a German car, you can save yourself some money and head over to the used market, where we currently have thousands of models available right now at vastly reduced prices, but with all of that quality still oozing from the seams. Read on for more details.

Best German cars

1. Volkswagen Golf

Used deals from £9,001
Monthly finance from £188*

Sensible sells. And it's a big reason why the Volkswagen Golf is the most popular family car in Britain. Volkswagen's flagship family hatchback does everything well, which propels it to the top of this list.

Strong demand helps keep deperciation down, and values high. This makes PCP deals cheap. Styling is best described as “familiar”, but there’s a new one out next year, which will help ower prices.

Respondents to Auto Express’ 2019 Driver Power survey gave it good scores for fit and finish, but reported an above average proportion of electrical problems.


2. BMW 5 Series

Used deals from £21,550
Monthly finance from £331*

Agile, spacious, and brimming with cutting edge technology. The BMW 5 Series aims to be all things to all drivers - and does a compelling job of it.

The interior has the latest version of BMW’s iDrive software, with a 10.3-inch touchscreen for controlling media, navigation and connectivity functions - and the fit and finish is also exemplary.

It scores highly with customers on its engine range - there are six options, ranging from frugal diesels to a 4.4-litre turbo V8 petrol in the M5.


3. Audi Q5

Used deals from £23,599
Monthly finance from £355*

This mid-sized SUV from Audi (bigger than a Q3, smaller than a Q7) has solid build quality, and every version comes with four-wheel drive.

The rear seats are comfortable, there’s space to stretch out in, and the boot can cope with 550 litres of luggage.

Owners in Auto Express’ Driver Power Survey complained about high running costs and 20.3% of respondents have reported an issue with theirs.


4. Mercedes C-Class

Used deals from £15,550
Monthly finance from £257*

The Mercedes C-Class is the pick of the bunch of the compact executive class. Diesel is generally the engine choice for buyers, although there are petrols, plug-in hybrids, and high performance AMG versions on offer too.

There’s plenty to admire inside. It has one of the most stylish interiors of any car on sale, and all models come with a 10-inch colour display. There’s also the option of upgrading the dials from analogue instruments to a 12-inch digital display.

A mere 15% of respondents in Auto Express’ Driver Power Survey have complained that their C-Class has gone wrong.


5. Audi A3

Used deals from £13,100
Monthly finance from £193*

Lastly we have the Audi A3, which is a bit like a posh VW Golf. They may share mechanical parts, but the A3 has more of a luxury feel, with an even higher-quality interior than the none-too-shabby Golf.

Standard equipment includes Bluetooth to connect your phone wirelessly to the car, as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which replicate your phone's display on the A3's seven-inch dashboard screen.

Owners who took part in Auto Express’ Driver Power Survey marked the A3 well for fit and finish of the interior, but they weren’t enamoured by its servicing costs.


*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.


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