Best Cheap German Cars
German engineering has a global reputation for being a cut above the rest, and this is particularly true when it comes to the automobile industry. The biggest German car brands – Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, BMW and Volkswagen – are all synonymous with quality and refinement. This precision engineering can often come at a price, and many buyers think they can't afford to benefit from what Germany has to offer. But these brands also produce desirable cars that are well within the price range of the average consumer. In this list, we'll take you through ten of the best cheap German cars on the market.
1. BMW 3 Series
Probably the best all-rounder on this list, the BMW 3 Series is a four-door family sedan that allows you to experience most of what’s great about a prestige German car, without having to take out a second mortgage to pay for the privilege. Its handling isn’t just smooth and comfortable, it’s also a lot of fun, and you’ll really appreciate how much control and visibility you have when you hit the higher speeds on twisty country roads. The interior cabin is predictably elegant, and the entry-level engine will get you to 60 mph from standing in just over eight seconds.
2. Volkswagen Golf
The Volkswagen Golf is one of the most iconic family vehicles and has been a huge success story for VW since it was launched in the early 1970s. This is down to its regular tweaks and touch-ups, gradually transforming a practical, reliable compact car into a fine-tuned blend of style and sophistication. The interior cabin has VW’s elegant simplicity, and its range of quality tech is available at a surprisingly low price point. New hybrid engines have impressive efficiency, cutting down on fuel costs to make the Golf an even more affordable piece of top-class German engineering.
3. Audi TT
Another German automotive icon, the Audi TT has its own unique shape that will always turn heads out on the road. It’s definitely not a true budget option, but its cutting-edge style and performance often rivals the most prestige high-end sportscars. Later versions have reduced their weight and are now capable of achieving 0-62 mph times of around 6.5 seconds with their basic 2.0-litre engines. The ride is excellent, and you might enjoy the impeccable style and quality of the interior cabin even more than its one-of-a-kind exterior aesthetic.
4. Mercedes-Benz A-Class
The best-selling car in the Mercedes-Benz range, the A-Class has all the luxury of a top-end vehicle at a more affordable price. Adrenaline junkies might even be tempted to upgrade to its newest 2.0-litre petrol engine, which currently offers a 0-62 mph time of under four seconds. If interior quality is important to you, the latest versions of the A-Class are truly something to behold, with a pair of high-res digital displays and ambient mood lighting providing the finishing touches to an opulent, spacious cabin.
5. Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The flagship Mercedes-Benz S-Class model has been setting the agenda for luxury vehicle design since it was released back in the 1970s. Its most recent model has upped its interior tech to unprecedented levels, with a huge digital dashboard and a separate infotainment screen boasting voice control and a number of other advanced features. Leaving aside the futuristic cabin, you’ll also appreciate the effortlessly smooth driving experience and efficient engines. But what’s this flagship Merc doing on a list of cheap German cars? There are genuine bargains to be had with older models, so look used and you might find yourself enjoying the pinnacle of German engineering for a lot less than you think.
6. Audi A4
Another prestige car with a mind-blowing interior, Audi’s A4 offers a great alternative to some of the luxury trendsetters, particularly if you want a more casual driving experience. The handling is blissful, with feather-light steering and a four-wheel-drive system that offers incredible grip and control when cornering. The A4’s most powerful engines offer 0-62 times of around six seconds, and mild-hybrid tech will allow you to make some serious savings when compared to similar cars in this class.
7. BMW 1 Series
One of the newer prestige models in the BMW lineup, the 1 Series has been around since the early 2000s. It’s also the smallest BMW available and is geared towards driving enjoyment above all else. It’s not the fastest car out there, but it’s a real blast to take on country roads, where you’ll feel the German expertise and precision engineering daring you to let loose. A Volkswagen Golf might be comparable to the 1 Series and is a little bit cheaper, but this premium hatchback will show you how much fun it’s possible to have without breaking the bank.
8. Audi A1
With quality German engineering squeezed into a small hatchback, the Audi A1‘s looks alone might make it worth its unexpectedly affordable price point. It’s a truly stylish piece of automotive design, balancing sleek curves with a sporty profile and an eye-catching front grille that’s unmistakably Audi. It’s easy to drive, and inside the cabin everything feels like it’s been put together with care and expertise. If you opt for the five-door version, it’s also practical enough for larger families to enjoy.
9. Vauxhall Corsa
Once the best-selling car in the world, the Corsa has moved over 13 million units since it was launched back in 1982. It’s produced by German manufacturer Opel and is sold by Vauxhall in the UK. It’s likely the cheapest car on this list, and we included it here due to how much quality it offers for that low price point. The design both inside and out is subtly stylish, with the newer models being particularly racy looking. The engines are also impressively economical, saving you more money further down the line.
10. Porsche Macan
The best-selling Porsche in the UK, the Macan has been on sale since 2014. If your budget can stretch to a Porsche, this is definitely one of the most practical and affordable vehicles in their range. It’s a peerless example of German engineering proficiency, showing how the best elements of a family SUV and a top-end sportscar can be combined in one package. You’ll get 0-60 times of below five seconds with even the entry-level engines, and there’s no car of this size that’s more fun to drive than a Porsche Macan.
If you’re someone who enjoys the experience of driving, you’ll love getting behind the wheel of a precision-engineered car – all the more so if it’s a German car with a surprisingly low price tag. Take a look at our used listings and you’ll be sure to find impressive vehicles that might just tempt you to take the plunge.