The Porsche 911 is not the only sports car out of Germany, though our predilection for the 911 tends to make us deride the competition. Put simply, the 911 Porsche is iconic. The complete package. It is one of the very few automobile models that has been manufactured continuously for 50 years. And, unlike other sports coupes, such as the emasculated Impala, the curves of the 911’s body stayed consistent, and so has its popularity.
The 911’s prominence in popular culture adds to its specialness. In the 1971 film Le Mans, Steve McQueen drove a 911S. And what’s more, the car was his. He had it shipped home from France after the film. His character, Michael Delaney, traverses the French countryside, driving scenic roads to get to the Le Mans course. Obviously, McQueen has made other sports cars look cool, just as plenty of other performance brands have endured Le Mans. So with that, let’s look at other masterful examples of German automotive excellence. Keep reading, and you’ll find a list of eight stunners out of Germany. Each of these sports cars will make you forget all about King 911.
10/10 BMW M4 CSL
The BMW M4 CSL is a lightweight speed demon on the inside and a machine with a mien of ferocity on the outside. It is packed with 543 horsepower via an S58 3.0-liter Turbocharged I-6 and has an 8-speed automatic transmission. To lighten the CSL up, BMW used a lot of Carbon-fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP), reducing its weight significantly. Replacing heavier materials of the previous iteration with carbon, they made this model 240 lbs lighter, leaving it with a 3,640-lb curb weight. Parts replaced with carbon include Merino leather-trimmed carbon bucket seats, a rooftop panel, and alloy wheels with carbon-ceramic breaks.
Long story short, this lightweight speed demon beat the track record for any series-produced BMW car ever on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit with a lap time of just over 7 minutes. As for acceleration, it sprints 0-62 in 3.7 seconds.
9/10 BMW M2
The BMW M2 and the M4 are like two versions of the same monster. The M2 accelerates 0-60 in 3.9 seconds, very close to the M4. With both cars equipped similarly, the M2 has a 3.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo 6-I, which makes sense. Still, the M2 is short 20 horsepower in comparison. But who cares, because the new M2 is 48 stallions more than its previous model, giving it 460 horsepower in total. It’s got just about everything we like about the M4, yet the M2 will run you a reasonable $63,195. What’s the difference? The M2 costs you half the coin of the M4.
For that price, you start to forget about the M4 and the Porsche 911 altogether. Plus, look at this beast. The M2 coupe is sophisticated on the outside while housing the same speed demon inside.
8/10 Audi TT RS
The Audi TT RS is a fine example of German engineering. It has a top speed of 155 mph, stampeding with 400 horsepower. It has a 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbocharged engine and it beats the 911. After checking out more details about this Audi sports car, you’ll see why.
It humiliates the 911 Carrera in acceleration, the consummate measure of automotive superiority since the auto was invented. The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S accelerates from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds, but the Audi TT RS blows by at 0-60 in 3.6 seconds. The two models tie for top speed at 288 mph. But here is the game changer: if you don’t get this model now, your opportunity might be lost. Edmunds notes that the 2023 Audi TT RS may be its last iteration of the TT line, at least for combustion engines. Next year’s model of Audi TT RS may be electrified.
7/10 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL
The sporty Mercedes-Benz SL easily rivals Porsche 911 for the most iconic coupe ever. You can’t think of the SL without seeing those magnificent gull wings open. Seventy-plus years on, and this roadster still impresses. Its design of stolid elegance features modern lines and a classic aesthetic. The Mercedes-Benz SL roadster is new but delivers “the role of an icon,” just as Mercedes marketing experts would say it.
The Mercedes-Benz AMG SL handles as well as it looks. With the latest tech and high-torque power, the response is augmented by Mercedes AMG German technology, utilizing an electronic, limited-slip differential. Exclusive innovations in all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering refine handling. Engineering feats are found throughout, from its AMG master-crafted biturbo V8 to a convertible top that folds back in 15 seconds (while taking up zero trunk space).
6/10 Porsche Taycan
The Porsche Taycan design and performance are so graceful it does summersaults over the 911. Edmunds called the 2022 model a “technological masterpiece” that is comfortable and easy to drive. It’s more spacious than a sports car, boasting four doors and two trunks. And it is fast. Even Elon Musk had to admit it. Via tweet, the Tesla CEO wrote, “But Taycan does seem like a good car. Nürburgring track time is great.” In short, the Taycan is the ideal roadster. That should get the critics chattering.
The Taycan is an EV. It’s Porsche’s first EV, and it was introduced in 2019. We know what that means. As an EV, its very existence is much to the chagrin of enthusiasts of the almighty petrol engine. But it also means the electrified Porsche Taycan is powered by a 93.4 kWh capacity battery, providing a range of approximately 300 miles per charge. Replenishing will put you out about 23 minutes.
The 2023 Taycan comes in Turbo, Turbo S, and GTS trim options and boasts a significantly higher range. Thanks to Porsche’s new ultrafast charging unit, you’re back on the road in no time. Finally, the Taycan’s overall driving experience is intense and exhilarating, just like you’re driving an exuberantly fast, well-oiled German performance machine. You may look at the Taycan dubiously, as a liberal step-brother, but it is a Porsche.
5/10 Audi R8
The Audi R8 is a modern legend, and we definitely would take it for a drive over the 911 any day. Especially since this model iteration is the last. You read that right, the 2023 model is the end of the line for the R8. The good news: Audi is offering a collector version of the R8 GT in 2023. It will sell for twice the amount of a base-price Porsche 911.
Is the R8 worth the hype? Yes! Absolutely. The R8 is a supercar disguised as a sports car. Kind of like how, in Marvel movies, Iron Man is driving the Audi R8, but he is really Tony Stark. It rumbles with a V10 engine – a rarity in mass-produced automobiles. The 602 horsepower engine has 413 top torque. And it does 0-60 in 3.1 seconds. To seal the deal, Audi’s R8 is a half race car. The R8 coupe comes standard with Audi’s R8 GT3 LMS race car parts, half its parts originate from the race model. It also shares similarities to Lamborghini’s Huracan.
4/10 Porsche Cayman GT4 RS
We like the 2022 Cayman GT4 RS because it’s a veritable 911 inside. Under the hood, the Cayman 718 GT4 RS has a 493 horsepower engine with 331 torque, and it was spawned by a 911. The Cayman’s chassis was fitted with none other than the 911 GT3’s able and agile mid-engine powertrain, a 4.0-liter flat-six. The Porsche Cayman possesses phenomenal acceleration, faster than the entire line of 911s. Except for the GT3, the origin is faster, but only by a hair.
Yet, the Cayman’s track performance pulls ahead of its parent, steering, and cornering like a dream. These examples of bolstered driveability are thanks to Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) in action. To achieve outstanding handling, they made the Cayman lighter, with increased downforce, added more direct handling, and, of course, made it faster.
3/10 RUF CTR “Yellowbird”
RUF made good with a flat-six many years ago. Nicknamed the “Yellowbird,” it was the fastest car in the world. RUF is a family-owned German automaker, established by Alois Ruf Sr. His petrol service station and bus business in Pfaffenhausen in Bavaria became the RUF factory, now run by his son, Alois Ruf Jr. The unassuming RUF factory has been making cars by hand for over 50 years. It also handcrafted the concept RUF Porsche Rodeo rally car. RUF is unique because Porsche permitted RUF hand tuners access to the 911 formula. The opportunity was not wasted.
The bourgeoning company made the “Yellowbird;” the RUF flagship, and it has a fascinating history. The inspiration for the factory happened by chance when the RUF’s, father, and son, salvaged a crashed 911 and repaired it. In the ’80s, the Tweety-bird yellow RUF CTR supercar made its debut. It rumbled with 463 horsepower and its top speed was upwards of 200 mph. In the acceleration race, it placed high, at 0-60 in 3.65 seconds. Consider, this was 1987. The Yellowbird proved at Nürburging it was the fastest car in the world.
2/10 Mercedes AMG GT Black Series
The Mercedes-Benz AMG GT Black Series is the cream of the crop. It set the record on the Nürburgring track. Mercedes built this car to be the ultimate track car, the best, and they did just that. It accelerates 0-60 in 3.1 seconds, but even better, it hits 125 mph in a mere 9 seconds. The Black Series is packed with carbon. It was lightened up significantly, even the windows were made of lighter materials, and the massive wing on the back is engineered for real speed and performance.
Jay Leno took the Benz Black Series for a test drive on an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage. It turned out the former comedian had to borrow a Black Series from Robert Herjavec, as Mercedes-Benz turned Leno away. Point is, everything about this car is impressive. However, it’s a bit much for a daily driver.
It’s “a race car in a tuxedo.” That’s how Leno described it. The aerodynamics, the aggressively sculptured vents and air intakes, the perfection of form and function, the sound of the exhaust, the handling, and the driving modes. It has a 9-stage traction control (TC) system that is highly effective but still designed to toggle to the off position. The only problem, according to Leno, is that the exquisite craftsmanship of this driving machine makes it nearly impossible to repair a Benz to its original master’s work.
1/10 Apollo Intensa Emozione
This machine is decidedly not a daily driver. The Apollo Intensa Emozione (IE) is hardly street-legal, but it is spectacular. Apollo Automobil, a German company from Denkendorf, is responsible for meticulously crafting exactly 10 examples of the IE hypercar. Every detail is attended to. Carbon fiber construction keeps it under 3,000 lbs. Its intense body design was engineered after elements of efficiency inspired by sharks, raptors, and fighter jets.
The cockpit is insane. Buttons on the detachable steering wheel and above on an overhead panel feel like flying a jet. Its power is comparable, at least metaphorically. The Apollo Intensa Emozione thunders with a V12 engine. This hypercar takes off from 0-60 in 2.7 seconds. The V12 harks from Ferarri. It generates a staggering 780 horsepower and has 561 lbs-feet of torque at 9,000 rpm. It probably sounds like a fighter jet at that rpm.
We really wish we could pilot one of these extreme sports cars (911, who?), but at $2.7 million each, we’ll keep dreaming. Currently, Apollo Automobil is turning its engineering expertise toward designing a driver-centric, electrified luxury sports car.