Journal: What Classic German Sports Sedan Would You Buy for Under $25k?

What Classic German Sports Sedan Would You Buy for Under $25k?

By Sam Webber
October 16, 2014
40 comments

Photography by John Whitney Jr. and Saam Gabbay

Coined in the 1930s, and gaining more popularity during the 1960s and onwards, the term “sports sedan” has come to define cars with adequate power and performance, paired with everyday practicality and usability; a wolf disguised in sheep’s clothing, if you will. The sports sedan is perfect for an enthusiast who wishes to go out and spiritedly enjoy their favorite road, but who might also have to pick up his/her kids, or perhaps some groceries on the way home.

German manufacturers including BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz have churned out many of the most notable sporty four-doors, packed with the style and performance you’d expect from the more expensive sports car models of their line ups. By the late ‘80s, a myriad of German sports sedans had been produced and refined, yet some clearly outshined others. Was the 5-speed gearbox and rear-wheel drive combination the defining element for the more successful or enjoyable cars? Did drivers prefer the sedans with four or six cylinders? If you had $25k (or less) to spend on a classic German sports sedan, which model would you choose? Please keep the selections to cars with four doors produced before 1990.

Join the Conversation
Related

Leave a Reply

40 Comments on "What Classic German Sports Sedan Would You Buy for Under $25k?"

avatar
Photo and Image Files
 
 
 
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
71dusterdan
71dusterdan
Funny you ask… my next build upon completion of my 71 Plymouth Duster is going to be any Mercedes sedan from the 70’s. just gonna buy the cleanest pants object benz I can find. Was gonna drop a Chevy LS in it, until I discovered how inexpensive Mercedes V8’s are from the 90’s. so it will be a slightly lowered and raked, manually shifted, Mercedes powered businessmans hot rod! I’m not picky, it can be any 70’s 4 door. I may even gently flare the wheel arches just to make purists sick! Hey it will still be Mercedes powered!
Jesse
Jesse

Or an Alpina B10 er B11…

Jesse
Jesse

E34 540i/6 M sport.

Gavin Scott
Gavin Scott

1979 Mercedes Benz 6.9 in black! See the original north American MBZ sales brochure. Some times referred to as the banker’s hot rod! Even though its heavy its a wolf in sheep’s clothing and was named the fastest sedan in the world at that time. Its the grand father of them all for me.

Kim Shugart

1971 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 4.5. You can find this baby at or below $25k on ebay autos or craigslist. I would prefer the 6.3, but you would need double the budget. Those cars are so amazing and will probably last as long as cockroaches after the apocalypse.

Snatch
Snatch

Saab 9000 Turbo

Rick West
Rick West

W211 is not pre-1990.

Rick West
Rick West

Mercedes-Benz AMG W211 E55. 469 hp and 516 ft. lb. Beautiful interior finish and sub 5 second 0-60.

Leo Bila
Leo Bila

Mercedes Benz 190E 2.3-16V, it’s cheaper than the Beemer and it has a great engine, improved by Cosworth

Marek
Marek

I might be biased because I already own it, but an E28 M5 in eurospec form. The smaller euro bumpers and the availability of colors other than black just make the eurospec E28 M5 so much more appealing,

Riccardo
Riccardo

The Lancia Thema 8.32 would be high on my list. But I’d probably end up with a Mercedes W116 6.9

Thomas V Daily
Thomas V Daily

AUDI S4. I just bought a ’95 (S6)–pretty much the same as an S4 (92-94). Great Driver! Pretty fast with tons of power potential and a rich aftermarket. 5-sp only. Basic car will drive well into the 200K miles range, while nicking you regularly with smaller items on the way. Buy in is modest. Best car ever in slippery conditions! Experience Turbo Lag! Smooth revs to 7K, Very comfortable with great seats.
I also had a ’91 200 20V (only model year for that) & a 90 Audi V8–both very nice drivers.

exelenergy
exelenergy

W124 500E!!!

Conni Menschel
Conni Menschel

Merc 190 2.3 16V

or an Alfa 75 Quadrifoglio Verde. S… not a German car

Vladimir Tsisaruk
Vladimir Tsisaruk

I have BMW e12(518) and BMW e34(535i), this is my favorite sport sedans 🙂

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson
This certainly isn’t an easy question. I’ve decided to disregard the Alpinas, Hartges, AMG Hammer and only stick to manufacturers that produced the body etc. on their own. However, there are still a lot to choose from. Although the Audi 90 2.3E 20V, the 200 2.2 Turbo Quattro and Opel Omega 3000 just barely makes it, I wouldn’t be able to choose any of them with my conscious intact (given you’d even be able to find one). Therefore, I guess the battle would be between Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Mercedes have done quite a few “sporty” sedans I considered, including the… Read more »
Norbert Krasovski

E3 2500 BMW.

Jono51
Jono51

As long as you can still get an old 5 series BMW for $2.5k anything more is a waste of money that would be better spent on a proper sports car without a back seat or a roof! But that’s just my opinion

Parasight
Parasight

The Audi 200 turbo 20V. Compared to its BMW counterparts at the time, it was overpriced and underpowered, but a decent one can be had for much less than a near-junk M5 today (in Europe at least). If you can find one; they are very rare.

Bernard
Bernard

BMW M635 csi (while they are still under $25K…)

Bernard
Bernard

Sorry, this is not a sedan…oups…

Thomas Faires
Thomas Faires

Mercedes 6.3 or 6.9.

JB21
JB21

I always wanted Ford Sierra RS Cosworth 4-door. Is that considered German?

Rob
Rob

Cosworth is English based

Takudzwa Munyaradzi Maramba
Takudzwa Munyaradzi Maramba

A 1988 Mercedes-Benz 500SE just like my dads’ ecept maybe in midnight blue not alabaster white like his.

Gonzalo Sanchidrián Álvarez
Gonzalo Sanchidrián Álvarez

Since the BMW’s are already on the list I would say the Mercedes 190E W201, either EVO 1 or EVO 2, but definitely cosworth engine

RandyP63
RandyP63

Simple question, prior to 1990, BMW! Although, I should extend a “Thank You” to Mercedes, if it wasn’t for that brand in particular, paying for my flight training would have been more difficult. One after the other would enter our shop with a myriad of issues. My boss paid time and a half, and it was nothing but the three pointed stars lined up, one more screwed than the next. Anyway, my pick would be a first generation M5.

Guest (Hock)
Guest (Hock)
A W108/109 (S-Class pictured above or any S-Class really) was never and will never be a ‘sports sedan’. No, not even in 6.9 form. It just didn’t have the chassis to start with. Apart from one exception: the beautifully brutal AMG 300SEL 6.8 race (!) car (http://www.oocities.org/motorcity/downs/Downs/9323/w109amg.htm) And a Ford Scorpio can not possibly be on a list with ‘sporty sedans’, can it? Come on it’s all sorts of things but not sporty. [u]But in order to answer the question: [/u] BMW E30 320is (Italy- and Portugal-only version of the E30 M3 with a lower capacity M3 engine (to fit… Read more »
Dylan Hatfield

Turbo M20 BMW 2002

Derelict
Derelict

The 2002 is not a sedan. It is a fun little coupe but not a sedan. I have modified everything I have owned, from MGs to trucks. If I were to buy something with a $25k budget, I would probably pick up a W201 190 Merc. One of the last to be built to spec, not to budget by the company and a great car to drive. They are cheap and easy to find and have all sorts of bits available to build anything from comfy cruiser to track monster.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

Hmm couple of choices for me. I prefer the lines of the E34 M5 to those of the E28, but the version I would really want is the rare wagon, so as a saloon I would go for the mad Mercedes 450SEL 6.9 if it was good enough for James Hunt it’s good enough for me. Needs to have Euro bumpers though.

Cameron Braun

I bought a 1984 533i late last year, and for the money I spent, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. The E28 may be the best chassis ever made.

Robert Jack
Robert Jack

1988 BMW M5

TJ Martin
TJ Martin

Guest(Guest ) But … perhaps what you meant to type in was the Merkur Scorpio ( Ford Granada Scorpio in Germany ) … not the Taurus ?

Now that ( the Scorpio ).. was a German sedan . Ford of Germany … but German never the less .

And if thats what you meant to say … well now …. that is a worthy consideration for this list

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
Hmmn … errr .. Guest(Guest) … Ahhh … errr … not to be pedantic or anything … but ahhh .. how does one say this tactfully … especially when tact is not one of my strong suits . Hmmn … lets try this ; The original Ford Taurus SHO is an American Car … with a Japanese derived motor [ Yamaha ] under the hood … thats not even sold in Germany .. nor has ever been sold in Germany … never mind any solitary aspect of it having been made there Making the classic SHO in fact ….. anything… Read more »
Jody Smith
Jody Smith

An E28 535is or M5 was the obvious answer, s[url=”http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-M5-m5-1988-e-28-bmw-m-5-immaculate-condition-/151441592941?forcerrptr=true&hash=item23429f526d&item=151441592941&pt=US_Cars_Trucks”]uch as this one for $24,995 on ebay motors[/url].

Alvaro
Alvaro

BMW 3 series M3 if possible.

Guest
Guest

1989 Ford Taurus SHO

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
OK … right out of the gate .. lets eliminate any and all VW’s tarted up in Audi party dresses . Fact is … there’s nothing in the slightest that can be considered ‘ Classic ‘ about any of them So that leaves us with BMW and Mercedes . Which of those two depending on whether your main objective is ‘ comfort ‘ or ‘ sport ‘ BMW’s being ‘ sport ‘ with comfort . Mercedes being comfort with ‘ sport ‘ So then to narrow it down to a model or two each . Hmmmmn . If .. it… Read more »
Shel
Shel

2000 TI tho might be hard to find, especially here in the US.

wpDiscuz