10 of the Fastest German Cars Ever Made
- on October 12, 2020
- Categories: Car Feature Articles
Germany is a country that is synonymous with automotive quality. It’s almost impossible to walk down a street in any country with proper paved roads and not see at least some German-brand cars around. From Audi to VW, BMW to Mercedes-Benz, Porsche to Gumpert (though the latter now sadly gone), the central European country’s automotive prowess is laid bare for the entire world to see.
Besides their attention to quality and engineering, German auto makers also have quite a flair for speed. Their famous Autobahn highway is known for its lack of speed limits that we simply take for granted here in Australia. It’s fitting, then that our topic for today’s article is looking at 10 of the fastest German cars ever built. We’ll count down in reverse order from slowest to fastest:
- Audi R8 V10 Decennium (331kph)
The R8 is already at the top of the money tree when it comes to the Audi selection. At some point, someone thought of making a special edition of this, the V10 Decennium, built with a 5.2L V10 engine generating 620hp and 428lb-ft of torque. You could ride out on its 20” wheels if you could meet two important conditions. The first was being lucky enough to secure one of only 50 units made of this special edition. The second was affording thing AU$300,000 or more price tag. It was quite the token to celebrate 10 years of Audi’s V10 engine technology.
- Mercedes-AMG CLK GTR (335kph)
While also being possibly the strangest-looking Mercedes ever built, no one could deny this speed of this special competition model. It was initially designed to compete in the infamous 24 Hours of Le Mans race back in 1998. Its extraordinary lightweight frame (1005kg), housed an unbelievable 6.0L V12 LS600 engine that delivered some 600hp and 538ln-ft or torque. It’s even rarer than the Audi R8 above, with only a reported 26 models created for the road. When you look at it from the front, you can almost see a Mercedes S-Class hiding under all that additional racing build.
- Porsche 959 (339kph)
We’re taking a step further back in time for this incredible machine from Porsche. Sporting many of the brand’s signature curves, the 959 carried a 2.8L twin-turbo flat-6 engine. The 959 was made from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s initially as a rally car, and it was arguably the car that helped ‘make’ Porsche’s supercar name. It had a limited production run of just 200 units or so. While the standard build was slightly slower than its peak performer, the top speed achieved by the 959 was 339kph.
- Porsche 918 Spyder (344kph)
This second offering from Porsche is built with a 4.6L V8 hybrid drivetrain and may well be among the lightest supercars you’ll ever drive at just 1675kg (3692lbs). If you can get your heads around this, the engine generated an incredible 887hp with 944lb-ft of torque. Blink any time between 0 and 60 and you might miss reaching your target --- it’ll all be over in just 2.1 seconds. Who ever said hybrid cars were boring?
- Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss Special Edition (349kph)
Many features about this car may seem “off” to the regular observer, such as the fact it has no windscreen! Such things don’t seem to affect the performance of one of the most exclusive Mercedes-Benz cars ever made. The special edition of the unique Sterling Moss only included 75 models, most of which were sold to previous SLR McLaren owners. It sported a supercharged 5.4L SLR AMG V8 engine that could take it from 0 to 60 in just 3 seconds. Its elongated front end and ultra-stylish vent designs and other detailing made this a car to remember.
- The VW W12 Nardo (357kph)
The first offering from VW so far got its name from the Nardo Ring test track outside the town of the same name in southern Italy. It was first developed as a concept car back in 1997, and unfortunately never made it past those stages. That was the real shame, of course, because the power and potential of this car was easily enough to stand alongside Germany’s other super car giants. The W12 had a 5.6L VW Group 12 engine generating 591hp and an incredible top speed of 357kph. Had it properly come to light, perhaps VW would have claimed its rightful place in German’s super car hall of fame.
- RUF CTR (360kph) – aka “Yellowbird”
The first impression everyone got from RUF’s Yellowbird design was “sorry, but how is this not a Porsche 911?” And they were right to be asking this question, because actually the RUF CTR was based on the 911 design. That much is obvious. What was perhaps less expected was the unbelievably highly tuned 3.2L twin-turbo engine with twin intercoolers. It delivered 463hp in total, and while not being the fastest off the mark (3.65 seconds for 0 to 60), it could always count on a edge out the competition thanks to its eye-watering top speed of 360kph.
- Gumpert Apollo (362kph)
Arguably the greatest creation of the now-defunct Gumpert sports car company was the Gumpert Apollo. The company now trades under its new ownership as Apollo Automobil. The Apollo managed amazing top speeds thanks to its 4.2L twin-turbocharged V8 engine. It is actually a version of the Audi V8 engine. It has to be said, however, that the Apollo was perhaps not remembered for its tasteful or even remotely pleasing design. Many took issue with its form, but it was hard to deny its performance as it rocketed from 0 to 60 in just 3 seconds.
- BMW G-Power M5 Hurricane (372kph)
No list of German cars could be complete without a BMW, and the M5 Hurricane is certainly top of the pile. In fairness, they did get some outside help from G-Power and Manhart Racing on this one (among others). It comes with a 5L V10 engine supercharged with a G-Power EVO II system. In total it could output 800hp --- G-power indeed. This car was part of a group of M-series BMW cars that were modified into racing powerhouses, including M3 and M6 models along with this M5.
- 9ff GT9-R (408kph)
Breaking the 400kph barrier is the GT9-R built by 9ff back in 2008. The company is not, strictly speaking, an auto “maker” but rather a tuner that specialized in taking stock sports cars and tuning them into even more amazing machines that were, incredibly, still street legal. The GT9-R was built with a singular purpose of knocking a speed crown from fellow European rival Bugatti, whose Veyron model holds the current record for street legal speed at 418kph. As you can see from the heading of this paragraph, it didn’t quite make it. It nonetheless remains among the fastest German cars every built.
Speed and Soul: The Supercars of Germany
It’s important to remember that cars in Germany are built with an all-round vision in mind. Very rarely are cars built purely for speed, but also for comfort, high-tech features, safety and style. The German giants certainly know how to put together the full package, and it’s very hard to find many other countries that could produce so many fantastic fast cars in such a relatively short space of time.