Best Affordable German Sports Cars

Many people would love the opportunity to own a sports car but not everybody can afford to go out and buy a new Porsche or BMW. The good news is that you don't have to be rich to enjoy your own sports car, as long as you don't mind having one that is a little older. Here are some great affordable German sports cars, broken down by decade.

Porsche 914
Porsche 914
Mercedes 350 SL
Mercedes 350 SL

1970s

  • Porsche 914

The Porsche 914 was a collaboration between Porsche and VW, in the U.S. it was sold as a Porsche but everywhere else it was badged as a VW-Porsche. There were four engine choices through the model run. The most desirable is the 2.0L Porsche six cylinder, which is considerably rarer than the others and is generally very expensive and hard to find. The other oprions were 1.7L, 1.8L, and 2.0L Volkswagen Type 4 based engines. These were built from 1969 - 1976. They are a two seater car, have a mid engine design, and feature a targa style top. The handling of these cars is great and makes up for its lack of speed. Extremely nice examples can go for less than $10,000 and daily driver beaters can go for less than $3000.

  • BMW 3.0 CS

The 3.0 is a beautiful car and is not very common. They feature inline six engines with 180hp. They are four seater coupes. These cars are great drivers and turn heads everywhere they go. Despite their age, they are still dependable and practical daily drivers. These generally sell for between $5000 and $10,000 for clean drivers, restored ones go for considerably more. These were built from 1971 to 1975 and were the predecessors of the beloved BMW 6-series.


This car has great styling and is instantly recognizable. They are convertibles and are a blast to drive. They pack a 4.5L V8 into a relatively small two seater roadsters package. This is the first car on the list with an automatic transmission as an option. Nice ones can be had for $5,000 to $10,000. These were manufactured between 1971-1989. 


Opel is the German branch of General Motors and their cars were distributed through Buick dealers in the U.S. The Opel GT is a great looking cars, similar to a small Corvette. Despite their small stature there is plenty of room for 6 feet or taller drivers. The base models featured a rather small 1.1L engine, but most chose the optional 1.9L . Some unconventional features are manual pop up headlights and the lack of a real trunk or rear hatch. These cars are also great fun and are relatively cheap. Beaters and projects can be bought all day long for less than $2,000. Nice drivers can be found for around $5,000. Made between 1968 and 1973.

Porsche 944
Porsche 944
Audi Coupe GT
Audi Coupe GT

1980s

  • Porsche 944
The Porsche 944 was built on the 924 platform but in my opinion is a better built and a better looking vehicle. They were sold as coupes or cabriolets, with naturally aspirated or turbocharged engines. The engine was an all-alloy 2.5L inline four cylinder engine with a 2.7L engine available after 1989. The handling was incredible for a front engined car of its day. The weight distribution was almost even front to rear thanks in part to the unconventional rear transaxle.

  • BMW E30 M3
The E30 M3 is one of my personal favorite BMW's of all time. This car is a blast to drive and you can really feel its race car heritage in it. The M3 originated as BMW trying to homologate is E30 race cars. The result was an awesome car that is quick and handles great. This car is a little pricier than the others on this list mostly due to it rarity and desirability. A good driver will usually set you back at least $10k. Watch out for clones than unscrupulous seller will try to pass off as real M3s. The only body panels that real M3s share with normal 3 series cars are the hood and sunroof. These were made from 1986-1992.

  • Audi Coupe GT
Many people don't have a very high opinion of the products offered by Audi in the 80's but I think they are really great. for the most part 80's Audis are pretty cheap and the five cylinder engines are really durable. The Coupe GT was intended as an affordable alternatice to the turbo charged, all wheel drive Quattro. The Coupe GT is as close as most of us will ever get to a real Quattro since only around 650 were sold in the U.S. The Coupe GT was originally only offered with front wheel drive, but all wheel drive became available later. They were made from 1980-1987.  Offered engines were 1.8L inline cylinders, and 1.9, 2.0, 2.1, and 2.2 inline 5 cylinders.

1990s

  • BMW E36 M3
The E36 M3 was the first generation of M3 offered with an inline 6 Cylinder engine. A combination that has since become legend. Originally it was only offered as a coupe but convertible and sedan models came later. Although production began in 1992 they weren't offered in the U.S. until 1995. Prices for these are generally between $5,000 and $10,000 but can go much higher for really nice examples. Clones should be watched out for on these also. 

  • Audi S4
The first generation S4 may not be as potent as the later models but it is still a lot of fun. . It was offered from 1991-1994. The only engine choice for the U.S. was the tried and true Turbo 2.2L five cylinder with a five speed manual transmission or four speed automatic. All wheel drive was standard and makes any dirt road feel like a rally race. These cars are not too common but prices are still reasonable. $2500 to $7500 are where most of the ones I've looked at have been priced. 

  • Volkswagen GTI
While many people wouldn't consider a GTI a sports car, I would have to disagree. It is a cheap way to get into sports cars and is highly modifiable. 1992-1998 were when these were offered. 1.8 turbo and the VR6 v6 were engine options. these cars are often beat up pretty bad, so finding a nice one can be hard to track down sometimes. $3,000 - $5,000 isn't unrealistic for a nice driver.


  • Porsche Boxtser
The first generation Boxster was offered from 1997-2004, I will only concentrate on the '97-'00 models for this article though. The Boxster used a 2.5L flat six, water cooled engine until the S model was introduced in 2000. They may not be the fastest cars on the block but the mid engine layout gives it an excellent center of gravity, weight balance, and handling characteristics. People really have no desire for these early models and prices reflect this. You should be able to get a driver for less than $15,000. Not a bod price for a ten year old Porsche.

Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster

Comments 7 comments

GAWjr profile image

GAWjr 7 years ago from Denver, CO

I know some people will hate to hear this, but those 914s can be used to make a pretty cool kit car.


ttravis5446 profile image

ttravis5446 7 years ago from U.S. Author

That is wrong to say dude. You're supposed to make kit cars out of Fieros and Mustangs, not Porsches.


humahub profile image

humahub 6 years ago from pakistan

cool compilation


autopartslocato 5 years ago

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carljsp profile image

carljsp 5 years ago

great hub ....love all cars


GreenCars 5 years ago

Where is the Audi TT on your list??


Pkittock profile image

Pkittock 4 years ago from Minnesota

gotta watch out for those early model boxsters though.. there's a reason that there isn't much demand! Engine issues similar to those which plagued the first water-cooled 911s other than the turbo/gt3 which used a derivative of the GT1. I can vouch for the amazingness of the 944!! absolutely fantastic car as a weekend toy, track day machine, or even a daily driver. The M3 may not be super affordable.. but "regular" E30s such as the 325i are great looking and even more affordable options! thanks for posting!

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