Germany, how we love thee — especially when it comes to cars. Fast, tractable and built like bank vaults, all our favorite Deutsch sports sedans feature a lordly level of detail. No surprise, then, that while the Japanese and Americans continue to ramp up in the genre, the Germans’ standing is just about engraved in granite. Helming one of these schöne Autos simply makes you feel like a real driver, and the practicality doesn’t hurt, either. We drove five truly great Teutonic four-doors and came away with lots of grins and plenty of notes.
Additional contribution by Bradley Hasemeyer, Jason Heaton and Jonathan Gallegos
Best Teutonic Sedan for the Gadget Lover: The all-new and wholly redesigned E-Class is a handsome car. The loss of the rear wheel pontons cleans up the profile, and the double-hook LED headlights are truly recognizable, especially when one pulls up on your tail, and the interior is far more handsome than the previous generation’s. But it’s not just beautiful — it’s one of the safest cars on the road. A fancy collision-mitigation system uses a stereoscopic camera; active cruise control provides semi-autonomous control even at low speeds; and brake-assist provides increased brake pressure to avoid hitting both cars and pedestrians. Naturally-aspirated, diesel, and turbo power trains are available with a hybrid on the way. Oh, and you can now get 4-Matic all-wheel-drive on every model.
Miles Driven: 425
Memorable Moment: Getting the thumbs-up on the outskirts of Portland from other Merc drivers.
Best Teutonic Sedan for the Style Conscious: With the R8 and A5 already turning heads, Audi upped their game once again with the introduction of the A7 in 2012. This sportback, meant to compete with the likes of the CLS and Panamera, offers a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 with 310 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque — enough to get to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. Its wide stance brings loads of stability, the sloped roof creates an unmistakable silhouette, and the interior is classically clean and luxurious. Push a few buttons and the car goes from comfort to sport, sharpening the steering and stiffening the suspension; combine this with optional tech such as a HUD, infrared night vision assistant and corner cameras for a better view when exiting a parking spot, and you have a truly dignified hatchback. Opt for the diesel offering for 38 mpg on the freeway or the brand new RS model with 560 HP (!). Either way, utility never looked so good.
Miles Driven: 377
Memorable Moment: Making a run to Home Depot and tossing a few bags of mulch in the back while an envious truck owner looked on.
BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe
Best Teutonic Sedan for the Aesthete: In the Teutonic tussle for best-looking 4-door coupe, the 6-Series Gran Coupe is clearly at the top of the heap. The two-tonner is the handsomer sibling of the 6-Series two-door: long, wide and graceful, it still manages to be imposing by virtue of its hulking front quarter panel bulge and aggressive fascia. Despite its size, the car moves. When we drove it in 650i guise, the 445 horses moved the car with fury, getting to 60 in 4.6 seconds. Plus, there’s enough leather inside to scare a herd of cattle. Just don’t plan on putting your family or friends in the back for too long. Take ’em around the neighborhood for some hot laps and they’ll wanna get out anyways.
Miles Driven: 362
Memorable Moment: Seeing German villagers look at the car in rapturous wonder (and fear).
Best Teutonic Sedan for the Subtle: This People’s Car isn’t on a lot of buyers’ lists, but should be. Unique styling translates to an understated aggressiveness and sleek lines, which, paired with premium materials in the interior, make the CC look far more expensive than it really is. It’s nimble in traffic, shifts like a knife through warm butter and, at 32 miles per gallon, sips petrol with the best of them. The 2.0-liter turbo is responsive and has plenty of punch. The CC is clearly the bargain Teuton in this illustrious group, and that’s certainly not a bad thing.
Miles Driven: 612
Memorable Moment: Watching a man crane his neck to get a look at the CC while sitting in rush hour traffic.
Best Teutonic Sedan for the Power Hungry: Though no one’s accused the Panamera of being overly handsome, it certainly has a commanding presence, even more so now that a mid-cycle refresh has unified styling. Despite its size and heft, the Panamera is a real performer: even the base car will hit 60 in 6 seconds, while the nutty Turbo nails it in under four seconds. Fantastic room for four and plenty of capacity in its rear hatch add a huge practicality factor. We love that it gives the finger to the 3-box sedan design standard, and that it comes in no fewer than nine flavors (including E-Hybrid).
Miles Driven: 643
Memorable Moment: Offending and fascinating the residents of Sonoma with a boisterous red beast.