QOTD: What's Your Favorite German Car From the 1990s?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
qotd what s your favorite german car from the 1990s

Ah the Nineties. Lots of cylinders, reliable new technology, and wide-track styling. But enough about Pontiac and the 3800 V6, because we’re talking today about German cars from the era.

Which German vehicles from the best decade really caught your eye?

For your author, German cars of this decade stood out from a styling standpoint most of all. Refined metal kept the same basic shapes from the 1980s, but with increased attention paid to aerodynamics. Consumers demanded larger vehicles to match their growing bank accounts; most vehicles grew when they were restyled from their 80s form into their 90s one. Time for Exhibit A.

Mercedes-Benz SL (R129) 1990-2002

Hitting the scene in 1990, the fourth-generation Mercedes SL replaced the R107, which was long in the tooth after a run from 1972 to 1989. Wider, and with a much more modern shape, the R129 is peak SL for me. And the peak of peak SL is the SL 73 AMG. Just 85 were made, and all used a 7.3-liter V12 engine which would go on to power the Pagani Zonda. 525 horsepower lies underneath the still-unassuming body.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class W140 (1991-1998)

I’ll probably be accused of bias in the comments, but my other 90s German favorite is also a Mercedes. A more controversial restyling than the SL, the W140 S-Class was taller and wider than the world-renowned W126 model that carried the S-Class name since 1979. The W140 was a technological tour de force for the brand, and development costs were estimated at over $1 billion. Commonly known as the last Mercedes model to be “over-engineered,” it was also the first S-Class bestowed with an optional V12. There was an S 73 AMG with the same engine as the SL above, but most V12 models had a 6.0-liter engine producing 389 horsepower — enough to power the large sedan to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds.

My selections were probably a bit obvious, so perhaps the B&B might be able to go a bit more obscure in their selections. What are your picks?

[Images: Mercedes-Benz, Porsche]

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  • Wodehouse Wodehouse on Dec 28, 2017

    The BMW 850 for me, but, Honourable Mention to both the Corrado VR6 and the Calibra AWD that was my trusty wingman for a short time in 1997.

  • Zykotec Zykotec on Dec 29, 2017

    The only really good things to come out of Europe in the 90's were cars that were originally designed on the 80's and then improved upon until most of their 70's parts/design-features/interiors were gone. It was a horrible decade for cars in general, but a necessary one. With one small exception in Audi, because unlike everyone else they already had the expertize in bland boring cars, so they felt more 'right' doing it. (same goes for several Japanese cars)

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.