Rental Review: The 2020 Audi A5 Sportback, a Bit Damp

It’s a new week, and I’m back with another German car Rental Review for your enjoyment! Today’s rental is one of two American market entrants into the premium compact five-door liftback segment, and not a car one expects to find in an Enterprise lot. Presenting a 2020 Audi A5 Sportback, two years and 50,000 rental miles later.

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Rental Review: The 2021 BMW 530i XDrive, Interference at No Cost to You

As a fan of the midsize luxury sedan class, it’s sad to see how many manufacturers have given up on the segment. The German trio still has their stalwarts, but Japan gave up in 2020 (RIP Lexus GS), the only American still in the ring is the Cadillac CT5, and its outlier status is accompanied by newcomer Genesis with the G80.

It’s a dying class, which is why your author was especially pleased to spend the Memorial Day weekend with a longstanding headliner of the German luxury sedan genre: A 2021 BMW 5-Series.

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Abandoned History: The Mercedes-Benz X-Class, Nissan Luxe

Sort of like the Cimarron we covered in our last edition of Abandoned History a couple of months ago, today’s vehicle is pretending to be more than it is. It’s the luxury X-Class truck Mercedes-Benz sold in markets outside the USA. Can you tell what it actually is?

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Junkyard Find: 1987 Porsche 924S

While Porsche provided the (relatively) inexpensive 914 and 924 to American buyers during the 1970s and into the early 1980s, the debut of the 944 here in the 1983 model year resulted in the price tag on the cheapest possible Porsche starting at $18,980 (about $52,240 in 2021 dollars). While the white-powder-dusted 928 S listed at $43,000 that year (about $118,360 today), it must have pained the suits in Stuttgart to have nothing to compete for sales with the likes of the affordable Mitsubishi Starion and Nissan 280ZX. So, for the 1987 and 1988 model years, American Porsche shoppers could buy a 924 with a detuned version of the 944’s engine, keeping the cheap(-ish) price tag of the 924 while ditching the VW engine that— humiliatingly— went into American Motors economy cars and even DJ-5 mail Jeeps. This car was known as the 924S, and I’ve found this one in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard.

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Rare Rides: The Very Obscure DKW Schnellaster Elektro-Wagon

Recently Rare Rides featured a very clean example of the DKW Schnellaster van from 1956. The front-drive and transverse-engine layout of the Schnellaster previewed in the Forties the basic format of the family minivan that would arrive over three decades later.

Among the standard Schnellasters produced, there was an even rarer variant: An electric version, as DKW experimented with the possibilities of early EV tech.

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Rare Rides: A 1956 DKW Schnellaster, Very Old Van Time

Rare Rides has featured a DKW vehicle only once previously, in a little Brazilian-made version of the mass-market 3=6 wagon. Today’s DKW van also occasionally wore 3=6 badging, but was known as a Schnellaster or F89 L.

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Rare Rides: A 2000 Mercedes-Benz S 600 Designo, Bespoke in Blue

In 2000, shortly before the ill-fated revival of the Maybach brand into a gauche purveyor of S-Class Baroque Editions, the 12-cylinder S 600 resided at the top of the Mercedes-Benz model hierarchy. This example in particular was ordered with a unique feature at the behest of a very well-heeled original owner.

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Holiday Gift Idea: The 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600

Mercedes-Benz has been committed to building many of its vehicles in North America for some time, and has bestowed an important and ultra expensive new version of the GLS upon its plant in Alabama. At around $200,000, it will be the most expensive passenger vehicle produced in the United States. It’s an on-trend holiday gift for your spouse in The Current Year!

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Rare Rides: A 1991 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC, End of an Era

Today’s Rare Ride was the ultimate display of Germanic automotive wealth in the early Nineties. Always rarer than its sedan brother, the SEC was the S-Class with two doors and no pillars.

Let’s check out a hardtop from the arguable height of modern Mercedes-Benz engineering.

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Rare Rides: The Awfully Expensive Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet, From 2018

Today’s Rare Ride joins the exclusive club of ultra-expensive V12 SUVs presented in this series. Thus far, the population was one: the Lamborghini LM002.

Today we take a look at a limited-run SUV that Mercedes made as expensive and gauche as humanly possible.

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Rare Rides: A Stunning 1960 Mercedes-Benz 220 SE

Today’s Rare Ride wears styling so classic it needs little introduction. Its finned, upright grille, chromed bumpers, and collection of front lighting could only mean one thing: Mercedes-Benz.

Let’s learn more about a spectacular 220 SE hailing from 1960.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 BMW 320i
While I may be guilty of not photographing all — or even most — of the interesting BMWs I find in the car graveyards on my appointed rounds, I’m making an effort to get the complete set of discarded 20th-century 3 Series cars. In fact, once I remember to shoot the next junked E46 I find (which will be easy, as these cars have become plentiful in the yards I frequent), we’ll have the complete junkyard history of the 3 Series from 1977 through 2006.The first-ever 3 Series, the E21, has become something of a junkyard rarity in recent years, but I found this ’77 in Central California back in December.
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Rare Rides: The Original Audi 5000 From 1980

Before Audi revolutionized rallying and four-wheel drive cars with the Ur-Quattro circa 1980, the company made front-drive vehicles underpinned by Volkswagen platforms (some things never change). Today’s Rare Ride 5000 hails from the waning days of Audi’s front-drive era, not long before an all-new 5000 set the template for aerodynamic sedan design.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Big German Luxury Sedans of 1991

They’re large, expensive, and hail from a time when the sedan was king of the luxury pyramid. German exclusivity personified in three flagships — but which will you burn?

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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?

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  • Cprescott Pontiac worked in the USA. Buick only worked in China. Logic in brands here in the states be damned.
  • Buickman dilutes the brand.
  • CaddyDaddy $500 for an X1 xDrive $14 on a 36 month lease. That's two less Starbucks per month. The marquee chasers will be happy to pay the extra.
  • Sobro It will work as well as Pontiac did in the end.
  • InCogKneeToe 2 Words ok 4 from the article “a collision-free society”. There are just billions too many variables for it to ever be possible.Just a couple of weeks ago, a Deer ran into my vehicle, I was stopped at the time, what can "Sensing" do for that? Unless the Deer get Sensors too.And Society as a Whole has suffered from this belief. The belief that Someone or Something should Think for Me, I shouldn't have to. Common Sense is getting rarer and rarer every second the World Spins.