Audi Q3 tuned by MTM with German flag motif

What is it about German cars that compels many of us to lust after Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche models? Fortune asked that question and came up with 10 well-thought reasons:

1. First and foremost, the Germans have been practicing this automotive thing a bit longer than most countries. After all, it was Karl Benz who, in 1879, first patented the internal combustion engine and then in 1886 received a patent for his first automobile.

2. Fortune argues, the Germans have a storied racing history where their machines were pushed to their limits and reputations were forged. And then there's the infamous Green Hell – The Nürburgring – where legends are made.

3. Fortune' third reason is related to the second. Any country with 8,000 miles of public roads that allow almost unlimited speed is destined to turn out cars capable of thriving in that environment. The German Autobahn is as uniquely German as the cars the country produces.

Find the other seven factors that Fortune says make German cars great by scrolling below, then let us know if you have any other suggestions or want to lodge any disagreements by sounding off in Comments.


4. Fortune cites the German automakers' brand strength, specifically their "clarity, commitment, authenticity and relevance." Think about BMW's target goal of building every vehicle with a 50-50 weight distribution.

5. Technology. Fortune notes that "Engineers occupy a high pedestal in a country that prizes technology and craftsmanship." When engineers are given permission to do their thing, they can produce some seriously impressive machinery.

6. Fortune sums it up from The Economist: "It's quite simple, really – Germany makes things which people in countries with growing economies want to buy."

7. Arrogance with a purpose – Mercedes' ads claim "The Best Or Nothing." BMW says they build the "Ultimate Driving Machine."

8. Price is very nearly the object – Closely related to No. 7, Fortune says "Sometimes, how much you pay for something – as opposed to its function – is the point of the exercise." An extra $330 charge for a Porsche logo on the center console lid of a 911, for example.

9. Exclusive and super-exclusive – Anyone upper class with $50k can buy a 5 Series, but it takes an even larger bank account to afford an M5.

10. Everybody else is in second place – The tenth reason given for German car dominance arguably only repeats No. 7: Fortune says Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche are generally thought of as top marques because, well, they say they are. And, despite great efforts by brands like Cadillac and Lexus, they remain on top of the heap.