German engineering means quality. German engineering means luxury. German engineering means dependability. These are all adjectives that have been used by German manufacturers to describe their automobiles; and, for the most part, they’ve been right. Most of the German car makers have produced some very dependable, and in some cases very luxurious, vehicles. We’ve taken the time to research testing at Car and Driver, Consumer Reports, Edmunds, and Motor Trend, to bring you the best German cars of the 2010-2011 model years.

1. 2010-2011 Audi S4          New Model MSRP: $46,600


Like the Audi A4, the S4 was redesigned for the 2010 model year. It’s bigger than previous models, adding more interior space and comfort. One of the biggest changes was the replacement of the V8 engine with a supercharged V6 in the sedan; the coupe still comes available with the V8. The V6 actually gives the S4 more torque and better fuel efficiency at 18/27 mpg (city/highway). The AWD gives it super-stick traction and the available dual-clutch automatic transmission provides rapid shifts on its own or via driver-controlled wheel-mounted shifters. The interior is quite attractive in its two-tone color scheme, and controls are conveniently arranged. This is the best of a quality class.

2. 2011 BMW 5 Series          New Model MSRP: $44,550


The 5 Series comes in an array of choices, all of which can quench the needs of any driver’s desires. The 528i isn’t big on power, but fuel efficiency and luxury abound. However, if it’s power you’re looking for, and you’ve got the money to get it, the 550i will give it to you. It jumps the 5 series up from the 3.0L six-cylinder engine, which is found in the 528i and 535i, to a turbocharged 4.4L V8 pushing 400 ponies and 450 lb-ft. of torque. AWD is an option if you go with the xDrive model, but both ride and handling are quite capable even without it. For true auto enthusiasts, a manual transmission is still available.

3. 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class          New Model MSRP: $49,400


Whether you go with the E350, E550, or the E63 (which is priced significantly higher than the base model E350), you’ll get a driving experience which will let you know that you’re money was well-spent. “The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class strikes a brilliant balance between ride quality and handling ability. Within its segment, the E is by far the most adaptable, rewarding and confident car for the widest variety of surfaces and situations. Although it’s not the most athletic pick, it nevertheless offers highly tactile steering, strong engines, and a chassis that inspires confidence.” (www.edmunds.com)

4. 2011 Porsche Panamera          New Model MSRP: $74,400

Take a luxury touring car and a high-performance sports racer and squeeze them together as hard as you can, and you’ll end up with the Panamera. If you can get the hang of the more than 80 buttons scattered throughout the cabin, you’ll be able to control the driving modes to suit whatever preference you have. In Normal mode, you’ll enjoy a soft, smooth ride befitting a luxury sedan. For those with the need to quicken their pulses, the Full Sport mode will increase throttle response, firm the suspension, and even adjust the ride height. The only downside is becoming accustomed to the cockpit-like control panel.

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