The Ultimate German Car Quiz


By: Robin Tyler

7 Min Quiz

Image: Pixabay by Flachovatereza

About This Quiz

Precision, performance, build quality, luxury and refinement. These are just some of the words that spring to mind when thinking about cars from Germany. A forerunner of the auto industry on the European continent, German cars are not only loved there but the world over. 

What's not to love! It was Germany, after all, that gave us the first modern automobile. And from that moment on, the country has remained at the forefront of both car design and performance. For example, think of the first car to sport gull wings—yes, it was German. The first modern electric car, if somewhat impractical, yes, it was German. What about a car that sold over 20 million units during a staggering production run from 1937 to 2003. You guessed it, from Germany. 

From Opel to Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW, Germany just produces some of the most impressive auto machinery on the planet. But just how much do you really know about German cars? Would you be able to ace 35 questions that cover makes, models and much more? 

Confident? So what are you waiting for then? Line up on the grid, wait for the green lights and aim for a perfect score.  Viel Glück!

True or false? Adolf Hitler was involved in the creation of German car manufacturer, Volkswagen.

In 1938, German leader, Adolf Hitler met with famed car engineer, Ferdinand Porsche to devise a plan to build a car for the German masses. The "Volkswagen" turned out to be a car the West came to know as the Beetle. The company grew from that point, and today is one biggest automakers in the world.


And who is credited with designing this vehicle?

Sort of a giveaway given the name of the vehicle. Yes, it was Karl Benz that perfected the Benz Patent Motorwagen. Interestingly, he never funded it but relied on money from his wife, of all people. Benz went on to build 25 examples of his vehicle until 1893.


Can you tell us which of these vehicles was designed with the help of a Formula One team?

Developed in conjunction with the Formula 1 team, McLaren, the SLR made its debut in 2003 and was built until 2010. With a 5.4 L supercharged M155 SLR V8 under the hood and a manual gearbox, the SLR was somewhat of a monster and generated over 600 brake horsepower!


Name the Mercedes model from the 1950s that sported gullwings?

A true classic from the '50s, the Mercedes 300 SL started life as a racing car in 1952 but soon became a production car in 1954 as a two-door coupe. The 300 SL became instantly recognizable thanks to its gullwing doors. Just over 3,200 of the coupe and roadster were built up until 1963.


True or false? German automaker BMW didn't always make cars. They actually started out making airplane engines and moved onto motorcycles after World War I.

Originally known as Bayerische Flugzeugwerke, the forerunner to BMW was formed in 1916 and built aircraft engines. BMW only made their first car in 1927 and that was an Austin model built under license and marketed as the BMW 3/15. The first car designed and produced by this legendary car manufacturer was the 3/20, first seen in 1932.


The first modern motor car was German in origin. Do you know what it was called?

The Benz Patent Motorwagen is considered to be the first modern car ever built. It was first driven in 1885 and wasn't cheap, costing approximately the equivalent of $150. And the power that drove this vehicle? Well, its engine was close to 1000cc and produced about 3 brake horsepower. Basically, this was a wagon as pulled by a horse but with an engine.


Boy racers love them but which car is considered to be the original "hot hatch" from those listed below?

Volkswagen started the ‘hot hatch’ revolution with the introduction of the Golf GTI in 1976. This was a Golf Mk1 with a high-performance engine and instantly became a hit. Did you know, the Golf brand, also known as the Rabbit in the United States, was created to replace the Beetle?


True or false? The term, "a real doozy" actually refers to cars made by German automaker Duesenberg which turned heads in the 1920s and 1930s.

Used to describe something that we find impressive, the term "a real doozy" does originate from the 1920s. Duesenberg models from that period were both beautiful and had impressive performance figures and made an impact in the United States, in particular. They were expensive though.


True or false? BMW made one of the first all-electric cars in 1972.

Although impractical—it could only drive 19 miles per battery pack, and you needed a forklift to change them—the BMW 1602e, was an impressive feat of engineering at the time. It was powered by a Bosch electric motor that peaked at around 43 brake horsepower. The 1602e had a top speed of just over 60 mph.


What is the name of the German city car made from Zenoy, a PBT PC alloy and with interchangeable panels?

Introduced in 1998, the Smart ForTwo is a city or microcar that weighs a mere 880 kg and is 106 inches long and 65 inches wide. Still in production, the current Mk III is available as a 3-door hatchback or 2-door cabriolet.


By which name is the BMW Zagato Roadster more commonly known as?

The Zagato Roadster, commonly known as the Z4, was introduced by BMW in 2009 and remained in production until 2016. This was the first BMW convertible to have an automatic hardtop roof. The top of the range model was powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged engine capable of producing 335 brake horsepower.


We all love sports cars, don't we? Germans too! Can you name the German automaker that manufactured the Italian designed M1?

Designed by the legendary Giorgetto Giugiaro, the M1 sports car was released in 1978 and built for a period of three years in which 453 were made. This was BMW's first mid-engined car and was powered by a 3.5-liter double overhead cam straight six engine. It had a top speed of 162 mph. Did you know that Giugiaro was named Car Designer of the Century in 1999?


Do you know the name of a German 2+2 coupe and convertible from the 1950s that is in demand for restoration projects today?

In 1955, Volkswagen offered the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia sports car as a 2+2 coupe. From 1957, the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia was also offered as a convertible. Both models combined the chassis and mechanicals of the classic Volkswagen Beetle with the design of the Carrozzeria Ghia and the bodywork of Karmann, the German coachbuilding house.


Do you know the name of the first Porsche model to break the sports car mold? Released in 2002, it was an SUV.

The Cayenne, a luxury crossover SUV, certainly raised eyebrows when it was released in 2002. It produced a number of firsts for the company in that it was the first four-door vehicle ever produced and the first off-road machine designed and built by Porsche.


What does BMW actually mean?

Formed in 1916, BMW was first called Bayerische Flugzeugwerke, and later, in the 1920s, became Bayerische Motoren Werke when they started to produce automobiles. And what does it mean? Simply, Bavarian Motor Works.


In 2016, the auto industry in Germany employed approximately how many people?

As one of the largest employers in the German economy, the auto industry employed 857,336 people in 2016. And they are needed as Germany has the third highest car production figures on the planet!


Which of these cars below is a modified Porsche capable of 225 mph?

Basically a modified Porsche, only 30 RUF CTRs were ever made. This sports car can go from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 225 mph. Should you want one, it will set you back a cool $793,000.


In the mid-1980s, the world of rallying was dominated by which German car?

Produced between 1980 and 1991, the Audi Quattro was a 2-door coupe with four-wheel drive system. Not only was it popular with the public but it dominated the Rally scene in the mid-‘80s. This was thanks to an engine that produced 450 brake horsepower as well as the four-wheel drive system.


True or false? The iconic British car, the Mini, is now produced by Audi.

No longer owned by a British company, Mini is indeed produced by a German automaker, but it is BMW, not Audi. BMW purchased Rover in 1994 and kept the Mini brand when shutting all others in the group in 2000. But they are not the only Germany brand to buyout other car makes from around the world. For instance, Volkswagen owns Bugatti, Lamborghini and Bentley.


As they have a habit of mentioning it often, you should know in which city Volkswagen are based?

Established in 1937, on the orders of Adolf Hitler no less, Volkswagen has become one of the world's biggest auto producers. In fact, in 2016 and 2017, Volkswagen was the top auto producer on the planet. The company is based in the fifth largest city in Germany, namely Wolfsburg.


In 2016, this German car sold for a cool $5.4 million at auction. Produced between 1953 and 1956, can you name it?

The 550 was a racing sports car was produced by Porsche from 1953 to 1956. The 1.5-liter Type 547 engine produced 108 brake horsepower. Another popular car at auction time, a 550 sold as recently as 2016 for $5.4 million.


Which German Formula One team won the World Championship in 2018?

Since their return to Formula One, Mercedes have dominated the sport, winning the Constructors' Championship for five years in a row, including 2018 in which their driver, Lewis Hamilton was crowned world champion. Although a German team, Mercedes' F1 team are actually based in England.


After producing Austin models under license in the late 1920s, can you name the first BMW model designed by the company?

First marketed in 1932, the BMW 3/20 was the first independent design by the company. It was available in three body options—a four-seat saloon, four-seat cabriolet and a two-seat convertible coupe. The 3/20 was powered by a fairly small motor at only 788 cc. This generated 20 brake horsepower.


Which Porsche sports car model was the first to have four doors instead of the customary two?

A four-door luxury sedan, Porsche introduced the Panamera in 2009. Don’t worry, the German sports car maker aren’t selling out. The Panamera still has that German power that you associate with the brand. In fact, the S model includes a 4.8-liter turbo engine producing 542 brake horsepower.


Station wagons are popular cars in Germany. What percentage of new car sales have this body shape in the country?

New car sales are around 700,000 units a year. Incredibly, 20% of this—or around 140,000 vehicles—are station wagons! All major German manufacturers produce them, including BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Volkswagen, including high-performance models.


Many German cars in the 1930s not only looked incredible, but their performance was astonishing as well. Which of these from that era, although expensive, could reach 100 mph with ease?

A real looker, The Duesenberg SJ was only for the rich and famous. After all, it was produced during the depression, so the man in the street was certainly not going to get behind the wheel. These cars had a supercharged motor and were capable of traveling at over 100 mph.


Built under license in the late 1920s, which vehicle below is the first ever designed by BMW?

The 3/15 was the first car produced by BMW and made its debut in 1927. It was originally made under license from Austin in Great Britain until in 1929 when BMW made their own version. BMW also released the DA-3 Wartburg, a sports car version of the "Dixi" as it was known.


What percentage of sales does the auto market in China contribute towards Volkswagen sales?

As a world brand, Volkswagen is sold in all major markets. Unbelievably, of all their new car sales in 2016 and 2017, 40% of them came from the Chinese market. Simply staggering!


Can you name the vehicle converted from a truck which was made in America and used by German forces in World War II?

Is it a Ford? Technically, yes. The Maulitier or Mule was a German half-track vehicle used by the armed forces during World War II. This name was given to all the half-tracks produced, with many of them converted from Ford trucks.


With a list of iconic cars over the years—from these models—can you pick the ultimate Volkswagen people carrier?

Volkswagen started life in Germany in 1937. The first vehicle produced by the company was the iconic Beetle, or "People’s Car" as it became known. But Volkswagen also produced another iconic vehicle. Commonly known as the Kombi, or Bus, this vehicle made its debut in 1949, and still today, the company manufactures its spiritual successors.


Which recent model from Opel was named after the founder of the company?

Launched in 2012, the Opel Adam competes in the city car class. This three-door hatchback has three powerplant options from 1.0 liter to 1.4 liter. Although the name may seem a little strange, the Adam is named after the founder of the company, Adam Opel.


From these car models, please tell us which is actually a station wagon that can go from 0-60 mph in just 3.9 seconds?

First marketed in 2002, the RS6 is an executive car with a sporty twist. Now in its third generation, the RS6 takes the form of an "Avant" or station wagon—a station wagon with a bite! The RS6 can accelerate from 0-60mph in just 3.9 seconds.


In what year was Mercedes Benz founded?

Mercedes Benz, as we know it today, was formed in 1926. Its formation was as a result of the amalgamation of two other auto manufacturers, Benz & Cie and Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft.


Which of these German vehicles, first built in the late 1930s, was manufactured up until 1938?

Has there ever been a car more iconic than the Volkswagen Beetle? Or a car produced for a period of over 65 years like the Beetle was (the last rolled off the production line in 2003 in Mexico)? No, there probably hasn’t been and never will be. A true legend.


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