Purchase recommendation: Economical fun cars

A lot of performance, little environmental awareness? Not with these 30 strong guys who have dedicated themselves to driving pleasure in very different ways.

Small car

Toyota GR Yaris

It's one like no other, the GR Yaris. Enthusiastic as a homologation model of Ogier's World Rally Championship winning car with adjustable all-wheel drive, lightweight body and a 1.6-liter turbo three-cylinder that makes heart and asphalt glow with up to 360 Nm of torque. Grandiose acceleration, perfect accuracy with the best feedback and excellent brakes make the GR Yaris an intoxicant with potential for addiction on winding country roads. There's so much spice here in brevity that you'll be glad you don't get waved down by a black and white checkered flag all the time!

Fiat 500C e

At first glance the same as the old one, Fiat's small fresh-air electric car turns out to be a sovereign source of joy when the top is open. Because in addition to temperament and efficiency, the E-Cinque now also brings decent ranges as well as more comfort and everyday talents under one roof. So not only the electric motor is permanently energized.

Hyundai i20 N Performance

As an N Performance, the i20 focuses on the essentials, namely driving. He succeeds so well that he shouldn't be missing here. Small weaknesses in comfort move discreetly into the background.

Mini Cooper SE

Not for ambitious long-distance drivers or utility fetishists, the E-Cooper plays its main role in urban areas as a fun Playmobil with bravura. Charges from traffic light to traffic light with verve, earns applause for its amusing performance in changing curves with its precise steering. And exercise restraint when it comes to city consumption if the script envisages it.

Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI

With the fourth generation, the Fabia has matured into a true Volkswagen. Distinctive all-round talents and enormous driving safety are now added to by a good portion of driving fun. The direct steering, the sensitive ESP and gripping brakes assist the resolutely drumming three-cylinder so skilfully that nothing is left to be desired in terms of driving dynamics.

Compact class


Without the diesel scandal, a monument would probably have been built for the Golf GTD. Instead, sooty residue from the past still cling to its green vest. Wrongly so, as the GTD proves with its impressive efficiency. It drives fast and safe, with precise steering, balanced chassis and snappy brakes. In addition, it is exemplary economical and clean. So the most powerful diesel Golf would have everything it takes to knock even more powerful GT classmates off their pedestal. Actually.

Ford Focus ST 2.3 EcoBoost

The powerful 280 hp of the Cologne firecracker are already an announcement when it comes to the tangle of bends.The second is: grab it hard, then the Focus ST keeps the line clean, supported by the electronic differential lock. And those who like to portion the power of the four-cylinder by hand will be rewarded by the precise six-speed gearbox with wonderful double-declutching salvos when downshifting. All in all, the Ford offers energetic driving pleasure at a fair price. In addition, there is a bit of noise – and decent drinking habits.

Mercedes-AMG A 45 S

Up to 2.1 bar boost pressure, a liter output of 211 HP, zero hundred in just over four seconds - the top dog among the HP powerful in the compact class is bursting with superlatives. In the right mode, the all-wheel drive distributes the torque so skilfully that you can enjoy life on closed roads in extravagant trains - as long as you have the talent! No question, the smallest from Affalterbach is an extremist in every respect. In real traffic, however, he refrains from excessive binge drinking.

Seat Leon 1.5 TGI

Entertaining driving dynamics is practically part of the DNA of every Leon, regardless of whether it's a petrol, diesel, mild or plug-in hybrid. The same applies to the natural gas variant. The TGI stores 17.3 kilograms of inexpensive CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) in its tank. In combination with the optional sporty FR equipment, the low-emission natural gas Seat can be driven quickly and precisely through the radii via the communicative steering, supported by a well-balanced chassis with alert ESP.

Skoda Octavia Combi RS iV

The smooth drive combination of a 1.4-liter four-cylinder and an electric motor between the gearbox and combustion engine gives the plug-in Octavia an electric range of at least 51 kilometers. If both drives work together, they accelerate the station wagon with a capacity of up to 1,555 liters powerfully. The well-balanced driving behavior without any snags doesn't tickle the athlete in you, but it doesn't resist a brisk break either. Which, in view of the low consumption, does not immediately provoke a guilty conscience.


Tesla Model 3 Performance

The measured values ​​give an idea of ​​the fascination and driving pleasure of performance. But not how breathtakingly the Tesla celebrates its power and dynamics when depressing the accelerator pedal, seamlessly and in almost ghostly silence. Faster than any ESP, the electronics control the power distribution of the electric motors in a fraction of a second, the grip seems out of this world. Everything else does, with light (chassis) and shadow (processing, steering, comfort) alternating.

Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.2 D

Even with the economical diesel four-cylinder under the hood, the Giulia pleases with its dynamic character and forward drive. The traditional cockpit with two classic round clocks is also a source of joy for the Italo beau – and of course the handling that takes curves.The spacious rear-wheel drive not only supports the very directly translated steering, but also a mechanical limited-slip differential on the rear axle. Which helps the Alfa's forward vehemence in tight corners, as it gets straight to the point without rambling.

Audi A4 Avant 50 TDI Quattro

Six cylinders, full power and a beary of torque do not make even a heavy mid-range station wagon with all-wheel drive a drunkard, provided it is powered by a diesel engine. The sovereign A4 is a good example of this, despite the slight weakness of the three-liter V6. On the other hand, the fast station wagon impresses on long journeys with its good comfort, smooth transmission and wide-illuminating matrix LED headlights. He also handles curvy terrain quite enthusiastically with great traction.

BMW 420d xDrive Gran Coupé

As a more pleasing and, thanks to the large tailgate, also more practical alternative to the 3-series sedan, the new 4-series Gran Coupé has recently come into play. With all-wheel drive and a slightly robust two-liter diesel engine, it is a pleasantly motorized niche vehicle that you like to travel with. Not only because of the decent amount of space and the uncomplicated operation, but also because of the efficient drive, which enables a range of more than 800 kilometers with one tankful.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

The Ioniq 5 with 800-volt technology was eagerly awaited, and it was already convincing in the test. Thanks to the good control of the two electric motors, it storms off quickly with almost no slip and can cover a distance of around 300 kilometers, but only at a maximum of 185 km/h. Eleven minutes on the fast charger are enough for a further 150 kilometers of range. The Ioniq 5 is also recommended for longer stages with its generous space, chic interior and simple operation. Really exciting, this Stromer!

Upper class

BMW Alpina D5 S

The D5 S is, so to speak, the antithesis to the basic 5 Series (below): Diesel, six-cylinder with three turbochargers and more than double the power, all-wheel drive, optically and technically refined in the typical Alpina Style. The two-ton truck can not only be moved very efficiently, but also with commitment, skilfully avoiding the wasteland of pure reason with its dynamic handling and the sheer force of its 800 Nm. So no savings are made on anything, at most on comfort, because it is as harsh as the M5 CS, which is even more powerful but twice as expensive.

BMW 520i

A basic model as a driving pleasure recommendation? Yes, because with the boost from the starter generator, the 520i becomes a lively and economical business sedan. Since such a small electric motor has been working for them, the 290 Nm of the two-liter four-cylinder feel really powerful and alert and the turbo lag has disappeared.Sensitive pilots even crack the WLTP value (6.1 l/100 km) and come within striking distance of diesel consumption without having to restrain themselves like range-shy e-drivers.

Audi S6 Avant TDI

The diesel S6 underpins the high-performance idea with the effort for contemporary efficiency, and the consumption figures are actually as impressive as the driving performance. However, the electrically driven compressor is too weak to fill up the turbo lag of the three-liter V6, and so it just takes a while until the starting lethargy is overcome. So it's better to drive round and evenly - even on winding roads, where agility can be further increased by steering rear wheels and a sport differential.

Mercedes E 450 4Matic

Anyone who equates driving fun with actionism or intense hormone release will hardly find what they are looking for in the E-Class. Here the pleasure comes from the polished functionality, the supple comfort and the relaxed but extremely precise implementation of the commands. The E 450 also offers a formidable in-line six-cylinder, which, however, has drifted into high performance and price regions with 367 hp and the forced coupling to all-wheel drive. On the other hand, thanks to the mild hybrid, the consumption values ​​are pointing downwards.

Porsche Taycan Turbo S

Sure, you can save the most with the Taycan if you take the basic version, which is not even half as expensive, instead of the Turbo S top model. But if you see the first electric Porsche as a real athlete with additional utility, you can also use it as such with 560 instead of 300 kW of power: Then the initial boost from a standing start exceeds even the experience value of a classic super athlete, and thanks to the low-mounted battery pack it stays the 2.3-tonner stoically stays on track, even with stomach-displacing lateral acceleration.

Sports car

Mazda MX-5 G 184

Mazda's roadster icon - the MX-5 is last of its kind in popular price regions - takes life easy. The busily turning two-litre pushes the fun vehicle, which weighs just over a tonne, so effortlessly forward that there is always time for little games with the steering angle and static friction in tighter bends. Harmless fun, rewarded with so many moments of happiness that excursions with the MX-5 should actually be part of any stress therapy. Especially since side effects are not to be feared in view of the restrained consumption.

Alpine A110

Lightweight construction, a mid-engine arrangement and equally taut and precise handling with ultra-direct steering make the Alpine an ambitious athlete. The French flounder meet comparatively modest 252 turbo hp for impressive performance. Squeezed into narrow seat shells, the A110 can be directed along the ideal line on slippery slopes, but on bumpy country roads it gives out more than it takes.Resilience is required here - but not at the gas station.

BMW Z4 30i

Okay, the sound of the four-cylinder is poor. Otherwise, however, the supercharged two-litre Z4 30i pushes and twists so happily that it pulls the corners of your mouth to your ears. Thanks to the almost perfectly balanced weight and full road holding with the optional adaptive M chassis, the expansive two-seater can be nimbly steered through the angles without showing any weakness during relaxed cruising. As a guy who wants to please everyone, he seeks compromise and avoids extremes - including when it comes to fuel consumption.

Jaguar F-Type P300

Concerns that half the engine could only generate half as much driving pleasure in the not exactly light F-Type as the supercharged eight-cylinder were promptly eliminated by the P300 with its turbocharged four-cylinder. After all, the ZF eight-speed automatic also manages a mountain of torque here, which, in combination with the crisply tuned chassis, enables both fast cornering and relaxed gliding, just as you like it. In the end, the P300 only misses the sonority of the eighth end, but not their thirst.

Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0

They put a scrappy fellow on the wheels there in Zuffenhausen. With a six-cylinder naturally aspirated boxer engine, manual transmission and thrilling agility, the Cayman GTS 4.0 even stands up to the 911, which has been perfected to the point of no longer being able to do so. The Cayman shows the true essence of a sports car against him. Demands perfection and skill from the pilot, who has to develop speed and the ideal line with a lot of effort and precisely timed shifting maneuvers via the direct steering. Perfect for anyone looking for an intense driving experience!


Cupra Formentor VZ5

That's right, a good 16,000 euro surcharge for the top four-cylinder with 310 hp is a strong piece, but that's the Formentor VZ5 in general. Its characterful and sonorous five-cylinder from the Audi RS 3 is extremely powerful, and the standard all-wheel drive including fully variable differential lock on the rear axle helps when required to stay in lane or when drifting. In addition, the 4.45 meter long SUV coupé is also suitable as an everyday car with family and travel competence - as well as a collector's item: only 7,000 copies are to be built in total.

Audi Q5 55 TFSI e Quattro

Even after five years of construction, the Q5 impresses with very good workmanship, plenty of space and all the advantages of a fine premium SUV. If you charge it regularly at the socket, the plug-in hybrid consumes around 32 kWh per 100 km, but you rarely go further than 30 km with one battery charge. When driving fast on the motorway without stopping to recharge in between, the on-board computer can show 12 l/100 km Super. So you have it in your hand - and in your right foot - how economical the TFSI e is.

BMW X5 30d xDrive

Of course, the X5 is also available as a petrol engine, plug-in hybrid and four-cylinder diesel, but the first choice for most customers is the cultivated six-cylinder diesel with 286 hp. And with good reason: Its massive torque always stands up to the heavy chunk and goes perfectly with the amazingly agile, precise handling of the 4.92 meter SUV. With this famous, quite economical engine, the spacious, variable interior and the exemplary operation, it comes very close to the ideal of a high-class all-rounder.

Mercedes GLE 350 de 4Matic

Diesel and plug-in hybrid - that's a rare but definitely attractive combination. When it comes to the drive, it also gives the large, heavy SUV the sovereignty that comes from a system output of 320 hp and 700 Nm of torque. The significantly lower consumption compensates for the acceleration that is not quite as vehement as with the basic petrol engine GLE 450 and the top speed limited to 210 km/h, especially since the four-cylinder can often remain inactive with a purely electric range of around 100 km (according to WLTP).

Ford Puma ST

This Ford has something – a happily spluttering, greedily revving up turbo three-cylinder, a 25 percent more direct steering and for 1,200 euros an extra launch control and a mechanical differential lock. Even with the rough chassis and the tugging steering, the Puma ST conveys a real rally feeling, as if it were about podium places in a racing series. This is great fun, but not very expensive, because the wild cat can also be very tame and is then content with little food.


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