When the 2015 Consumer Reports rankings landed, you could easily think Tesla was the only automaker with bragging to do. The Fremont-based company notched the top score (the highest ever) for the second year in a row for its Model S, and headlines everywhere trumpeted the electric car’s achievement.
If you read past No. 1 on the list, will see seven German automobiles after the Model S in the top 11 vehicle scores, including four of the top five. These weren’t from breakdowns by category for best midsize sedan or finest luxury specimen; these were the 11 best cars on U.S. roads judged by their overall quality and performance, regardless of segment or price.
German luxury brands have once again proven the labels “the best or nothing” and “ultimate driving machine” are not empty taglines. Here are seven that dominated the 2015 Consumer Reports tests.
7. Audi A7 Diesel
The stately Audi A7 looks good with any engine choice, but Consumer Reports favored the powerful 3.0 TDI Clean Diesel ($68,300) that returned 28 miles per gallon in testing and cranks 428 pounds-feet of torque. Along with the impressions of extreme luxury testers got from the interior, the A7 rated high on sportiness and looks to score 90 overall, tying three vehicles for ninth place in 2015.
6. Audi A6
Among midsize sports sedans, the Audi A6 caught the attention of testers for its quickness and the smooth performance of the supercharged 3.0 TFSI model ($56,300) that offers 310 horsepower and a time of 5.3 seconds to 60 miles per hour. Consumer Reports especially loved the quiet cabin and plush interior feel of the A6, which joined its A7 brand mate with a score of 90 in the top cars of 2015.
5. Audi A8 L
The top-scoring of the three Audis landing in the top 11 of 2015 was the flagship A8 long-wheelbase model ($81,400). Testers loved the quality of the interior, the sportiness of the ride, the comfortable front seats, and the fuel economy of such a large vehicle. All told, the A8 L notched a score of 91, which tied it for seventh place among all vehicles Consumer Reports tested for 2015.
4. Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec
German cars make up four of the five highest scores in Consumer Reports testing for 2015. At No. 5 was the Mercedes E250 BlueTec ($51,800), the turbocharged diesel model that testers saw returning 30 miles per gallon, which allowed for a total range of 800 miles. Performance specs like 369 pounds-feet of torque are expected from E-Class sedans, and testers loved the handling, sportiness, and fine finish of the interior, which landed the E250 a terrific score of 93.
3. Porsche 911 Carrera S
Porsche always has vehicles ranking among the best in quality and performance. For 2015, the brand’s top performer is the 911 Carrera S ($98,900), which testers loved because of its reliable agility and “sublime” handling. Consumer Reports also hailed the car’s feel for short or long drives along with its finely crafted interior and the tech upgrades that improve fuel economy.
2. Mercedes S550
The Mercedes flagship S-Class includes a sharp coupe, the new Maybach, and blistering AMG models as well as the classic S550 sedan ($94,400). Testers loved the true luxury of the S550’s ride quality as well as its extraordinary performance and advanced safety features in the new model. Ironically, reliability is low for the S550 in Consumer Reports rankings, but the incomparable feel of this car on the road — which editors called “the best we’ve ever tested” — gave the range-topping Benz an impressive score of 96. That landed it third place for 2015.
1. BMW M235i
With a near-perfect score of 98, the BMW M235i ($43,100) trailed the Model S by a single point to take second place in the 2015 Consumer Reports rankings. The only BMW in this elite group scored rave reviews for its 320-horsepower engine, crisp handling, and first-rate interior. Each German car on this list wowed testers with their exquisite performance on the road, and none topped the M235i, a BMW that leaves behind practicality for the true “ultimate driving machine” experience.
Source: Consumer Reports