The German Living Experience


Turns out that by the summer I’ll be moving to Germany for a few years and now I’m in a position of needing to find a car while there!

Has anyone spent a substantial amount of time over in Europe and needed to find a car? What were your experiences? Do they lease cars there like we do here?

I was kind of thinking of getting an older A5 Sportback, but I’m not sure if maintenance is more expensive for parts and labor there,nor significantly cheaper.


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the culture is more of a “buy and hold” when it comes to cars. People buy and keep a car for 10 years so leasing isn’t as common and popular and therefore not as attractive in terms of leasing programs. Also due to gas prices, most cars have a smaller engine for fuel efficiently, very often diesel as diesel gas is cheaper in Europe. What part of Germany?

Going to the Frankfurt area! I figured I’d stick to a 2.0L 4 cylinder as the largest engine in the car to try to keep costs down.

A Stinger maybe ? :yum:


Was hoping to get a manual!

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don’t have to hope for that, manual more common than automatic.

I would try to experience a car that you cannot find here.
Smaller Benz. Audi. BMW (ie 1 series) or just go for a French Car like a Peugeot / Renault etc…
I also bet EV’s are very convenient there and much cheaper to own. They also had cars that run on natural gas there.
That being Said there is one word that matters:

Closest thing to a lease is a PCP, difference being you own the car and are responsible for the residual payment at the end. Look at BMW select.

Hmm, very interesting.

I don’t mind getting a German car. I just don’t want to be paying out the ass for maintenance.

Deiter + Lars will take good care of you at the garage.

You won’t, you get a German car in Germany. Vast majority of service centers are for them.

I figured as much… so it the equivalent of maintaining a Chevy here? If so, I’ll grab a bare base A5 and not worry about it.

I was actually surprised how cheap was a transmission rebuilt compared to Ca cost. On both my Benz i owned i had transmission problems when i hit 90k miles. For the CLK i had it was only done through the dealer and costed $7k…lol. I think they are flying the transmission first class from FRA to LAX.

If you’re moving to Germany and you’re associated with the US Military or Diplomatic Corps, there are some great deals to be had from Volvo, BMW and other automakers. I picked up a Volvo XC60 for a helluva deal when I was stationed in England that even included shipping back to the US after my tour was over. Looking back I wish I had bought a dozen of them and sold them back in the states.

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What kind of discount can I expect? I know when I looked into BMW during my time in Korea that they were offering me 8k discount on a new factory order 335xi.

How much did the services cost while in Germany?

I’m just concerned about how much things like brake rotors, control arms, etc.

Just remember overall operating cost in Germany is higher. Cars are really really cheap in the US

How is overall cost higher in Germany aside from higher petrol fuel costs and maybe insurance?

I’m sincerely asking. I need to get an idea of what to expect.

Cost of new car I should say. Registration I recall was high, VAT, interest. Germany might be better than best of Europe as they make most of the cars there, but importing a car will cost more.

I have no idea how accurate this information is, but it’s somewhat consistent from what I’ve heard and read in other places.

Car buying and owning in Europe is totally different, and the taxes will kill you. On a (new) car, the tax is 100-180% in Denmark, and, according to the article above, it’s 19% in Germany (don’t know about used cars).

I took a quick look at used A5 prices, and one listing I saw for 2015 A5 said it was being listed for 33000 (!) euros.

The view times I’ve travelled in Europe (UK, Italy, Greece), you never see cars like an A5, and a 2.0 I4 is considered a large engine. Petrol [gas] is exceedingly uncommon.

Seriously, everyone is driving a 10+ yr old Golf (or similarly-sized hatchback). And even that seems kind of big in Europe. The one Arteon I saw seemed ENORMOUS. Cars like a Honda Fit seem perfectly sized for most of the European roads I’ve been on. I think most Europeans would be horrified by the idea of leasing b/c they hold their cars forever (b/c they’re expensive to buy, and many households have only one car).

When I was more active on the forum, Europeans would say that the price we pay for luxury cars are insanely low.

If German car-buying habits are like people in the UK, you will stick out for driving an A5, and not necessarily in a good way.

Also be aware that driving in Europe is considered a privilege, not a right, and my experience of Europeans is that they tend to be way more anal about driving well than are 99.9% of Americans (or maybe just 99.9% of the people in LA).

Regarding maintenance in Europe, that was never something that came up on the mbworld forum (obviously came up all the time for US owners). My vague impression is that Europe has heavily subsidized extended warranties, but don’t quote me on that.