Since their introduction in 1886, cars have been a gift to mankind. Starting in Germany in the late 19th century, the car-making industry soon shifted many parts of the world predominantly in the United States and then Japan. Although the two are perhaps the leaders in automotive production today, Germany and a few other European countries are well-known for their ever-so-popular luxury cars, which fuels the common belief that the best cars come from Europe.
The most sought-after European cars include BMW, Mercedes Benz and Audi. The three are all manufactured by German companies and although they are quite expensive to maintain, many owners can attest to their longevity. Some German cars which are not as well-known are the Opel and Phaeton. Italian cars are also very well-known. The Italian manufacturer Ferrari is responsible for the creation of one of the most desired sports cars.
Great Britain is best-known for the production of its limousines manufactured by Rolls Royce and Bentley. The companies Jaguar and Land Rover are also highly praised for their luxury cars and SUVs. Less-popular car brands are Peugeot from France, Volvo from Sweden and Skoda from Czech Republic.
How much do you know about European vehicles? Do you know which car corresponds to which country? If you take this quiz, we will give you an image of a car, and you’ll tell us what kind it is. Take it to see how many of them you can identify correctl!
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 classic and of course very popular in Europe.
Built by Italian firm Pagani, the Zonda sports car had a unique look when introduced in 1999. A number of models followed over the years with a range of power plant options including a 6.0, 7.0 or 7.3 liter M120 AMG V12 motor with the 7.0 liter pushing out 540 brake horsepower.
A Golf with a rear, the Jetta was first introduced by Volkswagen in 1979. Popular the world over, over 17 million have been sold all over the globe but particularly in Europe.
Introduced in 2002, the 1-series offered BMW fans a small car than both the 3 and 5-series. The first generation included a hatchback, not a model type often found in the BMW range.
The iconic Mercedes Benz company came about in 1925 with the merger of Benz & Cie and the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) company. It has produced many models over the years but the B Class is one of their newer cars first introduced in 2005 and is marketed as a sports tourer.
Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino or Fiat was producing cars from the turn of the last century. Their first model was available in 1901, the 4HP. In the ‘80s, the Uno model was a particular favorite, both in Italy and around the world. The last Uno rolled off the production line in Brazil in 2013 with over 8 million built worldwide.
Formed in 1922 by Sir William Lyons and William Walmsley, the Swallow Sidecar Company was the forerunner to Jaguar. Under the name SS Jaguar, the company started producing two models, the SS 90 and SS 100. One of their much-loved vehicles, the XJ Coupe was built between 1975 and 1978. These were available as both a six and twelve cylinder option and over 8,000 were sold.
Now part of the Volkswagen group, Audi first formed in 1909 and was started by August Horsch. After a merger with three other companies in 1932, the famous four-ring logo was used on all vehicles. Audi produces a range of modern vehicles including the A1, launched in 2010 in the super-mini class. The A1 has a range of powerplant options from 1.2-liter petrol engines to 2.0-liter turbo-diesels.
Andre Peugeot designed his first vehicle in 1889 in the form of a steam driven 3-wheeler. In 1896, he formed Société des Automobiles Peugeot and started building petrol driven cars. And Peugeot has made some iconic cars over the years but perhaps none more so than the 205 GTI.
JK Starley, founder of Rover designed an early electric car in 1888 but this never went into production. The Rover 8, the first car produced by the company saw the light of day in 1904. Over the years, Rover has produced a range of different vehicles. Their P6, made in the ‘60s and ‘70s was the very first car to win the European Car of the Year award in 1964.
Lamborghini makes incredibly beautiful cars and the Gallardo could be the best of all. Produced between 2003 and 2013, the second generation of the car was powered by a 5.2-liter V10. Lamborghini even released a convertible, the Spyder, which featured a fully automated soft top.
Since the Golf Mk 1 hit the roads in 1974, this iconic German brand has continued to thrill motorists the world over. The Golf itself has gone from strength to strength. Now in its seventh incarnation, these models remain popular and have become top of the range, highly sophisticated cars.
In 1959, the Mini Mk 1 was introduced to the world. And what a popular car it proved to be. Over the years, it underwent a number of upgrades, but that distinct Mini appeal never left. The last of these cars rolled off the production line in the late 1990s.
This popular executive model was introduced by the German auto manufacturer in 1994. The current mode, the B9 is the sixth incantation and offers a range of engine options from 1.8 liter to 3.0 liter. The top of the range S4 is a beast, capable of a 0-60 mph time of just over 4 seconds.
Introduced by BMW in 1975, the 3-series is one of the German car makers top selling brands. In fact, worldwide, over two million of these vehicles have been sold in the last 60 months. And it’s not difficult to see why. This model has everything you would expect from a BMW.
Initially introduced into the subcompact car market in 1997, Mercedes Benz’s A Class moved to the compact car segment in 2012. Only sold in Europe, the Mercedes Benz A Class is a very popular option in this segment. In fact, in the past five years, it has sold around 100,000 units a year.
Founded in 1910, Alfa Romeo was formed by Ugo Stella in Milan. Alfa makes some of the most beautiful cars ever conceived, none more so than the Quadrifoglio. But it doesn’t only look good. The Quadrifoglio races from 0-60 mph in under 5 seconds thanks to its 2.9-litre turbo petrol engine which produces 503 brake horsepower!
Although still operating from the United Kingdom, Jaguar is owned by the India company, Tata, who acquired the marque in 2008. Interestingly, the iconic mascot which appears on the hood of most models is chrome plated and known as ‘The Leaper’. The Jaguar F type first hit the market in 2013. This sports car is available as both a 2-door roadster and fastback coupe.
Maurice Wilks designed the first Land Rover in 1947. Over the years, this marque has become a favorite of many with the Defender one of the companies most iconic models. The first Defender rolled off the production lines in 1983 and remained in production till 2016. Land Rover is currently owned by Indian company, Tata.
First released in the United Kingdom in 1979, the Astra is exactly the same as the Opel version except it is a right-hand drive car. Currently, in its seventh generation, this vehicle has proved a popular selling both for Vauxhall and Opel.
1,311 Ferrari F40’s were produced between 1987 and 1991. The F40 was powered by a 2.9-liter twin turbo V12 capable of producing 471 brake horsepower. It's top speed was 321 km/h.
Like its smaller counterpart the Fiesta, the Ford Focus was designed for the European market, The Focus is available in a host of models with the top of the range ST a real boy racer!
Introduced in 2000 by BMW, the Mini One had a similar shape to the old Mini but was far bigger. They proved popular, however, with models added to the lineup over time including the Cooper and Paceman.
Now in its seventh generation, the 5-series was introduced in 1972. Larger than the 3-series, this was the first model to use the number naming convention employed by BMW to this day.
The C Class made its Mercedes Benz debut in 1993. Currently, the fourth generation W204 is available in many countries across the world and was introduced as either an estate, sedan, convertible or coupe in 2014.
It was over 30 years ago that the Opel Corsa was first introduced in Europe. Marketed under the Vauxhall badge in the United Kingdom, this model has remained popular in the supermini class. The Corsa is currently in its fifth generation.
The Clio has been a very popular compact car option within Europe for the past two decades. Available in a range of configurations, the Clio sold over 310,000 units in 2016 alone.
Although Volvo as a company has been in existence since 1914, they only produced their first car in 1927. The company is known as purveyors of some of the safest cars on the roads including the Volvo V40 hatchback which is a real looker as well.
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 Bus, this vehicle made its debut in 1949 and still today, they manufacture its spiritual successors.
Mini cars have a certain charm and perhaps the most famous of them all is the Isetta. Interestingly, this was not a BMW design but built under license. Most people, however, remember the BMW model above any others. BMW built the Isetta between 1955 to 1962.
Produced between 1980 and 1991, the Quattro was a 2-door coupe with four-wheel drive. Not only was it popular with the public but it dominated the Rally scene in the mid-‘80s.
Volkswagen started the ‘hot hatch’ revolution with the introduction of the Golf GTI in 1976. This was a Golf Mk 1 with a high-performance engine and instantly became a hit.
Not many people know but Peugeot are actually the oldest car manufacturers in the world. Their most popular model, the 504, was produced between 1968 and 1983 and is the companies highest selling model.
One of the world’s leading sport car brands, Porsche was started by Ferdinand Porsche in 1948. The 991 Carrera S was introduced in 2011. It is powered by a 350 brake horsepower 3.4-liter engine.
This compact crossover SUV was launched by Range Rover in 2011. It is available in a three and five-door version and either as a two or four-wheel drive. Over 88,000 were sold in Europe in the first 12 months.
Although a Ford product, the Fiesta was exclusively designed for the European market as well as other parts of the world. The first Fiesta came out in 1976 and this popular vehicle from the supermini class is currently on its seven generation. The new 2017 model has a range of engine options from 1000 cc to 1500 cc petrol driven and 1500 cc turbo diesel.
First seen in 2014, BMW have produced a hybrid sports car in the form of the i8. Not only is it good for the environment but it is possibly one of the best looking cars on the road today. The i8 can go from 0-60 mph in just 4.4. seconds.
The Kuga forms part of the very competitive compact crossover market. But its not only in Europe where it is popular. Marketed under the name Escape, the vehicle is sold in the US as well. Other markets include South African and Australia. The Kuga comes standard with a 6-speed automatic gearbox and is available in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive.
The G Wagon, a luxury SUV is not something that you would normally associate with the Mercedes brand. That said, there clearly is a market for it, although if we are honest, it’s not the prettiest car ever made. More like a box on wheels! It was first produced in 1979.
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 is somewhat of a monster and generates over 600 brake horsepower!
The Opel Mokka is the German car manufacturer’s current SUV offering. It was launched in 2012 and is available in a number of markets. Interestingly, this SUV is marketed in China and the USA, but as the Buick Encore. The Mokka offers both petrol and diesel powerplants.
A four-door luxury sedan, Porsche introduced the Panamera in 2009. Don’t worry, the German sports car maker isn'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.
A compact crossover vehicle (CUV) the Tiguan was first produced in 2007. And what a hit they were. In fact, in the first four years of production, over 700,000 were sold across the globe. Currently, the vehicle is in its second generation. And the name? Well, apparently it’s a combination of Tiger and Iguana…
Introduced in 1998, the Smart ForTwo is a city or microcar that weighs a mere 880 kg is 106 inches long and just 65 inches wide. Still in production, the current Mk III is available as a 3-door hatchback or 2-door cabriolet.
A four-door saloon car with epic performance – yes that’s the Maserati Quattroporte! The history of this vehicle traces back to 1963 but it's the current model, the VI that really stands out. The top of the range model features a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 that pushes out an astonishing 523 break horsepower!
SEAT, a Spanish auto manufacturer introduce the SEAT Leon in 1998. To date, the car has under gone three major upgrades, the last of which happened in 2012. This is a small hatchback with nippy performance thanks to a number of different power plant options.
Currently, in its third generation, the Opel Zafira is the German automaker's entry into the MPV market. The Zafira was introduced in 1999. It is also produced in the United Kingdom under the Vauxhall badge.
A two-seat rear wheel drive sports car from Porsche, the Cayman was introduced in 2006. It is named after the Caiman, a reptile similar to an alligator. Porsche, however, chose a different spelling.
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 liters. Although the name may seem a little strange, the Adam is named after the founder of the company, Adam Opel.
The 7 series was introduced by BMW in 1977. It is currently in its sixth generation and is the flagship of this German automaker’s fleet. It comes with a range of engine options including a hybrid model.