The Autobahn: Germany’s Playground
01st September 2015
Let's face it, when you're looking for a nice summer holiday location, Germany would probably not be your idea of a great holiday destination. The weather is not great, the food is lousy, the beer sucks and the people… well let's just say they aren't the friendliest in the west. The odd occasion when you do meet an English speaking traveller, there would be two reasons for him/her for visiting Germany, and both of them have to do with speed. The first is the Nürburgring, a race track that some say is possibly the most treacherous in the world, testing both car and driver to their absolute limit. The second is the Autobahn: Germany's own playground.
The Autobahn is a driver's paradise. The no-speed limit roads are as flat as a pan and as straight as an arrow, letting ordinary drivers test their race mode skills. But to understand the Autobahn a bit better one has to briefly delve into its history. Ever since its introduction in the 1920s, when Germany woke up to the realisation that motorways advocate the idea of administration, commerce and industry. The Autobahn was born as a symbol towards a more progressive lifestyle, where car could get up to top speed – unobstructed by horse-drawn vehicles, children playing on the roads and dusty gravel surfaces. Over the year the Autobahn has grown considerably, connecting more and more cities and towns in Germany.
In Germany most things have an eerie organised nature about them, and the roads are no different. Although there is plenty of fun to be had, the possibility of returning home aggravated with a glove compartment full of traffic violations is also quite real. So in-order for you to have a memorable drivers experience we have listed a few tips that you should consider before you go road tripping in Germany.
- Beware of the speed limit: No not the maximum speed limit, but the Autobahn has a minimum speed limit that all vehicles must comply with to be legally fit. For historical reasons the lower speed limit is set to 60 km/h, and although you are allowed to drive this slow, you'd be suicidal for trying. Most cars travel at about 200 km/h, so your best bet would be to have at least a BMW 3 series or even a VW Passat, which would help you really enjoy the roads.
- In Germany faster is better: Most German cars are limited to 250 km/h mainly due to cost reasons, so picking up a German car would be ideal. A very common rental car is the Porsche 911 which is a fun car to drive. The Porsche doesn't have to contend with the annoying limiter, so with that out of the way you can really enjoy the German roads to their limit.
- Once you have shortlisted your car it is extremely important to not tinker with it. Long stretches of high speed travel put a lot of strain on mechanical moving parts. Take tyres as an example, after continuous use tyres can get extremely hot and stretched and may eventually lead to the tyre bursting, which won't end well at 200 km/p. There is a reason why German cars are well known for their reliability; and its best to take their word for it.
- Trust a German: If tinkering is what you live for, then make sure you take it to a German authorised garage to do the tinkering for you. Take AMG for instance, they will remove all the limiters for you but at the same time upgrade your suspension and a host of other parts to ensure that your car is 100% safe at high speeds. Germans are absolute sticklers when it comes to quality and reliability and spend a lot of money and time making sure of that. So aftermarket exhaust system or low profile tyres may look good, but are just not going to cut it.
- Fill up quickly: With the car being constantly red-lined to its rpm limit, you will burn a lot of fuel in the process. For the sake of comparative analysis, a car that gives you a fuel economy of 10 km/l running under normal driving conditions will probably give you about 2-3 km/l on the Autobahn. What you absolutely don't want is your car to run out of fuel in the middle of the motorway. Fill her up as soon as the fuel warning light comes on. If you don't have a fuel station close by, drive economically till you find the next station.
The Autobahn will offer you an on-road experience unlike any you've had before. With German cars known for their quality craftsmanship, the Autobahn completes this ultimate driving equation and is a testament for great German engineering. And with on-road amenities and the beautiful German countryside flying past you, the Autobahn experience is literally life in the fast lane.
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