Not everything on the Autobahn is a joke, but here are some of the most common vehicles you’ll see going ridiculously fast.
So, you’re looking to drive on the Autobahn, huh? Would you like to experience firsthand the devastation caused by high-performance vehicles passing the holy “unrestricted” speed limit sign? As it turns out, it’s not quite that simple. It’s true that German drivers are known for their vigilance and impeccable lane discipline. However, there are a few things that make it clear to an outsider that achieving high speeds on the Autobahn is no easy task. The Autobahn is not the supercar haven it may seem to be at first glance due to occasional traffic and the fact that it is a public road. While it’s true that occasionally you’ll come across an exotic or high-powered vehicle, for the most part you’ll just see regular folks going about their day, albeit at speeds we rarely see in the real world. Keep these in mind if you’re thinking about visiting, and keep in mind that not the entire Autobahn is open to you.
The concept of the Autobahn was first proposed in the 1920s, with the idea being to construct stretches of the road with no speed limits and few curves to allow for sustained high speeds. While some sections of the autobahn have been closed due to war or other international events, the vast majority of the highway is open and available to those who wish to save time by traveling between cities at high speeds. Germany’s dedication to efficiency, respect for other drivers, and technological advancement in the automotive industry are all on display on the Autobahn. While German roads are known for their excellent condition, the vehicles that make the most of them are perhaps a little more pedestrian than you might expect. Some of the most impressive automobiles you’ll ever see racing down the Autobahn are displayed here.
There aren’t enough tight corners for an M5 on the Autobahn. Other motorists will be left wondering how a BMW 5 Series can get away from them so quickly while the M550i is still mighty fast and flies under the radar in the passing lane.
Possibly the best car ever made is an autobahn-ready dream machine. We can’t help but admire the M550i’s understated performance on the highway. If you choose a boring color for one of these, your fellow drivers on the autobahn won’t even notice what you’re driving.
Take a taxi from a German airport, and chances are good that you’ll be riding in a Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Also, it’s likely that the cab will hop on the Autobahn right away, and if you’re lucky (or ask nicely), the driver will let you take the wheel of their humble E-Class. It makes sense that Mercedes-Benz would have a history of producing taxi-specific E-Class models suitable for daily, high-mileage transportation duties, as the E-Class is exceptionally impressive at concealing speed.
It’s possible to be cruising along at a leisurely 160 kilometers per hour without even realizing how many towns you’ve already passed through. This is where a Mercedes-Benz truly shines. The luxury sedan, typically powered by diesel, is a fitting symbol of a nation that takes great pride in its technological prowess.
Audi A6 Avant
The Autobahn is typically dominated by wagons. This also applies to the Audi A6 Avant. This roomy family automobile is frequently spotted flogging itself down the road with the same doggedness as a supercar. The A6 may not be a flashy sports car, but its ability to hit respectable autobahn speeds and maintain them for kilometers at a time is impressive and a testament to Audi’s dedication to producing well-engineered vehicles with reliable handling.
Acclimating to the Autobahn’s constant high speeds after growing accustomed to the slower pace of city driving can take some time. Families can be seen gliding by in the passing lane, proving the Audi A6 Avant’s built-in adaptability.
Volkswagen Golf GTI
The hottest hatchbacks are also fantastic highway cruisers. The GTI can keep up with the fast crowd; in fact, there was a package called the “Autobahn Package” that included advanced active safety features, better handling, a more refined suspension, and more power. Just as satisfying as the GTI’s ability to carve up a canyon road is the car’s performance at high speeds on roads similar to the actual Autobahn.
The GTI has always been capable of effectively displaying these traits of having two distinct personalities. Its turbocharged inline-four delivers impressively strong low- and mid-range torque, giving the impression of a much larger engine than it actually is. On the autobahn, maintaining a constant speed means the engine spends most of its time in its midrange, where it has plenty of power to keep going or change gears as needed.
Although the 911 is the most recognizable Porsche and, for many, the most recognizable sports car, the more fuel-efficient Cayman is the better choice for the Autobahn. We aren’t exactly roughing it with the 300 mid-engine horsepower of our Porsche’s (slightly more efficient) 2.0-liter flat-four engine as we zip along at speeds of up to 63 miles per hour.
Keep in mind that people in Europe tend to avoid larger, more gas-guzzling engines because of the high cost of fuel there. Cayman as a starting point is appropriate here. You can theoretically achieve the handling of a Porsche while maintaining the fuel efficiency of a Volkswagen. The only catch is that the Cayman is such a fun sports car to drive that you won’t be able to help but press on the gas pedal even when you know you’re going to use far more fuel than you should. Even with the smaller 2.0-liter engine, the Porsche Cayman is still incredibly swift and can cruise along the autobahn at breakneck speeds with ease.
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