: Rolling down the Autobahn



branland
04-03-10, 09:34 AM
Just got back from Austria and got to drive on the Autobahn for the first time. (Wish I would have had my V) Itís quite a different experience than driving in the states. The entrance ramps, (if you can even call them that) are very short , like on an eastern parkway. Cars in the slow lane are typically moving somewhere around 100 mph.

I wanted to rent an A4 but it didnít have any snow tires so I had to get an A4 1.4 T. (125 hp) There are only a few places where there are speed limits. (62 mph or 75 mph) When you see a speed limit sign with a cross through it, you can legally go as fast as you dare. You have to be very aware. Closing speeds on the slower trucks can be 70 mph.

For the first twenty minutes it was kind of exhilarating, but after about 1 hour it becomes a little nerve racking. Itís dark, the lanes are not that wide and we were traveling around 125 mph reaching speeds close to 140 at times. Every now and then someone driving one of the trucks at 75 mph wants to pass another truck going 65. Iím closing at 125 and there may be someone behind me closing at 160. After flying for 15 hours from San Diego, then driving on the Autobahn for 1.5 hours, I was exhausted when I got to the hotel.

On the way back to the airport on Friday I was in the passing lane going around 125 and passing slower traffic. I look up in the mirror and thereís a turbo Porsche closing on me like Iím standing still. I flip on my blinker, speed up to 130 to clear the slower traffic and get back into the slow lane as the Porsche blows by somewhere north of 160. Sheís quickly out of sight.

Quite the experience.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-03-10, 09:51 AM
Sounds like fun! I always wanted to try out the autobahn.

Stingroo
04-03-10, 09:52 AM
That is AWESOME.


That's one of my dreams. I want to drive the Autobahn some day. Just to say I did it. That and the Nurburgring. What else did you do on your trip? :)

branland
04-03-10, 11:03 AM
That is AWESOME.


That's one of my dreams. I want to drive the Autobahn some day. Just to say I did it. That and the Nurburgring. What else did you do on your trip? :)

It was a related work trip. We were staying in Scharding Austria, pretty far off the beaten path. Mostly drank unfiltered bear, wine with low sulfur content and ate a lot of potatoes and ham.

Submariner409
04-03-10, 12:53 PM
3 years of staff duty in Naples, Italy gave me plenty of opportunity to drive the Italian Autostrada, the rough equivalent of Autobahn, except there are speed limits, although no one observes them. Very exhilatating and instructional. Flash-to-pass was unheard of in the U.S. in '68. Not so in Europe - much more functional than a horn at 120.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-03-10, 12:54 PM
I did 135 once. What a rush! I can only imagine what'd it'd be like for an extended period...

HAZZARDJOHN
04-03-10, 01:32 PM
My Dad drove the Autobahn In a mid 70's army jeep. He was stationed over there. He says it was the scariest thing he ever did. Cars coming up on him at three times the speed he could go.

~HJ

orconn
04-03-10, 01:33 PM
While the exilleration is very real, I have eexperienced both the Autostrada and the un-speedlimited world of Lamborghini/Nevada of the 1960s/70s, it takes a lot of concentration to do the really high speeds for any length of time. I remember during the early 1970's, before the 55 mph national speed limit became the law of the land, the speed limit on many L.A. freeways was 70 mph and even 80 mph on some away from the city. Like drivers today we exceeded limit as regular part of getting from point A to point B. My daily driver was a brand new Jaguar XJ6 at the time and I drove it a 100 mph on the Freeways daily. Now, of course, even the best of the cars of that period (Fearri, Lamborghini, Jaguar GTs had top speeds of 160 mph) did not have all the computerized driving aids of cars today. I remember getting home in the evening after a day of driving many miles to see clients and being completely tired out. The strain of maintaining one's concentration at a level to drive those speeds took its' toll on the driver. To be honest, I remember realizing, that after the 55 mph limit came in, and we had reduce our speed to 60-65, how much more energy I had left at the end of the day. In todays traffic you couldn't maintain those higher speeds on the Freeways, although 80 mph seems to be the average speed of drivers using I-95 as it passes by Richmond, VA. However, the cars today are much better able to handle the higher speeds than they were in the pre antilock brake and computer handling assisted days of yore!

Submariner409
04-03-10, 01:47 PM
Boy, Is that ever a correct observation: Driving either an MG-TD or a Jag XK-140MC at its relative high speeds was very similar to trying to autocross a loaded cement mixer. There was no vehicle forgiveness and you were worn out at the end of even a short class race. I envy the teams of drivers who can/could withstand something like a 24 hour Daytona or leMans and the single drivers of Monaco, Indianapolis or similar.

orconn
04-03-10, 01:48 PM
My Dad drove the Autobahn In a mid 70's army jeep. He was stationed over there. He says it was the scariest thing he ever did. Cars coming up on him at three times the speed he could go.

~HJ

I can can truly understand what your dad is talking about. In the seventies we had those godawful jeeps with the swing axle (VW beetle type) rear suspensions that could lose their grip on a well crowned paved rode and were truly scary in the rain or ice ...... not to mention their top speed was about 50mph with a strong tail wind. I don't know if the other services had these but the Army switch over to them in Vietnam and they were real POS.

I remember during my ride on the Autosrtada at 160 mph in an Lamborghini Miura it looking like the Fiats were flying backwards as we passed them at those high speeds. I am sure Sub had the same experience on his adventures on the Autostrada of the time. At that time the big GT cars and super sedans weren't used on city streets but rather for long distance drives, however the Fiat "city" cars would come on the Autostrada for short distances so along with the trucks you had a real variation in vehicle speed capability and while the Italians tended to fully utilize their car's capability it still left a variation of 80-100 mph among cars on the road.

gary88
04-03-10, 02:26 PM
Nice. I'm envious of the autobahn system, I wish people here in the US would actually understand how to use the roads.

branland
04-03-10, 02:55 PM
The concentration level was intense. The radio was off and no one in the car was talking. You have to be very aware. There is no inside (left side) shoulder and the guardrail is very close to the road. There is a small patch of grass before the guardrail and if you put a tire on the grass at that speed you’ll go off. We took the A92 to the A3. When we got off the A3 I was relieved. I was following Tony who had rented a 3 series BMW and it was all I could do to keep up in the Audi A3.

I was focused. I was trying to keep a safe distance from Tony but not getting left behind since our nav wasn’t working. There were a lot of cars traveling faster than we were. The European cars generally have no torque, so you have to keep your momentum up. Someone would come up from behind, I speed up to get over since I was also passing slower traffic, then pull into the slow lane at >125 to let them by.

That happened once when I was cresting a hill. After I let the car by and started back into the passing lane, a truck appears in the slow lane after I crested the hill. Closing speed is ~70 and the distance is short, so I did a snap lane change. I got just a little bit of oscillation, but it was a pretty clean lane change considering I’m driving a small wagon full of luggage with snow tires.

That’s when it ceased to be a lot of fun and became more of a chore. But as I said before, it was a good experience and I have a better appreciation for the level of concentration it takes to drive other there.

The locals also told me that when they drive over here in the states it’s much more relaxing, since the speeds are slow much slower.

Aron9000
04-03-10, 06:33 PM
I've done 160mph on a deserted interstate, and let me say you get some real tunnel vision going that fast. It was a real rush, but I can't imagine driving that fast for an extended period of time, especially in the tin can Camaro I was driving with an obnoxiously loud exhaust.

However, I could see setting the cruise at 110-120mph and doing an 8 hour drive at that speed on the Autobahn.

branland
04-03-10, 07:19 PM
I've done 160mph on a deserted interstate, and let me say you get some real tunnel vision going that fast. It was a real rush, but I can't imagine driving that fast for an extended period of time, especially in the tin can Camaro I was driving with an obnoxiously loud exhaust.

However, I could see setting the cruise at 110-120mph and doing an 8 hour drive at that speed on the Autobahn.

The drive from Austria back to Munich was a lot less stressful. Judi had the radio on low volume and was talking. I kept the speed just below 125, except for getting out of the way of the Porsche. It was light out, dry and light traffic. I was well rested, knew how far I had to go and how to get to the airport. I only had to get out of the way twice for the Porsche and a big Mercedes SUV.

Just under 190 km (118 miles) to the airport. Looked at my phone when I was checking out of the hotel and it was 8:00 am. I walked down the street, got the car out of the garage and packed the car. Headed through town and to the A3. Dropped of the car, walked through the terminal and got inline at check in. Bout 1 Ĺ hours.

Skiller.
04-03-10, 08:35 PM
Sounds crazy! I'm sure you would have enjoyed your CTS-V over there :p

Submariner409
04-04-10, 10:32 AM
One very definite phenomenon of the Autobahn and Autostrada: The aftermath of a high-speed accident is always a quarter to a half mile long and you can scoop most of it up and put it all in a pickup truck bed - guts and all.

Do some Googling and find the sequence of pics of the fox that went through the grille of a BMW doing 135 mph .........or of the deer that went through the windshield of a van, past the driver, through the back seat and out the rear hatch while splattering blood and guts all the way.

Jesda
04-05-10, 08:55 AM
Years ago, 110mph through Montana felt stable and deceivingly confidence-inspiring. Driving in the US generally feels like sitting at home on the couch watching TV.

Stingroo
04-05-10, 10:31 AM
Driving in the US generally feels like sitting at home on the couch watching TV.

That's pretty much the impression the wagon gives off. lol If you don't use cruise you can look down after a few minutes of highway and realize the needle is buried, and when you let off, it takes quite awhile to go below that "100", so you have no clue how fast you were going.

To make the problem worse (or better?) it's got the air suspension, so when you go over bumps in the road or uneven pavement, you just move, sort of like one of those seats in a bus or big rig. It's an odd feeling the first few times, but if you get used to it, it can lull you into forgetting how fast you're going really easily.

In short: cruise control. lol

EcSTSatic
04-05-10, 10:42 AM
People in Europe don't get their drivers license from Wal-Mart like we do over here!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5c81X6BiI0Y