German Autobahn, any experience?


Donating Member
After about 5 weeks here in Lübeck now, I have ridden the Autobahn a number of times with a 525 turbo diesel BMW. Best so far was 248km/h or 154mph.

My observations so far:

Most of the time there is traffic in the slow lane, past 200km/h that becomes a bit dangerous, as one goes flying past most and all it takes is one driver to switch to the fast lane without looking.
Most cars go about 130km/h, in a couple of hours of driving, there are normally four or five, including me :laugh: going past 160km/h, or much faster.
Believe it or not, I have seen plated Quads (the four wheelers we ride in the dirt) on the Autobahn.
Seen a number of motorcycles, they are always in the slow lane not much faster than 130km/h or 80mph.
Got a blue Gen II yesterday, again in the slow lane, doing around 120-130km/h not faster than 80mph.
In general, the standard of driving here is excellent, I would expect a lot more accidents on a 70mph US interstate, than the Autobahn.

Any others here who can share experience?
Driving the Autobahn is a wonderful experience.

Most people drive around 130 clicks because if you get in a wreck, even on unrestricted portions, insurance won't pay.

It's tiring driving at high speed for extended periods especially on a motorcycle. You have to be alert and watch for brake lights way ahead of you or you will do that wonderful high speed panic stop which I'm sure you have already experienced.

It's a pelasure to drive in a society that actually follow the rules and looks down on those who do not as incompetent.

If you don't follow the rules and get caught by the cops, they will not give you a pass, so the traffic laws are actually effective.

Trivia: There are sections of Autobahn which are set up to be converted into airstrips in a time of war. Prewired and powered for lights, facilities and other supporting infrastructure.
Get out of the cities. In and around the big cities they are just like any other highway. Too much traffic and no chance to open it up. The worst one when I was there was 6 around Mannhiem, full of trucks. One of the best that I was on was 7 Fuldatal Brucke around Fulda and south. Big bridges and through some mountains, very nice in the summer.

You are really north from where I was traveling. It is really flat in the north. Just look around you will find some good roads.
I hop on every once and while. I rode out to the Nurburgring a few weeks back following my wife and her subaru crew and hit 180mph.
If you don't follow the rules and get caught by the cops, they will not give you a pass, so the traffic laws are actually effective.

Trivia: There are sections of Autobahn which are set up to be converted into airstrips in a time of war. Prewired and powered for lights, facilities and other supporting infrastructure.

What kind of rules / laws do they have there? I heard a while back a DUI can be a life sentence...true? What else?

Cool about the runway conversion capability!
i've never heard of a DUI giving you a life sentence. If so, a lot of soldiers would be put away for good over here. Now on the other hand, anything over a .03 BAC is considered a DUI.
Pretty interesting reading here about some of the laws.

German autobahns - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Some I picked out.

Overtaking on the right (undertaking) is strictly forbidden, except when stuck in traffic jams. Up to a speed of 80 km/h (50 mph) it is permitted to pass cars on the right side if the speed difference is not greater than 20 km/h (12 mph) or the vehicle on the left lane is stationary. This is not referred to as overtaking, but driving past. Even if the car overtaken is illegally occupying the left-hand lane, it is not an acceptable excuse; in such cases the police will routinely stop and fine both drivers.

First aid training is mandatory in order to obtain a driving licence in Germany, also every vehicle has to carry a first-aid-kit.

Due to legal regulations (Straßenverkehrsordnung) it is legal to flash headlights (Lichthupe) in order to indicate the intention of overtaking.

The tires must be approved for the vehicle's top speed; winter tires (mud + snow) for lower speeds (i.e. cheaper than high-speed tyres) are allowed, but the driver must have a sticker in the vehicle reminding of the maximum speed.
You also need to have a warning triangle and rubber gloves.
Cell phones are only allowed to be used with a hands-free device. They will hammer you if caught driving and talking without one.
Tickets can be paid on-the-spot.
Photo radar is used extensively and some of the overhead electronic signs have it built in.
The Highway information system is second to none. Electronic monitoring and information signs span the roadways and keep drivers informed of Staus, weather and reduced speeds when needed. I think this goes a long way to keep people sane.
Staus (Traffic Jams) are common and can last hours depending on the reason.
You vehicle goes through a strict annual inspection (Pruf) that must be passed for registration. That includes tires, brakes, corrosion/rust, battery, lights, emergency brake and required equipment.
German licensing is a long process that starts at 15? With schools and permits required. There are graduated privelages that must be attained. There are PS (Horsepower limits also)
German trucks are maddening. They have tiny engines with many gears to promote fuel economy. Getting stuck behind them on hills just sucks period.

Germans love American cars. Corvettes, Chrysler 300s, Caddies, jacked up trucks, anything that is uniquely American is of interest.

If you want to get a German spec car for cheap, befriend a Service member. The lemon lots on base are full of BMWs, Mercedes, and other cars that are cheap and amazing for the price. Some of those bases have junkyards where you can get used parts cheap. Of course you cannot import them to the states without expensive conversions.

There is a subculture of gearheads the Germans call zoomies. They ride older cars that are souped up and customized. Opel Kadetts, Gts and Mantas are very popular still. The Opel GT is my favorite German car. It looks like a baby Corvette and was imported to the US from 1970 to 1973. I had one when I first joined the AF and they do some amazing custom work with them to this day.

The car I drove the last time I was stationed there was a 1986 BMW 325I that has a 635CSI 3.5 liter straight six engine shoehorned into it. That's 265 naturally aspirated HP in a tiny car. It was lowered and had all Alpina wheels, suspension and body work. The guy that built it was trying to make a budget M3. Top speed 145 mph and handled like it was on rails. I called it my engine with a car around it. Wish I could have brought it back with me!
believe it or father bought my mom an opel gt when i was growing up....had it for like 5 years...then parts were hard to get for it.
believe it or father bought my mom an opel gt when i was growing up....had it for like 5 years...then parts were hard to get for it.

Opel over here is a Chevy with an Opel badge.

We did 750km this week-end to Stuttgart and then again back. At high speed you have to concentrate like crazy. Put the speed control on at 120mph, funny feeling, feels as if you are not quite under control, did not last long. What feels crazy is doing 100mph and then a VW bus comes flying past. First time I saw a bike going fast in the fast lane and it was an SV650, go figure. We did a cycling stop at a place in the Black Forrest where all the motorcycles go, kind of like our dragon. No Busa's but quite a few 1l bikes, saw four BMW S1000RR parked next to each other and few Panigale's.

Here is the Beemer I am driving, company car, 248km per hour best on a down hill, diesel. Fuel economy is excellent though. Can't say I like it, steering wheel is too big and not very comfy.


Opel over here is a Chevy with an Opel badge.

your not correct. Opel is a original German brand founded in Russelheim Germany in 1862 that is almost 40 years earlier than Ford.
Its takenover in 1929 by GM and launched in North and South america under Chevrolet.
long not all roads are unlimited anymore. only country side roads linking major cities. a famous one is from Hockenheim Ring to Stuttgart.

I drive there every winter when i go for snowboarding holiday in Austria, I use my unlimited E91 335D.
it tops out 285Km/H-177M-H. its remapped and puts down 345BHP and 720NM or 530LB/FT of torque.

I used to live in Ulmen. When there were races at Nurburgring the traffic would stack up on the road above my backyard. It was fun to stand up there and watch the amazing rides go by. Never seen so many Ferraris in my life.

I was coming back from Italy once and coming through the tunnels in Switzerland. Don't remember the road because it was so long ago. Anyway, a Ferrari F-40 came up on my back end and flew past me. I got in behind him and rolled down the windows just to hear the sound of the engine and exhaust through the tunnel. It sounded amazing but didn't last long.

The first time (1990-1992) I was in Germany I bought a 1987 Supra Turbo off an Ammo troop about 2 months before returning to the states. Got in a roll on with a 7 series BMW and had it up to 164 MPH coming back from Bitburg to Noervenich. That car would cruise at 140 all day long. Fastest I ever went in a car.

Before that I had an 82 BMW 528. It had this four barrel carb with tiny primaries and massive secondaries. It would cruise at 130 with no problem but you could watch the gas gauge drop at those speeds. It was a great car though.

The funnest car by far was that 86 528i I mentioned above. I used to scare people in that car.
Mannheim 89-92 and Wiesbaden 02-05...loved the experience of those autobahns...I had a GPz1100 '81 during the 02-05 years...didn't venture too much on the bahns with it though..i used to max out a german spec 535i out for the Stau's (traffic jams)
I was at a MUNSS both times I was stationed there. Used to shop at Bitburg, Spandahlem and Schinnen. Occasionally we would make the drive to Ramstine/Landstuhl to go to the BIG BX and score some Taco Bell! Our support base was Lindsey Air Station. Really got sick of Burger King because that is all they had at the time.

I also used to go to the go cart track at Bitburg.
LOVE the autobahn, and have spent a little time on it... :laugh:

My parents lived there for many years so it was nice taking vacations to see them and explore. Wish our hwy system was more like it... :beerchug:

They also don't give out a driver’s license like candy (like many countries), you actually have to EARN the license and it's not cheap...

...a privilege, NOT a right like people think in the states!