Road Rockets For The Autobahn  

EbonyHnk 38M
178 posts
5/7/2006 11:40 pm

Last Read:
5/9/2006 9:54 pm

Road Rockets For The Autobahn

Germany doesn't need a space program. It has the Autobahn. High on the to-do list of any self-respecting auto enthusiast, driving the German Autobahn is Himmel on earth. But if you're going to do it, you need the right venue and the right vehicle. It's often misunderstood, but only about half the system is without speed restrictions (much of it in the southern region). And while many modern European cars have 155-mph limiters installed, they're easily undone.

So here are some must-drive German cars for the must-drive German highway. We've even matched the rides and roads to optimize the experience.

1- Audi RS 4

In previous features, we've suggested that BMW's mighty 3-Series has been matched -- even bested -- by competitors like Audi's A4 and hotter S4. But
there's no room for complacency, and the RS 4 sets the standard even higher. The sticker price has headed north as well: Over 50 large (to put it another way, it will run you the bill of two basic A4s). The RS 4's somewhat understated cover is blown once you start noticing the performance enhancements, capped by a 420-horsepower V8 and all-wheel drive that conspire to deliver 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds.

Where to drive it: The A 8. Not to be confused with Audi's A8, this 300-mile stretch can offer it all: Flat-out speed, sharp curves, steep grades, heavy traffic, and wintry conditions. The RS4 is one of the few cars to excel in many ways regardless of price.

Porsche, BMW and Mercedes, oh my God !

2- BMW M6

We can hear you saying, "You just belittled the little Bimmer and now you're all over its big brother?" Was ist los? Well, nothing's wrong. But the differences between the 3-Series (even the M3) and the M6 couldn't be greater. Given the M6's carbon-fiber roof, seven-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG) and 0 to 60 mph in under five seconds via the 500-horsepower, F1-inspired V-10, you'll never question the wisdom behind your 100-grand investment. And that's a bargain compared with rides like the pricier, less-sporting Bentley Continental GT.

Where to drive it: Consider the A 90 - A 99 in Bavaria. Not only does the region represent one of the automaker's initials, the combination of straights, mountains and corners are a natural for the M6.

3- Porsche 911 GT3

So many Gs, yet so much composure. As if the 911 weren't capable enough, Porsche's split-personality GT3 is part track car, part road car. You'll be amazed that a car so capable can also be civilized in urban traffic. But then, that dichotomy has always been a Porsche trait. And before you dismiss its 3.6 liter, six cylinder, keep in mind that you do have 415 naturally-aspirated horsepower at your disposal, allowing the GT3 to slingshot to 62 mph from a standstill in 4.3 seconds. Keep your right foot on the floor and you'll soon reach the 192-mph top end. As far as costs go, if you're liberal with the options list, you'll blow the doors off the $106,000 starting price as well.

Where to drive it: The A 80 -- A 89, in Baden-W├╝rttemberg. Your Porsche will feel right at home around the state capital of Stuttgart, the company's original home.

4- Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren

To Mercedes lovers, the letters AMG spell magic, indicating an amped-up Benz you best not challenge. Even though the SLR McLaren doesn't officially wear AMG badges, the message remains the same. And yes, the SLR's production facility is in England, but it's completely at home burning up the 'bahn. You'll burn through about half a mil to take delivery, but tha chances are good you'll be the only guy on your block to experience 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and a top end over 200. That speed is courtesy of a 5.5 liter V8 with 617 horsepower to exploit. The overall style is enough to make us forgive the nose, which reminds us more of a proboscis monkey than the intended F1 homage. It's okay though -- most other drivers will only see the SLR's tail.

Where to drive it: On and around the A 60 -- A 69, Frankfurt to Darmstadt, for the sake of nostalgia. In the 1930s, Mercedes' race team tested their cars here.

The ultimate Autobahn ride...

5- Porsche Carrera GT

We've yet to verify it, but the Carrera GT's manual could easily include a section entitled, "Instant Facelift." The single step in this procedure would be easy: press accelerator. The V10's 605 horsepower will quickly rearrange your appearance as you whip to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds and become personally familiar with 205 a short while later. It's just what you expect when you part with nearly 500 grand. Judicious use of the throttle reveals the GT can hum along in traffic just as easily. But when it comes time to literally leave it all behind, just go back to that simple action that does it all and lower your right foot.

Where to drive it: Anywhere you damn well please.

6- Volkswagen GTI Mk V (Honorable Mention)

The modern hatchback and tuner revolution began over two decades ago -- not with Honda, but with Volkswagen. Their humble Rabbit hatchback was infused with a little muscle and a lot of attitude right out of the box. Thus, the GTI was born. Disregard the ho-hum editions produced up to the present day, because the new GTI Mk V is back as a serious contender in its class. Performance is below the others on our list (0 to 60 mph in 7.1 from 200 horsepower), but so is the sticker price, which begins around $22,000. In the end, the GTI Mk V feels fun yet refined; perfect for Autobahn thrills on a budget.

Where to drive it: Head for the A 30 -- A 39 areas of Lower Saxony, perfect to put the GTI through its paces and pay homage to VW's spiritual home of Wolfsburg.

autobahn extasy

If it isn't already high on your list of things to do in life, the German Autobahn experience deserves priority rank. When you go, pair the right stretch with the right car and you can die a happy man.

lollipopp37 49F

5/8/2006 12:24 am

I'm confused. You say your mood is write about cars and motorcycles. Interesting. Is that a distraction or does it get you off? I thought maybe i'd write about a nice pair of italian leather shoes when i'm a distraction...but that probably would get ME off. MMMMMM....the smell of leather. Grrrrr.

EbonyHnk 38M

5/8/2006 4:31 am

lollipopp37 - A fetish Babe ! .. something about curvy car bodies, shinny leather upholstery, smooth powerful engines .... mhhh could go on - confusing ?

Have something in common though " leather ! " - i think you get it now ... XXX

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