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  #1  
Old 01-11-2000, 07:12 PM
Hunter
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I am always curious how the Germans and other Eurpoeans have the Autobahns on which to drive as fast as they wish, seemingly very disciplined and well controlled. How fast does the average driver cruise on one of these roadways. More importantly, how fast could I comfortably and safely cruise in my 420SEL on these roads. I guess my real question is how does Mercedes engineer this kind of capable speed into their cars, when say a Ford Crown Victoria( I own a Ford too) seems skiddish and hard to control at very high speeds. Curious for your feedback...
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  #2  
Old 01-11-2000, 09:19 PM
Larry Delor's Avatar
What, Me Worry?
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Sarasota, Fl.
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Soon after the first Autobahn opened up back in 1933(!), the road was littered with cars whose engines had given up the gohst one way or another. This (of course) was not acceptable, and the auto making industry soon set out to correct this. As you stated they seem to drive very disciplined, and that is how they make their cars. No elongated holes to make up for poor manufacturing of sheetmetal for instance. Over here, the Highway act that started the whole Highway kitnkaboodle was enacted in 1955, some 22 years later giving the Germans a headstart to say the least, since they by then had quite a few years of experience under their belts; especially when it came to engine and suspension design for high speeds. The average speed on an autobahn, as far as I remember it was around 130kph (81mph), this speed was driven in the RIGHT lane, unless you were going to pass in which case you very carefully looked in your mirrors to make absolutely sure you didn't see anything coming your way in the left lane. One thing that the "high speed" drivers usually did ( for protection and courtesy) is if they were traveling well over 100mph they would leave on their left turnsignal, which could be easily spotted. Myself the fasted I drove in the left lane was just over 224 kph (139mph) for about 45 minutes...I was late getting to the airport This was done in an Opel Senator 3ltr. inline six and the petal to the metal.
Ford knows that you are not going to (most likely) go over 100mph, so they don't have to put anything fancy into the suspension. After all a Crown Vic. is driven mostly by the 50+ folks, who for the most part are not known to be speed demons.(Especially in Florida!!!) As far as driving your 420 over here, I would say it would depend mostly on the road, the traffic, and your tires.
Have fun!

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03/83 300D
07/73 280


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  #3  
Old 01-12-2000, 01:09 PM
mateoc
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Power.
Aerodynamics (ever feel your MBZ "press" at speed?).
Stiffer suspension.
Tighter body / frame construction.

The latter two are things that create a car that rides "too firm" for most fat American rear-ends.

However, I had a chance to tour Europe by car for a few months last year and I will say that our rutted, potholed, off-camber, expansion-strip-ridden roads here in the US have made the choice of a softly-sprung car ideal for some. On the other side of the pond and in all countries where there are elevated speed limits (or none at all), the highways are kept immaculately finished. It's comfortable to go FAST on those roads - I couldn't imagine driving 120mph on ANY highways here the the SF bay area (well, maybe 280 - but only certain parts). Too uncontrollable...
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  #4  
Old 01-12-2000, 02:40 PM
akry's Avatar
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Ppl drive fast there, but they obey the rules, and take alot of caution when driving. But driving on the Autobahn may not be as relaxing though the road is perfectly finished. A 911 Turbo, which wasn't visible the first second, may suddenly appear in your rear-view mirror when you decided to change lane...

Also, from I was told, that Germany government is very strict on a car's condition. If a car has a broken light, dent body-panel, it would not be allow to be on the road unless all the problems are fixed.

P.S. Japan has rule that, any cars have been registered and driven on road for 10(or is that 15?? But something like that) years, will not be issued a permit(not will be insured, in another word) to be driven on the road after 10 years. Instead, the car will be titled salvage...

Andy Kuo

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  #5  
Old 01-12-2000, 02:50 PM
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I remember fondly a tour of Scotland in the late 80's in a rented Nissan Micra. After getting the hang of driving on the wrong side of the road and shifting with my left hand, I was still frustrated by everyone passing me in a blaze of blinking headlights. Finally, on a typical one and a half lane roadway on the Isle of Mull, a large lorry went by and I decided to tuck in behind and follow at whatever speed he was going. Lo and behold, I discovered that the roads were smooth, the curves properly cambered, and the exit ramps had a constant radius. The passing zones were in the right places and I actually enjoyed more spirited driving for the rest of our trip. IMHO roadway engineering is as important as vehicle engineering for achieving "rapid transit" and unfortunately, we seem to have competence in neither on this side of the Atlantic.

Dean Albrecht
94 E500
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  #6  
Old 01-12-2000, 03:58 PM
Adamou
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To answer your question (briefly ), I do arround 3000km per year on german Highways.
You can no longer as in the past go as fast as you want for ever because there are at about each 10 to 15km a restriction to 120km/h and police is nearly always there with their laser guns. Anyway, when driving there, people always respect speed limitations but when they are free to go, woooow... A good average of 150km/h on the right lane is very pleasent. If you go on the left lane, rules change, must be VERY carefull when you change lane because a car can suddenly appear in your mirror and pass you within a second... They drive at over 200km/h.
I usually try to go as fast as I can with my 560SEC. I easily reach 250km/h (shame that it is restriced), the car is very safe and you feel that you still have control on it, brakes are useless at these speeds so if a crazy man changes lanes, you'd better find a route on the side or somewhere because otherwise you are simply dead.
I used to have a 500SEL, the car at 220km/h was not really safe and it's top speed was ~230km/h.

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A.S.C. 1999
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  #7  
Old 01-12-2000, 07:13 PM
JDEN
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You all think U.S. roads are in bad shape? Just try driving in Spain. Worse yet, try Portugal where some of the highways are still made of paving stones with horse drawn carts for traffic.
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  #8  
Old 01-12-2000, 10:20 PM
Larry Delor's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Sarasota, Fl.
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Andy is correct, the government does have a vehicle testing program. TUV it was called when I lived there. And they are strict! You wanna get larger tires? Go get them permitted. You wanna put on an airdam? Go get it permitted You got a rust hole in a floorboard? You better try to hide it really well! I remember once during an inspection that they complained about the faded rear turnsignals, and made it look like they might not pass the car. Oh, yeah, they also check your emmissions.
It seems at first a bit much, but once you are driving (flying) down the autobahn, you start to think that maybe it is a good idea to have everything working properly at 150+mph. One more remark...traffic jams are a funny thing....you're tooling down the road and up ahead brakelights, moments latrer you stop; if nothing moves within a few minutes, half of the drivers get out of their cars and either look around, have a smoke or simply stretch their legs. Usually after 4-5 minutes everryone gets back in and life in the fast lane goes on.

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07/73 280


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  #9  
Old 01-13-2000, 02:34 AM
akalmans
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Last year I did 2900 km during my vacation in Germany and the surrounding countries. Having previously experienced Autobahn driving at least 4 times, I decide that this time I would rent a nice car. There is nothing worse than being in some 1.1 liter econobox trying to break 150km/h in the right lane. I reserved an E class. However, when I got there, they did not have one available. So I got a 5spd. BMW 520i. This was my first time driving that particular model. I must admit I was very surprised by this car. That tiny inline 6 impressed me with its top end. I am used to driving cars that take a little while getting from lets say 100 m/h to its top speed. This car was adequate for off the line acceleration ( European magazines quote 9+ sec 0-60 times). But if you are at 180 km/h and you punch it, it flies. I was very happy cruising at 220km/h(135 mile/hour) for long periods of time. At that speed, you are at almost 6000rpms ( the redline is at 6250 so there was still some room ). My point is that this 150hp little engine was able to accelerate a 3400lb automobile (2 passengers plus luggage added another 400 pounds) from about 5000rpms to 6000rpms like I've never experienced with my Euro 190 2.3-16. The additional benefit is the sweet sound and it was soooooo smooth. Great fun!!!
I thought I'd share this story. Also, if anyone is planning a trip and wants to experience the Autobahn, you should try to fly Lufthansa. You can ask the airline to connect you with Sixt - the biggest rental company in Germany. Because of their agreement with Lufthansa, they should give you a deal. In my case, the best price I was getting from other companies was close to $800 for 12 days. Sixt was able to give it to me for $450. That is less than $40/day for a luxury class car.

Best to all,
Alex
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  #10  
Old 01-13-2000, 05:02 AM
akry's Avatar
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Larry,

How about those tuned cars?? Do they have to get special permits before those cars can be insured?? Or do they just follow the new car inspection if it's sold as new?? Thnx..

Andy Kuo

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  • 1992 Mercedes-Benz 400SE
  • Moonstone Grey/Black Leather
  • Blue/Red Headlights
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  #11  
Old 01-13-2000, 10:04 PM
Larry Delor's Avatar
What, Me Worry?
 
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Location: Sarasota, Fl.
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Andy,

I am not 100% sure, but I think that if you buy a car that has been "tuned" it would come from the tuner with the TUV approval certificate necessary to purchase insurance.

I couldn't afford to buy a tuned car when I lived over there, so I really don't know for sure. All I know is: "Your papers please!"

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  #12  
Old 01-13-2000, 11:12 PM
akry's Avatar
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada
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Thnx Larry....

Well, you gotta love HK then....I believe they only do car inspection ONCE, before you insure the car for the first time. Afterward, government just don't care anything but emission(very low standard, too). You can do pretty much everything afterward.....

Think about it....my friend has a last gen. Nissan Skyline...heavily modified, 1200hp/9800rpm at wheel, full carbon body, with body-kit, full exhaust(header-mid-tail), upgraded chip, wast-gate, larger turbo, turbo timer....too much to list....now, it's my kinda car...

Andy Kuo

------------------

  • 1992 Mercedes-Benz 400SE
  • Moonstone Grey/Black Leather
  • Blue/Red Headlights
  • Xenon-Look Foglights


ICQ#26950002
http://drive.to/akry
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  #13  
Old 01-14-2000, 07:30 AM
Adamou
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Andy,

That "Nissan" (I doubt that there is anything original on it) sounds like a monster =) Can race with Indy Cars :p

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  #14  
Old 01-30-2000, 05:56 AM
BenzoX
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I get really confused from alot of what you guys say. I am an american simpleton with an 89 190E 2.6. I don't compute km/h. Sorry guys . I have not tried my topend out and probably won't try to go over 120 on american highways.Also I have some problem where getting up to 70 and 80 miles per hour is shaky yet driveable but going up to 100 is just terrible. I'm trying to find anyone else who might know about such a problem But I am very fascinated with your stories. Europe sounds like quite an adventure. I would love to rent a new benz and cruise up in the 160 mph range.
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  #15  
Old 01-30-2000, 08:53 AM
Michael's Avatar
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BenzoX:

I'd recommend you do a posting on your car probs...you'll get a bunch of quality advice I assure you, and you need it becasue NO MBZ should be unstable at a mere 100MPH!

Without knowing the mileage of your car, regardless I'd suggest that you start with a fresh 4-wheel alignment and then re-balance your tires (and personally I'd watch them do it and assure no rims are bent). Neither hurts, and you can establish a baseline as to where you stand.

If after the alignment/balance you still sense instability, bring it to either MBZ or a reputable independent and have them diagnose your problem...beyond what I've suggested, you can nickle-and-dime yourself to death buying the wrong parts; better off to know exactly what needs to be done.

Also, if your car has a steering damper I'd replace it...it's essentially a shock absorber for your steering system, and is a common wear item.

BTW, multiply miles by 1.609 to get KPH :-)

Good luck!

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Best regards, Michael
'92 500E
'88 300TE
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