From digest.v7.n552 Fri Nov 7 02:31:11 1997
From: Ben John Feng <bfeng_at_ford.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 97 18:00:38 -0500
Subject: Driving Trip in Germany
I know this is a WOB and old hat for many of you, but
I just had to say a few words about a recent (and first)
business trip to Germany - - - Where I had a BMW for a
The best vehicle I could get (Hertz) was a 520i (the 728i
was too big. There were some purple Porsche 911's but
they don't seat 3.
Most of us in the states would scoff at the idea of a teeny
2.0 litre engine in a car of the 5 series class. Well, so
did I until we hit the road. It turned out to be a near idea
combination. The inline 6 is absolutely the best in smoothness
and refinement. Many of us have forgotten how good an inline
6 naturally is since BMW 5/7 sedans haven't had them for many
years. Anyway, the motor was no torque monster so skillful use
of the shifter was necessary. However, the darn thing reved up
to 6500rpm so quietly and smoothly that you almost naturally
shifted way up there.
After 1 too many beers the first night I bet that this little
2 liter air pump would never get the 5er with 3 guys and luggage
over 200kph. Boy was I ever wrong! Despite lots of construction,
fog, and heavy traffic, we had plenty of opportunity to stretch
the 520i's legs. Believe it or not, 220kph was easily reached with
more than enough to go perhaps another 5-10kph (but we didn't want
to be cruising in the red zone of the tach). That's in excess of
130mph in a mid size family car with 2 lousy litres of engine.
I was impressed.
One night as we were on our way to Daimler Benz's research facility
at Ulm (160kph), a VW Golf pulled out of the slow lane without
signaling. The 5er nearly stood on its front bumper but we managed
to slow down enough to avoid hitting the idiot (probably a fellow
American businessman). Good lane etiquette AND good driving habits
(e.g. using your damn signals) are mandatory if you want to live.
About 15mins later we say the aftermath of an autobahn accident.
Needless to say, the autobahn in not a very forgiving place for
sloppy driving (one car was literally ripped in half and the others
were pretty much unrecognizable balls of metal and rubber).
Impressively, there wasn't any tendency to rubber neck!
Finally, I saw a lot of newer 911's, 3ers, 5ers, big Mercs etc. but
only two Z-3's and a single M3.
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