Can you really drive as fast as you want on the Autobahn?

Well technically no, not really. Although in practice it seems as if the answer would be yes. Due to new EU directives being adopted, maximum speeds of 130 kph/80 mph is the new law although authorities generally look the other way if the vehicle is capable of handling top speeds. For example, this literally means that if road conditions are favorable and your vehicle (i.e. your Porsche or BMW) is capable of safely proceeding at speeds above 130 kph and does not appear reckless while doing so you will be permitted to carry on at those speeds. The latter designation happens to be a very subjective qualification, and it all depends on the discretion and opinion of the Polizie patrolling that highway. In general however, higher speed travel (above 130 kph) is always in furthest left lane and slower cars have no business in fast lane. By the way, the word autobahn simply means “highway” in German and as a result something of a broad term. Personally, I have witnessed cars traveling over 200 kph. Take note however, some stretches of road designate fixed speed limits which are not to be exceeded.

Normally across Europe the official speed limit is 50 kph/30 mph in town, 90 kph/55 mph outside of town, and 130 km/80 mph on motorways and seat belts are compulsory as are motorcycle helmets. For the official German Autobahn website, visit (click English toolbar in lower right hand corner).