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Speed-Limited Cars: Yes Or No?

Wed Oct 02, 2002 7:59 pm

The "gentleman's-agreement" among German manufacturers to limit all cars to 250 km/h is about to break. The Mercedes-owned AMG changes the limit of the SL 55 AMG to 280 km/h (It could do more than 300, but the tires are only certified for 280) and VW is thinking about dropping it for the Phaeton W12 and the Audi RS6. BMW says that they obey at the moment, however if other manufacturers won't obey it in the future, they will remover the limiter in the M cars, in the X5 4.6is and in the 7er series, too.

If you ask me, it's a matter of time until the manufacturers decide on one of their regular meetings to end the gentleman's agreement. German manufacturers have reacted to the invasion of asian cars by producing better and more luxuriantly high-quality cars, and they did very well with that strategy. IMHO removing the limiter is just the next logical step. I doubt that it's a big risk, most people will never bring their car to the limit, it's just the good feeling that they could if they wanted to. And you can't really do these speeds anywhere expect on the Autobahn and on a race track legally.

What's your opinion on this issue, should cars be limited or not ? Trucks are a different case, I support the EU limiting all trucks.
Sabena 690
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RE: Speed-Limited Cars: Yes Or No?

Wed Oct 02, 2002 8:45 pm

I don't like it.

They have to stop the ones who ride 100 km/h on a way of 50 km/h, not the ones who ride 60 on a road with a limited speed of 50.

Matt D
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RE: Speed-Limited Cars: Yes Or No?

Wed Oct 02, 2002 10:12 pm

Relax. If the Government really wanted us to have speed-governed vehicles (and cared about stopping the "speeding" plague), they would've done it years ago. Not only would all cars have governers limiting the speed to 65MPH, but the tampering with one would've become a Federal offense.

Rest assured, there will not be speed restricted passenger vehicles sold in the USA anytime soon (if ever).

The reason is simple economics:


Speeders and other traffic offenses are the bread and butter of our judicial system. Without going into a long dissertation as to why, just trust me when I say that if speeders were to go away tomorrow, our entire court system would collapse, massive unemployment would begin, and our taxes would be raised to the moon.

So no speed restricted vehicles in the USA anytime soon.
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RE: Speed-Limited Cars: Yes Or No?

Wed Oct 02, 2002 11:22 pm


it's not that any government want to limit the speed (I think you make a good point about speeding tickets), it were the car manufacturers themselves who decided to limit their cars to 250 km/h.
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RE: Speed-Limited Cars: Yes Or No?

Wed Oct 02, 2002 11:32 pm

Matt, hate to break this to you... but most cars sold in the US are equipped with governors. But this is not to keep you from speeding. Most governors are designed to keep the car below speeds for which the original equipment tires are designed for.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
Matt D
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RE: Speed-Limited Cars: Yes Or No?

Wed Oct 02, 2002 11:42 pm

I've never heard anything of that. Can anyone else substantiate that?

What kind of governer are you talking about? Something that limits the car to <150MPH or something like that?

If that were the case, then it really doesn't matter. Even your most brazen speeders here (like the ones you see on I-15 between Barstow and Las Vegas) seldom exceed 120.

I'm referring to governers similar to those found on Semi-Tractors, that limit the speed to only 55 or 65.

THOSE are the ones you'll likely never see.
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RE: Speed-Limited Cars: Yes Or No?

Thu Oct 03, 2002 12:27 am

Most of our buses are governed somewhere around 60. Driving on the freeway (limit 55) is quite peaceful actually. My previous schedule had a deadhead trip where I'd get on the freeway and go for a ways and have to make an exit to the left. So I would just swing over to the far left lane as soon as I cold and keep it there with the petal to the metal. It was a blast watching all the suburbanites in their SUVs bust balls to get around me in the right lane since I was only going a mere 5 mph over the limit.
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RE: Speed-Limited Cars: Yes Or No?

Thu Oct 03, 2002 12:44 am

The new Mercedesses have an adjustable limiter. I never use it here in Germany, because doing up to 20 km/h over the limit is OK, financially-wise.

But last weekend, I had to drive diagonally through Austria. I didn´t want to break their 130 km/h limit one bit, because Austrian cops are said to be not very kind towards Germans. Anyway, meticulously maintaining one speed level over hours is very tiring and gives you cramped feet. So I set the limiter to 130 km/h, floored the pedal and relaxed. I really came to appreciate this invention.

Concerning the 250 km/h general limiters: I couldn´t care less, I have reached this level only once so far, and I don´t live to go faster than that. I´m fine and comfortable with 220 km/h give or take.

Daniel Smile
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RE: Speed-Limited Cars: Yes Or No?

Thu Oct 03, 2002 12:59 am

To be fair Racko, it is only the German manufacturers who have this "gentlemen's agreement". For example, I think TVR or Ferrari would rather remove their kidneys with a spoon that limit their top speeds. And limiting it to 155 mph is pretty pointless anyway. So I don't really see why it is a topic of argument amongst them - nor indeed, why they did it in the first place.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
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RE: Speed-Limited Cars: Yes Or No?

Thu Oct 03, 2002 2:32 am

Why not just get a car with cruise control Airsicknessbag? It's much more practical than having to adjust the speed governor. Anyway, I agree with you that anything over 220kph on a public highway is pure madness. I've gone as fast as about 210kph, but then I realized it was just too dangerous to maintain this speed any longer than a minute or so. I think the perfect compromise between speed and safety is somewhere between 160-170kph (100-105mph).
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RE: Speed-Limited Cars: Yes Or No?

Thu Oct 03, 2002 2:48 am


TVR and Ferrari are Sports-car manufacturers - so is Porsche, and Porsche does not limit their cars either.

I don't really know why the other manufacturers did it in first place, maybe because there was a "green movement" in Germany of environment-savers and they were afraid of the Government forcing them to limit their cars. (The Government will never do this, nor will they introduce a speed-limit on the Autobahn, but maybe they feared a government could get this sick idea.)
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RE: Speed-Limited Cars: Yes Or No?

Thu Oct 03, 2002 8:41 am


All BMWs have speed limiters, mine was set to 118mph, some are at 125mph, most are just there to prevent you from damaging any part of the car.
At worst, you screw up and die.
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RE: Speed-Limited Cars: Yes Or No?

Thu Oct 03, 2002 1:54 pm

The gentlemen's agreement had a lot to do with environmental issues, along with others as well, I'm sure. And Matt D, there are many cars these days, not just the Germans that have governors. My dad's Passat for instance is governed to 130 mph, which is what H rated tires are good for anyways. Most BMW's are governed to 130 as well, and many American vehicles I've seen rated to 112 or something like that.
"it's kind of like an Airbus, it's an engineering marvel, but there's no sense of passion" -- J. Clarkson re: Coxster
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RE: Speed-Limited Cars: Yes Or No?

Thu Oct 03, 2002 2:20 pm

There's actually a good reason for the speed governors--to avoid exceeding the limit of your tires.

What is not so well-known is that many smaller European cars have 180 km/h (112 mph) or 190 km/h (118 mph) speed limiters to prevent exceeding the SR or TR speed ratings of tires.

I think you will still see a speed limit of sorts on German cars, but the limit will be raised from 250 km/h to 270 km/h (155 to 168 mph). This is due to the fact that modern high-speed tires can now safely run at 168 mph all day without damage.

It's going to be fun to have Porsche 911 drivers no longer being able to regularly out-run BMW M3 or Mercedes-Benz C32 Kompressor drivers, since with the "gentlemen's agreement" removed the M3 and C32 Kompressor will easily keep up with the current model 911 all the way up to the top speed limit (around 270-275 km/h).
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RE: Speed-Limited Cars: Yes Or No?

Fri Oct 04, 2002 1:34 am

My biggest gripe about limiters are the buses in HK. The 6-speed Tridents have them so the 6th gear is a joke. This is why it takes ages to get to the airport.....

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RE: Speed-Limited Cars: Yes Or No?

Sat Oct 05, 2002 7:20 am

I´ve tried out cruise control as well, Hepkat, but I liked the limiter better:

if I want to slow down without braking I just need to raise my foot off the accelerator pedal, which is my natural reaction. If I have cruise control activated, I need to disable it first.

If I have to brake, I want my feet at the pedals. Cruise control would make undisciplined people (read: "ME") place their feet too far away from the brake.

If an emergency arises, I don´t want to have to think through lots of things before I react – I´d rather act according to my instincts. Hence, cruise control is just too much "food for thought" for me and would put me in a situation to which I´m not accustomed.

Daniel Smile

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