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Car and Driver: New Speed Limits Coming to the Autobahn in the Home State of Porsche, Mercedes

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Germany’s speed-unrestricted autobahn occupies a special place in the mind of most auto enthusiasts, and much of the German populace as well. But of course, not everyone is a fan. One of those opponents with the power to enforce his will is the traffic minister for the state of Baden-Württemberg—home of Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Audi’s Quattro GmbH, and auto supplier Bosch. And that state is now planning to impose a new 75-mph speed limit on further portions of its autobahn network.

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Winfried "Winne" Hermann at work.

Winfried “Winne” Hermann with his preferred mode of transport.

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Traffic minister Winfried “Winne” Hermann of the Green Party says that the additional speed limits are a “trial”—which he intends to hold for a whopping four years. And he has selected stretches that are representative of large portions of the German network, with the intention of using the findings to call for a general speed limit in Germany. The move has garnered a lot of attention in the German media.

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The changes, planned to take place next May, affect another 10 percent of Baden-Württemberg’s network, which is already partially regulated. In Germany as a whole, about 30 percent of the autobahn is speed-limited; the figure in Baden-Württemberg is similar.

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The German auto industry is alarmed, as the reputation of German cars relies strongly on their autobahn-bred engineering. Designed to travel at triple-digit speeds all day, they emphasize performance, durability, and high-speed stability.

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An attempt in 2013 by Germany’s Green Party to float the idea of a national 75-mph speed limit went nowhere; here’s hoping that the latest ministrations meet a similar end.

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