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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
The E9X is the 4th evolution of the BMW 3 series including a highly tuned twin turbo 335i variant pushing out 300hp and 300 ft. lbs. of torque. BMW continues to show that it sets the bar for true driving performance! -- View the E9X Wiki

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  #1  
Old 04-21-2009, 12:37 PM
swartzentruber swartzentruber is offline
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Quick question, need quick answer from ED'ers on radar detector

Traveling to Germany tomorrow, and was just wondering if it's worth taking a radar detector. I was planning to, but someone told me it was mostly speed cameras there, which radar detectors won't help with (unless it's one of the brand new ones with the camera database, but I don't have that). Quick opinions? I have both a escort solo2 (cordless) and a V1, which I know has some European frequencies that can be enabled on it, but I'm not sure if they are used in Germany.

We are actually not ED'ing (originally planning to, but decided to jump on a 335xi last fall), but will be renting a car, and driving from Frankfurt, to Munich, to Berlin, to Wolfburg, to Amsterdam, then back to Frankfurt. We will be visiting BMW Welt and getting a tour. Feel free to chime in with other useful advice, but what I really want to know ASAP is whether it's worth taking the detector or not. I don't want to drag it over, and find out it does nothing for me. Thank!
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  #2  
Old 04-21-2009, 12:55 PM
German Expat German Expat is offline
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Not worth at all.
Radar detectors are illegal in Germany and the fines are quite high. A lot of Autobahn's have no speed limit in any case and in the sections that have the traffic might be quite heavy. You will have plenty of unlimited roads anyway.

But on a rental you might not get that fast a car anyway, I had a A3 diesel from Avis just this weekend and it gave up with around 210 km/h showing. A lot of times I get way slower cars but if you want to spend the money you can rent a Porsche.

Just stay within reason on the speed limit, drive a maximum of 30 km/h faster (outside city limits) and the fines are reasonable.
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Old 04-21-2009, 12:56 PM
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cwinter cwinter is offline
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Not worth it. Like you said, most speed traps are either cameras or mobile cameras, with the mobile ones being a lot less common.

Besides that, radar detectors are illegal and you want to avoid being pulled over for displaying one and then try to explain in broken German what is going on.

BESIDES THAT, once you are on the Autobahn, you should be able to get your speed fix legally.

I'd refrain from speeding in most other places. Speed traps are most common in 70 km/h zones, if I recall right, since these are often found near intersections connecting 100 km/h and many do not slow down in those areas.

Only speeding ticket I ever got in Germany was driving the outskirts of Berlin after midnight and they clocked me going 65 in a 50 :P.
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Old 04-21-2009, 01:01 PM
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cwinter cwinter is offline
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Not worth at all.
But on a rental you might not get that fast a car anyway, I had a A3 diesel from Avis just this weekend and it gave up with around 210 km/h showing. A lot of times I get way slower cars but if you want to spend the money you can rent a Porsche.
Wow, 210 is quite something. Keep in mind that the police can easily pull you over going that fast if the rest of traffic is moving nowhere near that fast. It's tough to stay safe at 210 when the rest of the traffic is likely moving closer to 160.

I always found 160-180 a very good cruising speed if road and conditions permit; I'd only go over 200 for brief periods of time or if the roads are empty. Sure, a nice BMW, Porsche, or Audi will feel solid as a rock even at those speeds but you have someone weaving in your lane because they couldn't see you rocket up on them so fast when they checked their mirror. At that point, you get a taste for just how fast you are going and it's pretty darn scary.
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  #5  
Old 04-21-2009, 01:13 PM
German Expat German Expat is offline
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I moved from Germany to the US in 2001 and my last car in Germany was a 7 series BMW.

There are plenty of people going 200+ on long stretches (mainly BMW, Audi and Mercedes) but I do agree that it is not very safe when you are not used to it and do it the first time.

The road was not empty but not this full either (driving from Deggendorf to Munich airport past the BMW factory in Dingolfing). It gets very narrow above 200 though and you need to look way ahead and be on the lookout for people changing lanes because the speed difference can be quite staggering.

If the road allows I tend to go whatever the (rental) car limits me to on the (non speed restricted) stretches of Autobahn. I am always amused to see people complaining that the 328i has not enough horsepower compared to a 335i and then I end up with a 320d in Germany and go way faster then most people with their 335's every do in the US.
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Old 04-21-2009, 02:10 PM
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Don't bother, unless you have a V1 and want to risk a ticket to experiment with the Ku band or whatever.

My 118i rental had plenty of power to go at 200km/h, but I didn't feel like pushing my luck with the 210km/h limiter with a full load of luggage in the boot. I honestly don't know what's the big deal or fuss about driving in Germany. I thought it was as easy and relaxing as a head massage and it came naturally to me.

The tailgating on the A8 is something I will always remember (among many other things). Everyone was tailgating at 130 km/h........in the middle of a blinding downpour. Of course, I had to do the same as well In America, people drive about 7 when it starts to pour..........
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Last edited by AzNMpower32; 04-21-2009 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 04-21-2009, 02:29 PM
swartzentruber swartzentruber is offline
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Wow guys, thanks a lot for the really good and quick responses. I had no idea it was actually illegal to have one, and definitely don't want to risk it since there should be plenty of places to legally go faster. Thanks for the advice about the 70km/hr zones. I also heard from a friend to watch out for the overhead speed signs, that will have changing speed limits based on conditions.
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Old 04-21-2009, 03:03 PM
JakeBaker JakeBaker is offline
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It's also important to know how to read roadway "priority" signs in towns. For the most part, you'll find those, instead of "yield" signs.
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Old 04-21-2009, 03:26 PM
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It's also important to know how to read roadway "priority" signs in towns. For the most part, you'll find those, instead of "yield" signs.
Actually, the yield signs are part of the priority signs. Yield Triangle = yield, and Yellow diamond = Right of Way. You'll find those two instead of stop signs, which are inefficient.
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Old 04-21-2009, 03:32 PM
JakeBaker JakeBaker is offline
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You're right. I meant that, in most places, you won't see USA-style "yield" signs. But you will surely see signs that mean you gotta yield!

Just like you won't see USA-style "no left turn" signs. But you will surely see signs (up-and-right white arrows on blue circle) telling you you can't turn left.
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  #11  
Old 04-21-2009, 03:44 PM
German Expat German Expat is offline
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Most of the signs are pretty self explanatory. One issue you can run into is residential areas where there are no signs and then the person on the 'right side' has the right of way.
This can be quite confusing if you are not used to it.

If you are bored here is a decent explanation of the different signs for right of way :

http://www.gettingaroundgermany.info/regeln.htm#row
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Old 04-21-2009, 06:23 PM
JakeBaker JakeBaker is offline
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As OP mentioned driving to Amsterdam, it might be useful to review the three basic rules of driving there:
1. Bicycles have right of way.
2. Bicycles have right of way.
3. Bicycles have right of way.
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Old 04-21-2009, 07:42 PM
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cwinter cwinter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeBaker View Post
As OP mentioned driving to Amsterdam, it might be useful to review the three basic rules of driving there:
1. Bicycles have right of way.
2. Bicycles have right of way.
3. Bicycles have right of way.
AND, bicyclists know they have the right of way and are not afraid to use it.

Also true for most large German cities, particularly Berlin.
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