Are German automakers breaking their self-imposed speed limit? Under a avoluntary agreement, all German manufacturers except Porsche electronically limit the top speed of their models to 250 kilometers per hour.
But the pact may be on the verge of collapse. Insiders at DaimlerChrysler say the future SLR supercar might not be limited. And at the recent presentation of the Audi RS4, all test cars easily exceeded 250 kph.
Audi-owned Lamborghini does not limit top speeds of its vehicles. And Volkswagen AG is contradictory about its new D1 premium model. Company Chairman Ferdinand Piech has insisted that the D1 be able to overtake a Mercedes S class 'in every aspect.'
Even the most powerful M version of BMW cars now are electronically limited to 250 kph, but one BM executive said that might change if competitors exceed the limit. 'Politically, it would be the wrong signal if th evoluntary restriction ceases,' the executive said. 'But we are aware of th etrend in the industry. As a brand with a very dynamic, sporty image, BMW could not ignore it if the agreement was permanently undermined.'