Finally! Somebody is speaking up.
A few months ago we learned Germany is seriously considering an initiative that would see speed restrictions placed on sections of its famed Autobahn. Needless to say, speed enthusiasts were not at all pleased, but the German government believes reducing speeds in certain areas to 80 mph will help improve safety, according to a Reuters report earlier this year. Following last month’s heatwave throughout Europe, you can bet there’ll be even more support for additional C02-reduction policies. Zero speed limits is a likely target (safety advocates are also pushing for this legislation). And now there’s at least one automaker speaking out against this.
Australia’s Which Car recently interviewed Alpina CEO Andreas Bovensiespen and he made his opinion on the subject very clear. "The rumors of speed limiters and the end of de-restricted autobahns are getting louder for 2025; I hope this is far from us now,” he said.
This is not only a car cultural change but also one that can have a direct threat on Alpina’s bottom line. "Initially we’d expect a dip in sales (if a new law is passed). In the first place, it will hurt every fast-car manufacturer… but I think ultimately people will still want to buy performance cars. It’s like buying an expensive watch; I think people will always enjoy buying expensive, fast cars.” Alpina has had a long-time relationship with BMW involving heavy modifications to popular models such as the 3 Series, 5 Series, and 7 Series.
But there would certainly be some buyers who’d question making such a purchase if they can’t go as fast as they want. Alpina’s concerns are legitimate. If speed limitations do go into effect, Bovensiespen also points out another drawback performance car enthusiasts won’t like.
"If there are speed limiters I think the majority of cars will get a much lower quality in suspension. The German manufactures will say ‘oh, why should we invest so much money in suspension if there’s hardly any difference if you can go no faster than 75 mph. In that case, you don’t need five-link suspension etc.,” he said.
Bovensiespen also believes tire technology could be negatively affected because lower speeds would create the need for less rolling resistance and higher fuel economy taking priority over grip. This could potentially be dangerous on wet surfaces which could increase the risk of an accident.
While there will always be demand for fast cars, Alpina’s concerns are still justified and it will be up to German politicians to decide what will happen next.