Germany is the land of the free when it comes to driving — one endless, luscious, bouncy ribbon of delimited highways. If one could find a 300-mph car, one could drive at 300mph; that's the glossy image projected around the world. But Germany's relationship to highway speed is changing. Already the road to glory is punctuated by restricted zones patrolled by unmarked cars. Participants in a recent Gumball event faced a breathalyser and a stern warning when it got to Germany. They were not to go mad on these roads. The remaining, derestricted parts of the autobahn are now under threat from an environmental standpoint, too, with the plastic-sandal brigade pointing out that cars, at flat chat, use copious amounts of fuel. While that may be correct in terms of physics and chemistry, it's still annoying and looks set to sound the death knell for flat-out motoring in the end.
There is a bizarre form of social awareness, too. If you speed up and down the wrong section of road, you can expect to find the Polizei waiting for a chat — alerted by the locals.
Having done just that in 9ff's 910-hp — yes, really — 997 Cabriolet, I was confronted with a very gruff man in uniform. At least he gave up after speaking fruitlessly in German, relenting only to tell me in ice-cold English that they had ways of checking my speed.
Now that simply wasn't true, but it sounds right when a man with a heavy moustache and a firearm is telling you. He really wasn't happy.
Of course I had seen them coming and trundled back well below the 70 kph (43 mph) limit I had barely registered before. It felt like a walking pace, and it was on a straight road, but I still felt like I had invaded their nation the way they reacted.
It was always going to be tricky to keep this piece of 911-based firebreathing lunacy out of trouble as it was. It has enough raw power to make the tires spin on the rim at speeds of up to 150 mph.
A few seconds of acceleration was all it took to leave the speed limit far behind and this was a car that was a nightmare to contain. Not because it was difficult on low revs, considering what they've done to the thing it drives through town with no complaint.
Once it hits 4000 rpm, though, this insanely fast creation just shoots down the road as if carried by elastic and can stay with the Ferrari Enzo and Pagani Zonda F. And it was wobbling like a shot foal the whole way through the first three gears when pressing on the gas. It's hilarious...
The only problem is that this car is louder than the last moments of Pompeii, a sports exhaust, that much power and a bassline determined for a certain kind of customer left us driving something marginally quieter than a detonating missile. Easyjet's 737s landed by our side yet three people called the police to discuss our car.
After a lengthy discussion with the increasingly relaxed policeman, he agreed it was the sports exhaust that was at fault and our offense sounded far worse than it really was. Our part of the bargain was to agree our test of a car that went on to claim the title of the World's fastest convertible with a 238 mph run at Nardo was over, immediately.
That relatively innocuous looking soft-top is now winning drag races in Eastern Europe, but it did serve to highlight that even Germany has its limits. And if you're going to speed, make sure you do it in the right place. And in a quiet car.
[Birmingham, UK-based Nick Hall's Car Hack's Notebook column runs whenever he has a free moment between flogging exotic tuners and supercars on European highways and test tracks. Right now, he's between sips of sherry cocktail in his favorite chaise lounge, positioned somewhere in southern Spain.]
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