How German Magazines Test

To German motoring magazines, comparing cars is more a matter of scientific researches than one of expressing feelings, impressions or disappointments. They explore them just as an unknown phenomenon and don't believe, unlike other countries' publications, in auto manufacturers' claims.

By the use of precise high-tech measuring instruments, acceleration, flexibility and fuel consumption are exactly determined as well as deceleration rates with cold and warm brakes. Extreme stress at high speed driving on the German autobahn requires fade-free brake systems which is why German mags check out how good cars decelerate after 10 full brake applications from 100 km/h. All that gives evidence of cars' quality and reveals what brochures conceal. Even the noise level inside a vehicle is ascertained exactly.

However top speed isn't checked since the 1980's because it has turned out that automakers' claims are correctly done and furthermore, top speed of cars has increased in the last years, and subsequently the number of vehicles which are governed to 250km/h so that it finally would just be a test to find out if speed limiters work correctly. But, in case that a specification is not credible, top speed is checked too, which admittedly occurs very rarely.

By means of special conversion factors, adapted to the respective class' requirements and expectations, a specific score is worked out to depict in numbers how good a car is on the several fields. Achieving top score presupposes perfection and the conversion factors are permanently updated according to new technologies and changed standards.

Recent revaluation refers to luxury cars. As Mercedes & Co offer executive saloons generating over 400hp, the German magazines want them to brake as super sports cars, no matter how heavy weighted such vehicles are. Means, now they have to decelerate as abruptly as a Ferrari Enzo or a Porsche Carrera GT to reach top score.

< contents