As a species, humans clearly have a need for speed. Since our ancestors hopped on horses, we have found ways to exponentially increase our fairly feeble, bipedal way of getting around. We’ve gone all the way from four hoofs to four-engine jumbo jets. But let’s face it, unless you’re a test pilot or an astronaut, the best way to thoroughly exorcise your speed demon within is behind the wheel. To that end, there is a remarkably engineered system of concrete around the planet, but not all highways are created equal when it comes to really putting the pedal to the metal. Germany’s Autobahn is a given, but you might be surprised where else you can really push it. These are the five roads with the highest speed limits in the world.
Saudi Arabian Fast Tracks
Saudi Arabia has set speed limits on certain remote highways to 140 kph, or right around 87 mph. Visiting drivers with a hankering for high velocity can hit top speed on the designated routes between Mecca and Medina, Medina and Jeddah, Riyadh and Taif, Riyadh and Gassim, and Riyadh and Dammam. Sixt Rent a Car proffers German luxury cars, which should do the trick getting up to speed on those long, exhilarating stretches of desert highway. RentalCars.com offers similar makes and models, and both allow for airport pickup with reasonable rates. For example, after landing in Riyadh, you can enjoy a high-octane day on a sun-drenched drive behind the wheel of a 5-Series BMW sports sedan for less than $175 per day from Rentalcars.com, with pickup available on arrival at King Khalid International Airport.
Pushing 90 in Poland
Poland’s Autostrada A2 is a modern motorway and toll road with many long sections designated at a top speed of 140 kph, a shade below 90 mph. Running east to west through central Poland, the A2 proceeds from the Polish-German border in Swiecko/Frankfurt -- where it links with the German A12 autobahn -- through Poznan and Lodz to Warsaw. The highway is part of European Route E30, which connects Berlin to Moscow. In 2014, the A2 received its official title, Autostrada Wolności, or “motorway of freedom.” Drivers can let their Polish freedom flag fly in the BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Ferrari of their choice through Rent Luxe Car Warsaw. For further, future Poland fast lanes, an eastward extension of the A2, from Warsaw to the border with Belarus, is in the works.
Blazing Through Bulgaria
While Bulgaria’s capital of Sofia is steeped in more than 2,000 years of Greek, Roman, Ottoman and Soviet history amidst medieval churches, it’s also the epicenter of modern infrastructure in the country. Sofia is the launching point for Bulgaria’s only two completely constructed high-speed highways. At 140 km, which is just under 87 mph, the speed limit on these modern motorways calls for a quick ride. VIP Cars offers rentals worldwide, including out of Sofia, from where you can hop on either of the high speed roads, one leading to Burgas on the Black Sea, the other to Svilengrad on the border of Turkey and Greece.
Stompin’ on the Gas in Texas, United States
Wide open spaces, and miles to go in a big hurry? No problem in parts of Texas. The Lone Star State -- known for doing everything big -- now has the highest speed limit in the U.S. Drivers cruising the 40-something lonesome miles (cue howling coyotes) between Austin and San Antonio are now able to drive legally at 85 mph. That’s right, 85 is now the highest speed limit on a U.S. highway -- a far cry from back when Sammy Hagar was whining about going 55. If you’re not local, picking up a pristine ride at the airport for a high-speed spin is an easy enough option. Dream Rentals San Antonio has a wide selection of fast, flashy fenders, including a Ferrari 360 four-hour rental for just $189.
A Velocity-Fueled Adventure on the Autobahn, Germany
Sleek, elegant curves are a hallmark of German engineering. The first thought, of course, is luxury autos, but the curves in this case are part of the high-speed freeway design that lets those cars hold the road safely at high speed on the Autobahn. It’s the only roadway in the world that technically has no officially enforced speed limit, but the Autobahn suggested speed is 130 kph, or a tortoise-pace 81 mph. It might not sound that fast, but consider the perceived buffer. Most of us think nothing of going a bit over the limit, and in a 65 mph zone. That only puts you at 75. Add 10 to 81 and you’re darn near the century mark on the speedometer. For those of us used to speeds such as 65 or 70 mph, when you approach 100 mph, things get more exhilarating. To get behind the wheel in Berlin and mix it up with local drivers in the fast lane, employ Europe Luxury Car Hire. The service lets you indulge in complimentary pastries and coffee while awaiting delivery of your luxury ride in the posh airport lounge. And remember, 130 kph is only the “suggested” limit.