The Road to Sélestat – Driving the BMW 520d Sedan – Review and Test Drive

By Christian Stampfer on 1 July 2011
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Sélestat, also known as the city of Schlettstadt, is a small town located in north-eastern France, in the province of Alsace-Lorraine (Elsaß-Lothringen). The cities of Freiburg (Germany) and Strasbourg (France) are only a drive of 40 km (24.8 miles) away.

Sélestat is home to nearly 20.000 inhabitants and offers its visitors a number of cultural sightseeing opportunities. Sélestat’s most important cultural treasure is the Humanist Library (Bibliothèque Humaniste), which dates back to the year 1441. It contains a collection of books and prints, ranging from the 15th to the 18th century.

In the course of its eventful history, Sélestat, as well as the entire Alsace-Lorraine area, was ruled multiple times by France as well as by the Holy Roman Empire.. My drive to Sélestat, along with TDD Editor Jonathan Spira, was also my first visit to France.

My journey with the BMW 520d sedan had started in Munich.  I had driven to Frankfurt to pick up Jonathan and we first stopped in Eltville, where we stayed for two nights at the Kempinski Schloß Reinhartshausen.  From Eltville, the drive to Sélestat was 266 km (165.2 miles).

The interchange of the Rhein-Main-Schnellweg (another name for the Autobahn A66) was very close to Eltville, so we were almost immediately on the Autobahn. Jonathan was driving and enjoying the light traffic and absence of a speed limit.  We soon switched onto the A643 and the A60. We only stayed on these three sections for a few minutes and then continued our drive at the Kreuz Mainz-Süd (Mainz South interchange) via the A63 towards Sélestat, heading in a south-westerly direction.

The A63 is practically brand new. The last section, connecting the Saarland with France, was finished in October 2004. After a drive of 32 km (20 miles) on the A63, we changed to the A61. Via the A61 we passed Mannheim to the east and at Kreuz Mutterstadt we reached our last route section. The A65 would take us on a drive of 60 km (37.2 miles) towards the Bundesstraße 9. The B9 dates back to roman times and was used as one of the main roads in the western part of Germany in Roman Empire times.

The last 10 km (6.2 miles) of the B9 took us to the French border near Lauterbourg mid afternoon. At that point, the BMW 520d was using 7.7 l/100 km (30.55 mpg) after a drive of 152 km (94.4 miles). Since, except for the very beginning, our maximum speed was limited most of the time to 120 km/h (every Autobahn had two lanes + emergency lane), we only achieved an average speed of 127.2 km/h (79 mph).

Click here to continue to Page 2 – Driving the Alsace Highway and Virtual Drives

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