Features

How Much Quicker Can Cars Get?

October’s issue includes our annual 20 Questions feature. You can find these and 18 other questions–and answers–there.

In 1990, the quickest production vehicle we tested was a 285-hp GMC Syclone that tagged 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. The quickest car we have tested since is the 887-hp Porsche 918 Spyder. It can hit 60 mph in 2.1 seconds. A 1.0-second 60-mph time would have to average 2.74 g’s, and the initial launch spike—from standstill to roughly 15 mph—would be much greater and could cause people to gray out, as you might on a high-g roller coaster. A 1.5-second 60-mph dash equates to a much more manageable 1.82 g’s but would still require tires with roughly 50 percent more grip than today’s best. You’ll know we’ve run out of things to say about superquick acceleration when we start reporting 60-mph times to the hundredth of a second.

When Will We See a Sub-2.0-Second Car?

when will we see a sub 20 second car

Illustration by Moron EelCar and Driver

We’d guess five years* from now. Increased traction and not engine or motor power will be the key to breaking the 2.0-second mark in a production car. Drag cars prove that quicker acceleration is possible, and some of those tactics have trickled into road cars (launch control is becoming mainstream, plus the many go-fast aids seen in niche variants such as the Dodge Demon). But progress will slow, and we’ll be celebrating ever smaller gains. The next gen of hypercars will likely crack into the high-one-second range with the next iteration of street-legal rubber.

*After this was written, Tesla claimed the upcoming Model S Plaid will get to 60 mph in less than two seconds.

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