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0-60 time is the gold standard in automotive performance. It's the first thing an enthusiast looks at when presented with a car's stats, and typically trumps all others. Top speed is all but completely irrelevant in most cases, while the quarter mile is only valued in drag-racing circles. Attempts have been made to substitute something more all-encompassing, like the 0-100-0 acceleration/braking test, but it hasn't replaced the old 0-60. Lap times around a given course might be more useful for comparison, but unless every manufacturer tested on the same track, that falls to pieces. At the end of the day, 0-60 is where it's at, but as Forbes points out, it's not the most reliable or useful performance indicator.

In most cases, it takes ideal conditions – including a professional driver – to hit sixty in the time specified. As a result, some manufacturers quote conservative figures so as not to disappoint customers who can't manage the quoted time. Further confusing the situation, some automakers prefer to quote acceleration time in kilometers, but while the 0-100 km/h (62mph) standard might be very close to the mark, in acceleration times every millisecond counts.

It may be the gold standard, but even gold has its imperfections.

[Source: Forbes Autos]



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  • 22 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      This list is obviously not complete, they list the Lamborghini Gallardo as one of the fastest cars but I dont see the Murciélago even on the list, and that car is much faster then the Gallardo.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I drive a RSX, which I can coax a flat 7 seconds out of to sixty. Faster than most, but more importantly it feels fast and nimble, even when I drive it at 30mph. It's a fun car. I also have a Saab 9-3 2.0t, which does 60 in about 9.5 seconds, and because of its loose rear suspension, it actually feels faster accelerating because it throws you back in the seat. Satisfying when passing on the interstate. But of course not quite as nimble.

      People regularly buy cars sight unseen, sans testdrive, from dealers or off of ebay, especially if it's a just released car that they have to put a down payment on, based purely on the specs. That's the difference between wanting a status and simply wanting a fun car.

      I'm currently considering the Subaru Legacy GT versus the MazdaSpeed 6. The Legacy is faster, but I have a feeling that Mazda may have the fun factor down. We'll just have to wait and see.
        • 8 Years Ago
        IMO, 40-70 is much more important than 0-60, and the Saab is one of the best at that.
      • 8 Years Ago
      0 to 60 mph is a good indicator to see the differences in acceleration among competing cars. It's also interesting to observe how performance has improved over the decades.

      The popular V8 cars with A/T in the 1950s and 60s were considered fast if they went from 0 to 60 in 12 seconds. That would be pokey acceleration today.

      In my opinion, anything under 11 seconds is fast enough--heavy traffic usually prohibits going nearly that fast anyway, and rapid acceleration just for the heck of it wastes expensive gasoline.

      Some people insist that very fast cars are safer, so they buy a V8 or a V6 when a 4 cylinder would be more than adequate for them.

      I think the safety reason for a faster car is bogus: people with fast cars take greater risks that get them into trouble more than a fast car might "save" somebody by using blazing acceleration to avert a crash.

      If you know the limits of your car and drive it intelligently, you don't need power to extricate yourself from stupidity.

      I have a more than adequately powered '04 Honda Accord 4 cylinder which goes from 0 to 60 in 9 seconds. That's a tenth of a second FASTER than the '72, V8 Buick Skylark I once owed, and that Buick was plenty fast in its day, and would be more than adequate in power now.

      I'd like to know how many people who ACTUALLY BOUGHT V6 Accords and/or Camrys, etc. didn't even bother to test-drive a 4 cylinder version because they ASSUMED it would be too slow.

      I'd bet there are many people who haven't driven a 4 cylinder car in years and don't know how smooth, strong, and fast the best of those 4s are now.
        • 8 Years Ago
        I test drove the 4 v. 6 cylinder 2003 accords. Hated the 4 cylinder. Talk about pokey. In LA I would get run over by a semi or a bentley coupe while trying to speed up onto an onramp in a 4 cylinder car (I've seen it happen). No thanks. I don't like accords but the V6 is livable and gets better gas mileage than my Maxima.
      • 8 Years Ago
      You have to get the Accord V6 to get more robust suspension, brakes and stability control. Enough reason for the V6. In fact the only reason I got the V6 (which by the way is a dream) was for the enhanced suspension, braking and SC which were not available on the 4 cylinder models. Otherwise I agree with you the 4 banger is plenty of power for an accord.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Well and then there's quarter mile times and top speeds, which can be useful considering most on-ramps are about a quarter mile. This number requires the shift to third, and lets you know about how fast you can be going at the end of an on-ramp if need be. I doubt if any car on the market today gets through the quarter mile at under 70mph, so this is also kind of trivial.
      • 8 Years Ago
      AltairNano powered Lightning GTS is it.
      Check it out for yourself.
      EvPal
      • 8 Years Ago
      Most people won't do the drop the clutch at red line or brake torquing required to get what magazines and manufacturers get on 0-60. That's why I like what C&D does along with 0-60 - a 5-60 'street start'. It supposed to better represent what most owners would be comfortable doing in their own cars. For some cars that don't have gobs of low RPM torque, there's a significant difference.

      They have also begun doing 'lightning lap' tests at a Virginia racetrack, trying to get an overall performance benchmark that's more than just acceleration.

      0-60 is still a benchmark, but take a look at those C&D measurements for more realistic and complete evaluations of a car's performance.
      • 8 Years Ago
      right now i drive a nissan quest and let me tell ya'll, i don't really care if it's a minivan, it feels fast. it probably does 0-60 in roughly 9 seconds but it feels much faster thanks to its 240hp 350z derived v6. i agree with the above comments, as long as it feels fast and is fun to drive, it doesn't really matter how fast the car truly is. unless somebody is planning to go to the track with their car, anything that goes 0-60 in under 9 seconds is plenty adequate.
        • 8 Years Ago
        "350z derived V6"

        someone has penis envy, my oh my.
        you drive a minivan. not a 'race car inspired' minivan. just a minivan.

        and a nissan at that.

        anyway, as to the actual article; this brings to mind Ford's ad (which was quite good) w/ the father and son playing with a Mustang GT in an empty parking lot doing burnouts.

        they said it did 0-60 in 4.7s.

        yeah. freaking. right.
        • 8 Years Ago
        @tonyb

        "and a nissan at that" As if that is an insult.

        Nissan makes great performance cars, for nearly 35+ years.

        Skyline (G35, G37)
        Skyline GT-R
        Fairlady Z
        Silvia
        Fuga (M45)

        Sentra SE-R (the one from the 90s, today's SE-R is...okay)

        Maxima (before they made it look like a bar of soap, but even today's Maxima is still plenty quick)

        Altima SE-R was nice and today's Altima with the VQ is pretty quick, 270bhp.

        Save comments like that for the playerhater's ball.
        • 8 Years Ago
        tonyb, how is what he said incorrect? He never said anything about a race car, he said a 350Z derived engine which is the VQ that he has in his car. Same as someone who has an Audi S8 saying he has a Lamborghini-derived engine in his car, even though one is a sports car and the other is a giant limo.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Here is a complete List...0-60, 1/4 Mile, and Top Speed

      http://velocityresource.com/zerotosixty.aspx
      • 8 Years Ago
      The list is incomplete and terribly inaccurate. But it's Forbes, what do we expect. Why does Autoblog even continue posting this crap.
      • 8 Years Ago
      And thats the speedometer from my Mazda3 :-)
      • 8 Years Ago
      I prefer the 0-5-0 test as I like to see how fast I can tailgate in this bullsh*t NYC traffic...
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