Motoring / Motoring News
With The Citizen Motoring’s usual operations put on hold due to the current national lockdown, performing our usual high performance road tests are simply not possible. However, we have every intention of keeping petrolheads and enthusiasts interested during these times and for this we require the reserve gear.
I have been sniffling through my archives and discovered some interesting numbers in his detailed records from the last 16 years. For some light entertainment and an interesting glimpse into how things have evolved over time, we have compiled a list of the Top 10 fastest cars – in terms of 0 to 100 km/h – for every year dating back to 2004. We are rolling these out over the course of the lockdown.
Two-thousand-and-eleven was the first year that all the entries in the Top 10 broke the five-second barrier. And every single car on this list came had automatic transmission of some sort as machines were starting to replace man in the quest for ever better performance numbers. Audi’s TT RS Coupe, with a manual transmission, went from a 5.11 second run to a much improved 4.39, proving that the piece of flesh between the seat and the steering wheel is the weak link in going fast.
Nissan’s power-enhanced 390 kW GT-R went top this time with a much-improved time of 3.43 sec. Porsche’s superfast family car, the Panamera Turbo S, came in second with a time of 3.77 sec and as per usual, a Mercedes-AMG featured prominently, this time in the form of the CLS 63 AMG, that came in third with a time of 4.43sec.
I remember a quirky story around the Panamera test. On the same morning I tested this car, I also did a test for a private client on a sports coupe that he had imported a bolt-on twin turbo kit for and it was said to be producing almost double the power and torque at 470 kW (245 kW) and 600 Nm (363 Nm). Make no mistake; it was a lot quicker than standard, but the expected three-second time from 0 to 100 km/h could not be achieved as the best the modified car could do was 4.65 sec.
There was general unhappiness from the owner and I even removed myself from the driver’s seat and allowed him, who knew his car ‘better than I do’, to try a few runs of his own, but 4.65 was as good as it got. When I clocked 3.77 sec with the standard Panamera that was heavier and with less power at 400 kW, albeit with all-wheel-drive, the lack of belief was at a real high.
So, I stuck the owner in the Porsche next to me and showed him the amount of brutal grip and intense urge you require to run a high three, never mind a three flat. Pulling a max of 1.2G of force off the line, and the numbers backed up on the test equipment for him to see, the owner went home knowing he had some homework to do if he was going to go around drilling Porsches.
What also emerged in 2011 was the war between the big sedans in BMW’s M5 and Mercedes-Benz’s E63 AMG. Both were now running big capacity V8 twin turbo engines, lots of power and torque and with lightning quick double clutch gearboxes. They were fast and a little “interesting” to drive in anger with the traction control switched off, as they were still rear-wheel-drive only.
Volkswagen’s giant killing twins, the Scirocco R and Golf R debuted with 188kW/350Nm. Ironically, it was the front-wheel-drive Scirocco that just edged the all-wheel-drive Golf with a time of 5.96 to 6.27 sec. The 184 kW Renault Megane Sport came in third with a 6.71 sec run and Alfa Romeo’s 173 kW Giulietta 1750TBi further back with a 7.63.
The most disappointing car of the year by a country mile was Subaru’s Impreza WRX STI fitted with a heavily tranquilised five-speed automatic gearbox. Although still making 221kW/407Nm, and looking the part, you would have to take the first turn off on the main road if you ran into the likes of a Volkswagen Polo GTI or even a BMW 118i, because its 0 to 100 km/h time of 8.29 seconds was dismal to say the least.
Mark Jones is The Citizen Motoring’s Road Test Editor. All his data has been obtained up on the Reef using the world recognised test facility of Gerotek, located West of Pretoria. He has always followed the same test procedure and makes use of the world standard in road test data equipment Racelogic VBOX.
For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.