By on January 13, 2017

gibraltar_g1_tesla_motors_model_s

Earlier today, one of the commenters on Bark’s article reiterated the oft-discredited claim that the Tesla P-whatever-D in “Ludicrous Mode” is the quickest production vehicle. Listen — I think the Tesla is a great car, and I accept that there is probably some highly-specific situation in which it’s the quickest production sedan.

But quickest production vehicle? No fuggin’ way. It would be the fifth-quickest vehicle in my garage, if I owned one…. and I don’t have a particularly quick set of vehicles.

Let’s start by throwing out the ridiculous idea of using a 0-60 time to determine “quickest.” That won’t even get you to freeway speed. At the very least, we’ve got to use the traditional American measurement of the standing quarter. The best quarter-mile time I’ve seen is 10.7 seconds, courtesy of a pair of on-site generators and chargers.

That’s pretty quick for a car, but you won’t hear anybody in the Tesla community talking about trap speed, because it’s pathetic. The trap speed of the 10.7 quarter mile was 122 mph. Any garden-variety Corvette Z06 will beat that by five or six miles per hour. My wife’s C5 Corvette can trap 120, just to put that in perspective. And by the time the Tesla reaches its top speed of 155 mph, it has been left behind by pretty much every performance car you could name, including the Chevrolet SS sedan that brother Bark was recommending earlier this week.

Needless to say, even in the quarter-mile the Tesla is easy meat for supercars. The McLaren 675LT I drove last year turns the trick in 10.5 @139, which is pretty much a different universe from the P100D in the best conditions. The Ferrari 488 and Lamborghini Huracan can’t quite match that, but either of the two will put lengths on a Tesla to the quarter and disappear shortly afterwards.

Keep in mind, however, that our commenter said “production vehicles.” That includes motorcycles, you know. Feel free to wander through the Sport Rider quarter-mile times; you’ll find remarkably few bikes that cannot beat the Tesla. All of the recent 600cc bikes, including the old Yammy R6es that you can buy for $2500 out of Craigslist, turn a faster ET and a higher ET. It would be out of character for me not to mention the 9.69 @ 148.7 turned by the ZX-14R. That’s not a time I can personally match, but even in traction mode 2 with my somewhat elephantine self aboard, the big Kwacker can see off a Tesla any time it wants.

We haven’t even begun to talk about snowmobiles — some of them are quicker in the quarter-mile as well. But maybe this is the place to turn it over to the B&B: How do you define “quick”? And in your definition of the term, what’s “quickest”? Take your time; I’ll wait for you the same way my old Porsche 993 and I would wait for a Tesla driver after a fifty-mile sprint. Patiently.

[Image: Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)]

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133 Comments on “QOTD: What’s The Quickest ‘Vehicle’ Out There? (Because It’s Not A Tesla)...”


  • avatar
    mike1dog

    I don’t have any problem with Tesla, but their zero to sixty time has always had a bunch of caveats, anyway. Now, evidently they’ll slow it down if you do it too much, anyway.

    • 0 avatar

      What caveats? 0-60 is 0-60

      As for restricting speed if fast starts are repeated back to back. Compare to the Nissan GT-R Launch control. Can’t do that many times before it’s governed.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Probably the state of charge, like most things electric I’m sure performance suffers as the charge goes down. A dino juice powered car can remain fairly consistent in performamce unless it overheats ( cold runs aside ) right until it gets to the point where fuel surges away from the pick-up ( Holley has a fuel absorption mat that can allow a vehicle to practically run right down to empty before that happens or if it is in a rough enough environment with an unbaffled tank )

    • 0 avatar
      qest

      The Tesla is absolutely incredibly quick. I can’t think of any production car quicker, or faster for 7 passengers.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        That’s partly the problem with this article. We all know that when it comes down to it, there’s heaps of cars that are faster or as fast in any metric.

        Here’s the problem though, the Tesla was not designed for 1/4s or 0-60 or top speed.

        That it does these feats in near total silence, with zero emissions, with a minimal environmental footprint and with your whole family onboard and it does it with no cooldown or warmup or heatsoak is the hook or multiple ‘hooks’.

        Dont get me wrong, I do love Hellcats and supercharged V8s and McLarens but these are narrow focus machines largely of the last century as far as technology goes.

        • 0 avatar
          SaulTigh

          Assuming you have a Tesla, I wouldn’t pat yourself too hard on the back about it’s “environmental footprint” unless the base-load in your area is nuclear or hydro, or you generate using your own wind turbine. Otherwise, dreaded and evil CO2 got pumped out somewhere to push those electrons into your T.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        The 2010 CTS-V wagon runs quicker time from 60-150 mph and carries one more cubic foot of cargo.

        • 0 avatar
          ijbrekke

          I adore the V wagon. But it will only seat 5 (barely) and returns maybe 10mpg with spirited driving. It’s a fantastic vehicle, but it’s the dinosaur compared directly to the Tesla.

  • avatar
    NoID

    Charger SRT Hellcat

    Put some 295-section tires on it and learn to drive like you AREN’T in a Miata, and it’s a hilariously fun and “quick” car both in a straight line and on a road course. It won’t win any elegance points, but who cares.

    I chose the Charger over the Challenger because it has a higher top speed due to the sedan form giving it better high speed aero, and if we’re talking “quickest” I think top speed matters.

    Also, they’re designed and tested for actual tracks days (multiple outings without loss of performance), not a few hot laps by automotive journasaurs.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Gonna have to do better than 295’s to get maximum traction in a hell kitty. Those things will boil a set of 295 section width summer tires with ease. It’s going to take a dedicated drag tire of some sort to get good grip, Especially where a Tesla/Hell kitty will most likely meet up.

      Also when it comes to the 0-60 and 1/4 mile game, all things equal a taller tire will net you better traction. Wider tires are better for cornering.

      The static contact patch is weight x air pressure until a load deforms that somewhat and if the tire is wider but the same diameter the contact patch bias doesn’t significantly add to the amount rubber available to forward acceleration.

      In a case where you don’t add to the diameter it’s better to eliminate the voids in the tread and soften up the compound to enhance that bite or introduce a mechanism that places greater load on a tire or both.

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        The tire width comment was more for the road course driving, I agree for the drag strip it’d be better to go with a smaller wheel and higher aspect ratio drag slick or radial. But all that said the 295s would still help, and you can put down mid-three 0-60s and mid 11’s on the stock tire. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      If we are talking quickest, why does faster matter?

      There are cars that aren’t as quick that can go 200+ and there are cars much quicker that top out either drag or RPM limited under 200mph. Seems like two different metrics to me.

      Quicker is quicker and faster is faster. You can have a car that isn’t as fast as a car that isn’t as quick.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    This story makes me sad. It smacks of the dark days of Herr Bertel when someone in the B&B is directly gone after by the staff in a TTAC story.

    This site is better than this.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      No, that person was not named and if something is factually incorrect then shouldn’t it be corrected? He corrects people often (sometime well warranted), so only fair.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      VoGo is living in people’s heads rent free.

      I’ve been here at least 10 years and I don’t think anyone has been able to rattle the cages like he has. He makes BigTruck and PCH look like you and me. And he’s never really broken any commenting rules I can remember.

      If he’s game for it Jack and the Marks should offer to meet him sometime.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Being an insufferable d!ck can make a person really popular.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          “Being an insufferable d!ck can make a person really popular.”

          Look at this article’s byline and receive your prize!

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            A guy who traded a Neon for a Dart calls me an insufferable d1ck. I think I’ll survive.

          • 0 avatar
            iNeon

            @vogo Don’t come for me unless I send for you. But since you’ve brought it up:

            There was a PT Cruiser in-between the two lol and I didn’t trade them, but rather gave them away to family that needed them. Not all Chrysler owners are low FICO credit bandits.

            These days I’m driven in a Designo Mercedes-Benz by a tall, hung Italian. The Dart is a toy.

            So’s the Italian.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        What has happened to PCH? I would like to see him back.

        Vogo hasn’t broken any rules, he does occassional personal attack stuff but then most of us have been guilty of that at times. I think it is his inability to admit he is ever wrong is what annoys some. Case in point a comment on another article today about disrespect to the President. His argument was debunked by many and he never came back to admit he was wrong.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          I don’t feel insulted by Jack’s editorial (i.e., opinion piece). I reminded him of a point he’s been meaning to make, and he took the opportunity. That’s fair.

          But I also don’t think Jack is correct. For the last 40 years, the standard has been 0-60. 0-62 if you are European. If Jack wants to change the yardstick, he’s welcome to try.

          But until he does, 0-60 is the standard, and Tesla is quickest. That’s just the truth, which as I recall is what this site claims to be about.

          • 0 avatar
            MrIcky

            I disagree, the standard has been the 1/4 for as long as I can remember. I thought 0-60 was invented as a comparison for ad-copy.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            @Mricky “I disagree, the standard has been the 1/4 for as long as I can remember. I thought 0-60 was invented as a comparison for ad-copy.”

            I believe 0-60 or 62 is a useful metric for the road while quarter mile trap stats apply better to the track. Since Jack B. writes for Road and Track, it works for him. Context matters, and I think both he and VoGo are correct on this point.

            To take things out of context, “quick and fast” is not something a guy wants to hear from his girlfriend, wife, or mistress.

          • 0 avatar
            Flipper35

            For as long as I can remember the rags here in the states have given both 0-60 and 1/4 mile. 0-60 isn’t a great metric since a lower powered AWD car can still have a good 0-60 time.

            Still, even if we limit this to 4 wheeled vehicles the Tesla is not the quickest. Even an Atom V8 is quicker to 60mph with only two wheel drive and the Tesla is 7th on the list of production cars according to Top Gear magazine.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          PCH wasn’t banned. He hasn’t commented in about a month though. There have been times in the past where he didn’t comment for a extended period of time. Hopefully he’ll be back.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Adam Tonge
            No doubt driving a new Midsize Pickup and wondering how the sky high tariffs are going to destroy the US Automobile Industry.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I don’t know what PCH will be driving. I just know it won’t be a Tesla.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            “I don’t know what PCH will be driving.”

            He once indicated it was a German sedan and a guy that knowledgeable is probably fairly old and a guy that smart *and* old probably cashed in on some Old America opportunities so I’m putting my onrunning-sentence guesswork on a big Mercedes.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            And they say old guys can’t remember anything.
            That’s pretty good!

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            *beams with love and pride*

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            @oldmanpants

            I seem to remember that PCH commented it was a BMW at some point – it’s been a long time, could be wrong…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m thinking E-klasse although I may be confusing him with DW.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            Well, I’ve always suspected he’s a Vulcan so maybe he really just gets beamed places.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      This isn’t a story about Tesla, or even criticizing a commenter’s claim.

      It’s really about the collection of awesome vehicles in Jack’s garage, which should impress us.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I hope you’re just kidding.

      Bertel created a dunce-cap contest and encouraged readers to turn on each other in a sordid combination of “Lord of the Flies” and a Max Mosley whippin’-post S&Matt session.

      I’m responding to a statement made by a reader and inviting a discussion.

  • avatar
    jrhmobile

    I always think of “quick” as a matter of acceleration. Not necessarily repeated acceleration. I tend to think of “fast” as the number on the speedo when you’re done. So to pick at that bone, I’d call your 50-mile sprint a better measure of “fast” than “quick”, in those terms. Because you’d likely hit top numbers for the run multiple times before you get there.

    But I think in either instance, most any liter-plus sports bike would smoke your Porsche and the Tesla. State of the art would probably be a Duke 1199R …

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      The largest displacement KTM is a 1290. It’s the KTM 1290R Superduke. I think they’re making a ‘hot’ version: louder muffler, active suspension?

      Ducati has an 1199 but I think they’re coming out with a 1299 soon?

    • 0 avatar
      DirtRoads

      There’s is the comment I was going to make. Quick is short term, while fast is long term. Can you go quickly down the alley, or fast through the woods?

      And quick doesn’t tell me if you can go fast in corners. As from a pure driving experience, I couldn’t care less about how many speakers the radio has or what neat trim colors are available, but does it go fast in all the conditions in which I want to drive?

      My old C4 isn’t the quickest car around, but in it, I am a faster driver than many.

      My old 1984 V65 Sabre would run away from that Tesla, and I only paid $1000 for it back in the day.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      State of the art would be a ZX14R.

      • 0 avatar
        AVT

        Agreed. I own one. Even with a passenger on the back, the speeds it can reach in short periods of time boggle the mind. And that’s with traction control on. I never have turned it off and I probably never will.

      • 0 avatar
        Turbo Is Black Magic

        State of the art would be a Ninja H2 and H2R, I never thought Kawasaki would make a bike more batshit crazy than the ZX14R.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          H2R for sure.

          The H2’s ability to pull a ZX-14R appears to be weather/humidity/temperature dependent.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            One liter making 300 HP is requiring allot of work from that small displacement when the PWC crowd has enjoyed +300 HP forced induction jetskis forbalmost a decade. Albeit with a bigger 1,500cc and easy access to intercooled watering.

          • 0 avatar
            AVT

            Up at the cabin, my dad and myself dropped a supercharged small block v8 into our 1985 forester sport I/O 16 footer. That thing is the most hilariously fun way to enjoy water sports. It will blow away any jet ski and absolutely murder your ear drums at WOT. And it has a prop, which makes it even more amazing. I asked dad how to dyno the engine some time and he said find a long strait road next to a long strait lake and race it against a corvette. Best you can do since no dyno has a way to attach a tire to a prop shaft on a boat than put it on a motorcycle dyno. The one thing I do know is it does not seemed bothered by 12 water tubes with 1000ibs of people on them at any speed. PWC have for as long as I can remember been the easiest way to makes lots of power with little effort, thanks to almost limitless cooling capacities if you have an idea of what your doing.

        • 0 avatar
          AVT

          True, but given its cost 25k vs 15k, for marginal gains at best, I still think a ZX14 is the best value if pure speed is the priority. Especially since you can pick them up for less than 6k these days used.

        • 0 avatar
          AVT

          I looked at an H2 once. The upkeep schedule with that supercharger is scary. I stopped thinking about it after that. Not to mention I want to see the reliability of it for a few years first before I’d even think about one.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Since you mentioned motorcycles, I recall a “0 to 100 to 0” shootout. Pretty much all of the fastest cars in the world were run. A ZX9 Kawasaki showed up. It wasn’t even the fastest bike available at the time. It was at a dead stop before most of the cars in the test hit 100 mph.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        Lou_BC, change that to “0-150-0” and the the bike wouldn’t do as well. I also seem to recall a Z06 vs a similar bike on a course and the Z06 won out, especially in the straightaway. Better ability to hang a corner and a better top-end.

        There are a lot of ways to measure things. Each is going to give an advantage to a different type of vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      ijbrekke

      Exactly this. Quick is acceleration and short-term.

      I rode a Yamaha Zuma scooter when I was 15 that topped out at 38 mph. It was very slow (best I could do at 15), but it’s 0-20 smoked almost every car off the line. I considered it “quick” because of this (my opinion may be different now with experience).

  • avatar
    threeer

    0-60 is only one part of a performance equation…and one I think we tend to focus on much more than is actually needed. On most days, my pathetically “slow” Chevy Cruze is more than enough to step away from a stoplight. And given traffic conditions on those days, a 2.5 second 0-60 time is utterly useless, save maybe for bragging rights. But then again, maybe that’s the point…

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      It’s a stat relatable to most people outside of the vehicle enthusiast niche.

      For the commuter (as opposed to a “car guy or gal”) 0-60 is something they can relate to. 0-100, 0-100-0, 1/4 mile times, 1/2 mile times, Figure 8, et al are more or less just a string of numbers they cannot make a correlation with.

      Now for the car guy/gal crowd things like gearing, frontal area, drag, downforce, power to weight and a few others tend to incite the Peanuts adult speak response. Or it seems that way at least I’ve never seen so many people supposedly into cars that can’t seem to put something like power to weight and drag together and seem totally flabbergasted as to why a 600 horsepower Corvette will smash a 700 horsepower Hell Cat.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    A 10.7 second quarter mile for a five seater sedan with all the toys is shockingly fast, no matter how you slice it.

    Now, whether the NEXT run is at 10.7 is another question. I read C/D’s article about the Tesla they ran at the lightning lap competition, and that car pretty much devolved into low-power-mode and petered out before one hot lap was done. And apparently there was a pants-soiling moment involving the brakes.

    Still, the Model S is a damned fast piece of work, even if the original poster (and I know which one Jack’s talking about) had his facts wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Yeah, Tesla is a wind up, one trick pony.

      When it is sub-5 seconds 60-100 mph then it’ll be faster than my tuned XTS VSport.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Well, it has other tricks too (I’m thinking your XTS needs gas to run)…but as a track car it’s pretty much a bust. Out of its’ element, for sure.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Do you see this Jack? This is you. You are now Norm. Going around claiming that your beat up old Saab is out-accelerates a Maserati and does a figure 8 faster than a Porsche, all while towing a 6,500 lb. trailer, in the snow, uphill, both ways.

        You lose all credibility when you go out of your way to claim that the gold standard for quickness is not what everyone knows it to be. There are SO many better, more direct ways to contradict me. Get in the game, already.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          0-60 is a marketing gimmick.

          I know you don’t claim to be a racer so I’m not going to jump on you for not knowing that the quarter-mile was a standard long before 0-60 was a “thing”.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Jack,
            I am no racer and have no basis for disputing the best determination of quick on a race track.

            But I have read car magazines, new papers, blogs etc. for 45 years now. And every time there is a Top 10 lists, every time there is a comparison test, every time there is any discussion whatsoever of the quickness of production cars, 0-60 is the standard.

            And you know that. You may not like it, but it IS the standard.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            Technically, isn’t the official standard SAE J1491? I think it includes both 0-60 and quarter mile.

        • 0 avatar
          JuniperBug

          0-60 is the kiddie pool of performance measures. With motorcycles it’s rarely talked about in magazine tests, because for just about any sport bike, the limiting factor is grip and/or the ability to keep the front wheel on the ground at that speed. The spread of 0-60 times just won’t be that large. My 85hp ’89 Ninja 600 was quoted at 3.7s, my 125hp TL at about 3 flat, and Jack’s 200hp monster is around 2.6. Hell, for most semi-serious bikes, you don’t leave first gear to get to 60. The ZX-14 can probably do about 80. You almost may as well be timing how long the engine cranks before it fires.

          As a measure of accelerative ability, things don’t get interesting until you get into triple digits. Jack is absolutely right that quarter mile times and trap speeds are what really count when you’re talking about real performance machines.

          • 0 avatar
            AVT

            The real interesting thing we are seeing now with motorcycles is dual clutches and even a cvt. Set up a motorcycle with a dct similar to a gtr and I bet it would run almost incomprehensively fast times especially with a good traction control setups and drag tires.

      • 0 avatar
        ckb

        “When it is sub-5 seconds 60-100 mph then it’ll be”

        The moving company called, they need to know where to put the goalposts.

        Anyway, this story is really bringing out the nostalgia for me. Why, I remember waaaaay back when…there was about a year long “tesla death watch”. But here we are documenting how their family sedan is not the “quickest” for various definitions of quick. Cheers to you TTAC, because you have also survived this long!

        btw, how fast was your stock XTS sport?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      even cars designed around track use can have trouble with heat management. Just google “Z06 heat soak.” And I recall from Jack’s drive of the GT350 a while back, he noted that the temperature gauge was starting to concern him.

      there’s a very good reason a 500 hp Peterbilt has a much, much bigger radiator than a 500 hp Mustang.

      • 0 avatar
        AVT

        That’s why PWC users have been dropping ls’s into I/O’s for years. Run the radiator right into the prop cooler and lol, you can redline that baby almost all day long.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I can only relate 0-60 times because I can look up cars I’ve owned or rode in for reference. I’ve got a friend that drag racers so he talks 1/8 and 1/4 miles and trap time. However I’ve got no point of reference so the numbers are basically meaningless to me.

    As far as 0-60 goes I’ve found under 6 is quick, under 5 is fast, under 4 is insane and under 3 is bonkers. I assume anything under 2 is physically painful to the point where you can’t do very often. What is more impressive to me is what a car can do from 30 to 90 because that is what most people get to experience in normal driving. As mentioned starting from 0 means traction control and reflexes define your time more then the car alone.

    • 0 avatar
      Silent Ricochet

      “What is more impressive to me is what a car can do from 30 to 90 because that is what most people get to experience in normal driving.”

      I came here to say exactly that. Maybe not to 90 but certainly 30-75 is more important to me on my daily commute than 0-60. That’s merging speed. That’s passing speed. A car that can do that the fastest is the most useful to me. So I guess that’s my definition of a “quick” car.

  • avatar
    Rhiadon

    So I’m going to be *incredibly* pedantic. In your question you say “vehicle.” No mention of road going or wheeled vehicle. A rocket is pretty quick. Multiple g’s even after you subtract 1g that you get from just being vertical. So I’m going to guess the Space X Falcon 9.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      And if this were a site called TTAR, you would be 100% correct.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      If you really wanted to be pedantic you would look up the 0-6 times and 1/4 times of space shuttles and then be really disappointed. Yes, they really do get moving after a while, and they keep accellerating long after a car would catch fire because of the air compressing in front of it, but the initial accelleration isn’t that hard. (never mind that it’s done deliberatly to not kill the astronauts or burn up in the atmosphere, but still)

      • 0 avatar
        Rhiadon

        Very good to know. I’m no rocketry expert, but sometimes my mind runs orthogonal to the norm and I had to bring up the idea of rockets. Makes sense though that they’d accelerate fairly slow in order to not destroy humans/payload.

        Thanks for the info.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      ^^^ "Space X Falcon 9"

      I don't know if that answer's right, but I like it anyway. :)

    • 0 avatar
      Jagboi

      I too was thinking about airplanes. Something like Concorde could accelerate at 0.9G during the takeoff roll, with take off speed at 250 mph. In practice the acceleration was limited to about 0.4G for passenger comfort.

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      Why stop at the Space X Falcon 9?

      The Sprint missile does 0 to mach 10 in 5 seconds.

    • 0 avatar
      Von

      Well since we are being pedantic here and I’ve worked with both Titan and Atlas rockets in the past. A little known fact is that their 0-60 times are pretty horrible. They burn a whole lot of rocket fuel getting going, but once underway, they accelerate faster since the thrust is roughly the same, but their weight is significantly reduced, thanks to burning all that fuel getting out of the launch pad. But if you take into consideration it’s going vertically instead of horizontally, it’s still pretty impressive.

      Another little known fact perhaps: the rocket is designed to go fairly slow initially, so that it does not have to withstand too much aerodynamic load while in the thicker parts of the atmosphere. Generally, Mach 1 or 2 is when it experiences the heaviest aerodynamic loads, then it moves high enough that even as it accelerates, the structural aerodynamic loads are coming down since the atmosphere is getting so thin. As a general rule of thumb, the rocket is 60 miles up in about 2 minutes, and at least the same distance out, if not more.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Hah that makes me think of the few people that have made a jump from extremely high altitudes where the atmosphere is so thin they can break the sound barrier in free fall and have to wait for a thicker atmosphere to slow them down before they deploy the parachute.

        Felix Baumgartner is a crazy dude (admittedly I’d love to give it a whirl though!)

        • 0 avatar
          carguy67

          Joseph Kittinger was the real badass. He did it first, with a damaged pressure suit no less, when no one knew for sure if the jump was survivable. And, like Yeager, he did it on a military man’s pay and didn’t get rich and famous for the endeavor. Then, he had the class to help Baumgartner with his jump.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Here in Norway where the speed limit is mostly 55mph, there are no straights long enough for drag racing to ever catch on, electricity is a lot cheaper than gas, and ICE cars were taxed based on silly stuff like hp and weight (replaced with a system that taxes them on co2 instead, since the old system was not stupid enough) the Tesla is indeed an impressive perfomer of the 4 wheeled variety. (honesly my neck hurt for several days after my first experience with a rather ‘pedestrian’ Model S 80)
    The way the P90D shoots you to 70-80mph from a standstill is honestly a rather uncomfortable, but hilarious experience that I can’t imagine any streetlegal ICE car with a conventional auto or manual being able to reproduce. I’m still not sure if I thought it was fun or if the laughter is just a bodily reaction the the all the internal organs being stuffed against your spine. I was still (barely) able to stretch my arms and reach the dashboard during a non-ludicrous accelleration test though.
    I can say the same about bikes as I use to say to my dad, or to my friend with a sub 10 second Ninja ZX-12, I can get to the local shop in my CRV faster than they can put on their leathers and helmet and get out the door, so I’ll wait until my mid-life crisis before I give up my hot-rod dreams and buy a ‘naked’ late 70’s 1-liter bike. Dads first bike was a 1980 Z1000st, and it’s still one of the most awesome bikes with less than 6 cylinder I’ve seen, partially because it looks like it’s made for people who are more than 6 foot tall. (he’s 6’4″ and the BMW RT he bought later looked like a moped next to the Kwaka)
    Unless offcourse climate changes make the west-coast of Norway more California-like, and ‘blind’ people in cars are banned from the roads.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      It is my peculiar curse to always find your comments interesting.

      What *have* you people got against paragraphing?

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      “I can get to the local shop in my CRV faster than they can put on their leathers and helmet and get out the door,”

      That’s what I don’t get about motorcycles. How much are you enjoying the “open air” from inside a helmet and a leather suit of armor? I’ll take my roadster and baseball cap and actually get to enjoy open air motoring, and with 315 HP and 2900 pounds, my M roadster gets to 60 in the mid 4s, which is plenty fast.
      .
      .

      • 0 avatar
        SSJeep

        Well put. By a similar comparison, one of the “vehicles” mentioned by Jack will survive being rear-ended by a distracted driver while at a stoplight and will also keep its occupants safe from harm. The other one will toss its occupant into oncoming traffic in the same scenario.

        I rode a motorcycle for many years, but I have seen too many distracted drivers, injuries, and a handful of deaths to think it is a good way to get from point A to point B…

  • avatar
    yamahog

    Didn’t even have to click the link to know we’d hear about the 1/4 mile time of a Zx-14r.

    As you may or may not remember, I like ‘big bore’ inline-4s and I cannot lie. I rode an R1 for a year (daily commuting, trips to cabins, nights out, ect.) and I know that it’d give the Model S a real run for its money.

    But zippiness on the street means one thing: you just get stuck in traffic faster. In my neck of the woods, it’s usually an SUV for the credit challenged or a a truck with a topper.

    In my mind there are two situations where acceleration gets you to your destination quicker: being able to shoot gaps in traffic and the ‘holeshot’ from the green light. and a direct drive, electric motor car is pretty darn good at responding to demands for more power, not like waiting for a torque converter automatic to check with the ECU whether it can kick down a gear or 3.

    I’m eagerly looking forward to owning an electric car – regenerative braking and no worries about getting on the gas means that I’ll probably drive zipper than I would otherwise and that makes a Tesla a quick car for me.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi5X2p1E1c8” 600cc vs Model S

    The quickest car I’ve ever owned is a 2009 Kia Sedona.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    This is like arguing over whether Batman could beat Aquaman in an arm wrestling contest.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I know, let’s race a Bugatti against a jet fighter. Oh yeah, that’s already been done. Come on Jack you need newer material.

  • avatar
    Von

    Not the same as BS at all, that guy would get all nasty on a personal level. He still insists he knows Japanese and Chinese culture a lot better than anyone else here, simply because his wife is Japanese, and like bondage.

    JB made a reasonable point that 0-60 is not the end all measure of speed, and even if it is, a number of other production vehicles that can top the Tesla. While the style is a bit Orange in the bragging area, he did not get nasty on a personal level, against anyone, even if that person is an annoying know it all. Allegedly :)

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I’ve always thought of “quick” as being determined by initial acceleration within legal speeds, from low speed or rest. To me, 0-60, 5-60, and the eighth-mile are about being quick; the quarter-mile and top speed runs are about being fast.

    I guess I’m siding with VoGo on this.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    Some of us remember, probably more so the Canadians… The year Donovan Bailey faced off against Michael Johnson in a “special” 150m race to see who was fastest, the winner of the 100m Olympic gold or the 200m winner. Of course, the yardstick had and always will be the 100 as “the world’s fastest man”… Unless of course you were Johnson that that year. The race was anticlimactic since Johnson pulled up lame a the 75m mark (the Canadians distinctly remember that Bailey was ahead). So no winner was decided. Just like 0-60 and 1/4 mile. Who is faster? Who is quicker? Who knows, no conclusion was ever reached but some people got to feel more superior than others.

    The postscript to that race was a fitting cap to what was pretty much a circus through and through. After the race and in front of the stadium, the trackside presenter asked Bailey if he was disappointed that Johnson couldn’t finish the race. “Nah, he’s just chicken****!” was the very Canadian response.. in front of the whole stadium…. on live TV. Jaws dropped at home, and then we broke out laughing at the absurdity of it. The CBC cut back to their lead sports anchor. “Donovan Bailey, as always a classy guy.” To this day I have no idea how Brian Williams said that with a completely straight face.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    I don’t know if it’s a UK thing or not but I’ve always gravitated toward the 0-100-0 test of a car; in MPH, of course.

  • avatar
    SirRaoulDuke

    Jack, to me it is simple. My dad was a drag racer. It is 1/4 time. Then my madness takes over and it is trap speed. There are so many variables in gearing, power, and aero that if you are pulling monster trap speeds then you are truly driving a beast. That McLaren? Jesus, that thing is PULLING. That Tesla is getting ready to give up the ghost. The Tesla is a one-trick pony. It is a very neat trick, and an impressive machine, but this is a big country full of long straights. There is no midnight race out here in the cornfields that it would win against the best.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    Comparing electric cars to gasoline, o.k. , that’s one thing, then toss in motorcycles , snowmobiles, at what point does the math simple breakdown? Seems like we crossed the line into who cares?

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    VoGo is right and Jack is wrong.

    “Real enthusiasts know 1/4 is the real one and 0-60 is a gimmick” does not hold water. VoGo is not a racer, and Tesla is not a racer.

    Jack maybe right in the racing world. But he cannot impose his definitions on the general public, no matter how little regard readers may it may not have for 0-60.

    VoGo is right, period.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      ““Real enthusiasts know 1/4 is the real one and 0-60 is a gimmick” does not hold water. VoGo is not a racer, and Tesla is not a racer.”

      then why do its fans constantly beat us over the heads about how fast they are?

      Tesla fans are insufferable. most of them didn’t care one whit about cars until St. Elon showed up, after which they crowned themselves industry experts and act like everything Tesla (and SpaceX) does is their own personal achievement. And also believe standing in line for a day to plunk down a thousand bucks on vaporware is something to brag about.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        I think the point of contention here is real-life speed on the street, and speed on the track.

        Arguing which street car or motorcycle is quicker on a closed track is pointless. They are all slower than a car/motorcycle that was designed for the track. It’s like arguing which brand of butter knife would be best for carving a turkey.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Screw the quarter mile. That distance was made for spectating, not for driving. You can’t even walk a dog in a quarter mile, what use is it for automobiles?

    The standing kilometer is the real test. That and the Rallye Monte Carlo.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Electric motors are pretty much constant horsepower. Since HP = Torque x RPM, acceleration of electric vehicles is greatest at low speed and decreases as speed increases. In contrast, ICE engines produce zero torque at zero RPM and maximum torque at moderate to fairly high RPM. That makes ICE powered vehicles relatively slow starting out but better able to maintain acceleration as they go faster. Given the same horsepower, weight and drag, an electric vehicle will be faster than an ICE. At low speed, the electric will have full power while the ICE will be down on torque. At high speed, both will be horsepower limited. Other vehicles may well be faster than a Tesla but, to do it, they need a more favorable combination of horsepower, weight and drag.

  • avatar
    Fred

    A long while ago I was drving across the southwest going pretty fast in my AH 3000 when I hooked up with a new Corvette. We were going about 100 when after about 30 minutes he signaled to pull. Which we did into a gas station. He was overheating. Said it was a common problem. I said mine too, but only in stop and go traffic. My point here is that Corvette by all measures was the faster car, but in practice my old Healey won the race.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Was it the C3?

      I’ve been reading the old Car and Driver Road Tests of Corvettes in chronological order. It’s interesting reading about the progression of technology as well as the constant battle between the engineers and both the stylists and cost-cutters. Your comment brought these sections to mind:

      “It being a mass-class sports car, the Corvette’s excellent engineering tends to be obscured by some rather garish styling gimmicks that make the uninitiated wonder if the car is a fake—a lurid, bulging, silicone-filled, automotive Playboy Bunny. This confusing identity is the result of a confrontation on the part of Chevy engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, who is well and truly the patron saint of all Corvettes, and the Chevrolet styling department. Duntov’s primary aim in his professional life is to make the Corvette the finest sports car in the world. The styling department views his car as a unique opportunity to fool around with the swoopy shapes and flashing lights that somehow to them mean “sport.” It is within this minor tempest that the Corvette encounters trouble: Duntov on the one hand viewing his automobile as a purposeful, well-balanced sports car, while his rivals see it as a Flash Gordon Thunderbird for the Hugh Hefner school of mass-cult glamor.”

      http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/1970-chevrolet-corvette-coupe-road-test-review

      “There are discussions of current technology and sketches on napkins; penciled-in arrows show that air doesn’t enter the radiator of the current Corvette through the grille — it is blocked off by the license plates and the head light shields — instead air is shoveled up by a spoiler below and behind the grille and enters the bodywork through two slots you can’t even see unless you lie down in front of the car.

      There is an answer for every question and a reason for every one of the Corvette’s characteristics. Duntov will talk of the battles and compromises that have been thrashed out between him and the stylists, product planners, and memo writers but he is adamant about one feature — throughout production he has stood firmly against those who would have reduced the Corvette’s stability at high speed.”

      “It’s all a part of Duntov’s loyalty to Corvette drivers. He wants them to have what they need — as opposed to what they think they need — in an extremely high performance road car. Because of that desire he frequently finds himself at odds with the stylists. The deluxe wheel cover option is a case in point. The Turbo-Flash styling adds 28 lbs. to the car and makes it impossible to dynamically balance the wheels. Duntov recommends the base hub-cap-and-trim-ring setup. And there have been even more serious conflicts over the basic body shape. Originally the stylists had a big spoiler slated for the rear of the current Corvette before it went into production. Duntov insisted that it be trimmed down to its current non-functional size. Testing had shown the spoiler pushed the rear down so hard that the nose came up, causing the front end to go light — far worse than no spoiler at all.”

      “Occasionally you find a problem that hasn’t been fixed. On the 140-mph pass through Nevada in the LS5 we discovered that it would only run wide-open throttle for a few miles before it would overheat. When the subject came up later Duntov nodded — he knew it. It’s because of the radiator shroud. You have to have it at low speeds so the fan will be effective but at high speeds it sort of corks off the flow of air that would otherwise be rammed through the radiator. He has the solution on the shelf — a shroud with flaps that open at speed — but the bean counters aren’t too interested in that. And since it’s not a safety consideration, there is no reason to press the issue. Duntov knows about discretion. It comes with age.”

      http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/1971-chevrolet-corvette-road-test

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    I’d say my Volt is quick just because it gets up to speed without any effort or fuss in blissful silence. There is never any hesitation while it shifts to find the right gear or waiting for the RPM’s to build for it to get in its power band. Actually it feels quick probably more than anything as I realize that if you measure it against a stopwatch it’s anything but.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    This a silly comparison. We have always known that motorcycles are quicker than cars. It’s easy when you forgo bodywork, trunks, air conditioning, seating for four-plus, a spare tire (of sorts), etc. Back in the ’70s, it was almost comical how I would smoke (literally) typical Gabriel HiJacker-equipped Camaros at stoplights with my 750 Kawasaki H2.

    One might as well compare a Tesla to a rocket sled. What is the point?

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Jack, I’m just going to put this out there:

    http://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/news/a30536/tesla-model-s-p100d-quickest-not-fastest/

    Yes, it’s Road and Track magazine saying the quickest car in the world is the Tesla. Something about a 0-60 time. I picked this from literally dozens of sources all saying the same thing, because I thought you might want to pay even the slightest attention to the pronouncement of your employer.

    Or are all auto journalists not named Baruth just liberals and therefore not worthy of consideration?

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      I’ll go out on a limb and guess that you’ve never visited a zoo and stayed there until you’d won your debate with the baboons. Why are you trying that here?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I have the freedom to disagree with my employer, thankfully.

      For me personally, a lap around Mid-O is the gold standard. A P100DL couldn’t beat my wife’s Miata around Mid O.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    There are better ways to criticize Tesla (and presumably VoGo) than this.

    Electric motors have maximum torque at 0 rpm, so of course a car with a powerful electric motor should be quick.

    (On the other hand, the pit stops during an extended race would not be so quick — “supercharging” is a misnomer. The Tesla is a sprinter, not a long distance runner.)

    0-60 is a typical measure, as is the similar 0-100 km/h. Last I checked, this website did not set the standard for what the automotive world uses as its benchmarks. In any case, it’s not an either-or world of using either 0-60 or quarter mile — we use both.

    What is more suspect is Tesla’s accounting. Not sure whether TTAC noticed that the SEC has finally made an issue out of it — the only thing that is surprising is that it took the agency this long to get around to it.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sec-takes-tesla-to-task-over-nonstandard-and-individually-tailored-numbers-2016-11-29

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      let’s be fair. the Model S is fast/quick *because it has 700+ horsepower and no traction issues.* the electric drive changes the *perception* of its acceleration due to pulling hard from a stop and no gear changes.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        No. An electric motor has what is essentially a flat torque curve with maximum torque at 0 rpm. It has full torque available from a stop almost immediately.

        Gas- and diesel-powered motors have torque curves that aren’t flat. They need to be something above 0 rpm in order to hit the peak of their torque curves. Because of this, they need to have transmissions with multiple gears in order to manage their torque curves, which is an indication of the fact that they need some amount of time in order to get to their peak.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          untrue. a polyphase induction motor (which is what Tesla uses) generates its maximum torque at around 10% slip (rotor speed 90% of field speed.)

          http://www.electrotechnik.net/2014/09/speed-torque-curve-of-induction-motor.html

          since the speed of an induction motor is wholly dependent on the AC supply frequency and number of poles per phase, you can vary the RPM at which that peak occurs if you power the motor through a variable-frequency-drive, which is what Tesla does.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          I’m just glad to see that someone said “PCH” 3 times. Good to see you back!

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          The Tesla motor’s torque curve is only flat at the start because it’s electronically limited. Without that, it peaks near 0 and falls off dramatically after, just as it does beyond 60 km/hr. In comparison, naturally aspirated gas engines have relatively flat torque curves throughout their usable range.

          But what really matters is torque at the wheels, and thanks to gearing, ICE engines put down thousands of lb-ft right from launch and any seriously fast ICE-equipped AWD vehicle can break all four tires loose at launch. As VoGo’s R&T link mentioned, the Model S is no faster to 60 mph than the current Porsche 911 Turbo.

          Of course, there’s far less drama or preparation involved when the Model S launches. It deserves respect for that, among other things. A torque-converter automatic would greatly reduce those factors in an ICE AWD launch.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      So was I right and you are/were in an E-class or was I mistaken?

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Crap.

    Adult in the room.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    I would define “quick” as lap times around a decent road course like Laguna Seca.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    In the real world, the standard is the 60 ft.

    In that regard, I don’t think anything is beating a sub 12 second 1/4 mile motorcycle. Even something like a GT-R will have to engage launch mode. On my Ninja 650R I am the stoplight GOD.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    I can buy the point that Tesla’s definition of quick is a narrow range compared to other high-performance cars. Spectacular at 0-60, pretty darn good at the quarter mile, not good at all for hot laps around the track.

    However, comparing Tesla to motorcycles? C’mon. They are both “vehicles” in that they will carry a person from Point A to Point B. That’s about where the similarities end. By nature, motorcycles are going to have a much higher power-to-weight ratio than cars. The author might as well have made this article about how much faster motorcycles are than cars in general. A much better comparison would be comparing ICE and EV bikes. That would be an interesting read.

    Also, one thing to consider: Tesla went with a single fixed-gear transmission. Although electric motors have such wide power and torque bands, even they eventually redline at very high RPMs. That doesn’t matter so much for everyday driving, but once you get up into triple digit speeds, Teslas can’t upshift. That may be a big part of the reason ICE cars dominate at higher speeds.

    Perhaps one day we’ll see an EV supercar with a two- or three-gear transmission. Throw in adequate cooling for the sustained high power draws of hot laps, and I’m guessing such a car could hold its own with any ICE on the track.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      Well, the logic wouldn’t be baruthian if it weren’t made of straw.

      Including vehicles with 1/2 the wheels and 1/6th the weight of a passenger car is as bogus as excluding vehicles with a truck bed when bewailing America’s feminization as shown by CUV sales.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    Late to the discussion.
    Zero to a nominal velocity is quick. Zero to a nominal distance is fast.
    A 450-lb motorcycle with 100hp has a power-to-weight ratio better than most exotics and all but a few highly tuned muscle cars. These days that is a pretty pedestrian motorcycle. There are plenty of bikes with half again that much power at the rear wheel. The trick is to find a bike that you want to spend more than a couple hours aboard, with comfortable ergos and a well tuned suspension. That’s where tuning does you the most good on a motorcycle. I’ve never regretted money spent on a custom saddle and a knowledgable suspension specialist.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Electromagnetic catapults; US Navy for the win.

  • avatar
    drunk_on_unleaded

    It’s worth looking into the laptimes posted by various Tesla Model Ss at various tracks:
    http://fastestlaps.com/tracks/virginia-international-raceway-grand-east-course-post-01-2014

    At Virginia International Raceway, the Tesla’s time of 3:17.40 puts it a few ticks ahead of the Ford Focus ST at 3:17.60. A Ford Focus RS posted a 3:03.90. Maybe that’s not fair. After all the Focus RS costs less than half what a Tesla Model S P85D costs.

    Granted the Porsche Panamera Turbo cost a bunch more than this particular Tesla, but it’s often been compared to the Tesla and it also has a lap time I can find:
    http://fastestlaps.com/models/porsche-panamera-turbo-s

    3:00.70

    Maybe Mr Baruth can comment on just how long 17 seconds is on a racetrack?

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    Quickest?

    I don’t have the test results in front of me, so I can’t prove it…but the Zero motorcycle line is DAMN fast.

    IIRC, their literature claims, or used to claim, a 0-60 time of about four seconds. I know from a test ride they are very, VERY lively. The salesman told me to baby the throttle until I got a feel for it…yeah, sure. Until I saw the tractor torque that it had.

    It literally can rear up without a yank if the rider isn’t careful.

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