0 to 60 mph

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The time it takes to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h or 0 to 27 m/s) is a commonly used performance measure for automotive acceleration in the United States and the United Kingdom. In the rest of the world 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62.5 mph) is used. Present performance cars are capable of going from 0 to 60 mph in under 6 seconds, while exotic cars can do 0 to 60 mph in between 3 and 4 seconds, whereas motorcycles have been able to achieve these figures with sub-500cc engine for more than 20 years. The Bugatti Veyron Super Sport is currently the fastest production street legal car to reach 60 mph from a stop, reaching the speed in 2.46 seconds,.[1]

Measuring the 0 to 60 speed of vehicles is usually done in a closed setting such as a race car track or closed lot used for professional drivers. This is done to reduce risk to the drivers, their teams, and the public in general. The closed course is set up for test-drives in order to reduce any variables, such as wind, weather, and traction. Each variable can have a dramatic impact on the friction of the track and the drag placed on the vehicle, which will influence the overall 0 to 60 time that is recorded.

The crew sets up accurate and precise measuring tools that are attached to computers. These tools included Doppler radar guns and precise timing instruments that are synchronized. This means that the driver is not worried about keeping time or the exact moment the car hits 60 miles per hour. The driver focuses solely on driving straight and fast with professional quick gear shifting.

The car is timed and recorded going in two separate and opposite directions. This practice eliminates variables such as wind, directional traction of the track and driver performance. The two times are averaged together to achieve the commonly accepted 0 to 60 time. But since there are so many variables that affect these recorded times, some have questioned the authenticity of certain 0 to 60 times.

Criticism of magazine testing[edit]

Automobile magazines often post 0-60 mph times that they achieve in testing. Many have questioned the practices and methods used to test the automobiles. Typically criticism revolves around:

  • "Roll out" here the car is allowed to roll for a certain amount of time or distance before the timing begins.[2]
  • General conditions: Air temperature, altitude, fuel level, etc.
  • "Factory Freaks" which would be abnormally quick stock automobiles
  • The public's inability to achieve such low times
  • High level of differences between magazines
  • Possible bribery or other unethical practices of the testers
  • Optimizing the car's performance by making setup changes such as tire pressure
  • The ability of the particular driver
  • Using unconventional gear shifting, whereby the driver does shift, but uses a low gear only just capable of reaching the desired speed.
  • The engine temperature inside the vehicle before the testing begins.
  • Starting the test with the minimum amount of fuel in the gas tank for a vehicle that weighs less and goes faster.
  • The condition, or overall friction, of a particular track’s surface.
  • The use of a light driver, shedding the vehicle of weight to increase speed.
  • Features removed from the car to reduce the overall weight of the vehicle.
  • The removal of features to reduce wind resistance and drag on the vehicle.
  • The use of a high-elevation testing site for optimal barometric pressure to reduce drag on the vehicle.
  • The use of self-reporting with no oversight and low ethical standards.
  • The use of fuel additives to make the fuel more combustible, increasing engine power.
  • The use of aftermarket exhausts to decrease backpressure and increase airflow through the engine.

The 0 to 60 time of a vehicle can be a useful measurement of a vehicle’s power if the time is reported by a reputable source. However, the 0 to 60 time may not be a practical measurement of a street car’s power. Rarely would a private citizen drive with such force in public, and all the variables listed above would affect performance. The 0 to 60 time is, however, a practical marker for the avid car enthusiast, especially one that drives vehicles on a closed course or in sanctioned races.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bugatti Veyron test". Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  2. ^ "2006 Cadillac test". Archived from the original on 2009-02-14. Retrieved 2008-01-09.