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0-60 is so yesterday!

hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
As a performance measure, 0-60 used to be very important to me, but not anymore. I value overall performance as much as I ever have, but assign less value to standing start acceleration than I used to. Do any of you feel similarly? To cite an analogy, one could argue that Europeans enjoy performance as much as Americans do, but it's been my observation that you rarely see anyone burning rubber in Europe. Enthusiasts there tend to drive in a spirited manner, or fast/very fast, even, but they seem to depress the accelerator rather than stomp on it.

I know that the title of this topic is more provocative than accurate, because the automotive media emphasizes 0-60 as much as it ever has, reflecting the fact that standing start acceleration remains an important performance benchmark for many car enthusiasts. On the other hand, some of you may agree that 0-60 is overplayed.

What are your thoughts on this?


  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    A. Stop and go traffic is big in the states, especially the urban centers, so 0-60 is somewhat important.

    B. It may be becoming less important only in the fact that most cars have more power than they need to satisfy 0-60.

    No one needs a 270HP Camry. With a 6 second 0-60. that's fast! V6 Mustangs can't get close to that fast. And '04 V8s need to work to stay ahead!

    It certainly is more tangible than slalom or skidpad measures. Braking numbers are pretty important. The difference in 15 feet could be everything.

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    "It may be becoming less important only in the fact that most cars have more power than they need to satisfy 0-60."

    My thought, exactly.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    B as well.

    The straight-line and HP wars have gotten silly.

    Lateral acceleration, quick reflexes, great stopping power and a little character take you a lot further than stomp and go.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    It has become a important part of performance testing IMHO. ;)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    ...fix the title of this discussion to 0-60 "Is." Sorry for the mistakje.

  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    0-60 testing is indeed a silly number, but primarily because the way it is established. It is unfortunate that few reviewers actually care about rolling acceleration (like 5-60 or 10-60) which is far more indicative of performance than those involving brake-torque launch (when was the last time anyone here did that to their car?). The way 0-60 run is conducted contributes more towards satisfying (or dismantling) ego than reflect realistic/practical driving situations. In many cases, automakers have made it a point to gear the vehicle right for excellent 0-60 runs while some compromises are made elsewhere. But then, a good 0-60 run helps in propaganda.

    Some reviewers also test rolling acceleration like 30-50 and 50-70. While they are useful too, again, sometimes these magazines act silly and test the time only in top gear for manual transmission equipped cars. They should instead focus on elasticity of the vehicle by going thru gears (vehicles equipped with automatic already get that). Some European reviewers use this method perhaps because they understand the point of having manual transmission unlike in America where slush box rules and one can live with leave it and forget it attitude which is also passed down to manual transmission equipped vehicles.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I think 0-60 in 8 seconds is good, with the standing quarter mile in 16 seconds with a speed of 90+ at the end. Vehicles that are quicker are not going to be quick enough to get you out of trouble, but may get you into trouble. Slower vehicles are not bad, but you may need to plan ahead better.
  • No one needs a 270HP Camry. With a 6 second 0-60. that's fast! V6 Mustangs can't get close to that fast. And '04 V8s need to work to stay ahead!

    Check your facts again, pick up a motortrend. They show that the V-6 camry hits 60mph in 6.8 seconds. Your are correct it has 268hp.

    The New Mustang V-6 has 210hp and it hits 60 in 6.9 seconds with the 5spd.

    The 2004 Mustang GT Has 260 hp and it hit 60mph in just 5.4 seconds which blows the toyota out of the water.

    but youare correct 6.8 to sixty is FAST for a camry, which no one needs in the everyday hall the family to picnic kind of car. On the other hand for those people that want to take the kids to school and then carve through the mountains. Or if they do not have the budget for a second toy car, then the V-6 camry is a good option.
  • OH god please don't try to carve any mountain roads with a Camry you will just be disapointed.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    I still remember when (must have been around 2000 or 2001) I had a Camry rental (current car at the time was a Focus) and the first decent bend I came around, I nearly plowed off the road because it was that sloppy of a handler. Scared the carp out of me as I wasn't really going that fast. Just was spoiled by the handling of the Focus I guess. I'm sure the tire package on the rental Camry was not exactly the best either.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    Back to the original question, yes I think 0-60 times are way over-rated for use.

    Really to be honest, I'm all about the 2000-3000 RPM range. That's where I spend most of my time. Yes I'll rev up well beyond that at certain points, but really I'm all about how the engine and car feels in that range. I could be weird though. Definetly explains why I always look at the torque ratings and the torque curve (if I can get that info) rather than the horsepower numbers.
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,779
    I think 0-60 in 8 seconds is good, with the standing quarter mile in 16 seconds with a speed of 90+ at the end. Vehicles that are quicker are not going to be quick enough to get you out of trouble, but may get you into trouble. Slower vehicles are not bad, but you may need to plan ahead better.

    You know, I would like to provide a counterpoint. I own 3 cars; the first is an old Mercedes 380SE (I would guess 8-9 seconds 0-60), a 6 year old Jag (0-60 in about 6.5, I'm told), and a 4 year old Corvette (0-60 in about 5). I merge onto California freeways frequently, and I definitely feel more confident in the Jag than in the Merc. There is very seldom that I need more than the Jag has, but the Vette allows me to feel more in control in this situation.

    The bottom line is that quicker acceleration is a safety factor if used well, and 6.5 seconds is much better than 8 when merging into traffic. In fact, 5 seconds is damn nice when things get dicey.

    As a note, I think that 0-60 is not the best measure, I would be more interested in rolling start numbers; maybe 10-60.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    ..."invented" the 0-60 performance test over 50 years ago, 60 mph did seem fast for most cars. Remember that two of the three most popular cars of the era - Chevrolet and Plymouth - were still using bog-slow sixes.

    At that time, 60 mph, in and of itself, probably seemed fairly fast. There weren't many interstate highways, with their entrance ramps allowing a "running start," so most drivers entering a road probably did start from a dead stop.

    It was a test that was easily performed, and easily understood by readers (the car is idling, you floor the accelerator pedal, and count the seconds until the speedometer hits 60 mph).

    Probably not a test that gives a good reflection of a vehicle's overall capabilties in today's driving conditions, but one that is still easily understood (and, as a result, and just as important, easily advertised).
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    the test still has relevance as a parameter in an overall evaluation.

    I think it's the fascination with it as a class-defining number that's currently ludicrous. There are other factors which, along with broadly acceptable acceleration numbers, mean so much more in zeroing in on a quantified driving experience; itself merely a weather indicator in shopping. To discount a prospective vehicle in a class soley on the numbers without having driven it is, IMO, an idiot's game.

    Point being, especially around this site, that people are all too ready to call something a dog in its class if it trails the "leader" by .5 secs in 0-60. I ask a lot more meaningful things of a car than just getting me to 60mph first!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    Point being, especially around this site, that people are all to ready to call something a dog in its class if it trails the "leader" by .5 secs in 0-60. I ask a lot more meaningful things of a car than just getting me to 60mph first!

    I think one thing that should be noted is that often the same car can have a variance of a second or more in 0-60, depending on who does the test, elevation, weather, time of day, which planets are in alignment, who won last year's superbowl, and whether or not my co-worker is having Mr. Monthly Visitor! :P

    I think 0-60 is much less relevant than it was in the past. For example, in 1957, if you had a car that could go 0-60 in under 10 seconds, you had a pretty fast car. And if it could do it in under 8, you had a monster on your hands. Yet at the same time, many cars in 1957 would take 30 seconds or more to get from 0-60, and some had a top speed that wasn't much faster. Heck, even my buddy's old 1980 Accord took about 26-30 seconds to get from 0-60, if you had three people on board. I know, we timed it with a stopwatch a couple times.

    I have an old 1985 Consumer Guide, and IIRC, the slowest car in there was a Mercury Topaz automatic, at 15.9 seconds. And I think there was a Jeep model with the 2.8/auto that might've been as bad as 17. Still, even by this time, not that many cars were breaking the 10 second barrier. They tested a BMW 6-series that did it, but their 3-series models did not. I think the Maxima was right around 10, with a stick. The Cressida was 9.6. The Jag XJC with the V-12 was 8.2. All of Chrysler's turbo models were around 9.5. Obviously, the Mustang GT and Camaro IROC were well below 10.

    Nowadays though, there just isn't the spread that there used to be. A lot of cars might be falling into the 5-6 second range, but I'd imagine there are precious few modern cars that take more than 10 seconds to get from 0-60. Off the top of my head, the only ones I can think of are the 2.7-inflicted Charger/Magnum/300 which are good for about 11 seconds. The Taurus with the old pushrod Vulcan 3.0 was in that range too. And so was the Focus with the base 110 hp 2.0 4-cyl, but I don't think they even offer that engine anymore.

    And FWIW, even though the cars might be able to accelerate quicker, that doesn't mean the people are using the power. Often you have to really make the newer cars scream to get them to move out, and the drivers just don't want to do that. The end result is that I find more 250 hp+ cars than ever before backing up the freeway entrance ramps.

    My '85 Silverado, which has 165 hp from a 305 V-8, might do 0-60 in about 12 seconds. Yet the chances are I'm not even going to need to take advantage of that, because some yahoo in the car in front of me, who could easily do 0-60 in 7-8 seconds or quicker wants to merge onto the highway at 45 mph.

    I used to care more about 0-60, but once it got to the point that the majority of new cars could do it in under 10 seconds, it just didn't seem that significant anymore.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    Wasn't 0 - 60 meant originally as a maximum speed test, as 60 mph was as fast as the average car would go?

    I agree with seminole_kev...torque is what matters to me, and to most drivers. When the average guy on the street is talking about his car's horsepower, he's really talking about its torque...
  • john500john500 Posts: 409
    Am I the only person here who guns a car from a stop at every light? I agree that a rolling start would be a good measure of highway merging, however, is someone going to tell me that 10-60 speeds are vastly different from 0-60 speeds and do not scale in any way making the 0-60 mph value not a valid indicator for 10-60 speeds? A 0-60 mph measurement is still the best measure for acceleration, however, I believe that there should be a caveat. ALL launches should be done as soft launches (i.e. meaning the takeoff is from idle rpm not revved up to some insane value and then popping the clutch) and representative of people who are not at the race track and want to preserve their clutch for 50 K or so.
  • "Am I the only person here who guns a car from a stop at every light?"

    No, from what I can tell, you have at least some competition for the title of "King of the Jerks". But just out of curiosity, what does that behavior get you, if you don't mind me asking?

    I have two cars with a combined 0-60 time of roughly 8 seconds. A 2003 M5 at about 4.5 and 2007 911 Turbo at about 3.5. If I had bought either car so I could act like an [non-permissible content removed] at every stoplight, I'd consider myself pretty pitiful. Not that I lollygag around when the light turns green. But I don't have some genetic predisposition that requires me to burn rubber to show I have an ample supply of testosterone (to go along with mental deficiencies).

    I can eschew the virtues of handling, steering, braking, etc. as just as important as acceleration in "performance". But inevitably, I am repeatedly asked "how fast" one or the other of my cars is. And occassionally, someone will attempt to lure me into a debate about why a 911 Turbo costs $140k and a nearly as fast Corvette only costs $50k. It takes some self discipline to keep from pointing out that it doesn't really matter, with that kind of mental capacity, they are unlikely to have the choice of the latter, let alone the former.
  • john500john500 Posts: 409
    My car does a 0-60 mph in 9 seconds. The 100 K that I saved relative to the two absurd vehicles that you purchased is earning a large dividend relative to the loss that you are now incurring. In addition to the fact that you can't legally drive those vehicles at even 1/2 speed, tell me again the technical insight as to how the 0-60 mph is meaningless and "yesterday". I believe the Sesame Street forum offers more meaningful logic rebuttals.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    how the 0-60 mph is meaningless

    How many of your stints going 0-60 mph involve launches the way reviewers do? Have you measured your time? Or, do you look out the window and look at couple of teenagers you're racing on the streets with?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Today's 0-60 is the equivalent of 0-30 in Uncle Tom's day.

    Incidentally, McCahill wasn't just another auto tester. His road test reports were really witty.

    Let's distinguish between fun and safety. I disagree with the notion that you need pavement scorching 0-60 or 10-60 to enter entrance ramps safely, or to ensure that you can do so. I think that very fast acceleration is more for fun than for safety, and that all the new cars from major manufacturers have sufficient power to access freeway ramps safely. You can always conjure up a hypothetical situation where 0-60 in 6 seconds avoids an accident, where 0-60 in 7 or 8 seconds wouldn't have. But then, why not 0-60 in 3 seconds, or 2 seconds? What percentage of accidents occur because someone didn't enter a road quickly enough, or didn't accelerate from a situation fast enough? And for every one of those accidents, don't you think that another one, or maybe two, was attributable to someone having more power than they could prudently use? I mean, within a reasonable range, why is slower acceleration, say 0-60 in 12 seconds, automatically more dangerous than the potential risks associated with 0-60 in 3.9 seconds? At the risk of sounding sexist, let me use gender to make my point. Can we agree that, generally, more guys than women accelerate aggressively? If yes, then do women account for a disproportionate number of on-ramp accidents, because fewer of them floor it, or, on average, may drive fewer high powered cars than men? Anything's possible, but I don't think so.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    Well, I would disagree...being able to accelerate quickly while entering a highway is a safety factor, especially in Pennsylvania where plenty of poorly designed entrance ramps and lots of congestion often provide a nerve-wracking combination.

    Some of the entrance ramps to the Schuylkill Expressway are a nightmare, especially when traffic is heavy. And we've got a few around Harrisburg that make me wonder what PennDOT was thinking.

    As for "all the new cars from major manufacturers have sufficient power to access freeway ramps safely" - this is true, but that is because by historical standards, virtually all new cars are very fast.

    A dead-stock V-6 Accord can probably blow away most of those vaunted muscle cars from the 1960s, not to mention more than a few of the German performance machines from the 1980s.

    The new "average" would have been sensational 20 years ago.

    As for the male-female breakdown. That is disappearing. Younger women are just as aggressive as younger males when it comes to accelerating. And is there proof that accidents are caused by people flooring it (as opposed, to say, being too timid and hesitating)?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "Am I the only person here who guns a car from a stop at every light?"

    Without getting into name calling, I'm curious too - what does that behavior get you? You saved $100k over a high performance sports car, yet feel compelled mash the pedal at every stoplight? You must admit, it sounds a little bi-polar. Certainly not the best way to save additional bucks at the gas pump.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    "A dead-stock V-6 Accord can probably blow away most of those vaunted muscle cars from the 1960s, not to mention more than a few of the German performance machines from the 1980s."

    Top Gear did this great bit where they were open tracking a beautifully-maintained and all-original old Jag E-type convertible (with the 12 cyl engine).

    After putting it through its paces, they raced it against a middle of the line current model Honda Accord. The difference in acceleration was astounding, as the Honda left it in the dust, with Jag driver Jeremy howling in protest. ;)
  • john500john500 Posts: 409
    No offense intended to anyone. Allow me to explain. I had to take the Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia, PA for my first job. It's been about 15 years so I don't know what it is like now. Here is my recollection.

    It was an urban road, highly congested, mostly commuter cars, a lot of traffic lights (say every 1/2 mile). The traffic would literally go 0-60 mph in about 10 seconds after each traffic light with or without you.

    Scenario 1. You have a car that goes 0-60 mph in under 8 seconds and can turn without making a complete stop. You are in good shape.

    Scenario 2. You have a car that goes 0-60 mph in 10 seconds. You are still OK, however, you will have to floor it to reduce driving stress.

    Scenario 3. You have a car that goes 0-60 mph in 12 seconds. You will not keep up with traffic. In a 3-lane road, cars will exit the other lanes to "space fill" in front of you creating additional traffic congestion.

    Scenario 4. You have a car that goes 0-60 mph in 15 seconds or longer. You are a hazard. Cars will "space fill" in front of you and others will be desperately trying to get out from behind you. If you happen to come across 4 teenagers in a car that was behind you, they will be waving you over to initiate a fight for the next 3 miles because they believed you were deliberately delaying them. If you are an old man, a woman or look mentally challenged, the teenagers will usually give you a free pass with a dirty look. Unfortunately, I didn't fall into any of the free-pass categories since I was basically 20 or so at the time.

    There are roads like this in every city in the US. I realize my driving pattern might not be appropriate now, however, it is ingrained. A 0-60 mph number is the first thing I look at in car.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    When you say, 0-60 in 8 seconds, do you imply a real life scenario, or those involving launch techniques that virtually all magazines use?

    I have driven virtually everywhere in the USA, and can't imagine a scenario I haven't. Something I have found a better measure than published 0-60 run is that cars with about 20 lb/HP are enough to safely merge on short ramps (and actually in those situations, a complete stop does not make sense unless there is a light in which case, you're not really merging right away, so rolling acceleration makes more sense).

    I drive a car that is said to do 0-60 in about 9.5-10s, and more often than not, I am braking while merging with traffic going 65-70 mph. And thats on crowded freeways in Dallas area (most freeways do have service roads and the ramp may be short, but the car is already running at about 35-40 mph at the beginning of the short ramp... again, a 40-70 mph acceleration test would be more meaningful there than a 0-60 with high rev launch.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    On some Pennsylvania roads, coming to a stop at the base of the entrance ramp is the only choice the driver has. Too much traffic and not enough entrance ramp.

    I can take you to several entrance ramps within 10 miles of my home where, when traffic is heavy, but still moving at 65-70 mph, the driver must be prepared to come to a complete stop before merging (most of these are along I-83).
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Fair enough response, and I wasn't looking to offend either. However, if that is why...

    "A 0-60 mph number is the first thing I look at in car".

    ...I'm not sure quite how you ended up with a car that only does 0-60 in 9 seconds, forcing you to gun it to keep up with traffic at every light. I bought a 1995 Nissan Maxima SE 5-speed 12+ years ago for $20,500. It's given me 155k miles of excellent service and the maintenance and repair bills have been minimal. And it did/does 0-60 in 6.6 seconds, according to R&T. I didn't buy the Maxima thinking I was getting a "4 door sports car", but it certainly had more than adequate performance to feel safe in the traffic situations you describe.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I've driven enough in PA, and similar cases can be found in Seattle area too (but traffic doesn't move there as fast as it does in Dallas area although there aren't ramp lights here).

    That said, people that focus on 0-60 published in magazines should realize that in real life situations, those numbers would be hard to replicate. How many people do 4500 rpm clutch drops (or figure out the best possible rpm for their launch) to go from 0-60?

    It is how we have seen a discrepancy of 1.5s between 0-60 (5.4s?) and 5-60 mph (6.9s) acceleration for MazdaSpeed6. It is why you see Consumer Report's 0-60 usually being a lot slower than what most magazines obtain in their runs.

    The inconsistency in testing procedures renders 0-60 run useless (even if it were useful in some situations), A rolling acceleration (like 5-60) is far more useful indicator of a cars acceleration potential to a typical driver outside of a drag racing circuit.

    I would rather see those acceleration numbers being published, along with acceleration from different speeds (say, 45-70 or whatever) going thru gears than the "best" measurements magazines focus on today.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    What's the old saying...."Americans buy horsepower, but drive torque"?
This discussion has been closed.