With The Citizen Motoring’s usual operations put on hold due to the Level 4 lockdown restrictions, 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 100km/h – for every year dating back to 2004. We are rolling these out until we get the green light to put the latest performance models through their paces again.
In what is the final update in this series, 2019 saw BMW pull a double and take the top spot with their M5 xDrive again. This time producing 460kW/750Nm and wearing the Competition Package badge. But as was the case with the other Competition cars, it might have run a stupid quick 3.45 sec to 100 km/h, but this was slower than the standard M5. The trend of large luxury saloons or coupes running super car times continued in 2019. Mercedes-AMG’s 470kW/900Nm AMG GT 63 S Coupe came in second with a time of 3.51 sec, and BMW’s 390kW/750Nm M850i Coupe in fourth with a 3.99 run.
Nissan’s aging GT-R in 50th Anniversary livery and 408kW/632Nm on tap could only manage one of the slowest ever GT-R runs at 3.78 sec. It was good enough though for second place on the 2019 chart. Refinement truly coming at the cost of pace for this once much-feared super car slayer.
It was also a seesaw type of year in terms of high-lights and low-lights. The good stuff came in the form of Toyota’s 250kW/500Nm GR Supra that ran a good 4.33 sec time. Although based almost completely on BMW’s new Z4 and much criticised for it, the Japanese worked their suspension magic on this car and made it substantially better than the Germans ever could. It would be my choice between the two.
The other highlight was when Mercedes-AMG’s monster 430kW/850Nm G63 did a gangster impressing run of just 4.38 sec. Nothing that big is meant to move that fast, but it did. Sure, you would need shares in a petrol station to run the thing, but who cares, it was fun with a capital F.
Ford’s improved 331kW/530Nm 5.0-litre Mustang GT Fastback, now with a smooth shifting 10-speed automatic ran a time 5.57 sec, which is not too bad, but right about now the low-lights of the year started to show themselves. The GT’s 338 kW sibling, the limited and much sought after Bullitt , came in with a disappointing run of 6.24 sec. Most of this poor showing was down to a launch control system that would not do what it was meant to and a six-speed manual gearbox that would not have gone amiss on a tractor it was so bad.
The three most controversial tests, in terms of numbers, I did in 2019 came down to Jeep’s 522kW/875Nm supercharged 6.2-litre V8 Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, Volkswagen’s 228kW/400Nm Golf 7.5 R, and Benz’s much vaunted 190kW/350Nm X350d 4Matic Power.
This is how the Jeep was advertised online in 2017: “The new Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, as it is called, will sprint from a standstill to 100 km/h in a mere 3.5 seconds and obliterate the quarter-mile in 11.6 seconds. That makes it the quickest production SUV (non-electric) on the planet, clinching the Bentley Bentayga’s”.
Only one problem; when I ran it in South Africa, the absolute best I could get was 4.42 sec to 100 km/h. In performance terms, this was miles away from the claimed time and not the fastest SUV in the country, nevermind the planet. Much was expected from this SUV that was retailing then for a proper R2.2-million, and my numbers did not go down well with Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) South Africa.
No other local test produced the claimed numbers either, but this did not stop the debate spilling over onto social media, where all sorts of things were insinuated concerning my testing. Of course, I took offence, I knew that the test car I had was going as quick as it could. I even filmed the runs as proof, but the niggle continued.
I eventually made an offer to the company to bring me as many of the Trackhawks as they had and I would test them all, and if one of them went down to the claimed number, I would personally donate R10 000 to an animal charity of their choice. This offers remains unclaimed till this day.
Volkswagen’s full power Golf R did pretty much the same thing to me when it ran a best time of 5.14 sec to 100 km/h, which was fractionally slower than the 213 kW ‘detuned’ model’s time of 4.95 sec. I wrote about this; others chose to ignore it as not important. Not sure how you can do this when a high-performance car like this is sold based on its numbers. But anyway, Volkswagen South Africa were not too fazed though, as they sell their cars in big numbers regardless of what anybody says. Case closed.
Now, remember when I said to you in the 2017 flashback that Volkswagen’s 165kW/500Nm Amarok had become the fastest double cab bakkie in South Africa, but that its title might be under threat by the more powerful X-Class offering in the future? Well this proved not to be the case. In fact, not only was the soon-to-be-discontinued X-Class slower to 100 km/h with a time of 9.43 sec to 8.67, the Amarok was simply better in every other way too.
A rather disappointing end to the year. But if we had only known then what we do today with the insanity of Covid-19, we probably all would have walked a little slower and took more time to smell the roses so to speak.
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.
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