Car manufacturers love to give us zero to 60 times. It's the money shot of all automotive benchmarks. Right up there with top speed. However, in the real world, it's not always useful. The fact is, unless you're drag racing the kid in the Camry next to you, zero to sixty is pretty irrelevant these days. It's good for bragging rights, but it doesn't tell you the true performance of a car in real world situations. A better test for that is some type of rolling test where you're not starting from a standstill and dropping the clutch or forcing RPMs instantly higher (it's a better gauge of passing power, a much more useful piece of information). Case in point the video below.
“From a rolling start, the flag drops and I floor it.”
EXTRA MINUTES | Peter Stefanovic puts strength, power and speed to the test – Will Anna Meares outride a Porsche? #60Mins
Posted by 60 Minutes Australia on Sunday, June 5, 2016
I'm not sure where the announcer is getting their horsepower figures from, but that's clearly a 986 Boxster. So, unless it's tuned in some way, he's off by almost 50 hp. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt and assume it's a late model 986 with a 3.2 liter engine. Assuming it's a manual transmission, it has a zero to 60 time of 5.7 seconds (not too shabby for decade plus old car). Regardless, here's a clear example of where torque and RPM comes into play (after all Horsepower = (Torque x RPMs) / 5252).
The Boxster's opponent is Australian cyclist Anna Meares. I'm not quite sure what her legs put out for horsepower and torque numbers but it's said she can accelerate from 30 kph to 60 kph in just 3 second.
The Boxster, starting at lower RPMs (and geared differently than the bike), just can't match her acceleration, at least it this video.
Some think this video is staged. I think it's real. Sure, the Porsche driver could have dropped a gear prior to the start, but that wasn't the point of the race. Even if he did I"m not so sure it would have made a difference in the short distance of 80 meters that the Olympian needed to double her speed (the Boxster just has so much more mass to move forward). Any of our readers want to do the math on this one?
On a side note, I wonder how she would fare against the new turbo charged 911 engines and their almost instantly available torque.