Were Secretly Faster Than Advertised: Part 2
Porsche 991 Turbo S
Why is Porsche so cagey with its incredible figures? Apparently, the company’s rule is that any owner – no matter where in the world they’re driving, at whatever altitude, using whatever quality fuel, however, worn the tires or even if the car’s 100,000 miles old – should be able to match the numbers printed in the handbook. So, whenever you hear a Porsche 0-62mph time, think of it less of a target, more of a worst-case scenario. Let’s explain.
The guys over at Top Gear had previously spoken about the Porsche 959, in a conversation that sounded something like this; Remember how we were talking about the Porsche 959 with its clever all-wheel-drive, cleverer twin-turbo engine and how all of that German intel was stuffed into the body of a 911? How times change, eh? Ever since Porsche stuck its twin-clutch gearbox in the 911 Turbo (as a riposte to the cheaper, faster Nissan GT-R) it’s been one of auto-dom’s drag race heroes.Top Gear
Case in point, the old 991 Turbo S claimed 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds. Yet Top Gear has timed these practical supercars at a verified 2.5 seconds off the line – the same pace as a Bugatti Veyron.
In1990, Vauxhall decided it needed a super saloon to take on the BMW M5, and they sort of overdid it. Lotus upped the straight-six engine from 3.0 to 3.6 liters, then added not one but two massive Garrett turbos. The result was 377bhp and a four-door saloon car that could get from 0-60mph regardless of a hefty manual gearbox and no traction control – in just 5.2 seconds.
This was the world’s fastest saloon car, and its legality was even debated in the British parliament. Lotus and Vauxhall, wary of lawsuits over their creation’s huge pace, officially claimed the Carlton had a top speed of ‘just’ 174mph, even though company insiders were well aware it wouldn’t actually run out of puff until closer to 190 miles per hour.
Mclaren puts the number of horses it takes to run the engine on the back of their cars, that is to say, 720 S would mean 720 hp, you see where we are going with this, therefore you’d expect a McLaren 720S to serve up 720 horsepower or at least somewhere in the region of 711bhp.
Yet, several cars were publicly dyno-tested and actually delivered over 750bhp. When it was tested back in 2017, it beat McLaren’s already crazy 2.9sec 0-62mph claim by 0.2 seconds, and to think they then went on to build something called the 765LT…
Toyota GR Yaris
Toyota’s spectacular GR Yaris. The little four-wheel-drive rally wannabe is supposed to get from 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds, and that’s already plenty quick enough to make a Golf GTI blush. But when it was actually put on the test track, it did a whopping 60mph in just 4.6 seconds.
Drumroll, as we finally conclude the list, one of the quintessential ‘we didn’t know it was that fast, honest’, cars.
Gordon Murray insisted his quest to build the world’s greatest driver’s car was never supposed to end in breaking the production car speed record, but the numbers were in his favor.
The F1 was small, slippery, punched a teeny hole in the air and BMW’s sublime V12 pumped out 627bhp – a full 14 percent more powerful than Murray had originally briefed for. Big poke, small footprint. Good for top speed.
While the official maximum was a heady 231mph (calculated from earlier high-speed testing at the Nardo bowl), there was always a suspicion an F1 could go faster in a straight line. And so on 31 March 1998 – six whole years after the F1 burst onto bedroom walls around the world – McLaren got Volkswagen to lend the Ehra-Lessien test track out for a bit of high-octane science.
Meanwhile, McLaren raised the V12’s redline from the standard 7,300rpm to 8,300rpm and strapped in Le Mans ace Andy Wallace to fire the XP5 prototype into the record books. The verified v-max was a sensational 243 miles an hour (with a two-way average of 240.1mph).
The F1 remains the fastest naturally aspirated car ever built, almost three decades after it emerged. Not to mention, even faster than it was ever supposed to go.
This concludes our countdown to the 9 fastest cars that were secretly faster than you thought. Hope you were just as surprised as us, at some of the entries. Bet some of you never even assumed the Yaris would be in a list like this. Yes we were pleasantly shocked too. So whenever you find yourselves in any of these rides, remember to go easy on the pedal, or not. You get the idea… Drive responsibly though, we mean it.