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TopGear Fanatic
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is for all generations. We've been using a test somewhat unorthodox to most, so I thought I'd share it with you guys (and gals) and see what you came up with. Common benchmarks are 0-60 and the 1/4 mile, but perhaps this is a more accurate test of true engine power and acceleration.

A few of our friends at the European shop in Knoxville introduced this concept to us. They threw it down in a bit of a challenge, actually, when we may have possibly brought up the quote from Car & Driver where they called the 1987 Acura Legend coupe "a better BMW than BMW". Touchy bunch, they are :yes:

Their point of view holds some water: the problem with traditional 0-60 or 1/4 mile tests is that of too many variables. When starting from a dead stop, how well you launch the car plays a large part in the achieved elapsed time. Other factors include reaction time, the stickiness of your tires, wheelspin off the line, limited slip diff, gearing weight transfer, added weight, road/track surface, shifting technique, shift points, and a host of other items I didn't care to listen to, so I interrupted. They sprayed me - and my car - with a water hose for not listening.

As hardcore European as they might be, they do have a valid theory going. What they do is a run from 60-80, which some car magazines do as well. Using a flat stretch of road, with little or no wind blowing, at about 55mph, floor the gas. Once you hit 60, start the clock and stop it at 80. Run the test in 3rd, 4th, and 5th gears. The advantage of this test is that the car is already in motion and accelerating. Also there's no gear change to flub (and I definitely flub them with the best of them).

After much discussion and off-topic rambling, we came to like this test quite a bit, and ran it as often as we could. The 3rd gear pull is a good indicator of maximum power, 4th is good for midrange, and 5th shows low-end torque and engine flexibility. You don't need a track to test your car, just take it out on the freeway or wherever when you add a mod. Maybe this is something almost everyone on here can relate to and compare with.

Granted, there are still a few variables. Temperature is one, as is altitude. So maybe there will never be a perfect measurement. It's hard to even get dynos to agree, just ask the G2 guys who have been trying to get different types of dyno figures to add up. Engine power on a dyno isn't necessarily always the best indicator of acceleration anyways. Take, for example, a G1 BMW M3, which has 192hp. And take also, if you would, a G1 Ford Probe Turbo, which has 145hp. Both cars have nearly identical gearing and weight. Despite the sizeable power difference, their acceleration is identical (or so I'm told, take that with a grain of salt as it's from M3 fanatics).

Because talk is cheap, as Christian and GSM will hasten to tell me, here are a few figures for your viewing pleasure:

1990 Acura Legend L (stock - tested back in February)
3rd gear - 5.75

1990 Acura Legend L (with CAI and catback)
3rd gear - 5.39
4th gear - 6.47
5th gear - 13.71

BMW 535i (stock - figures given by European fanatics)
3rd gear - 5.2
4th gear - 7.7 (slower than a G1 :woot: )
5th gear - 11.3

1991 BMW M5 (stock - Euro 3.6L model)
3rd gear - 4.0
4th gear - 6.6
5th gear - 9.5

What say you, people of the earth? How do you measure up?
 

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I'van der Rohe
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Most magazines used to do those tests too...

30-50 top gear acceleration and 50-70 acceleration...

People conveniently would leave those numbers out because historically 0-60 is all that really mattered.

It's a number I always look for when reading a review the acceleration times from 30-50 and 50-70 to gauge a car's performance envelope.

They just threw a spin on it by adding 3rd gear to the mix. third gear acceleration doesn't really matter in the real world because WHO downshifts at 50mph to 3rd gear to run to 70mph every day?

I like the final gear acceleration tests...exposes the dirty secret of some of those cars that run GREAT quarter miles but are in actuality "gutless wonders."

But also, at this given juncture, the tests REALLLLLLLY rely on gearing. In those upper gears, any car is liable to be slow if geared incorrectly...

I can guarantee you a corvette ZR1 (the original from early 90s) would get outrun by a Isuzu Rodeo in that test...doesn't mean the Corvette is slow, just means its 6th gear is stupid long.

Basically, these tests are to judge low to midrange torque. Go to the Racing section and read my post about HP vs. Torque and the Ford Probe Turbo/M3 comparison will make sense.
 

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TopGear Fanatic
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
True about the gearing. Those European maniacs who brought this up were all proud of their new shorter final drive ratio LSD whatevers in their cars. Right on about the crazy-long 6th gear in those Corvettes too. Great for freeway gas mileage, I suppose. Oh well, just thought I'd throw it out there :D Not everyone can get to a 1/4 mile track or time a 0-60 without a passenger, so this may be an easier way to get numbers.
 

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So it doesn't tell which is fastest overall but which one compliments which driving style. Even though this test depends mainly on gearing, it's very important IMO because an engine is nothing without the good gearing to match. The tests also tells how the car likes to be driven; highway cruiser, red light torque monster, high speed sprinter, etc. This helps me decide whether or not I want the thing based on which driving style matches it the best.

"A better BMW than BMW" hhmmm
 

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well i would say this is a very good test but sucks if you got an auto and why i measure 0-60 is when your trying to creat a street based performance car this is mainly all that matters, as we are limited to 70mph and only on a few roads most are 60
 

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Has 70mph always been the highest limit? I remember hearing 80mph being an average speed limit here in the US during the 60's....I wonder if they'll ever raise the limit back up.

Ontopic: I think 60-80mph tests should still be done in conjunction with 0-60 tests to give a thorough idea of the car's characteristics.
 

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I like that idea for testing. It offers a nice alternative to the ever-so-popular 0 - 60 and 1/4 mile times haha. =]

Has 70mph always been the highest limit? I remember hearing 80mph being an average speed limit here in the US during the 60's....I wonder if they'll ever raise the limit back up.
Yeah the max speed limit was dropped a couple decades back if I remember correctly... Montana didn't have a speed limit in some places up until a few years back too, correct?
 

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Yeh i think its good with the 0-60. Yeh its always been like that we use to have 1 state with no speed limits out side town but this year they have 75mph speed limits introduced. they have a 90 mile straight and every1 use to go there to see how far they could push there car but that is stuffed now
 

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TopGear Fanatic
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
For some reason I always assume with AU's wide open spaces and their penchant for cars like the Holden Monaro :p , they'd kind of favor high speeds. Sorry to hear about those limits Muffo, maybe you can find yourself a closed-down airport runway and have at it sometime! :yes:

I was disappointed to hear about Montana's newfound speed limits as well. And from what I hear, the Autobahn is heading the same direction. :(
 

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well i would say this is a very good test but sucks if you got an auto and why i measure 0-60 is when your trying to creat a street based performance car this is mainly all that matters
Really? In my 15 years of driving experience in US, I have yet to be in a situation where I have to accelerate fast 0-60 MPH on the street.

Yet, 60-80 or 60-90 MPH are very common here in the SF Bay since 80-90 MPH is a typical traffic speed on the freeway here.
 

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Just Another Guy
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Reading through this it reminded me of a camera phone video I made of a quick 45-90 sprint. Its pretty bad quality but I'm seeing 3.8-4.0 seconds. Of course for the fastest time I would have had to hold 2nd out longer - maybe 3.7seconds? This was before T2 manifold. So car ran 14.99 @ 94.12. Run at sea level at around 70 degrees.

Enjoy:

-Ed

And I have fixed that ABS light....removed computer. ;-)
 

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Just Another Guy
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From Sports Car Internation's review of a '91 Acura Legend Coupe 5spd:

Gear 30-50 50-70
3rd: 4.9 5.0
4th: 7.7 7.3
5th: 11.6 11.7

Torque anyone? I'm seeing around 3.4-3.5 seconds 50-70 on my vid. Course thats in 2nd....d'oh.
 

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Just Another Guy
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Is your Legend an auto? I didn't know any (g1 or g2) of the mt Legend's 2nd could wind out to 70 mph, and I know my 2nd can get up to 65-70 but it's an auto.
Yeah its an Auto....stock it goes to 71mph. I'm sure I can make it hit 80+ in 2nd.

-Ed
 

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Really? In my 15 years of driving experience in US, I have yet to be in a situation where I have to accelerate fast 0-60 MPH on the street.

Yet, 60-80 or 60-90 MPH are very common here in the SF Bay since 80-90 MPH is a typical traffic speed on the freeway here.
Yes really! our speed limit is 60. Say i want to prove my car is faster than some1s then we commonly drag to 60 and stop so if we get cought we still have our lisence.
 

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I be zooming in the freeway with my legend i be going 85 mph. Over here in Minnesota is 55mph on the freeway but alot are 65mph and some 75mph.
 
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