0-100km/hr in... does anyone still care?

My girlfriend and I went to a hardware store yesterday to try and find some bricks to elevate a guinea pig cage we had recently bought. Not too hard of a task you would imagine, walk into bunnings, buy some bricks, and walk out.
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I asked an elderly gentlemen wearing a bunnings uniform where I can find some bricks, he started talking about all sorts of weird and confusing things, maybe we can try some timber from an ancient rainforest, or maybe some organic plates? Maybe we can suspend the cage in mid air using wires? Or, maybe we can just buy some bricks?

We ended up with some Hebal Bricks, these weird, organic-like, pink, brick looking things that according to the bunnings guy are strong enough to build houses from, even though they nearly fell apart on the way to the car. A hebal brick? Has the world gone mad?


It's obvious that certain groups come up with their own language just so that everyday people don't understand them, be it mechanics, IT people, lawyers and even the men in blue. Take IT people for example, when was the last time you had any idea what a computer salesmen was trying to sell you, "...it has 2GB of RAM, a 300gb hard drive and has a dual core 2.2ghz CPU..."... uha.

What most of us fail to realize is that we, the car-lovers, also have our own language, you can't be a car person if you don't understand the terminology; RWD, FWD, AWD, N/A, EBD, ESP, DSG the list goes on and on...

Porsche 911 SCHowever the most important of all these car terms is the all important, 0 to a 100, "nice car mate, what's the 0 to a 100?". What is the 0-100? It is the time (in seconds - unless you have a Proton) it takes for your car to go from a standstill to 100km/hr.

Back 25 years ago, 0-100 of around 7 seconds was regarded as really quick. A 1980s SC Porsche 911 would go from 0-100 in 7 seconds while a Lamborghini Countash would do it in a blistering 5.9 seconds - supercar performance for the 80s.

Lamborghini Countach

Today your everyday turbocharged Japanese car or the XR6-Turbo will keep up with the Countash and put the SC 911 to shame (although the new 911 GT2 does the 0-100 in an unbelievably quick 3.7 seconds). So cars have gotten faster and faster over time but the real question is no longer what does it do 0-100, but more so, does anyone still care?

Anyone that judges a car on its 0-100 times has missed the point. Sure it goes a long way to show the car's accelerating ability, but there is so much more to a car than 0-100 times. HSV's recent GTS claims to get from 0-100 in 4.9 seconds. I simply don't believe this to be true, at least not for your everyday driver.


Firstly no one in their right mind would ever drive their own car at its maximum capacity. To achieve the best 0-100 times, one needs to be extremely brutal on the clutch, a treatment that no drive shaft or gearbox will withstand for long.

Launching the car from at least 4,000 RPM (around 5,500 for AWDs on average) a sudden burst of power is applied to the entire car, this usually causes extreme pressure on all the cars components - not something you'd want to do in your brand new HSV more than a few times a day.

But that's not all, the biggest problem is gear changing, at least with the autoboxes and DSGs getting better and better, you can come close to achieving the quoted figures but for a manual car, when was the last time you flat shifted, or even thought about it? What you need todo to achieve the best 0-100 times is to redline and simply wrench the lever from first to second without touching the clutch! Try that tomorrow if you dare...but make sure you have a few grand ready for a new box.

So how did HSV achieve 4.9 seconds from a car that weighs nearly 1800kgs? Was the track wet or dry? Was the wind in their favour? How many gear changes were needed? Who was driving? How many clutches/gearboxes were broken to achieve the result?

Broken Clutch

The clutch in my car recently died on me after I attempted one too many 5,500 RPM launches in a night. Sure my car can do the 0-100 dash in 5.5 seconds, but at the expense of my clutch does the extra 0.5 second really matter? Besides comparing 0-100 times for cars can be meaningless when one car can achieve 100km/hr in 2nd while the other has to be in 3rd.

So how shall we do it? Should we use the American quarter-mile system where cars are measured for how long it takes them to travel 402 meters? I don't think so, the point is, while your super-cool heavily modified Skyline R32 GT-R can do the 0-100 in under 5 seconds and do the quarter-mile in mid to low 12s, something will break every few weeks - so what's the point?

But if we ignore the quarter-mile and 0 to a 100 times, how can we brag about our cars to our mates? You would be the ridiculed if you decided to quote your fuel economy figures or how little pollution your car produces, and I'll personally punch the next person that tells me they have a hybrid and I should too...

What are your thoughts? Do 0-100 times mean anything to you for your next purchase?