2005 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLarenEnlarge Photo
Ever since the Ferrari F40 became the first road legal production car to reach 200mph in 1987, the benchmark has been set. Now in order for a car to be considered a supercar, at least in modern terms, it needs to reach that limit.
Motor Trend has taken four of these cars to the Mojave Air and Space Port to try and see if they can reach the magical triple-digit speed in less than 3 miles, which is the length of the runway. Normally top speed runs are done on an unlimited length oval, so this task isn’t so easy as it looks.
The Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4. The car, using a 5.2L V-10, can reach 62 mph in 3.7 seconds, and in most ways, faster around a track than it’s bigger Murcielago sibling. It has a 202 mph top speed, but that’s after stretching it out, Motor Trend has a limited amount of room. While it looked as if the lambo made it up to 200, it only reached 191mph before it had to put on the brakes.
After the Lambo came the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano. The Ferrari has the Lamborghini beat in the horsepower area, as the 6.0L V-12 pumps out 612 hp. The car has a top speed of 205 mph. The car only reached 196 mph, all the while with the check engine light on and running out of gas.
The Bentley Continental Supersports followed. The twin turbo W-12 makes 621 hp, beating both previous cars. The high speed grand tourer has a top speed of 204 mph. The hefty weight of the car probably didn’t help it reach it however, since the limited runway required good acceleration to get it to speed quickly, so it only reached 187 mph at the end of the run.
Finally came a Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren. The Supercharged V-8 in the car produces 617 horespower, which is between the Ferrari and the Bentley. It also has a top speed higher than any cars before it (not to mention price) at 208 mph. The final car came close to the top speed, at 199 mph.
There is no doubt that these cars car reach their claimed top speed, but Motor Trend has proved that it only can be reached if you have enough room.
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[Source: Motor Trend]