- The original number of 7.4 was not empirical, but a deliberately conservative calculation; a ballpark-figure to give the public an idea of what performance level to expect. (Imagine the bad PR if the car was released slower than originally publicized)
- 6.9 vs. 7.4 takes into account an extra up-shift to achieve those 2 add'l mph from 60mph to 100kph. A real possibility on a 6-speed.
- BMW/MINI agreed w/ my rants about 7.4 being embarassingly slow for a performance car and went w/ the more optimistic magazine-acheived 0-60 rather than their own [typically more conservative] results. (Note how offical postings for German cars are always considerably slower than what most magazines measure)
Motor Trend tests the S's U.S. competition.
Civic Si 160hp 2744lb 0-60/7.56 $20K
Focus SVT 170hp 2750 0-60/7.39 $20k
Sentra SE-R 175hp 2743 0-60/7.22 $19K
VW GTi 180hp 2932 0-60/6.82 $21K
S 163hp 2678? 0-60/? $24K
The Sentra has the best p/w ratio, but the VW is a bit quicker, so Nissan's horses must be less powerful than the German ones. They were not hot on the (U.S.)Si. The VW's price "may be a hurdle"? They liked the Focus.
If the S really still weighs something over 2500 pounds (announced U.S. weight), then it should certainly do the 0-60 sprint in the 6.9 that was originally claimed. If it weighs close to 2700 (165 pounds has been added to the car since announcement, or are they just reporting the weight differently?), as last reported, then 0-60 is likely to be closer to the 7.3-7.4 estimated by some other rags.
For a little perspective, the "slowest" of the four cars tested, tied the 0-60 time of the 351 Windsor-powered Mustang Mach 1 that MT tested in '69.
Torque and how much torque and HP are available at low RPM make a significant contribution to 0-60 times. The VW is a torque beast compared to most -- 181 ft.lbs. @ 3200 while the Nissan gets its peak torque at 4000.
Unless one tests all cars on the same day, same temperature, same track, same driver, same amount of gasoline (petrol-being a smart ass here) the 0-60 times are really only approximate. Amount of wheel spin, tire tempature, track surface, etc. all have their effects.
My son has a VW Golf 1.8T which is a sweet engine. A real pleasure to drive on the street. If it were only lighter, lower, had stiffer springs, and some real sway bars....
Car and Driver has a similar test (minus the Sentra) in this month's issue, and their acceleration times were slower. I remember the Si being 8.0 and the Focus a little quicker than that. As a youngster, I read MT, Road & Track, and C-and-D, and the acceration figures were always quickest in C-and-D and slowest in MT; they must have swapped test-drivers.
The 0-100 Km/h figures are academic. This is a straight line test with pedal to the floor which says nothing about drivability. My wife's SLK 230 K has the same Eaton supercharger and is really fun to drive not because it does 0-100 in x but because it packs the punch at nearly any speed and in any gear (particularly useful in an automatic!). We live on a little hill and have to go up about 300m in altitude and a multitude of hairpins to reach our humble abode. To add to the challenge, there is only one short straight where safe (not if the other guy is in an S or anything even half-way serious!)overtaking is possible.... In all this fun you hardly ever go anywhere near the red line, hence max.BHP/0-100 etc. are just academic.....
Cordial, going near redline would be irrelevant. You can sit on the redline at 25mph. As a matter of fact, my Miata was always at redline, even in town, that's where it makes all the power.
Nonetheless, I understand what you're talking about. Our Audi allroad, with a 2.7 Twin Turbo, is great fun to step on the gas in 6th gear, simply because the power is immediate from all that torque.
As a matter of fact my wife has briefly raced me on the highway while I was driving my Passat 1.8T. I downshifted to 3rd, she pulled right away from me. Later I found out she didn't even downshift from 6th!
The Cooper S should have this kind of power as well as I stated above about the torque.
Another important factor that won't be clear until we get to drive an S for real, is how the engine copes when you rev it hard. My old Elise was very quick, but the engine always gave the impression that something was about to snap when it was pushed. The VTEC CRX that I now drive is nowhere near as fast in real terms, but it just *loves* to be revved, which makes it heaps more fun to drive hard.
Apparently there is a guy in the states who imports Elises and swaps out the klonky K-Series for an Integra Type-R VTEC unit. Now that sounds like my dream car!
Even if you only make half the cars performance, a car that can do 0-60 in 7 seconds is going to pull away faster than a car that can do 0-60 in 12 seconds, even if the driver only gets 50% of the performance out.
In Milton Keynes, 0-60(and 70) and back to 0 are pretty important as it's all national speed limit roads with roundabouts to break it up.... I love driving round here.
I'm saying that a 2700 pound car with the Cooper S's hp and torque figures isn't going to go 0-60 in 6.9 seconds. We'll have to wait until a production car is in the clutches of the car rags, but I suspect it will run in the same 7.3-7.4 range as the cited competitors.
For those who think 7.4 is ample or good enough, that's great. For those who want to dice with Acuras or Audis (or the new, supercharged, 205hp Neon) 7.4 is slow.