We all love to go bench-racing, but using car magazine 0-to-60 tests won’t tell you what happens in the real world.
The zero-to-60 test isn’t actually measuring from a stop, at least not by U.S.-based car magazines. They use a term called “rollout,” which comes from the drag-racing world.
Basically, when car magazines record testing numbers, they omit the first foot of travel (or “rollout”), resulting in a time that’s more than 0.2 seconds too short. Sometimes as much as a half-second.
Additionally, the techniques that car magazines use to launch cars is brutal, abusive, and sometimes even fatal to the car. All is fair in love, war, and instrumented testing: nobody seems to mind if we blow up a car during testing, so long as we got great numbers in the process.
The bigger issue is that 0-60 is such an important yardstick that it feeds back into the engineering of cars. Manufacturers sometimes make decisions to improve instrumented-testing numbers that come at the expense of real-world acceleration: things like ultra-long first gears or difficult-to-engage launch-control. And when an advantage can be programmed in via software, you can be sure that car companies will cheat, err… optimize for this occurrence.
And now you know.