Cars that accelerate and brake better

ACCELERATION AND BRAKING – In the measurements of our tests, two values ​​more than others are the “thermometer” of the dynamism of a car: the seconds needed to go from 0 to 100 km / h and the meters it needs, from the same speed, to stop. Numbers that interest lovers of brilliant driving, but which are even more important for safety. Even the sprint, of course: used wisely, it allows you to complete overtaking first, to enter fast-flowing roads without cutting anyone off, to quickly clear an intersection or a roundabout.

We propose the ranking of “0-100” (and the “100-0”) of the best-selling cars (this explains why there are no electric), in the most interesting version among those tested until July 2022. The data make two aspects evident. First of all, unlike in the past, the automatic transmission does not limit liveliness. In fact, the opposite is true in everyday driving.

Our times are obtained by professional testers who know how to “squeeze” the maximum (and without much ado) engine, gearbox and clutch. With the automatic, on the other hand, they are all good: just accelerate fully … As for braking, once more the advantage of having the “right” tires according to the season.


Three rechargeable hybrids in the first three places: adding a powerful electric motor to the petrol one “cuts” the times, despite the strong weight increase mainly due to the “battery”. To say, between the Peugeot 3008 1.2 petrol and the Hybrid4 there are 520 kg of difference. But also 171 horses Three German women make a good impression: the BMW X1 (diesel 4×4) gains 1.9 seconds on the full hybrid Ford Kuga of equal power, while the Volkswagen Golf and Polo are fast in relation to horsepower. The first thanks also to the rapid robotic gearbox, the second to the vigor of 1.0 at all revs.

The shooting skills mainly depend on the weight ratio of the car and the power of the engine, but not only. Over a distance as short as it takes to reach 100 km / h, the responsiveness to the accelerator, the speed and number of gearshifts (each one loses a few tenths of a second), and the fact that the power remains close to maximum over a wide range of revs. For this, electric motors are favored: they respond without the delays perhaps due to the turbo or automatic transmission, they do not need the gearbox and almost always give maximum power. Here because plug-ins are strong. Especially the 4x4s (such as the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4, with an electric motor also at the rear), which transmit the many HP better to the ground.


Let’s dispel a myth: that you need maxi-brakes to stop earlier. All cars have a system that is powerful enough to lock the wheels, which is too much: the best stopping spaces they are obtained by letting the tires roll (this is the job of the Abs). Larger brakes help in sporty driving or on long descents, because they do not overheat and remain efficient, but in the single “nailed” by a speed that is not too high, other factors count. And that’s why even low-cost cars like the Dacia Duster and Sandero, with cheap rear drums, cut a good figure.

More than discs and drums, it is the tires that have an impact. It is the tread that transmits the braking force on the asphalt: the more friction it does, the better. This depends on the width and diameter of the wheel (the larger they are, the wider the footprint), as well as on the structure of the tire and the tread grooves. Which are essential for grip in the wet and snow, but counterproductive in the dry because they reduce the amount of rubber that “claws” the ground. And in fact at the bottom of the ranking there is a car that was fitted with M + S tires (optional), more notched. All this is also linked to the mass of the car (the more it grows, the more you need a tire with a large support surface to guarantee the same result) and how the set-up varies, i.e. how much the weight moves on the front wheels, unloading the rear ones. Which, in extreme cases (tall and short cars) can cause serious stability problems.

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Cars that accelerate and brake better

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