When it comes to performance stats, nothing helps frame a car’s power and traction quite as succinctly as its 0-100km/h time.
Unlike Nurburgring lap times, it’s a metric that nearly every motorist can comprehend. If you’ve driven on a highway you’ll know what 100km/h feels like. If you’ve experienced peak hour in Sydney or Melbourne you’ll know what 0km/h feels like. The difference is stark.
And these five cars help illustrate just how pronounced the differential between zero and 100 kilometres per hour is, with all pouncing to triple-digit speed in well under 3.5 seconds. We may miss out on the truly mind-bending hypercars that are available overseas, but as this list shows there are still plenty of road-legal rockets on the market in Australia.
In the interests of consistency we’ve used the manufacturer’s claimed time for the currently available model, and we’re only dealing with cars you can actually drive in Australia. Don’t worry, we’ll deal with the forbidden fruit further down the page.
1. Nissan GT-R – 2.7 seconds
Nissan has progressively ratcheted down the GT-R’s 0-100km/h stat since it first launched in 2007 with a 3.2-second sprint time, with the current model taking it down to a hypercar-rivalling 2.7 seconds.
A twin-turbo 3.8 litre V6 sends a huge 404kW and 628Nm through a clever AWD driveline and 7-speed dual-clutch auto, with launch control taking the fuss out of getting the heavy GT-R off the line cleanly. It might be getting old, but Godzilla still packs a monstrous punch.
2. Tesla Model S P100D – 2.7 seconds
Tesla’s mega-quick Model S P100D was only announced this week, but the order book for what Tesla describes as “the world’s quickest production car” (Nissan may dispute that) is already open for Australia.
And if you believe the brochure, it’s the ultimate road car. Besides its towering straight-line performance, the Model S P100D consumes no fuel, can seat five adults and can travel up to 613km on a single charge.
3. Lamborghini Aventador LP750-4 Superveloce - 2.8 seconds
Lamborghini’s top-shelf production supercar (for now) is the Aventador LP750-4 SV, and with a zero-to-hundred sprint time of 2.8 seconds it is properly swift. Superveloce is Italian for “superfast”, and with a naturally-aspirated V12 sending 552kW to all four wheels we can see why.
4. Porsche 911 Turbo S – 2.9 seconds
Order your Porsche 911 Turbo S with the optional Sport Chrono package, and sub-three second 0-100km/h runs are yours for the taking.
The 911 Turbo S’ twin turbo 3.8 litre engine makes a stout 427kW and 700Nm and, like the Aventador, Model S and GT-R, takes power to all four wheels via a sophisticated AWD undercarriage and automatic transmission.
You know what else is cool about the 427kW, 700Nm 911 Turbo S? In the 9.9 seconds it takes a diesel Holden Malibu to hit 100km/h from a standing start, the Turbo S will be travelling at 200km/h. That’s quick.
5. McLaren 650S - 3.0 seconds
Whether in hardtop Coupe or roofless Spider form, McLaren’s 650S supercar will smash its way to 100km/h in three seconds flat.
It’s got substantially more power than the Nissan GT-R and 911 Turbo S thanks to its 478kW/678Nm twin-turbo 3.8 litre V8, while the 1330kg Mac also weighs a lot less than either thanks to its carbon-fibre construction.
Why isn’t it faster? Unlike every other car in this top five, the McLaren is at a traction disadvantage thanks to its rear-drive configuration.
The rest of the world
Being a right-hand drive backwater with a funny attitude to the idea of cars going fast, Australia tends to miss out on some of the wilder cars available in America and Europe. The likes of the Tesla Model S and the Nissan GT-R may be damn quick, but there’s faster machinery out there…
1. Ariel Atom V8
Once upon a time you could buy a piece of scaffolding powered by a V8 made from two Suzuki Hayabusa engines. How fast? A bonkers 2.3 seconds to 100km/h, and that’s without any funky dual-clutch gearbox or all-wheel drive malarkey.
And yes, you could put numberplates on it.
2. Bugatti Chiron
Bugatti has only just whipped the covers off the Bugatti Chiron hypercar, but the numbers revealed for the boutique automaker’s latest uber-luxe, uber-fast two-door has us rubbing our eyes with bewilderment.
A quad-turbo W16 making 1103kW of power and 1600Nm of torque flings the Chiron to 100km/h in roughly 2.4 seconds, a tremendous achievement considering it’s just a tenth of a second behind the featherweight Atom V8 yet can accommodate two people in peerless luxury.
3. Porsche 918 Spyder
The 918 Spyder proves that hybrids don’t have to be dull commuter appliances; melding a 4.6 litre V8 with two electric motors to create a 652kW supercar capable of hitting 100km/h from rest in just 2.6 seconds.
Bloody quick, but being left-hook only means it’s verboten for Australian roads.