I realise this is going to sound a bit First World Problem, but it’s been troubling me for a bit. My Porsche 911 is no faster than my other half’s Fiat Panda. Not in reality.
We have a small hobbity cottage in the sticks, just under 100 miles from our real house in modern London. At the end of a typical country weekend of witch-burning, we set off home and sometimes, for boring logistical reasons, we’re in separate cars. Bridget (I’ve changed her name to protect her identity. She’s actually called Sarah) is always in her Panda, I can be in virtually anything, but in the following illustration I’m in my 911 C2S.
(For the record, the Panda has 69bhp, a top speed of 102mph, and does 0-60mph in around 13 seconds. Porsche: 380bhp, 187mph, 4.7 seconds.)
Our old-fart departure routine runs thus: Bridget sets off, I stay to double-check that the house is locked up properly, then I drive out of the, um, drive, get out to shut the gate, and then I’m on my way. This takes around three minutes.
First, there are eight miles of villagey bollocks and people in stocks to go through, and I always do this carefully in case any bears have escaped. But then I arrive at 40 miles of lovely open A-road, much of it dual carriageway, where I can gi’e it a bit of shoe.
I’m always amazed at how far I’ve gone before I overtake Bridget’s Panda.
But overtake I do, with a pip and a cheery wave, and pretty soon I’m joining the motorway, which I’m on for another 45 miles. Now it’s one of those smart motorways, with the occasional average speed check, but even so; I’m in a 911. Wahey.
Motorway turns back to dual carriageway, with camera-controlled limits, but it leads to within half a mile of the house and in any case, I’m miles ahead. All that remains is to put the Porker back in the garage, which is just around the corner from our front door, and walk 50 paces to the cold embrace of something from the fridge.
But when I arrive at the house, the Panda is parked outside and Bridget is already pouring a couple of tall ones.
That’s the harsh truth of it. The Porsche 911, the paradigm for a fast, comfortable, long-legged sports/touring car; it’s no faster than an Italian peasant farmer’s runabout. And just so you know, this same experiment has been conducted as Ferrari 458 versus electric BMW i3. The result is the same.
I could explain what’s happening here with some graphs and arithmetic, but nothing this side of an Oasis lyric is more meaningless. So-called ‘fast cars’ simply aren’t fast. If your daily commute is 100 miles each way on a derestricted German Autobahn, maybe there would be a difference; otherwise, every car you can see out of your window right now goes at exactly the same speed.