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2012 Police Vehicles Reach 150 mph at Michigan Tests

September 19, 2011  | 

Fleet buyers who attended the vehicle testing in Michigan. Photo: Paul Clinton.
Fleet buyers who attended the vehicle testing in Michigan. Photo: Paul Clinton.

Several law enforcement vehicles reached top speeds exceeding 150 mph during the annual Michigan State Police tests of patrol vehicles available to agencies for the 2012 model year.

The Dodge Charger Pursuit, Chevrolet Caprice PPV, and Chevrolet Impala crossed that threshold for the first time. A year ago, police drivers behind the wheel of the Caprice PPV reached a top speed of 148 mph.

The blazing speeds came at Chrysler's proving grounds in Chelsea, Mich., on Saturday, as fleet purchasing representatives and law enforcement officers watched the MSP Precision Driving Unit test 18 patrol vehicles from Ford, Chrysler, Chevrolet, Harley-Davidson, BMW, Kawasakik, and Victory Motorcycles.

Each year, the precision driving unit evaluates law enforcement vehicles submitted by the automakers. This year, the unit tested 12 four-wheel patrol vehicles and six motorcycles. Additionally, seven of the 12 sedans and Chevy's Tahoe SUV were run on E85 fuel.

Notably absent from the test was the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. For the first time in two decades, the state police didn't test a Ford CVPI, which ceased production in the 2011 model year. The final Ford CVPI — a 4.6-liter V-8 with a 3.27 rear-axle ratio — reached a top speed of 129 mph a year ago.

Ford did bring its pair of 2012 Police Interceptors — the Ford P.I. sedan (3.5-liter V-6 in front-wheel and all-wheel drive) and Ford P.I. Utility (3.7-liter V-6, front- and all-wheel).

The new crop of vehicles represent a leap forward in performance, braking, and fuel economy from the Crown Vic, evaluators said.

"We're looking at the best group of cars we've ever had for law enforcement," said Lt. Keith Wilson, who oversees the vehicle testing. "There are going to be a lot of fleet managers who need to make purchasing decisions. The test results may be more important than ever before because of that.

Members of the Michigan State Police's testing team record results of the speed tests. Photo: Paul Clinton.
Members of the Michigan State Police's testing team record results of the speed tests. Photo: Paul Clinton.

The 2012 Chevy Caprice (6.0-liter, V-8) took the top-speed crown for the second year in a row, reaching 154 mph and surpassing its 2011 mark of 148 mph. Chevrolet has upgraded its 2012 Impala with a 3.6-liter V-6 rated for 302 hp (adding 70 hp and a six-speed transmission). The vehicle surprised attendees of the tests, reaching 150 mph with E85 fuel.

Lastly, the Charger in 2.65 and 3.06 axle ratios reached 152 mph and 151 mph respectively. The 3.06-geared vehicle also recorded the quickest 0-60 mph time of 5.83 seconds.

With the exit of the Ford Crown Vic and agencies searching for a replacement patrol car for officers, vehicle manufacturers expect to sell more than 40,000 vehicles to law enforcement in 2012. More than 13 million vehicles are expected to be sold in the United States this year.

"I see us selling more vehicles," said Dana Hammer, General Motors' manager of law enforcement vehicles. "I see us growing that volume. There's going to be more opportunity in the market."

By Paul Clinton


Beyond the Crown Vic: MSP Tests 19 Vehicles for 2012

Detroit 3's Next Generation of Police Vehicles Tested

Comments (12)

Displaying 1 - 12 of 12

JDS @ 9/19/2011 3:09 PM

If Chevy doesnt put the shifter ont he colume they are making a huge mistake and missing a chance to be the top selling police car of the future!!!!

SEB @ 9/19/2011 3:43 PM

Come on really..... We are excited about breaking the 150 mph mark for patrol cars.

We lose more officers to auto accidents (death and injuries) than anything else we do. 150 mph won't do any of us any good if we can't get there. Where are we going to find any place to drive that fast anyways? Its time for us as law enforcement officers to slow down and get to our calls as safely as possible. Think of it as tactical driving, getting there is our first Priority. Auto makers that think speed is the base for a great police car need to go back to the drawing board.

Lloyd Reese @ 9/19/2011 4:28 PM

I certainly agree with SEB's comments. Getting there in one piece is more important than how fast you get there. Also, many departments put speed limiters on their cars anyway around 115mph or so. Fast acceleration may be important is some cases, but safety should be the primary goal.

gary808 @ 9/19/2011 4:49 PM

I'm retired out of Hawaii and we use our own vehicle for patrol. At the time I had 1997 Camaro, Z-28 and it did 150mph.

morg4163 @ 9/19/2011 5:48 PM

As a Trooper out west with hundreds of miles of remote, wide, straight highways in my beat, I hit my max of 130 on a daily basis. Catching some of these cars in a crown vic is a chore. The V6 mustang now has 305 HP, my vic only has 245 and weighs way more than the mustang. 150 MPH in the city, no it's not necessary, but for us working remote highways its a big help. Oh, and checking ODMP shows LODDs from crashes are down. Overdriving a car not built for speed can be worse than speeding in a car built for it.

pancho1858 @ 9/19/2011 8:17 PM

I agree with morg4163 and SEB. I also am a Trooper down south. When I was in uniform, I did a lot of work inside city limits. Even on busy nights, never once did I exceed about 70 mph in the limits...not even when responding to domestic disturbances. However, if I responded to a disturbance out of the limits, that was a different story. One night it took me 20 minutes to get to a domestic...and I was going about 125 mph. Speed in the city limits is suicide. Speed outside is sometimes the only way to get things done...otherwise at times when I had to travel over 80 miles to get to my call it would've taken forever traveling the speed limit. The problem is that officers and agencies need to train their officers to drive correctly so crash related fatalities can continue to decline. It's not the speed, it's the lack of training. I commend the automakers for upping the speed. Once you get into your first pursuit with a car that can go 150 and you can only go 110, you'll appreciate the automakers efforts to give us (finally) an edge in the fight against crime.

Jay S German @ 9/19/2011 9:56 PM

Many years ago my first cruiser was a 1974 Dodge Monico with a 440 magnum engine. It had a 160 mph speedometer and you could peg it. Trouble was it had four wheel drum brakes. Three or four pumps on the brakes at those speeds and "Look Mom, No Brakes!!!!!"

blueknight @ 9/20/2011 2:04 AM

The car is only good as the driver is trained. Speed will not do anything for you if you do not have Police Driver Training. We must be trained to decide when to speed and when not to speed. Highway on interstate is different than in the city. Troopers do need the speed but we recently had a Trooper speeding in VA and a car pulled out in front of him in the city and smack into a cemented traffic light pole. Very unfortunate accident resultling in death. You just can not go that fast in the city. You will not be helping anyone if you can not arrive to the call. Therefore we must be given more training since departments do not hire regarding experience. I have over 25 years experience and a department will hire someone just out of the academy first. I was told several just have more experience than I do and that can not be since I am the Chief. It is a proven fact that Officers with experience make better judgement decisions than Officers with only a few years of experience. We do need vehicles that can go from zero to 60 real fast to stop a vehicle quickly and safely. But top speed is not a factor for the city but it is on the interstate. The vehicle is your office and needs to have everything you need to do the job. Yeah we have a fast vehicle but you can not stop anyone without the Radar unit.....and certification to use it......Oh lets not forget about needing lights and siren.....we have money to buy the vehicle but no money for the lights........Oh yeah....lets not forget about a Radio unit too......sorry no money....went towards gas. Oh yeah....what about Officer safety......there is no prisoner transport shield....sorry no money.....just let them ride in front with you and seatbelt them in the seat......but there is no room in the front seat due to the computer....oh well just make do. Just do what you can with what you have and be safe. Will not help anyone if we do not go home everyday at the end o

John Russell @ 9/20/2011 6:01 PM

Only one way to truly test all of these --have actually uniformed police chase MAURICE on a real OVAL race track like Daytona or Poconos flat out. MAURICE gets the HYABUSA SUZUKI and you can get a full tank and go flat out. See how fast and how long it can keep up ,HA HA HA!

FRD @ 9/27/2011 10:55 PM

Remember how many officers crashed when we got the 1996 LT1 Chev. Caprice. ouch..

abe2571 @ 12/8/2011 3:10 PM

Some good points. Being in law enforcement I for one welcome the new vehicles and the performance that comes with them. The extra top speed is there is you need it but more importantly to me is the quickness of the vehicles that comes along with the high top speeds. It take a CV about a mile to reach 120mph where it takes most of the higher powered new vehicle less then half a mile to reach the same speed. It's the closing speeds that are more impressive and have been sorely needed. Does a city department need the higher top speed..not add the speed limiter to the vehicle when you order it. Don't forget everyone of the new vehicles have electronic stability control programs and improved handling to come with the new found power. Are high speeds dangerous...yes. Do we need the training yes. Are the vehicles safer now...yes more then they have ever been. I have recently driven the new Ford Interceptors along side a new CVPI on a test track. The difference is night and day. Believe me you will not be disappointed in the new vehicles (from either manufactures) because they all perform similarly well. Best thing to do is use common sense your training and know when to scoot and when not to.

really @ 3/19/2013 10:02 AM

I am not trying to depress officers here. But in our area (st louis, mo.) there are way more cars on the road that have upwards of 400 hp than it seems the mfg is giving you guys credit for. Icing on the cake, they are mfg by gm, the makers of your cars! They (the mfg) need to up he cost of your cars by 1500 a unit and send them to you with heads and cam packages installed at minimum! and if you are worried about gas mileage, they should send them in a turbo or supercharged version that runs e85. And there are hundreds of cars that put 500+ to the ground.

My own vehicle is 713 rwhp and 740 rwtq. If you guys are not able to accel significantly faster than these numbers, you just simply cant catch up from a stop on the shoulder or on the mediumeven if you can do 152 mph, the cars aound here, when we run them, reach 135 from a 50 mph punch in well under 5 seconds and 80% will reach 175+ on the top end.
I honestly feel bad about the cars you guys are provided.

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