A crop of new police vehicles arrived for annual testing this weekend by the Michigan State Police.
About 300 fleet purchasing representatives and law enforcement officers arrived at Chrysler's proving grounds in Chelsea, Mich., on Saturday to watch drivers from the state police Precision Driving Unit put the vehicles through acceleration, braking, high-speed handling, and other tests.
POLICE Magazine was on hand for patrol-car and motorcycle testing on Saturday in Chelsea and motorcycle dynamics testing in Lansing on Sunday.
Drivers tested three patrol vehicles new for 2011 model year, including the Chevrolet Caprice, Dodge Charger Pursuit, and Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS P motorcycle. Ford also brought a front-wheel, all-wheel, and turbo version of its 2012 Police Interceptor based on the Taurus, as well as its utility vehicle.
Ford, which owns a 70 percent market share with its Crown Vic Police Interceptor, is facing increased competition from vehicles that bested its venerable patrol car in 0-60 mph acceleration, 60-0 mph braking, as well as top speed.
The Caprice's 6.0-liter V-8, rated at an estimated 355 horsepower, logged a top speed of 148 mph during the testing. The vehicle when run on E-85 flex fuel also logged the fastest time from 0-60 mph of 6.15 seconds, according to preliminary results.
Offered in front-wheel and all-wheel drive, the Interceptor comes with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine with an estimated 280 horsepower or a turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 engine with an estimated 365 horsepower.
Chrysler is banking on its upgraded Charger Pursuit to grab a share of the patrol market. The 2011 Dodge Charger Pursuit will be available with a 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 285 horsepower (30 more than the outgoing version) and a 5.7-liter V-8 with 360 horsepower. The vehicle has also been given more aggressive body styling and 15 percent more visibility.
State police drivers also tested existing vehicles to be offered in 2011 model year, such as the Crown Vic, Chevrolet Impala and Chevrolet Tahoe. Also tested were existing motorcycles such as Harley-Davidson's Road King and Electra Glide, as well as the BMW R1200 RTP.
Editor's Note: Listen to our podcast with Lt. Keith Wilson, who discusses the new vehicles, testing proceedures and the Michigan State Police Precision Driving Unit.