2012 Police Vehicles Reach 150 mph at Michigan Tests

September 20, 2011

Fleet buyers discuss police vehicles at the Michigan State Police testing. Photo by Paul Clinton.
Fleet buyers discuss police vehicles at the Michigan State Police testing. Photo by Paul Clinton.

CHELSEA, MI - 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 Sept. 17, 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 Chevrolet's Tahoe SUV were run on E-85 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 Police Interceptor sedan (3.5L V-6 in front-wheel and all-wheel drive) and Ford Police Interceptor Utility (3.7L 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.

The 2012 Chevrolet Caprice (6L, 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 3.6L 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 E-85 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


Related Articles:

Beyond the Crown Vic: Michigan State Police to Test 19 Vehicles for 2012

Detroit 3's 2011-MY Next-Generation Police Vehicles Tested


  1. 1. Paul [ September 22, 2011 @ 12:15PM ]

    And the point is?

    More officers killed in high speed crashes?

    In the age of technology we need more smarts, not more speed.

  2. 2. Bill [ September 22, 2011 @ 02:47PM ]

    I agree with Paul.

    Numerous municipalities have restricted pursuits within their jurisdictions due to the liabilities incurred when innocent bystanders are injured or killed.

  3. 3. Ron [ September 23, 2011 @ 08:08AM ]

    I agree wih the comments above. Looking at future purchases, I'm more interested in the fuel mileage, vehicle safety, brake maintenance, etc., I'm totally with the "more smarts and not more speed". We have a pursuit cut off at 120 mph, and even at that there is a lot of liability for our city.

  4. 4. Batty [ September 27, 2011 @ 08:17AM ]

    I really don't want to see police chasing perps a la Nascar...a radio travels at light speed, that works pretty well. Radio ahead and lay down the tire spikes.

  5. 5. abe2571 [ October 06, 2011 @ 06:21PM ]

    Well it's about time the police have had some more options for police cars. The market for them has been too stagnant for too long. I find it interesting that the only thing most people who comment on the new cars it that they have higher tops speeds then the current cars like it's the only new feature they have. For those departments who don't need higher top speeds then get the slower cars...and lets not forget you can have the cars electronically limited to about 130 which is the current top speed of the crown vics...and I don't see anyone complaining about that. Let's also remember that everyone of the 2012 model year police cars, old and new design, now have traction control and electronic stability control to which helps make these new cars safer at any speed...again the crown vic doesn't have these electronic helpers which I haven't heard anyone complain about. Also more important then top speed is now the quickness (acceleration) of the new cars. That's the more important feature to meet...less catching up and more intervention. Bottom line all of the new police cars are safer, more efficient, and better performing then what is currently on the road (with the exception of the Charger).

  6. 6. Flint [ April 07, 2012 @ 11:45PM ]

    abe2571 I agree totally. Amazes me how one gets stuck on a small issue and misses the whole point. If they are unconfortable with the speed no one is stopping them from purchasing a neon, prizm, or using bike patrol,etc. For us County Officers with miles and miles without CITY, speed has been a big plus in the quick get up and go, and safer with the electronic helpers which we have already experience in rain and curse, were very pleased. We all have found entering the interstate with the new get up and go has been a huge plus for us from theprevious impala and crown vic. I believe its much safer as you pointed out (Less catching up and more intervention). As for fuel, our county first stress having a hemi (gas guzzler) which turned out t be the opposite, My unit uses only 3/4 fuel compared to each of the units on the road, and I am pro-active patrol. To Ron i have been involved in several major pursuits in a city of 55,000 I cant picture going 120, is your city highways or what. I never got close to the that speed with all the lights, stop signs and turns, liability is at any speed anywhere!

  7. 7. deezomaxima [ July 12, 2012 @ 10:26AM ]

    The Caprice (made by Holden and imported) is the best handling and most powerful out the bunch.

  8. 8. Andy [ August 20, 2012 @ 08:35AM ]

    As law enforcement officers, there is always a time and a place for EVERYTHING. That includes slower driving, quicker acceleration and, yes, even higher speeds. You really want to let that mass murderer go free just because he hits speeds in the 100's? We always need to use our heads in police work, whether at 20 mph or 120 mph. I believe I can trust my guys to be smart. And having the capability to go faster is always better, because there WILL be a time you NEED it. And smarts is always a must, no what the capability of the car is.

  9. 9. Ken [ October 19, 2012 @ 06:05PM ]

    The Crown Vic was safe.

    Ford chose to limit the top speed of the Vics to give a 10% safety margin over driveline harmonics. They were designed to cruise all day at their top speed of 131 with 3.27 ratio.

    Having cars that go above these speeds is not safe, because NO car can stop safely on public roads at these speeds.

    Your stopping distance goes up exponentially even with a Porsche or Ferrai sports car, which both take three times the distance to stop from 100 mph as from 60 mph.

    Do you think these newer cars are safe at these speeds? Paul is right.


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