By the Numbers

As we recently indicated, we’re going to start listing facts and figures in both English (or American, if you prefer) and metric units. You will notice a couple of exceptions:

First, we will continue quoting wheel diameters in inches unless referring to metric sizes like the old Michelin TRX. Why the tire industry continues to mix English and metric units in their sizing system, we don’t claim to understand, but as long as they do, we will follow suit if only for the sake of our own sanity.

Second, certain performance statistics: If you are not accustomed to American measurements, you may be assured that 0-60 mph acceleration times will be very similar to 0-100 km/h times (100 km/h being 62.5 mph) — within a half second, for most modern cars. Elapsed times through the standing quarter mile, meanwhile, will be very similar to standing 400 meter acceleration (a quarter mile being about 402.4 meters).

We’re reluctant to translate those measurements back and forth unless we’re quoting specific test results; 0-60 and quarter-mile acceleration times are shibboleths as much as objective performance measurements. 0-60 mph measurements carry a different connotation than 0-96 km/h. Blame Uncle Tom McCahill, if you like — the voluble Mechanix Illustrated scribe popularized the 0-60 metric back in the late 1940s.

At some point, we’re tempted to publish a scale of comparative 0-60 and quarter mile times historically just to add some perspective. In the meantime, if you’re every confused by our measurements, just leave a comment and we’ll do our best to straighten it out.

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