The Top Speed Of These 15 "Performance" Cars Is Pretty Embarrassing

The Top Speed Of These 15

Performance cars come in a variety of models and trims, from the minuscule MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop to the robust Mercedes-Benz Maybach S 650 Base. Each has its own distinguishing features, but all high-performance cars have certain characteristics in common.

Speed is perhaps the essential distinctive feature and the benchmark by which many cars are judged. A vehicle’s speed rating is often determined based on three criteria, the 0 to 60 mph time, the quarter-mile time and velocity, and the top speed.

Handling is another critical measurement of performance. Performance is also gauged by a car’s braking ability. And last, a high-performance vehicle must generate an adrenaline rush when the driver mashes the throttle to the floor or leans into a curve on a windy mountain road.

Here are fifteen “performance” cars that appear to be fast, but when tested, show embarrassingly slow top speeds.

15. Porsche 914, Top Speed 118 mph

The Top Speed Of These 15

Via: Wikipedia Commons

The Porsche 914 is the perfect example of why a high-performance car-maker should stay focused on high-quality products and leave the low-end budget sports cars to other manufacturers.

While the 914, designed and produced in cooperation with Volkswagen, had a sports car appearance, the flat-four mid-engined Porsche generated only 100 HP, enough power to push the lightweight car to a top speed of only 118 mph.

14. 1980 California Corvette, Top Speed 85 mph

The Top Speed Of These 15

Via: Classic Cars

A victim of the late ‘70s recession and government-mandated emission and safety standards, the 1980 California Corvette threatened to destroy the American sports car’s reputation for power and performance.

While the 1970 Corvette pumped out an impressive 435 HP, the hottest “Vette” in 1980 generated a paltry 180 hp and the California edition even less.

13. Ferrari Mondial, Top Speed 140 mph

The Top Speed Of These 15

Via: Wikipedia

Introduced in 1980, the Mondial was less popular than the other Ferrari models of the era, and for a good reason. Although the sports car was more affordable and boasted the same V8 used by the sporty 308, it produced only 180 horsepower. Reaching 60 mph in a sluggish 9.4 seconds, the Ferrari managed a top speed of only 140 mph.

12. Mazda Miata MX5, Top Speed 120 mph

The Top Speed Of These 15

Via: Autocar

In 1989, when the Miata MX5 was introduced, a buyer could purchase a Ford Escort GT and get better performance numbers than the Mazda. The sports car accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds and reached a top speed of only 120 mph (the 2019 Miata isn’t much better at 135 mph).

11. Pontiac Fiero, Top Speed 103 mph

The Top Speed Of These 15

Via: Hagerty

Plagued by engine fires and multiple recalls, the Fiero was a sporty but painfully slow car that Pontiac dropped after only five model years.

The Fiero accelerated to 60 mph in 10.6 seconds and could manage only 103 mph at the top end. The poor performance prompted Pontiac to promote the 2.5-liter "Iron Duke" engine producing 98 horsepower, as a fuel-saving commuter vehicle.

10. Porsche 912, 116 mph

The Top Speed Of These 15

Via: Wikipedia

While the Porsche 912 featured the same body style as the highly-touted 911, the powertrain produced disappointing performance numbers. The rear-mounted 2.0-liter, flat four-cylinder engine and transaxle powered the sports car from 0 to 60 mph in 11.5 seconds, and Porsche claimed a top speed of 116 mph.

Despite the poor performance, customers purchased the 912 in quantity, and the model is credited with securing the company’s financial stability in the late 1960s.

9. Delorean DMC-12, Top Speed 109 mph

The Top Speed Of These 15

Via: Best Cars-Uol

The DMC-12 was a technological marvel with its steel backbone chassis, innovative fiberglass structure, and brushed stainless-steel body, when introduced in 1981. However, the pitiful 130 hp Volvo V6 propelled the “future” car to 60 mph in a lackluster 10.5 seconds.

Even Marty McFly and Doc Brown couldn’t get any performance out of the Delorean, taking what seemed like an eternity to reach 88 mph.

8. Toyota Sports 800, Top Speed 100 mph

The Top Speed Of These 15

Via: Hemmings Motor News

Toyota’s first attempt at the production of a sports car fell short of expectations. Released only to the Asian market, the Sports 800 was extraordinarily light and agile, but the 800-cc engine produced just 45 horsepower. The small but stylish vehicle could barely reach 100 mph. During the car’s four-year production run, Toyota sold only 3,100 units.

7. Porsche 924, Top Speed 134 mph+

The Top Speed Of These 15

Via: Wikipedia

Porsche designed the 924 as a replacement for the disappointing entry-level 914. Aesthetically, the water-cooled, front-engined sports car was far more elegant than its predecessor, but the performance was equally disappointing.

The 2.0-liter engine, also found in the contemporary VW van and Audi 100 saloon, made only 125 horsepower in Europe but a wholly insufficient 95 hp under stricter U.S. emissions standards.

6. Ferrari Dino 206 GT, Top Speed 140 mph

The Top Speed Of These 15

Via: Silodrome

Enzo Ferrari named the 206 GT after his son, Dino, but the moniker was not enough to salvage the sports car’s poor performance. The car was the first Ferrari fitted with a V6 engine, and it boasted rack-and-pinion steering as well as electronic ignition.

The Dino’s 2.0-liter engine only managed to produce 160 bhp, accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in a mediocre (for a Ferrari) 7.5 seconds, and topped out at 140 mph.

5. Ford Mustang 2nd Generation, Top Speed 106 mph

The Top Speed Of These 15

Via: Pinterest

Along with many performance cars of the era, the Mustang also suffered after the 1973 energy crisis. Ford introduced the second-generation model with an 88 bhp 2.3-liter four-cylinder base engine that produced dreadful performance figures. A 4.9-liter V8 option was also offered, but choked with mandatory catalytic converters, the bigger engine only generated 120 bhp.

4. Chevrolet Camaro Sport Coupe 3rd Generation, Top Speed 112 mph

The Top Speed Of These 15

Via: Wikipedia

Chevrolet produced the performance Z28 model, voted Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year in 1982. However, two lower-performance models, the Sport Coupe and Berlinetta were also offered.

Regrettably, the basic models were still using the outdated 2.5-liter “Iron Duke” engine that produced an embarrassing 88 bhp. The Camaro needed an inconceivable 20 seconds to reach 60 mph and topped out at 112 mph.

3. Jensen Interceptor, Top Speed 130 mph

The Top Speed Of These 15

Via: Shannons

When Jensen introduced their limited-production Grand Tourer in 1966, enthusiast’s expectations ran high with the promise of a luxurious performance automobile.

However, the massive 6.3-liter Chrysler-sourced V8 that produced only 250 horsepower mated to a power-sapping 3-speed automatic, was barely enough to propel the heavy Interceptor body shell to a disappointing top speed of 130 mph.

2. Ferrari 308 GTSI, Top Speed 140 mph

The Top Speed Of These 15

Via: Rent a Classic Car

When the 308 GTSI was introduced in 1980, the exotic mid-engined Ferrari boasted a high-revving 2.9-liter V8 that produced a healthy 255 horsepower. However, emissions regulations took their toll dropping the power in Europe to 211 bhp and 200 bhp in the U.S.

The effect on performance was significant, and the modified Ferrari only managed to accelerate from 0 to 100 kph in 7.8 seconds.

1. Marcos GT, Top Speed 116 mph

The Top Speed Of These 15

Via: Wikipedia

The Marcos GT produced from 1964 to 1971 and again from 1981 to 1990, had the appearance of a racetrack car adapted for the street. The sports car was built with a kit altered to a custom chassis and offered with a choice of engines.

Unfortunately, the Marcos GT didn’t live up to its high-performance “look.” The aggressive style and affordable price were not enough to offset the disappointing top speed of 116 mph.