A car’s top speed is pretty much irrelevant, these days. And not just because omnipresent speed cameras and increasingly heavy traffic make reaching big speeds impossible anywhere other than a track. Or on what little of the German Autobahn network is still unrestricted.
No, I think the main reason top speeds don’t carry as much currency as they once did in mainstream cars – hot hatches, supercars and so on are another matter – is that we live in an era when a decent 2.0-litre diesel can easily breeze past 140mph. 25 years ago, things were different. Cars that could reach the magic 1-4-0 were rare, even among top-of-the-range machinery.
This was the golden age of the ‘executive express’, posh, big-engined versions of regular saloons that made their owners king of the company car park/golf club. The one thing they all had in common? A top speed of at least 140mph.
Here are 14 of the very best.
By Only Motors
Images via Favcars.com; survival rates as according to Howmanyleft.co.uk