Perhaps the toughest evaluation process for any state, Michigan hosts a contest between all of the available police pursuit vehicles each year to see how they might do in the real world. Then, it drives them around a track.
This year, the 2014 Dodge Charger Pursuit AWD has claimed the title for the quickest all-wheel-drive car around Grattan Raceway in Belting, Michigan, with a 1:33.85. Its average lap time was 1:34.75. The former number is just a fraction of a second off the time set by the rear-wheel-drive, V-8-powered Charger at 1:33.70, and it decimates last year’s all-wheel-drive, EcoBoost Ford Pursuit sedan’s time of 1:35.9. On a short track, two seconds can be huge.
Ford has not yet released its numbers for the 2014 Ford Pursuit sedan, which is more or less a police-spec version of its Ford Taurus SHO. Recently, we drove the Ford Taurus SHO and the Dodge Charger R/T AWD and found the former a bit of a letdown while we found the Dodge somewhat of a bargain.
This year is the first time that Dodge made an all-wheel-drive, V-8-powered Charger available to police fleets. Armed with a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that produces 390 horsepower and 370 pound-feet of torque–pulling force. Traditionally, the Dodge Charger Pursuit has been available in rear-wheel-drive configuration when saddled with the V-8 or rear- or all-wheel drive when equipped with with the 292-horsepower, 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 that has quickly become a fixture in the Chrysler portfolio.
Invariably, other states will do testing on their police cars, and other automakers will claim that their cars are the best ever. Expect an updated Chevrolet Caprice at some point with the similar but more powerful Chevrolet SS sedan making waves in industry buzz. We’ll keep abreast of the police car news and present it when we have it. All we can tell you right now is that if you’re planning a high-speed chase at some point, right now is probably the worst time in U.S. history to be followed by the police because their cars are likely faster than whatever you have.