The time it takes your car to come to a complete stop after slamming on the brakes can be the difference between life and death. But how much "braking distance" does all that extra speed actually add? In a bid to find out, we tested BMW's anti-lock braking system (ABS) on an M3 sports car while travelling at 80km/h and 100km/h. Check out the video to see how many car lengths were added -- the result may surprise you.
This week, we attended the BMW Driving Experience at Eastern Creek Raceway. The event provides hands-on driving techniques and safety skills in a range of BMW sports cars with an emphasis on high-speed maneuvering. (Stay tuned for an in-depth feature coming soon.)
One of the more straightforward tests involved slamming down the brakes in an M3 while driving at high speed on a wet tarmac. The braking test was conducted twice -- once at 80 kilometres an hour and again at 100 kilometres an hour. Here's how the car handled in both tests:
As you can see, adding 20km to your overall speed can make a hell a lot of difference if you need to brake suddenly -- and this was in a $100,000+ BMW with brand new tyres and a state-of-the-art ABS system. You can imagine that the average car would fare considerably worse.
Our BMW Driving Experience instructor said that all drivers should be required to experience this braking demonstration as part of their provisional training. We're inclined to agree.