How the quoted figures for top speed determined for a car (from 2003)?

To be specific, my 2003 Opel Agila 1.2i has a quoted top speed of 96mph, but I have exceeded this on several occasions on flat ground.

Is it safe to exceed the top speed?

EDIT: I do this on private roads near me, and obviously not public roads!

  • 1
    Do note that at these speeds you must be very cautious of other road users, weather conditions, tire pressures etc. as the widely regarded safe speed on motorways is 70 mph in the UK and very similar in other countries. I assume your doing this on an autobahn or similar? Jan 29, 2016 at 7:00
  • 2
    Well it was obviously done on private roads, heh, I mean who does that? Exceeding the speed limit. Jan 29, 2016 at 7:32
  • Yeah but doing 100 in an Agila on motorway doesn't seem like a smart thing to do. Maybe an estate car but not an Agila!
    – George
    Jan 29, 2016 at 7:33
  • If you're only exceeding the max speed by a small amount then chances are you're actually not- it's the inaccuracy of the speedo. Mass produced cars usually have the speedo set to read high so that any inaccuracy in it is unlikely to leave you travelling at a speed that's higher than your indicated speed. Jan 29, 2016 at 14:56

2 Answers 2


In general, the max speed in the manual is a guide to tell you how fast it's capable of going. It's likely lower than what it's actually capable of since most buyers won't file suit if a maker under rates a car. There is always a little margin in that so I would not be concerned if you drove a bit faster than the max in the manual. I wouldn't make a habit of it, and I would check that your tires are properly inflated, and that they are rated for the speeds your driving, but in general I wouldn't be worried about exceeding the max speed listed in the manual for short periods.

Hope that helps!

  • Chevy did it with the 454... To make it pass for sale (legally) they lowered the actual hp output they wrote in the manual and they advertised it at. However it was much higher. First on the Chevy Chevelle SS... True first muscle car with high output.. Game changer
    – Dee
    Jan 29, 2016 at 5:25

The max speed a vehicle is rated for usually depends on the speed rating of the tires equipped by the OEM. The vehicle can move faster, but the tires are not rated to go faster.


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