The Opel Insignia OPC is the hotted-up version of Opel’s big, soft family sedan. Hot translates to 325 hp from a turbocharged 2.8-liter V6, and this is what it’s like to drive it flat out—in a parking lot.
So yeah, it’s sort of a sad comment on the modern state of hyper-regulated speed that the only way to do this without being thrust into a bottomless legal abyss is to lift the entire Opel a foot above the ground.
But what’s even more interesting is what my friend Tamás Rácz—the editor-in-chief of Vezess.hu, the Hungarian car website which filmed the Opel run amok—told me:
What was really strange was that the noise coming from the car [while being driven at top speed] was about 10% of what any car passing you at 30 mph makes.
If cars had no wheels and could travel in a vacuum, one could shout across the Danube in Budapest and be heard.
It would be yet another interesting experiment to measure the individual contribution of tire noise versus wind noise to the total noise profile of a moving car. But it would certainly be nice to have low noise tires. Tire noise is not a pretty noise. It could go away and let engine noise take the stage. Or well-tuned exhaust noise. Or Sonic Youth on nice speakers with the windows down.
And imagine the serenity John Young must have felt in the spring of 1972, when, as commander of Apollo 16, he set the land speed record of 11 mph on the surface of the Moon in complete silence, a record which stands to this day.