How Fast Are Cop Cars?

Cop cars have specially tuned engines for high-speed demands and pursuits, with top speeds averaging 150 to 155 mph. Click here to learn more.
Written by Pat Roache
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Police cars tend to be faster than the average street-legal car with top speeds in America averaging out between 150 and 155 mph. These patrol vehicles tend to have specially tuned engines and suspensions that give them the top performance needed to successfully intervene in an emergency or high-speed chase.
You’ve likely gotten a little grumpy seeing your local police force cruising through red lights at empty intersections just because they can. However, there are laws that patrol cars sometimes need to break—like speed limits. That’s why law enforcement agencies across America are privy to modified police fleets that can attain super-high speeds.
How high, you might be wondering?
, the insurance expert and
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, is here to reveal just how fast American police cars are. As a bonus, we’ll even give you a hot tip to lower your
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How fast are police cars?

The top speed of police cars in America averages around 150 to 155 mph. The typical street-legal car in America has an average top speed of 120 mph.
The Michigan State Police department is one of the leading authorities when it comes to testing police vehicles across the nation. While acceleration times and exact top speeds vary from model to model, they all have one thing in common: These bad boys can seriously cruise.

Are cop cars speed limited?

No—cop cars are typically not speed limited by any definition of the phrase. Here’s what we mean by that.
Every law-abiding driver is expected to follow speed limits, and some car manufacturers even program a speed limitation into their powertrains' electric systems.
Police officers, however, often need to break speed limits to rush to an emergency or embark on a high-speed chase. Similarly, the only speed limitation on a patrol car is the absolute maximum effort that its engine can put out—not a computerized limit.
MORE: How long does a speeding ticket stay on your record?

What other modifications do police cars have?

These high speeds give highway patrol cars across the country an advantage over speeders in a police chase, but speed isn’t the only thing that’s different about your typical police cruiser. Let’s take a look at some of the other mods these pursuit vehicles receive to keep them at the top of their game.


Most police vehicles are outfitted with special V6 or V8 engines that help them achieve higher speeds and quicker acceleration. While plenty of street-legal cars offer these engine options, police engines are often specially tuned for higher performance and better durability.

Suspension and brakes

Pursuit vehicles need some pretty hardcore brakes, shocks, and struts to be able to handle all the risky maneuvers and potential off-road driving that could happen during a chase. This includes sturdier springs, larger brakes, and an overall much more responsive suspension than your typical daily driver.

Electrical systems

Because patrol cars are also equipped with radios, computers, surveillance, and specialized lighting systems, they need a bigger battery to support these functions at the same time as higher engine output. Police cars also often get a special super alternator that can convert twice as much energy as a normal car.
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High-speed patrol cars include super-tuned versions of some of the most common sports cars and SUVs. The most popular police cars include the Dodge Charger Pursuit, the Ford Police Interceptor Utility, the Chevrolet Caprice PPV, and the Ford Police Interceptor Sedan.

Dodge Charger Pursuit

Top speed: 155 mph
Built upon the heavily
customizable Dodge Charger
, the Dodge Charger Pursuit is one of the most common—and aggressive—patrol cars on the road.
The Charger Pursuit packs either a 300-horsepower 3.6L Pentastar V6 paired with all-wheel drive (AWD) or a 370-horsepower HEMI V8 with rear-wheel drive (RWD). These potent powertrains can go zero to 60 mph in as little as 6.4 seconds, but nimble handling makes them especially competitive in a high-speed chase.

Ford Police Interceptor Utility

Top speed: 148 mph
You’re probably already familiar with this model, even if you’ve never heard the name before! The Ford Police Interceptor Utility is a police version of the popular Ford Explorer SUV.
The Charger Pursuit may reach a higher top speed, but the 3.0L EcoBoost AWD powertrain can hit 60 mph in as little as 5.5 seconds, making it the fastest patrol car on the U.S. market. Its twin-turbo V6 has a maximum power output of 365 ponies to get it to its top speed of 148 mph in 1.6 miles.
MORE: Ford Explorer ST V6

Chevrolet Caprice PPV

Top Speed: 147 mph
may have been discontinued in 2017, but it still holds a place in the American patrol car hall of fame with its impressive performance. The Chevrolet Caprice PPV was a long-time favorite of many police departments with 301 to 355 horsepower between its 3.6L V6 and supersized 6.0L V8 engines, respectively. Its zero-to-60 time pales when compared to the Ford cop car, however, at 7.9 seconds.

Ford Police Interceptor Sedan

Top speed: 150 mph
Another oldie but goodie, the Ford Police Interceptor Sedan (FPIS) was based on the popular Ford Taurus but was discontinued in 2019. A RWD model was never offered, yet the FPIS held the torch for the fastest AWD patrol car on the U.S. market with its 305-horsepower 3.5L EcoBoost V6 powertrain and a zero-to-60 time of 5.7 seconds.
Keep your eyes peeled for a new
Ford electric car
to fill the void left by the Taurus FPIS. A Ford Mustang Mach-E AWD Police Interceptor is getting ready to hit the streets with a stunning zero-to-60 time of 4.03 seconds and much better fuel economy than its gas-powered competitors.
MORE: The fastest Ford cars ever

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The fastest police car on the American market is the Ford Police Interceptor Utility with a top speed of 149 mph. Some of the fastest police cars in the world, however, include the Lamborghini Aventador and the Audi R8 in Dubai, the Lamborghini Huracan in Rome, and the Nissan GT0R and Skyline in Japan.
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