What Happens If You Pull An Electronic Handbrake At 120 Mph?

Cars with a good old regular handbrake lever are a dying breed, which leaves fanatics without the possibility of doing a proper handbrake turn.

One of the Top Gear presenters, Chris Harris, wanted to find out if the electronic handbrake, which is becoming the norm rather than the exception, can still be used to have some fun on the go.

Thus, he took his fellow co-host Rory Reid on a short journey in the facelifted Volkswagen Golf R, with a clear goal in his mind: what happens if you engage the electronic handbrake at 120 mph (193 km/h), or German motorway speed, as he referred to it.

Also Watch: Chris Harris Takes On The New Lamborghini Huracan Performante

Naturally, the electronic handbrake did the obvious, namely bringing the car to a full stop very gently, much to the disappointment of Harris, who was probably expecting something smokier.

As for the next challenge, Harris tried doing a handbrake turn, something easily achievable in a car equipped with a conventional lever. So, with his right foot down, he caught some speed in the German hot hatch, turned right and pulled on the electronic handbrake.

What happened next? Well, we won’t be posting any more spoilers, so you’ll have to watch the following clip and find out. In any case, e-handbrakes, much like auto gearboxes, are taking over, whether we like it or not.



    • Craig

      ONLY IF those ‘safety features’ are actually getting electricity.


  • john1168

    I wondered this as well. And now I’m wondering if you push the e brake back down before the car stops, will the e brake release?

    • ace_9


  • Bash


  • donald seymour

    My friend’s wife did that while we were driving and of course nothing happened.

  • dufonrafal .

    The car owner manual will tell you what appen.

    Normally, the electronic control the handbrake to safely stop the car.

  • Paul

    Dang I was sort of hoping these clown would end up creating some kind of crisis for themselves. But as we should expect car designers usually think of these safety related issues and work in “fixes” to override human stupidity.

  • LJ

    I was hoping it would cause a black hole to form, folding reality in on itself and creating a wormhole to an a parallel universe where Ford still sells cars in the US.

    • f1300

      Yeah. But then again, it was a Volkswagen…!

  • f1300

    “German motorway Speed” at 193 km/h, hilarious! There are only about 5% of unlimited german motorway left, leaving 95% at about 80-120 km/h limited speed. That is, if you’re not stuck in traffic jams or likewise…

  • Alex

    Fortunately here in Argentina we still have regular handbrakes and electronic ones are non-existant.

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