We’ve all been there: off-roading through the arctic wastes in a bright orange Lamborghini Murciélago when, out of nowhere, Charlize Theron crashes a submarine through the ice field beneath you and starts chasing you down, presumably to force you to watch her make out, grossly, with Vin Diesel. That’s just one of the many relatable situations that have made The Fast and the Furious such a successful global franchise. But just how risky is it to have Charlize Theron pursuing you hell-for-leather in a submarine, which she actually does to our crew of heroes in the Fate of the Furious? What are the odds you'd be able to outpace her in a Lamborghini Murciélago?
To find out how worried we should be the next time Charlize Theron emerges from the sea directly behind our Lamborghini Murciélagos (the car in which Tyrese Gibson's Roman careens across the ice), I watched the trailer for The Fate of the Furious over and over again but found little in the way of practical advice about successfully evading Charlize Theron. Unable to find answers on my own, I turned to the greatest submarine expert in the world: Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October (A Jack Ryan Novel). I searched the text on iBooks, and initially, the reclusive guru seemed unwilling to answer my questions.
But after remembering that The Fate of the Furious filmed in Cuba, I steered the conversation in that direction, and Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October (A Jack Ryan Novel) opened up a little:
Comrades! If we succeed in reaching Cuba undetected by the imperialists—and we will!—the officers and men of Red October will have a week—a week—of shore leave to visit our fraternal socialist comrades on the beautiful island of Cuba. I have been there, comrades, and you will find it to be exactly what you have read, a paradise of warm breezes, palm trees, and comradely good fellowship.
As helpful as that was, it didn’t really answer the central question: Is Charlize Theron’s submarine getting any closer to my beautiful orange Lamborghini Murciélago? It was time to turn back to the film itself for further clues. Fortunately, Charlize Theron’s Soviet Submarine Remote Control Software gives end users (Charlize Theron) a clear image of the sub’s silhouette:
A little research reveals that when Charlize Theron goes hunting for Lamborghinis, she uses an Akula-class submarine, easily identifiable by the distinctive shape of its towed array sonar case. I turned to Wikipedia, where I discovered that the Akula class has a top speed of 35 knots (40 mph) submerged and 10 knots (12 mph) surfaced. There’s no data on the sub’s top speed while crashing through an ice field, but it definitely looks faster than 12 miles an hour in the film. Allowing for aftermarket customization, let’s be generous and say that, while a standard Akula class can only hit 12 mph, a Soviet submarine gearhead like Theron could get it up to 15 mph, even while being used as an icebreaker. Could a bright orange Lamborghini Murciélago go fast enough to outrun it?
Yes. The answer to that question is yes. Bright orange Lamborghini Murciélagos have a top speed of 209 miles per hour. That’s under ideal driving conditions, but as any Lamborghini Murciélago off-roader knows, even on ice, it’s possible to hit 50 mph before the car’s low suspension causes irreversible damage to the undercarriage. That means that, after only an hour of being chased by Charlize Theron and her Soviet attack submarine, your Lamborghini Murciélago should have a lead of roughly 35 miles, putting you and your orange supercar halfway to the Hamptons while Charlize Theron is still crashing her submarine into Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square.
That’s great news for all of us struggling to escape Charlize Theron’s relentless submarine pursuit armed only with an orange Lamborghini Murciélago, not to mention those of us struggling to escape from Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar armed only with an orange Lamborghini Murciélago. So take a deep breath and relax: No matter how close Charlie Theron and her retrofitted Soviet attack submarine look, your bright orange supercar was designed from Day 1 to win ice-field races against submarines. Just don’t let all the chaos distract you from the most important thing about using $450,000 of Lamborghini Murciélago to outrun $1.55 billion of Russian attack submarine: It’s about family.