There are a bunch of episodes, across the entirety of Transformers media that care about being the fastest. Most series have at some point a race episode, and Transformers Animated – the best Transformers series – has two. Sometimes it’s outracing a train, sometimes it’s racing a virus, sometimes it’s just a race for a race’s sake, and sometimes it’s got an extra dose of time travel.
Presented with the question of it, though, I wondered: Who’s the fastest Transformer?
If you’re familiar with the franchise there are a few answers that may spring to mind. There are a lot of characters who are defined by speed, and yet despite that windw up being outsped. Bumblebee in Transformers Animated asserts he’s the fastest Autobot, but he gets beaten in races by Blurr and the Jet twins, and even openly admits he’s not the fastest Autobot any more. There’s also some characters who can just teleport, which seems like it shouldn’t apply. Speed can’t be as simple as distance covered over time, because if that’s the case, then Bulkhead represents one of the fastest Transformers with his ability to make and repair the portal network. Sure, jumping across the galaxy at a walking pace is pretty fast travel, but it’s not the same thing as Bulkhead being fast.
Similarly, Grimlock, at one point gets his brain unlocked and gains the ability to think super fast, so fast that he winds up getting tired of it and invents a bunch of other robots to hold onto his brain. In another episode, a different Grimlock gets dosed with a super-speed beam that makes him super fast, which only lasts for one episode. These are kind of one-episode things, they go away, and I don’t think ‘thinking fast’ is a kind of thing people mean when they say ‘fastest.’
To get ‘fastest’ then you have to grapple with what it means to be fast, and where you think you’re talking nonsense. To that end, I’ve split it into four categories where judging one category against another is … silly. Unfair. Unreasonable. First then, there’s the question of the fastest Transformer on Foot.
The best I could find for a foot-based alt form that transformed into something that ran was Cheetor from the original Beast Wars series. Now, there are a few other transformers that turn into big cats, but Cheetor is the only one where I can say for sure he’s a cheetah, the fastest land animal in the world. Now, there’s some room for questions about Quickstrike, who is a scorpion the size of a truck, but until inverse square laws get a lot easier for me to calculate, I’m not about to bustle my bump about that.
Okay, so Cheetor? Probably the fastest Transformer on foot.
A step above things that walk and run and climb though are vehicles, things that roll.
Vehicles just outstrip organic things. It’s one of the things about machines, they’re really good at doing things that organisms, evolved and wonky and broken the ways they are with our weird neck veins and our odd vertebrae and all that, vehicles don’t have to spend any effort on fixing those. They just do their job the best they can.
In Transformers Animated Bumblebee liked to express that he was the fastest Transformer. This was something he shared with Cheetor because, and I’m not supposed to say it but I’m gunna, Bumblebee and Cheetor are basically the same guy. He had competitions with other characters about it, including the impressively zippy Wasp, and did ultimately beat them – and some human speedsters – but…
If you’re familiar with Transformers you probably know where I’m going to end up here right?
It seems pretty clear that the fastest land vehicle you’re going to see any of the Transformers take is secondary to the character in question. He’s defined by Being The Fastest, and that’s Blurr. I’ve written about Blurr, in the past, for the same reason I’m making this post, but to put it simply, the whole point of Blurr is that he’s fast. He talks fast, he acts fast, he drives fast, he shoots fast, and it’s… it. That’s all there is to Blurr, and I don’t think it’s worth my time pursuing if someone else is even faster at least on the ground. When they’ve given numbers for his speed it’s something like 500 kph, which is sure a speed.
Once we get off the ground things get challenging to estimate because many Transformers have writeups that are both inconsistent with one another (like how Brawl and Grimlock are both ‘the strongest Autobot’ in the same book that includes Metroplex, an actual city). A number of Aerilbots have their speed listed in the high Machs range, as do several Seekers. Setting aside Skywarp, who’s cheating, there really isn’t a good way to work out which Transformers plane is the fastest one.
What I wound up doing was conceding the difficulty of the task in front of me, and instead looked up the fastest planes that exist in the real world, and finding which transformers turned into that. Then I, very scientifically, looked for the reddest one, since red ones go faster.
The fastest plane I could find in that context is the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, which according to wikipedia, is one of the fastest planes that exist, able to fly at Mach 3.2 for extensive periods. Well as extensive in the context of moving at Mach 3. And, well, if Transformers are ‘the existing thing they look like, but better,’ then the Transformer who turns into a Blackbird is going to be a Blackbird, but faster.
To that end, then we get Falcia, who is a mini-con that turns into a SR-71 Blackbird, and who is pink. There’s a whole joke I could set up here about her relationship to team bimbo Twirl, but it’s not worth the walk. Point is: She’s the closest I could find to a Red Blackbird.
But all of these things, inasmuch as they are measurable, are kinda screwed for hitting the actual fastest Transformer.
Astrotrain and the Ark are capable of interstellar travel, and clearly very fast – or they’d never get where they’re going in meaningful times – but we don’t have any kind of clear examples of how fast.
The fastest thing I could see cited for a Transformer, in terms of just how fast it was capable of moving was a longstanding G1 stalwart, an enduring icon of the genre, and one of the true OGs that made people say, ‘wait, wasn’t that a Go-Bot?’
Cosmos transforms into a UFO. Most notably as a UFO, he is capable of completely unassisted escape velocity from earth-sized or larger planets, which means that he is capable of moving at speeds of 40,270 kph, and more. In the same way that flight exists on a different level to land travel, space travel exists on a different level to mere flight. Cosmos can maintain a stable orbit of Earth, which means he’s capable of maintaining a speed that, relative to anyone standing on the ground, rips along at thousands of kilometers an hour.
And you might argue that that’s not that fast because in his relativistic frame that just means he’s standing still, and ‘escaping velocity’ could be a special move that means he somehow he just ignores the physics of getting off the ground and into space, but at that point I’d ask: what’s the difference?
The fastest transformer I could find is one of the dumpiest.