We spent a little time in preproduction V-6 models and came away impressed. Very impressed, in fact. With more power than the previous V-6 channeled into a lighter, more agile chassis, the effect is enlightening. Power delivery is strong and immediate, with a strong feeling of torque at low rpm. We look forward to driving the SS, but the V-6-powered LT is no slouch.
The suspension is a little on the stiff side but that’s to be expected in a car that is setup for the track. Trust us, you wouldn’t want a floaty suspension with 650hp on tap. Speaking of suspension, Shelby has really done their homework with the Shelby GT as we were able to carve around more than a few corners at speed while the car gripped the tarmac and took it like a champ.
The all-new 3.6L V-6 is optional in the LT and is rated at 335 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque. It features direct injection, variable valve timing and, for the first time, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), which disables two cylinders. The 2.0L turbo and 3.6L engines are offered with a standard six-speed manual transmission or GM’s all-new 8L45 paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission, which is based on the eight-speed design introduced in the Corvette and fullsize trucks.
We recommend doing only enough of a burnout to clean the tires, as street tires don’t really react like slicks or drag radials. Don’t sit there and smoke ’em too long, or you will draw the oils from within the tire to the surface and that will actually make them slick, not sticky.
Despite having enough power to bury the speedometer quickly, the Shelby GT feels very refined and composed. You could easily daily drive it or take a road trip in one without going deaf from a loud exhaust drone. The Borla exhaust gives the supercharged 5.0L Coyote an aggressive tone that harks back to the early days of the Shelby Mustangs that just simply can’t be beat.
If you have 3.73 gears (or numerically higher gears) do the burnout in Second gear. With 3.55s or less, use First. The idea is to create wheel speed, as this gets the tires cleaned quickly, without putting too much load on the clutch. And please don’t upshift with a stick in the burnout. Why? When you step on the clutch to shift the tires stop, and since they are already sticky, it’s hard for them to get going again and this will wreak havoc on your clutch. Yes, Pro Stock drivers upshift in the burnout, but they use a clutchless trans.
Of course, the Camaro SS is powered by the 6.2L LT1 V-8 engine introduced on the Corvette Stingray. About 20 percent of the components are specific for the Camaro’s architecture, including new, tubular “tri-Y”-type exhaust manifolds. And yes, it also employs variable valve timing, direct injection, and Active Fuel Management (on automatic-equipped models). Output is 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque, making it the most-powerful standard V-8 ever in a Camaro.
Some will tell you burnouts are unnecessary when driving on stock tires, we disagree. Why? Because tires pick up pebbles and debris, especially in the pits at a race track. If you try to launch with all this crud on your tires, you’ll probably spin. It’s like running on marbles. You can imagine how that would end. Doing a burnout, even a short one, cleans the tires and offers the best rubber-to-rubber contact.
Shelby saw the opportunity to improve upon this awesome off-road beast and decided they could make the Raptor a little more aggressive for off-road use. In 2013, they introduced the 575hp Shelby Raptor which had us drooling instantly. It was equipped with a supercharger, Method wheels and BFGoodrich Mud Terrain KM2 tires. Needless to say, Shelby stepped up the off-road game but like any true horsepower junky, sometimes you just need to give it a little more power.
With nearly half a century of history behind it, that’s a huge legacy to build upon. Our confidence is high, based on our initial impressions, and we look forward to putting those impressions to the test. We’ll keep you posted.
The LT1 engine is available with a standard Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission that borrows the Active Rev Match technology from the Corvette’s seven-speed manual. It “blips” the throttle automatically on downshifts. It’s very effective, but a little disconcerting the first time you use it. The Hydra-Matic 8L90 paddle-shift eight-speed automatic is optional.
The Camaro SS has a unique front fascia with integrated brake cooling ducts and a unique hood with functional air vents, which improve engine cooling and reduce front lift. It also has a specific rear spoiler. The hood vents don’t simply provide an exit point for hot underhood air. They funnel air drawn through the grille out and over the car, which improves performance because it prevents the air from being forced under the car, where it can cause lift.
A set of Rouge Racing upper and lower control arms offer a heavy duty suspension package that can hold up to the stresses of high-speed off-road jaunts while a set of King 2.5-inch coilover remote reservoir shocks soak up the hard hits and smooth out the bumps. Out back, a set of King 2.5-inch bypass shocks keep the truck floating over the whooped out roads.