Like the exterior, the 2016 Camaro’s interior is completely new. In many ways, it represents a greater departure in style and functionality, too. The instrument panel, for example, retains the familiar dual-binnacle-style hood over the instruments, but the rest of it has been completely redesigned. Gone, too, is the cute but ergonomically challenged retro gauge panel in the center console.
There’s more latitude in finding a good driving position, the seats are better, and the overall feel of the car is world-class. And there’s a host of aftermarket goodies if you’re looking for more. We would most certainly recommend the 3.73s for anyone planning to hit the strip, along with a set of drag radials.
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.
That’s all great, but we’re more excited about the Camaro’s new, multi-link MacPherson strut front suspension, which leverages a double-pivot design that makes those Cadillacs so agile. At the rear, a new five-link independent suspension yields outstanding wheel control and reduces “squat” during acceleration. All-new Drive Mode Selector is offered and tailors up to eight driving attributes for four modes: Snow/Ice, Tour, Sport, and on SS models Track.
You can feel slight chirping or slipping of the tires and apply power and clutch accordingly to get maximum traction and acceleration. The IRS provides excellent grip on launch, but it also reduces some of that feel because the tires are more isolated from the chassis. Because of this, it’s harder to feel exactly what the car is doing, which is important when you’re on the ragged edge of slip or grip. This forced us to drive more conservatively to find consistency. Of course, this wouldn’t be a problem with drag radials or slicks.
We are pleased with the performance of the 2015 Ford Mustang GT. It takes time to get the best performance from any new combination, but if you utilize the driver aids such as Line-Lock and Launch Control, you’ll get up to speed quickly. Ford has done a wonderful job providing the necessary power and technology to make this one heck of a Mustang.
To help the Shelby GT grip through the curves while laying down all its newfound power, a set of Shelby specific 20-inch Weld Racing forged aluminum wheels wrapped I sticky Michelin rubber are used. A set of 6-piston Wilwood calipers up front and 4-piston Wilwood calipers out back help reel in this pony when jumping on the binders. A brake duct kit ensures the brakes stay cool during spirited driving at the track while adjustable rear control arms and camber/caster plates allow the suspension to be finely tuned for any situation.
All of the new Camaro’s powertrains sound enticing in their own ways and we’re very much interested in what tuners will do with the turbocharged four-banger. Moreover, the promise of the sixth-generation car’s stronger yet lighter chassis and a more driver-focused cockpit are attributes that, on paper, should make it the best Camaro ever.
Start by remaining focused on the tach and listen to the engine—most times we have a specific rpm in mind, but generally we shift by feel. Naturally, you want to shift before the engine hits the rev limiter, but with the Coyote engine you want to get close to redline. In the 2015 we were shooting for 7,000 rpm.
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.
We’re going to argue, however, that the all-new Gen 6 Camaro is more significant. In our admittedly limited experience with preproduction examples and careful evaluation of the elements comprising it, it’s more of a driver’s car. We don’t mean to cast aspersions on the unquestionably popular Gen 5, but it was a car trimmed to fit an existing platform one that wasn’t originally envisioned as a 21st century ponycar.
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.
Since Street & Race Technology’s debut in 2003, they’ve punished would-be performers in every segment, including compact, truck, SUV, sedan, luxury car, ponycar, and exotic categories. And in case you hadn’t noticed, none of SRT’s successes would be possible if they weren’t good at math—specifically the performance/value quotient.