Production of the 2016 Camaro begins later in the year at GM’s Lansing Grand River facility, in Michigan. It’s the home of the Cadillac ATS and CTS, which is appropriate, because that’s the architecture on which the new car is built. Those Caddies have been hailed as dynamic equals or better than German competitors such as the BMW 3-Series, so having that structure as the Camaro’s foundation is as good as it gets.
Our Scat Pack was a base model with just the extra eight-speed TorqueFlite, so you can order one with a lot more gear, including a variety of seating, technology, convenience, and entertainment options. (See the sidebar.) You can even step up to the Scat Pack Shaker package, which adds the inspired legacy hood scoop with a functional cold-air intake.
We noticed a slight amount of wheelhop when doing a burnout in the 2015 Mustang. This seems to be common, but it can be reduced with stiffer rear bushing. In the name of proper reporting, we tried doing burnouts both ways and found both methods to be effective.
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.
Also like the Corvette, the LT1 (and 3.6L V-6) is available with a dual-mode exhaust, which features electronically controlled valves that bypass the mufflers under acceleration, uncorking the engine and more importantly enhancing the sound level. You can even personalize the exhaust sound, from a “stealth” mode to the most aggressive “track” mode.
You can also attack the burnout using the old-school method. Set up in the same fashion, but instead of using the Line-Lock, rev it up, dump the clutch, and quickly grab the brake pedal with you left foot. The trick is to use only sufficient brake pressure to hold the car. That’s because rear brakes will be applied, so using this technique will wear your rear brakes prematurely.
First came Hellcat, forever changing the gearhead meaning of the numbers “707.” Hellcat almost overshadowed what was arguably the more significant performance/value breakthrough—the 485hp Scat Pack Challenger and Charger. Nevertheless, it hasn’t escaped our attention, and we hope it won’t escape yours either.
While the drag racing launch can be violent (we’ve all seen racers dump the clutch and blast off the line), street tires require a smooth, controlled application of power to stay hooked. Your best times will come from getting off the line clean. Finesse is key. Believe it or not, we recommend novice drivers launch as if they were driving away from a traffic light, but with more rpm and slightly quicker clutch release. We would say 2,500 is a great place to start. Using this rpm, you’ll probably bog the engine a bit. No problem—add rpm, or get the clutch out quicker.
Standard lighting includes halogen projector beam headlamps and taillamps. RS and SS models add HID projector-beam headlamps and LED “signature lighting” daytime running lights including a sweeping LED light pipe integrated in the headlamp and an LED light pipe integrated into the front fascia. RS and SS models also feature LED lighting for the rear taillamps, including auxiliary LED light guides that mirror the shape of the front signature lighting.
But Scat Pack isn’t only about power and performance. Dodge has done a great job enhancing the interior with comfortable and supportive seating, quality materials, attractive instrumentation, and lots of standard features, including 6-way power seating, 4-way power lumbar, 8.4-inch uConnect infotainment system, Bluetooth, decklid spoiler with backup camera, keyless entry, power windows, dual-zone climate control, media hub, six-speaker stereo, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever, electric power steering, paddle shifters, and lots more.
Shelby American is a name that is famous for power and performance in the automotive world thanks to its long historic racing pedigree in the early 1960s to present. Many Mustangs have rolled out of the Shelby’s doors to conquer both the street and track and for 2015, they are pulling out the stops with their all-new S550 Shelby GT Mustang. The S550 Mustang also features a fully independent rear suspension on its entire lineup, which has all corner carving enthusiasts excited.
We spent a week with this yellow screamer hitting all the local hot spots, including Bradenton Motorsports Park, home of the NMRA Spring Break Shootout. Our GT was equipped with the standard rear gear (not 3.73s) along with the Getrag MT-82 six-speed, and we ran the car 100 percent stock—so no drag radials or tune. Heck, we didn’t even cool the engine! Traction was good, but the temperature was 84 degrees with mild humidity—not mineshaft conditions, by any means, but not sweltering either. Based on our experience we were hoping to break in the 12s at about 110 mph.
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.