Not even the buttoned-up PR guys at Ford and GM could deny the performance value of last year’s SRT-badged 392 Core Challenger. Its 470hp 392 Hemi and $44,000 MSRP delivered performance in spades while wrapping its driver and passengers in class-leading comfort. But Dodge was just getting warmed up.
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.
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.
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.
Our technique in the 2015 GT is the same as in previous Mustangs. We find an upright driving position to get good leverage on the shifter, and keep our hand on the shifter during launch so we’re ready to go.
The driving experience is not altogether different than Hellcat. In fact, the first third of throttle travel feels more alert and aggressive than the more powerful SRT. Moreover, full-throttle shifts sound like artillery going off with the Scat Pack’s Hellcat-inspired active exhaust system. The power comes on quickly, and when gears are shifted manually through the steering wheel paddle shifters, you better be on your game—the rev-limiter comes up quick in the first few gears. Pulling away from the intersection, you’ve got to be ginger with the gas pedal, as the tires will erupt with squealing and chirping during what we’d call normal driving.
The 2015 GT is equipped with a Line-Lock, so doing a burnout is pretty easy. Be sure to roll all the way through the water box (or go around it) then stop. Refrain from doing a burnout in the puddle of water and don’t roll too far out of the water box, either, because that would put you in the really sticky stuff, and doing a burnout there can hurt your clutch. You want to be right on the fringe of the puddle, just in front of it.
The Dodge boys tell us there is a performance improvement, but it’s only in force at speed, so we can’t verify the added ponies on the dyno. Still, the Shaker is an iconic feature that many will want as the crowning jewel for their 392, and the look is absolutely stunning.
The Mustang was a blast at the track. Even famous author Stephen King, who happened to be at the track, came over for a look. He didn’t think it was too scary, so we doubt it will appear in his next book, but you never know. He has written about a car or two in the past.
Our only real complaint is that a car of this caliber and price should come with GPS standard. Dodge tells us the hardware, antenna, and processor is already on board, but they’ll only load the software at the factory if you buy an option package with GPS, or bring it to a dealership and pay the service department to program it for you.
When it rolls into showrooms at the end of 2015, the new Camaro will be offered only in LT and SS models, with an RS package, too. Chevy won’t comment yet on higher-performance variations such as the 1LE, ZL1 and Z/28. The SS, of course, receives the 6.2L LT1 engine, while the LT comes standard with a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder or an optional, all-new iteration of GM’s 3.6L naturally aspirated V-6.
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.
The time-honored question car enthusiasts often ask is undoubtedly, “What will it run?” Meaning, how quickly can a given car cover the quarter-mile. Drag racing is universal and allows us to compare cars and driver skill no matter where in the world the car is raced. Sure, a great ’Ring time is important, but how many of us will travel to Germany to race? Going quick in the quarter (or eighth-mile) requires a favorable power-to-weight ratio, good traction, and some driver skill. With the 2015 GT, you get 435 ponies and the weight is about 3,750 pounds. So, what will it run and how will the IRS perform on the strip?