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 2015 is comfortable and nimble on the street. It has good power and a great sound too. We were anxious to get on track, do a real burnout, and launch on a prepped surface. What we found is that the 2015 Mustang is tricky to launch compared to the out-going S197 Mustang. Why? In layman’s terms, the live axle in the S197, which is considered somewhat crude, provides great feedback for drag racing. The three-link suspension does a fantastic job of planting the tires and transferring the torque loads to the body to create pitch rotation (nose lift) to transfer weight from front to back. The heavy axle assembly also gives lots of feedback to the driver and really communicates what the tires are doing.
With 2015 being the first year of the Scat Pack package as well as the first year of a styling refresh for the entire Challenger line, we don’t expect much to change for 2016. It would, however, be nice to see a corresponding level of excitement in the color palette next year—currently there’s not a single warm color available in the entire Challenger line-up, with the exception of TorRed.
Some detractors of the Challenger cite the two-ton mass as a negative, but for many people the practical concerns of a car take precedence, and room for people and things is key. Make no mistake, this is a car you can actually use. The beauty of the Scat Pack it that there really isn’t any downside—the performance and price of Scat Pack can hang with its lighter competitors, giving it the edge in daily use.
The 2015 Shelby GT Mustang starts off with the very same 5.0L Coyote V8 from the Mustang GT but the similarities end there as the Shelby GT features a Ford Performance Racing Parts 2.3L TVS supercharger that bumps the power output all the way up to 650hp. You’ll also notice the unique Shelby aluminum caps on the overflow tanks that give the Shelby GT a little more sophistication under the hood. A Shelby cold air intake ensures the supercharged Coyote gets an adequate supply of air to let all 650 horses loose at a moment’s notice while a set of 3.73 gears allow the Shelby GT to get moving in a hurry.
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.
The Ford SVT Raptor is without question one of the ultimate street-legal go-fast off-road rigs you can buy and hit the dirt in. While the Raptor is incredibly fast in the desert, it leaves plenty to be desired on the table. Contrary to keyboard racers, the Raptor is not a Trophy Truck, but it was built to race—in fact, it did just that back in 2008 at the 41st SCORE Baja 1000. Of course this means that improving upon the performance of the Raptor is quite an uphill battle if you still want the truck to have decent road manners.
The Dodge boys tried nibbling at the edges of the performance/value proposition with cars like the GLS, GLHS, Viper, and even V-8 Dakota, but the engineers in Auburn Hills never had all the right goodies in the parts bin to snatch victory from their cross-town rivals in Detroit and Dearborn. They kept trying though, and once the LX platform came on line in 2005 with the 5.7L Hemi-powered Chrysler 300C and Dodge Magnum, a nascent ember of hope grew into a large movement that has ignited Mopar faithful and conquest buyers alike.
Chevy was apparently listening to all that feedback at tuner events, because there’s also a new LED ambient lighting system with 24 different colors that can be switched to a car show mode when the car is parked. It creates a theatrical light show that we can only assume will be hacked to strobe in rhythm to bands like, well… we’re too old-school to hazard a guess. Kids today and their music. Let’s just move on to the engines.
We ended up with a few 13.0 runs and a best of 12.94 at 112.58. It took a little longer than we anticipated to find the sweet spot for launching. As always, more time would have equaled better e.t.’s. In the end, our best run came from revving the 5.0 to approximately 3,200 rpm, and by releasing the clutch smoothly and rolling the throttle to the floor, rather than smashing it open. Drag radials and 3.73s would have gotten us in the 12.50s or 12.60s, based on the mph.
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?
To get started, select “Line Lock” in the Track Apps and follow the prompts. Once engaged, you get 15 seconds to smoke the tires—but you probably only need a third or half that time to get the job done. Be sure you have the engine revved above 4,000 when you dump the clutch; this will prevent the engine from bogging and overloading the clutch.
Chevrolet is also making Magnetic Ride Control available on the Camaro SS for the first time, and all models offer Brembo brakes (they’re standard on SS). For the Camaro LT, the available brakes include 12.6-inch front rotors with four-piston calipers and 12.4-inch rear rotors with single-piston sliding calipers. The Camaro SS features 13.6-inch front rotors with four-piston fixed calipers and 13.3-inch rear rotors with four-piston fixed calipers.