There’s also a new center console that shows Chevrolet was listening to its more enthusiastic Gen 5 owners. It is designed specifically for easier shifting with a manual transmission, thanks to a repositioned armrest and the elimination of the mechanical, pull-up parking brake. In its place is a simple switch for an electric park brake.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Throughout the ’80s, ’90s, and the first decade of the new millennia, Dodge was—to put it bluntly—bad at math. Ford and Chevy (and Pontiac in earlier years) adeptly applied the age-old hot rodder’s calculus of horsepower divided by weight divided by MSRP. This performance quotient resulted in a hot horsepower battle that saw almost yearly changes in the top-dog spot, and an upward spiral in the performance index as a whole. Except in Chrysler-built products.
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.
In short, it was kind of like a chunky guy buying an off-the-rack sport coat because the party was tonight. The Gen 6 Camaro, on the other hand, appears to be precisely tailored and draped over the chest of somebody who’s been taking pilates classes. It’s leaner in both appearance and substance, and it’s one of the few vehicles these days that can boast it’s lighter and more powerful than the previous model. Chevrolet says the overall weight loss is more than 200 pounds. That’s a pretty significant and welcome reduction that will pay dividends in everything from agility to fuel economy.
Dimensionally, the new Camaro is slightly trimmer in all exterior dimensions and notably in a nearly 2-inch reduction in wheelbase but the overall effect is more dramatic, particularly with almost fastback profile. It simply looks lean and taught.
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 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.
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.