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.
We tend to preload the shifter just a bit, then stab the clutch and rip the shifter. We repositioned our hand from a side grip to a top grip to ram the shifter forward for the Two-to-Three exchange. In the new GT you’re shoving it almost directly forward—aim too much to the right and you’ll find Fifth, which happened to us twice. Then, get ready to pull straight back for Fourth. For Fourth, put your elbow away from your body to prevent yanking the shifter into Second gear.
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.
Luckily for us, the folks at Shelby American just happened to stop by our L.A. offices to give us an exclusive first look at the all-new Shelby GT. Naturally we brought along our camera and snapped away at 2015 Shelby GT Mustang from just about every angle. It’s definitely a head turner that also packs plenty of power and performance to go along with it.
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.
Importantly, about 70 percent of the architectural components are unique to Camaro; and compared to the Gen 5 architecture, structural rigidity has increased 28 percent. The new structure also represents the bulk of the Camaro’s weight loss, in everything from the switch from a steel to aluminum instrument panel frame, to lighter suspension components. They even designed honeycomb-style lightening “holes” in a number of components to save fractions of pounds here and there.
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.
It was certainly a big deal when Chevrolet resurrected the car for 2010. The “heritage”-style homage to the iconic first-generation design was an unqualified hit. To date, Gen 5 Camaro sales have surpassed 500,000 and has outsold the Mustang for the past four years. In an age when car buyers are turning increasingly to crossovers, that’s no small feat.
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.
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.
In addition to giving you the scoop on our quarter-mile times, we figured we would include our driving technique and offer a few tips so you can get the most from your Mustang. This can be applied to any Mustang, old or new, stick or auto. Ultimately, your best times will come once you’ve refined your driving technique and your talent in regards to burnout, staging, launching, and shifting. Let’s begin with the burnout.
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.
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.