As with many cars these days, the gauge panel is a mix of analog instruments and digital readouts. In the Camaro, there’s a big, 8-inch high-def screen in some models and it’s matched by another 8-inch screen for the MyLink “infotainment” system. Like many other Chevys for 2016, it is compatible with Apple CarPlay, which means you can plug your phone in and “project” many of its controls and apps to the MyLink screen. Again, progress can be a wonderful thing.
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.
Certain models of the 2015 Mustang have Launch Control. You can use this driver aid or do everything yourself. Either method requires a cool head on the line and smooth release of the clutch. Once you’re staged, your adrenaline will be pumping and you’ll be itching to unleash all that power. Launching on street tires is tricky, so your full concentration will be required.
So how does the 2015 Shelby GT handle? Lucky for us, we got the opportunity to take the car for a spin and we got to experience just what this 650hp beast is all about. While it feels incredibly fast, you aren’t constantly worried about giving it too much throttle and spinning out. The traction control seems to keep it tracking straight when you crack open the throttle and the sway bars help it hug the curves, even under power.
To help the Shelby GT grip through the curves while laying down all its newfound power, a set of Shelby specific 20-inch Weld Racing forged aluminum wheels wrapped I sticky Michelin rubber are used. A set of 6-piston Wilwood calipers up front and 4-piston Wilwood calipers out back help reel in this pony when jumping on the binders. A brake duct kit ensures the brakes stay cool during spirited driving at the track while adjustable rear control arms and camber/caster plates allow the suspension to be finely tuned for any situation.
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.
The looks of the Shelby GT are drop dead gorgeous and the S550s finely sculpted body lines are accented nicely by all the true carbon fiber panels such as the tail light panel, rear diffuser, spoilers, rocker panels, splitter and even the functional heat extractors on the carbon fiber hood that is painted to match the car.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.