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.
Meanwhile, a Daimler-era Chrysler rounded up all their horsepower-junkie engineers, locked them in a room, and slapped an SRT badge on the door. Like a grenade going off in a small closet, it didn’t take long for these modern-day Ramchargers to scatter buckshot through the performance ranks at GM and Ford.
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.
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.
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.
Also like the Corvette, the LT1 (and 3.6L V-6) is available with a dual-mode exhaust, which features electronically controlled valves that bypass the mufflers under acceleration, uncorking the engine and more importantly enhancing the sound level. You can even personalize the exhaust sound, from a “stealth” mode to the most aggressive “track” mode.
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.
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.
We’re going to argue, however, that the all-new Gen 6 Camaro is more significant. In our admittedly limited experience with preproduction examples and careful evaluation of the elements comprising it, it’s more of a driver’s car. We don’t mean to cast aspersions on the unquestionably popular Gen 5, but it was a car trimmed to fit an existing platform one that wasn’t originally envisioned as a 21st century ponycar.
We use the release-pause-release method, and it works really well. Let us explain. Since you don’t have a huge sidewall (like slicks have) to absorb the initial “hit” during launch, you’ll need to create a buffer to absorb the initial movement at the tires. If you don’t have a buffer, you’ll just spin. When it’s time to go, release the clutch quickly, but controlled. Then, just as the car is transferring weight, pause your left leg for a moment.
You can feel slight chirping or slipping of the tires and apply power and clutch accordingly to get maximum traction and acceleration. The IRS provides excellent grip on launch, but it also reduces some of that feel because the tires are more isolated from the chassis. Because of this, it’s harder to feel exactly what the car is doing, which is important when you’re on the ragged edge of slip or grip. This forced us to drive more conservatively to find consistency. Of course, this wouldn’t be a problem with drag radials or slicks.
Some will tell you burnouts are unnecessary when driving on stock tires, we disagree. Why? Because tires pick up pebbles and debris, especially in the pits at a race track. If you try to launch with all this crud on your tires, you’ll probably spin. It’s like running on marbles. You can imagine how that would end. Doing a burnout, even a short one, cleans the tires and offers the best rubber-to-rubber contact.
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.