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.
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 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.
Since Street & Race Technology’s debut in 2003, they’ve punished would-be performers in every segment, including compact, truck, SUV, sedan, luxury car, ponycar, and exotic categories. And in case you hadn’t noticed, none of SRT’s successes would be possible if they weren’t good at math—specifically the performance/value quotient.
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.
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 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.
A set of Rouge Racing upper and lower control arms offer a heavy duty suspension package that can hold up to the stresses of high-speed off-road jaunts while a set of King 2.5-inch coilover remote reservoir shocks soak up the hard hits and smooth out the bumps. Out back, a set of King 2.5-inch bypass shocks keep the truck floating over the whooped out roads.
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.
Despite having enough power to bury the speedometer quickly, the Shelby GT feels very refined and composed. You could easily daily drive it or take a road trip in one without going deaf from a loud exhaust drone. The Borla exhaust gives the supercharged 5.0L Coyote an aggressive tone that harks back to the early days of the Shelby Mustangs that just simply can’t be beat.
We recommend doing only enough of a burnout to clean the tires, as street tires don’t really react like slicks or drag radials. Don’t sit there and smoke ’em too long, or you will draw the oils from within the tire to the surface and that will actually make them slick, not sticky.
Enthusiasts will tell you there are three types of shifting: granny, speed, and power. Simply stated, if you shift aggressively but lift off the gas, you’re speed shifting. If you ram the gears with the throttle held on the mat, you’re powershifting. Granny shifting is not worth talking about. In any case, you want to complete the shift as quickly as possible and with as little flare in the rpm. Timing is everything. Practice makes perfect. If you’re uncomfortable powershifting, try it at a lower rpm until your shifting is seamless.
But Scat Pack isn’t only about power and performance. Dodge has done a great job enhancing the interior with comfortable and supportive seating, quality materials, attractive instrumentation, and lots of standard features, including 6-way power seating, 4-way power lumbar, 8.4-inch uConnect infotainment system, Bluetooth, decklid spoiler with backup camera, keyless entry, power windows, dual-zone climate control, media hub, six-speaker stereo, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever, electric power steering, paddle shifters, and lots more.