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.
And while not strictly an SRT product, the ’15 Dodge Scat Pack Challenger reviewed here would not be possible without SRT. We’ll let you do the math this time: 485 hp from an SRT-sourced 6.4L Hemi that gets 25 mpg (no gas guzzler tax), a seriously fortified eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission with paddle shifters, fully independent suspension front and rear, big Brembo brakes, an active 2.75-inch stainless steel exhaust system, 20-inch rolling stock, and a huge list of standard amenities that includes Dodge’s popular uConnect 8.4 infotainment/connectivity package with SRT’s breakthrough Performance Pages. All this Bow Tie-stomping, Mustang-eating goodness costs $39,890 as tested here, including a $995 destination charge. (That price actually goes down by $1,400 when you equip the Scat Pack Challenger with a TREMEC TR-6060 six-speed manual trans.)
The aforementioned 2.0L turbo is standard and rated at 275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. When the thing is on boost, it offers a wide torque band with 90 percent of peak torque available from 2,100 rpm to 3,000 rpm and maximum torque from 3,000 to 4,500 rpm. Chevy says that’s strong enough for 0-60 mph acceleration in less than 6 seconds, while enabling 30 mpg. What’s not to like, right?
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.
Other than the conservative color selection and the GPS oversight, the Scat Pack Challenger gets high marks from us, and not just because we’re pro-Chrysler. Scat Pack really is a top value proposition that ponycar and muscle car competitors at Ford & GM just can’t touch. We’re not carrying water for Dodge by saying that if you can find more performance and utility for less money, go ahead and buy it. You’ll just have to drive one yourself to find out!
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.
The Camaro SS has a unique front fascia with integrated brake cooling ducts and a unique hood with functional air vents, which improve engine cooling and reduce front lift. It also has a specific rear spoiler. The hood vents don’t simply provide an exit point for hot underhood air. They funnel air drawn through the grille out and over the car, which improves performance because it prevents the air from being forced under the car, where it can cause lift.
Just remember, the burnout prepares the tires for launch, nothing more, nothing less—and your first launch will give you the most traction. For that reason we don’t recommend dry hops or practice launches once you’ve done your burnout. Simply engage First gear, roll up slowly, prestage, and STOP!
With nearly half a century of history behind it, that’s a huge legacy to build upon. Our confidence is high, based on our initial impressions, and we look forward to putting those impressions to the test. We’ll keep you posted.
If you have 3.73 gears (or numerically higher gears) do the burnout in Second gear. With 3.55s or less, use First. The idea is to create wheel speed, as this gets the tires cleaned quickly, without putting too much load on the clutch. And please don’t upshift with a stick in the burnout. Why? When you step on the clutch to shift the tires stop, and since they are already sticky, it’s hard for them to get going again and this will wreak havoc on your clutch. Yes, Pro Stock drivers upshift in the burnout, but they use a clutchless trans.
But more than the history and visual cues, the Scat Pack package is a nod to all the engineering and performance upgrades that must necessarily accompany a powerplant of this magnitude. Improvements over the 5.7L Hemi R/T Challenger include larger four-piston Brembo brakes, wider and taller 20-inch rubber, a larger-diameter 2.75-inch dual stainless-steel exhaust system, Performance Pages, aerodynamically enhanced spoilers, an uprated 3.09:1 limited-slip rear, higher-output 220-amp alternator, and High-Performance suspension. And except for Performance Pages, it’s all needed to safely meet the needs of the Scat Pack’s 177 mph top speed.
“In the best Shelby tradition, we took our already high-performance 575 horsepower Shelby Raptor and made it even more capable,” said Shelby American Vice President of Operations Akos J. Feher. “Fifty lucky owners will have the baddest, best-handling and best-looking Shelby truck we offer. Not to mention, all of the interior fit-and-finish people expect from Shelby. It’s a truck that can thrive under the most extreme conditions.”
Next-generation Camaros don’t come along very often the 2016 model is only the sixth in the nearly 50 years since the car went into production so when one does appear, it’s an understandably big deal.