The Ford SVT Raptor is without question one of the ultimate street-legal go-fast off-road rigs you can buy and hit the dirt in. While the Raptor is incredibly fast in the desert, it leaves plenty to be desired on the table. Contrary to keyboard racers, the Raptor is not a Trophy Truck, but it was built to race—in fact, it did just that back in 2008 at the 41st SCORE Baja 1000. Of course this means that improving upon the performance of the Raptor is quite an uphill battle if you still want the truck to have decent road manners.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can also attack the burnout using the old-school method. Set up in the same fashion, but instead of using the Line-Lock, rev it up, dump the clutch, and quickly grab the brake pedal with you left foot. The trick is to use only sufficient brake pressure to hold the car. That’s because rear brakes will be applied, so using this technique will wear your rear brakes prematurely.
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.
So how do you make the Shelby Raptor even better, how about slapping on King off-road racing shocks, all-new 35×12.5R18 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires wrapped around a set of custom 18-inch wheels and, oh yeah—stuffing a supercharger under the hood to give it 700hp.
Shelby saw the opportunity to improve upon this awesome off-road beast and decided they could make the Raptor a little more aggressive for off-road use. In 2013, they introduced the 575hp Shelby Raptor which had us drooling instantly. It was equipped with a supercharger, Method wheels and BFGoodrich Mud Terrain KM2 tires. Needless to say, Shelby stepped up the off-road game but like any true horsepower junky, sometimes you just need to give it a little more power.
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.)
Like the exterior, the 2016 Camaro’s interior is completely new. In many ways, it represents a greater departure in style and functionality, too. The instrument panel, for example, retains the familiar dual-binnacle-style hood over the instruments, but the rest of it has been completely redesigned. Gone, too, is the cute but ergonomically challenged retro gauge panel in the center console.
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.
The suspension is a little on the stiff side but that’s to be expected in a car that is setup for the track. Trust us, you wouldn’t want a floaty suspension with 650hp on tap. Speaking of suspension, Shelby has really done their homework with the Shelby GT as we were able to carve around more than a few corners at speed while the car gripped the tarmac and took it like a champ.