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.
We are pleased with the performance of the 2015 Ford Mustang GT. It takes time to get the best performance from any new combination, but if you utilize the driver aids such as Line-Lock and Launch Control, you’ll get up to speed quickly. Ford has done a wonderful job providing the necessary power and technology to make this one heck of a Mustang.
If you’re looking for a good elapsed time, shallow staging is a must. Prestage, stop, collect yourself, and then carefully inch forward until you barely turn on the Stage beam. I’ve seen lots of racers dump the car in both beams in one motion, which usually results in the car being “deep” staged. Since your time starts when your front tires break the stage beam, shallow staging gives you a running start on the timing system. Shallow versus deep can be worth as much as two-tenths of a second!
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.)
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.
The all-new Mustang has garnered rave reviews from editors and critics for the enhancements in handling. The suspension provides amazing compliance and has better balance than any Mustang to come before, but what about straight-line acceleration? What’s it like to do a burnout, launch, and powershift your way down quarter-mile? Will there be wheelhop, broken half-shafts, and scattered differentials?
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 2015 GT is equipped with a Line-Lock, so doing a burnout is pretty easy. Be sure to roll all the way through the water box (or go around it) then stop. Refrain from doing a burnout in the puddle of water and don’t roll too far out of the water box, either, because that would put you in the really sticky stuff, and doing a burnout there can hurt your clutch. You want to be right on the fringe of the puddle, just in front of it.
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.
Also, keep the rpm steady, as this will keep the Traction-Lok rear engaged properly. Floating the throttle can cause the dreaded one-wheel peel. Once you have the tires clean and warm (you can see if they are smoking by aiming your side mirrors at the rear tires), drive out of the burnout under power. This helps get rid of any residual water, and it’s fun.
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.
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.
Dimensionally, the new Camaro is slightly trimmer in all exterior dimensions and notably in a nearly 2-inch reduction in wheelbase but the overall effect is more dramatic, particularly with almost fastback profile. It simply looks lean and taught.