For almost 50 years a battle has been raging, the two contenders vying for the hearts and wallets of American grand touring cars. Mustang arrived first, in 1964, and Camaro followed in 1966. And of course, history tends to repeat itself, as we have a new Mustang for 2015, and Camaro’s sixth generation is still a year away.
Road Test Editor Carlos Lago at Motor Trend got his hands on a new GT equipped with the Performance Pack and decided to thrash it against a new SS with the 1LE package. For the Mustang, the Performance Pack includes stiffer springs/shocks, big Brembo brakes, thicker sway bars and a 3.73 differential ratio. Back in May, I spent a week with a 1LE SS and quickly realized that the limits of this car can’t be reached on public roads. The 1LE package blesses the Camaro with race-ready suspension, along with the tires, wheels and brakes of the ZL1 supercar. The Camaro’s differential measures in at 3.91.
In an instrumented test at Willow Springs, this Camaro lapped the historic track in 1:22.81, beating the Mustang by 2 seconds. It may seem odd that a new Mustang couldn’t overtake a Camaro that has been in production since 2009, but a quick comparison of the details explains why.
This may be a bit technical, but here is how the Camaro does it. First off, the Camaro’s differential is more aggressive. Sporting 3.91 gears vs. Mustang’s 3.73 allows the SS to put more power to the ground. The Mustang’s V8 measures 5.0 liters and the Camaro’s is 6.2; that’s an additional Chevrolet Spark’s 1.2L worth of displacement. Being larger, the Camaro creates 426 lb-ft of torque to Mustang’s 400.
Ford’s V8 “Coyote” has dual overhead camshafts, which are capable of moving a ton of air at high engine RPM. Because Mustang’s full power is only available at the top end of the tachometer, the driver must constantly be changing gears to keep the engine speed in its narrow powerband. My week with the Camaro was a delight because its meaty torque is available from idle to redline.
One final factor is that this test isn’t exactly fair. The Mustang was a new car without much development on the track. The Camaro has the advantage of seven years of refinement with two supercar variants, the Z/28 and ZL1, along with privateer teams backed by Chevrolet Performance. As with Mustang’s typical body cycle, several Cobra and Shelby models, along with a new Boss 302, will fully develop this new chassis.
It’s a safe bet that Ford isn’t showing their best cards so early in the game. A generation 6 Camaro will be smaller and lighter with the Stingray’s LT1 under the hood. The next year will be very exciting, as the Hellcat brings 717HP to the fight. Stay tuned to Autofluence for updates!
(Source: Motor Trend)