It’s been a long time coming, but someone finally did it. The 2015 Camaro Z/28 has finally been pinned against the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat and the 2015 Mustang GT in a performance test by none other than Automobile Magazine, and the “goods” and the “bads” that they discovered are certainly worth a listen. Check out the comprehensive test in the video above.
While Ford has kept their poster child in production since its debut in 1964 ½, Chevrolet and Dodge opted to discontinue the production of their once famed muscle cars long ago. But starting in 2006, Dodge came back with a vengeance, first debuting its modern Charger, and then two years later, debuting its modern production Challenger. In 2010, Chevrolet followed suit, being the last of the Big Three to bring one of its most iconic automobiles back to market.
Since the debut of the fifth-generation Camaro, the the battle between brands has once again become a top story. Enthusiasts with loyalties to each of the three cars have since gone on the defense hyping up their favorite car and pointing out the flaws of the others. But what happens when the Camaro, Challenger and Mustang all get a major facelift? Well, you get the challenge above.
As far as specifications go, the cars tested by Automobile Magazine ran from relatively mild to extremely wild. At the bottom of the list was the 2015 Mustang GT, which tested with the upgraded Performance Pak option, produces a decent 435 horsepower and 400 pound-foot of torque. Next in line, the Camaro Z/28 produces 505 horsepower and 481 pound-foot of torque, while the Challenger SRT Hellcat, well, whoops them both by over 200 horsepower and 150 pound-foot of torque for a face-folding 707 horsepower and 650 pound-foot of torque.
Now, as we all know, a car’s performance can’t just be determined by its horsepower rating and torque. There is, after all, the matter of drivability, handling, and stopping to take into consideration.
With tighter springs, high-pressure gas dampers in the rear, a stiffer rear anti-roll bar, and large Brembo brakes that come with the Performance Pak option, as well as a new multi-link independent rear suspension, the Mustang GT is setup for superior handling qualities compared to its brethren from previous model years.
The Hellcat is also equipped with a number of performance enhancing components, including giant Brembo brakes, 20-inch slingshot forged wheels and tons of electronic stability-control gadgets that are meant to keep the potent Dodge somewhat in line.
Last, but certainly not least, the Z/28 has exploded onto the market as one of the most performance-oriented muscle cars to date. Not only does the new Camaro feature large carbon ceramic Brembo brakes and spool-valve dampers borrowed from the Formula 1 circuit, the car also sports what are said to be the widest production car front tires in the world (305/30ZR-19 Pirelli P Zero Trofeo Rs).
So what does all this mean as far as track times and everyday drivabilty is concerned? Well, not surprisingly, the track-geared Z/28 laid down the fastest lap time when Automobile Magazine took the cars to the 2.2-mile GingerMan Raceway.
With the Camaro’s best-handling setup yet, the new Z/28 is all about performance and less about perks like air conditioning and stereo sound. The result is an impressive one minute and 41.8-second lap. Certainly not the most powerful of the bunch, this may just be the best track-carving muscle car on the market for 2015.
But don’t discount the other two cars. While it may have had the least amount of power of the three, the Mustang GT laid down a lap time of 1 minute and 44.8 seconds, the second-best lap time of the competitors.
Even though the Hellcat had the most power, she was the most ornery of the three, swinging its way around the track for a lap time of 1 minute and 45.8 seconds. Maybe 707 horsepower isn’t all its cracked up to be on a road course.
It may have been outrun by the Camaro at the track and out powered by both its competitors, but the Mustang GT was determined to be the best combination of a street and track car of the three. This should come as no surprise given the Z/28’s track-driven design and the Hellcat’s potent but ornery 707 horsepower on command.
Each car certainly proved its worth in Automobile Magazine’s test and determining which car is the best of the three all comes down to the desired application. Want a street and track car? Go with the Stang. Want a road course car? Go with the Z/28. And if you want a flat-out speed demon, well, the Hellcat’s your best option!
For more on the test and specification comparisons, be sure to check out Automobile Magazine’s challenge write-up here.