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post #1 of 19 Old 03-24-2009, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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SS vs R/T vs GT- Guess who wins?

Just off the top of your head- who do you think is gonna win?

2010 Camaro SS vs 2010 Ford Mustang GT vs 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T Comparison Test Drive: Muscle Car Competition


SAN DIEGO – It's been five long model years since Ford introduced the retro-cool 2005 Mustang and kicked off the second coming of the musclecar wars. Dodge answered with the 2008 Challenger and now, the 2010 Camaro is in production and generating a massive buzz. Three historic icons of American performance–finally–in the metal and on the street. So we decided to get them together for a first round, rubber roasting, musclecar throwdown.

But this test was unlike most of our comparisons. It was a logistical puzzle that involved testing a Camaro SS in Detroit and running numbers on the Mustang GT and Challenger R/T in California. Timing was so tight, and the Camaro SS was in such high demand, we had less than three short hours to gather all three manual transmission cars together in the same place at the same time. So we were unable to compare the real-world fuel economy of the three or perform our usual handling tests. But we did manage to test the more expensive Dodge Challenger SRT8 in Michigan too, just to see if Dodge's quickest could take on the Camaro.

Yet even with these extraordinary testing circumstances, we did spend enough time in each car to get a sense of how they stack up. Speed junkies read no further. If you want to know which is the quickest of this new breed of American muscle–it's the Camaro SS. That is, until the more expensive 540 hp Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500 arrives later this year.
(Photograph by Ture Lillegraven)

But the modern musclecar is about more than just pure speed. It's about the visceral sensation you get from behind the wheel, the emotions these vehicles deliver when you lift the garage door on a Saturday morning and yes, it's about practicality, refinement and handling on real roads too. So which one of the three takes the musclecar gold medal in this early match-up? Let's find out. –Ben Stewart

2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS

Base Price: $30,995 | As Tested: $35,000 (est)

(Photograph by Ture Lillegraven)


The six-speed manual, 3.45:1 geared 426 hp Camaro SS was the quickest car of the group by a wide margin, stomping 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and running through the 1/4-mile in 13.0 seconds at 111 mph. That speed is particularly impressive considering the Camaro SS weighs almost 3900 pounds. On the road, the V8 has enormous torque and can pull away from lesser cars from less then 2000 rpm on the freeway. At idle the big 6.2-liter rumbles ever so slightly. And we like that. Still it takes full throttle and some revs to really hear this motor sing, so a more aggressive exhaust tuning is needed. Back at the track, the SS stopped from 60 mph in an incredibly short 107.8 feet. Credit that particular number to the serving tray size, 14-inch front and 14.4-inch rear Brembo brakes.

If you'd like to get a taste of the Camaro's handling right now before it arrives in dealerships this April–give a Pontiac G8 GXP a spin. The Camaro is built on an evolution of that same GM global rear-drive chassis engineered and tuned in Australia. Creating a Camaro from those bones was no easy task. The front wheels were pulled forward, but the overall wheelbase (112.3-inches) is shorter than a G8's by more than two-inches. Chevy is appropriately pleased that they were able to shave some height on the front suspension towers to accommodate the Camaro's fender and hood proportions without noticeably effecting the ride quality. In the rear, for the first time, the Camaro has a fully independent multi-link suspension. So how does this chassis work compared to the Mustang GT and Challenger R/T? Brilliantly. On both the tight corners and long sweeping bends of the country roads in South San Diego County, we were not able to find the limits of the suspension or tires. The Camaro engineers have masterfully masked the fact that it weights almost two tons. Back in the city, that capable suspension does not punish the driver when the big Camaro SS hits broken pavement and potholes. The ride is smooth, supple and refined–nearly on par with the softer-tuned Dodge Challenger R/T. But there is something missing. As quick and as capable as the drivetrain and chassis is, the Chevy lacks a bit of that raw visceral emotion we were expecting. Is the Camaro too quiet, too polished–too un-Camarolike? Perhaps. But that's nothing a trip to the Summit Racing Equipment website won't fix.

Inside, the Camaro is a bit of a mixed bag. From afar, the interior is a hip mix of old and new. But once settled into the seat, it seems like the designers may have called a few too many shots. The cabin's gangster proportions mean sightlines are a compromised. There are bigger blind spots for parking or checking over-the-shoulder for a freeway pass than either the Mustang or Challenger. We also found the seats could use a bit more padding and thigh support. We certainly dug the useful retro console gauge package. And the steering wheel, with it's tiny "SS" emblem at the bottom of the rim looks cool. But the shape of that wheel rim is too triangular in to be comfortable on demanding roads–the pointy edge digs into your hand's palm in the wrong way. Similarly, the shifter's club-like lever is awkward to use. Nitpicks? Sure. But this is a performance car and the tools used to extract that performance should be comfortable to use. Chevy will offer a Hurst shifter as a factory option–we'd recommend checking that box. Rear seat accommodations are tight. There's less head and legroom in the backseat than the Challenger and less trunk space than both the Ford and Dodge. The Camaro's 11.3 cu.-ft. trunk is deep, but the body's structure encroaches on the trunk opening, making it a challenge to load awkwardly shaped objects. But hey, if you won't buy a Camaro because of its modest Costco capability, check your pulse.



2010 Ford Mustang GT Premium

Base Price: $30,995 | As Tested: $35,626

(Photograph by Ture Lillegraven)

This year, the Mustang is fresh from a mild refresh of the successful 2005 redesign. But any Mustang fan will be familiar with the basic powertrain. The 4.6-liter V8 remains largely the same and now makes 315 hp. Our Track Pack-equipped car came with 3.73:1 gears and a five-speed manual. Okay, so compared to the larger displacement competition the Mustang's horsepower number seems, well, wimpy. But the key to the Mustang's persona and performance compared to its rivals is weight–or more precisely, lack thereof. The Mustang GT weighs 3500 pounds. That's about 400 pounds less than either the Camaro SS or Challenger R/T. So the relatively modest horsepower meant our Mustang could still hustle to 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds and run through the 1/4-mile in 13.9 seconds at 102 mph. The 4.6-liter sounds good rumbling down the street or revving at the track, with an amplified version of the traditional V8 howl any motorhead kid will peg as a Mustang from three blocks away. Though Mustang is down a gear from the six-speed Camaro and Challenger, the shift action and clutch take-up is smoother than either of them. The braking performance was rather unexpected: It stopped from 60 mph in only 110.8 feet. That's only three feet longer than the Brembo-equipped Camaro took to do the same job.

The Mustang is smaller than the Challenger or Camaro with a much shorter 107.1-inch wheelbase. So even though the Mustang still uses a solid rear axle, it feels light, tight, nimble and more like a sports car than the others. The Mustang encourages you to press it hard through twisty roads and rewards the driver with a poise not found on previous Mustang GTs. The Ford isn't isolated and hushed like the Chevy. There's a mechanical rawness to this car that feels, well, old school. The tradeoff is, of course, ride quality. While the Dodge and Chevy muffle big bumps and freeway imperfections, the Ford translates every one of them to your backside in the cabin. The ride is stiff and not as polished as the others here.

Our major gripe with the old Mustang's interior was the sea of hard plastic. Ford has fixed some of that in the 2010 version. The dash pad molded from a soft material and all the ergonomics have been improved. From the driver's seat, the Chevy and Dodge feel a bit like you're sitting in a bathtub, with high beltlines. But in the Mustang, the seating position is taller and you have a better view for working through traffic or hustling a canyon road. And thanks to the Mustang's comparatively trim proportions, it's seems like less effort to squirt past that lumbering 18-wheeler than the others. The backseat of the Mustang offers the same legroom as the Camaro but with about an inch more headroom. Still, those second seats are best left for the kiddies. The 13.4 cu.-ft. of cargo space falls right in between the Camaro and Challenger specs, but the pass-through when the rear seat is folded is compromised by a small bump in the trunk floor.



2009 Dodge Challenger R/T

Base Price: $29,320 | As Tested: $37,410

(Photograph by Ture Lillegraven)

A quick check of engine specs looks promising. The Dodge's 5.7-liter Hemi produces 376 hp and 410 lb.-ft of torque. And our car came paired to a six-speed manual and a deep 3.92:1 rear end. But the Dodge weighs just over two tons so 60 mph comes up in 6.4 seconds and the 1/4-mile is dispatched in 14.4 seconds at 97 mph. It slowed from 60 mph in 126.9 feet. That trails the Camaro and Mustang in both performance measures. The 420 hp SRT8 manual we tested at the same time in Detroit hit 60 mph in 5.0-seconds flat and ran through the 1/4-mile in 13.3 at 107 mph. It stopped from 60 mph in 114 feet, too. So the SRT model almost matches the Camaro SS in performance but costs a tick over $40,000–almost $10,000 more than the base price for a Camaro SS. The Hemi R/T may not be as quick as the other two pony cars, but you wouldn't necessarily notice unless you drove all three back-to-back–the Dodge feels plenty fast. And the Hemi sounds good too. Lug it down below 2000 rpm, plant the throttle and it moves out with a deep musclecar exhaust note you can almost feel inside the cabin.

Whether we were cruising on San Diego's freeways or taking on the worst city streets we could find, the Challenger rode smoothly and comfortably. The Challenger shares a platform with the Charger and Chrysler 300C and sits on a long 116-inch wheelbase. This is the cross-country comfort machine of the group. The Dodge's soft, four-wheel independent suspension and slow, relatively numb steering made it the least sporting of the group on the snaky roads. Unlike the Camaro, which feels light, despite its actual weight, you'll notice the Challenger's poundage in every twist and turn. That said, the Challenger R/T is still fun to toss around on a good road–only not quite as much fun as the Mustang or Camaro. Just as the Camaro SS could probably use a cat-back exhaust, we'd probably stiffen the Challenger's suspension and add stickier summer-rated tires to those striking 20-inch wheels.

Peer through the windows of all three of these cars and the Challenger's interior appears to be almost boring. It uses many familiar shapes and parts from other Dodge vehicles. And besides the fantastic pistol grip-inspired shifter, there's not much color or many fun retro touches inside. But that stuff doesn't matter as much as overall comfort when you're driving the car on a daily basis. We would trade a hip-looking speedometer font for a good pair of seats any day. And the Challenger's seats were the most supportive and comfy of the group. Unlike its rivals, the Challenger had a nicely padded center console and less hard plastic overall. The Dodge was the only one here with a navigation system and the Dodge's long wheelbase allows rear passengers to have the most leg and headroom of these three machines. The trunk, at 16-cu.-ft., is cavernous–it held all our test gear, two suitcases and a tiny cooler with room to spare.


The Bottom Line

So was the Camaro worth the wait? Yes. The newest pony car delivers an undeniable mix of performance and value. It's the quickest and likely has the highest handling limits of the three coupes. The Mustang is the rough and tumble sports car. It's the most involving car to drive–it feels more organic than the other two. The Challenger R/T provides more comfort and practicality at the expense of all-out performance. Yet, to our eye, the Dodge just may be the best looking of the group. But these are musclecars. And the Camaro's mix of power, poise and refinement just edges out the others–this time.


Source



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post #2 of 19 Old 03-24-2009, 01:26 AM
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Who care and I think that Camaro looking good and Mustang is Challenger isgood and its too big.

I already order 1SS black in black.


Last edited by Camarokid; 03-24-2009 at 01:35 AM.
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post #3 of 19 Old 03-24-2009, 01:29 AM
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I like this article. But I understand the R/T's weaknesses; its just hard to believe that it cut only a 14.4. I expected the Mustang to be in the 13.7 range and the Challenger to at least under 14. Dunno.

I very sure the Camaro is the superior car, but I think the margin isnt that off. I think the Camaro and Mustang are realistically 2 tenths faster than they mention and the Challenger got the short end of the stick on this article.


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post #4 of 19 Old 03-24-2009, 07:45 AM
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Different tracks different times sure do make a difference in numbers. Different drivers I imagine as well. The motor trend #'s on the mustang and challenger are way different.


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post #5 of 19 Old 03-24-2009, 02:23 PM
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Where's the link to the article?
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post #6 of 19 Old 03-24-2009, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weland View Post
Where's the link to the article?
Uuuuhhhmmm, on the motortrend.com website. just kidding, here it is

http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/..._gt/index.html


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post #7 of 19 Old 03-24-2009, 04:59 PM
 
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i knew it would
and if thats 14.4 for the challenger no way the v6 camaro runs with that
just put a bad driver in the challenger and a good one in the camaro and there we have it a v6 that can out run the r/t
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post #8 of 19 Old 03-24-2009, 06:14 PM
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Did anyone catch this comment in the talkback on the article?

Quote:
fastnfuryous (Yesterday 04:07 AM)

Ford displays true engineering, that is why they will be the last man standing.
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post #9 of 19 Old 03-24-2009, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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Ford will be the last man standing? lmao. I'm not saying they won't. I'm just saying it's funny.

Didn't the Camaro win in that test, too?

I put the link right below the last picture. It says SOURCE

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Last edited by Taglane; 03-24-2009 at 06:23 PM.
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post #10 of 19 Old 03-24-2009, 06:18 PM
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whats the ss auto quarter mile and 0-60 again? any actual numbers from third partys?

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