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2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 vs. 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Comparison Test

Sit Down, Brace Yourself

Then, just as we were convinced the GT500's power was utterly untouchable, we moved on to handling tests and things changed. Our first hint that there's something truly special about Chevy's ZL1 came when it calmly circled the skid pad at 1.03g — a number higher than the last Chevy Corvette ZR1 we tested and matching the McLaren MP4-12C and Porsche 911 GT2 RS for the highest lateral acceleration we've ever recorded for a production car.

Wait. Isn't this a Camaro? Yes, yes it is. The best Camaro ever.

At 70.8 mph it was also quicker through the slalom than the GT500, which managed a still respectable 69.1 mph.

One hundred and ten feet are required to bring the ZL1 to a halt from 60 mph — 1 foot longer than the GT500. Both cars suffer from a too-soft middle pedal when driven with purpose — hardly surprising given the road-crushing mass and power at work here.

Practical Matters

When it comes to the ZL1, Chevy rejects the notion that cars this capable need to reflect those abilities in their ride quality. This was evident as we drove the Camaro 2,300 miles across the country to clash with the GT500 in Southern California. Never once during the journey did our backside lose consciousness. Calling the Camaro comfortable is a stretch because its ride is taut even in Tour mode, but it's still a wholly worthy long-distance car. In fairness, the Shelby, too, manages a decent ride on the highway, but it lacks the latitude provided by the Camaro's magnetic dampers.

Some fundamental problems still persist in the Camaro. It remains only a periscope away from rivaling a Virginia class submarine's forward visibility. As a result, placing the Camaro in a corner precisely is consistently frustrating. Even after three full days behind the wheel we were incapable of discerning exactly where the Camaro ended and empty space began. Chevy somewhat mitigates the problem in Reverse by installing a back-up camera that displays in the rearview mirror. Submarine commanders would be proud.

The Ford answers back with better visibility and more supportive seats if you order the optional Recaros. It's still not possible to see the edges of the Shelby from behind the wheel, but being smaller in every dimension except height helps.

What the Ford gains in perception, it loses in drivability thanks to a tall 3.31 rear-end gear that allows it to reach 60 mph in 1st gear and claim a top speed over 200 mph. This gearing is purely a marketing tool designed to achieve stunning 0-60 numbers and a headline-worthy top speed. The trade-off is overcoming that tall ratio every time you pull away from a stop in the Shelby. Ample torque makes this manageable, but it still requires considerable attention to an area where the ZL1 is utterly seamless in comparison.

It's a similar, although much less drastic difference, when it comes to their respective shifters. They're both rowing the same gearbox, but the linkage in the Camaro has far less resistance. It makes every shift a non-event while the Mustang often pushes back against aggressive shifts. And let's face it: In cars like this, ripping gears is their stock in trade, so the Camaro's superiority here is a big deal.

http://www.insideline.com/chevrolet/...ison-test.html

Glad to see the Camaro finally get some love in the Mustang media frenzy...

2013_chevrolet_camaro_group_ct_605124_815.jpg

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Thanks. A very good read. Despite being at a distinct on-paper disadvantage, in the real world the ZL1 is at worst equal to the GT500, depending on your priorities.

Nothing changes the fact that these are both very good cars, and both will only get better in the future. Having the Camaro back has been good for both Chevy and Ford.

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Oh, yes....and a barn out back full of vintage Ferrari's and old Formula style race cars.

And Porsche's also....got to have a few of those.

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Oh, yes....and a barn out back full of vintage Ferrari's and old Formula style race cars.

And Porsche's also....got to have a few of those.

Yes.. so many...I went into sensory overload at Rennsport Reunion last year...904s, 906s, 907s, 917LHs, 917Ks, 917/30s, 936s, 956s, 962s, etc...

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It was a no brainer that once the hp smoke vanished and 200 mph mirror shattered, ZL1 is just a better all round sports car than the GT500. The taut suspension, harnessed power and balanced demeanor just would ensure a better all-rounder.

Do I hate the GT500? Not at all, in fact I love it because it is unabashed rawness compared to virtuoso racer of ZL1. Sometimes you need both in your garage. The priorities of both companies were different.

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A beautiful, almost impossible situation having to choose. But I like the Chevy.

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Bigger numbers do not always point to the better sorted car.

While GM got caught out with less power Ford got caught without a world class electronic suspension. They know it and that is why there were reports already that Ford has started to work on one already.

This game is far from over.

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Bigger numbers do not always point to the better sorted car.

While GM got caught out with less power Ford got caught without a world class electronic suspension. They know it and that is why there were reports already that Ford has started to work on one already.

This game is far from over.

Well, a new Mustang on a new platform (with IRS) is already all but confirmed for '15. We can reasonably expect a new Shelby no later than '16.

Following that line, when is Camaro supposed to move to Alpha again?

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Bigger numbers do not always point to the better sorted car.

While GM got caught out with less power Ford got caught without a world class electronic suspension. They know it and that is why there were reports already that Ford has started to work on one already.

This game is far from over.

Well, a new Mustang on a new platform (with IRS) is already all but confirmed for '15. We can reasonably expect a new Shelby no later than '16.

Following that line, when is Camaro supposed to move to Alpha again?

Last target was 2015 unless it gets pushed back. Much has already been done for the car and it is well on the way. I would not be suprised to see ATS with Camaro bits under the bodies soon.

The Diciples they used on the 5th gen have been grilled for a while now on things intended for the Alpha. They are not talking but will freely admit they have been getting asked on things for the new car.

Details are much more closed than the Mustang that Ford has been more open about. At this point we just have to wait to see if they hold to the 2015 time line or if it gets pushed back. Right now the present car will get some detail changes but I would be suprised to see any major changes.

I had originally heard the Mustang was slotted as a 2015 but would be here in later 2014.

Edited by hyperv6

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I really hate the front bumper fascia on the high end Camaros... those scoops look like something from the JC Whitney catalog.... from the "Sport Compact" dept.

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will the alpha camaro be ATS or CTS sized?

It will be Camaro sized.

No one has said anything about size but I have been told to expect a major drop in weight. I would expect a smaller Camaro and as for weight we know a ATS Turbo can hit 3200 pounds. I expect that would be a good starting point for a new Camaro 4 cylinder and going up a little from there with the V6 TT and the V8.

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That would make it a car that I'd be much more interested in buying. We looked seriously at a new Camaro when we bought our MINI, but it was too large and too heavy for what we wanted.

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That would make it a car that I'd be much more interested in buying. We looked seriously at a new Camaro when we bought our MINI, but it was too large and too heavy for what we wanted.

I expect a smaller lighter Camaro with options on turbo and V8 engines will have a much wider appeal than the present car. I would also hope they can hold the line on price too.

I do expect the V8 will be limited to the top level model only though. It will get more expensive because of the model it will be offered in. This way GM will either limit the sales and force them to look to the smaller engines or they will make more money to pay for missing the CAFE regs that are coming.

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A Camaro to me would not need a V8, but it would need to be more nimble and playful than the current car. that being said, i consider the current Camaro a visual knockout.

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I am only guessing here but I am guessing they will do something like this.

Eco 2.5 coupe $22K

Eco 2.0 Tubo RS $30K

TT V6 SS $40K

Z28 V8 replacing the ZL1 Expect this one to price around $50K

With the less weight and options with the Magnetic shock package I see this as being killer car.

I expect it will have some retro cues but I would not expect a modern 1970 clone like todays is like the 69. This coming one will be for the world market and it will pay respect to the needs of the other markets to make it real global player. It will have what I will call more global appeal. Ford has already hinted of this in the coming Mustang and I suspect GM is already doing similar. It will not be mistaken for anything but a Camaro but it will play a little less old school and cut a new original path for the future with hallmarks of its past here and there.

If it were only a North American car the future would be in the past but on the global stage they only care about what you bring to the table today. There are pockets of American car fans around the world but for many in other markets the retro theme is lost on them since they really had nothing like it in the past.

The Corvette has done this already with keeping a familiar shape but making it more global friendly and modern.

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