Mustang GT vs. Camaro SS 1LE: Ultimate Pony Car Shootout
Two American Muscle giants, two different approaches to performance. Which one takes the gold? Which one gets left in the cold?
It’s a rivalry that’s nearly as old as muscle car history itself. The glorious Mustang versus the mighty Camaro. Each has seen its fair share of rampant evolution, and each has incredibly huge fanbases when it comes to American car culture. The SS 1LE is a track-focused monster, however the Mustang GT has a number of advantages on its side, and this particular one has the Performance Pack 1 installed on it.
Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s run a quick spec detail on both of these behemoths.
|2018 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE||2018 Ford Mustang GT w/ Perfomance Pack 1|
|ENGINE TYPE||6.2-liter OHV LT1 V8 (16 valves)||5.o-liter DOHC Coyote V8 (32|
|DISPLACEMENT||376.0 cu||307.4 cu|
|HORSEPOWER & TORQUE||455 @ 6,000 rpm
455 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
|460 @ 7,000 rpm
420 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm
|REDLINE||6,500 rpm||7,400 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||8.2 lb/hp||8.4 lb/hp|
|TRANSMISSION||Six-speed Tremec TR6060||Six-speed MT-82|
|BRAKES||Brembo 14.6-in vented disc; 13.3-in vented disc, ABS||Brembo 15.0-in vented disc; 13.0-in vented disc, ABS|
|TIRES||285/30R20 95Y; 305/30R20 99Y Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3||255/40R19 100Y; 275/40R19 105Y Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S|
Power & Delivery
Now on paper, these titans have pretty close stats, but the Mustang has more horsepower (despite having a smaller displacement) and better top end performance, thanks to its slightly higher compression. The Mustang GT is capable of some really gnarly low-end pulls, despite having 35 lb-ft of torque less than the Camaro as well.
Mustang GT Handling
As we stated in the previous Mustang PP1 review, the Mustang GT has phenomenal handling with its large sway bars and tower strut braces. However, the MagneRide does make a world of difference. The SS 1LE also has MagneRide suspension and structural reinforcements as standard package equipment, so it seems like an even match, right? Well, not so fast.
The way you implement sway bars and braces matters just as much as the type of equipment you use. In the case of these two, the GT has a tower brace, while the SS 1LE does not. Instead, it has “V” braces that are mounted to each strut tower, respectively. GM’s reasoning for this is that the sixth-generation chassis simply doesn’t need to add more mass to an already lighter, stronger frame.
‘Realistically, if you want to make the PP1-equipped GT highly competitive on both fronts, all you need are wider, stickier tires and a better transmission. These two mods alone will make it both king of the track AND the road.’
Camaro SS 1LE Handling
The Mustang GT is indeed heavier, but that is because it has more mass overall, not simply because of the brace. At 3,860 pounds, it still feels like cutting butter while carving the corners. The SS 1LE does fantastically on the corners as well, but it isn’t because of its lighter mass overall. It has a more connected steering feel and wider wheels for a slightly bigger footprint that make a marked difference.
For what it’s worth, you could argue the two different paths to stability come to the same road in the end. But since this is a numbers game, the Camaro gets the slight edge here for having less weight. But obviously, handling isn’t everything.