Three Tickets to the Gun Show: Mustang GT vs. Camaro SS vs. Challenger SRT.

America has forever been stereotyped as the muscle car nation, and man do I love that title. Nothing is better than a huge engine throwing down power to the rear wheels. Muscle cars in America have always been defined by the big three, Dodge, Chevy, and Ford. These three companies year after year pump out a muscle flag ship that flex against one another for the title of muscle king. Dodge produces the Dodge Challenger SRT, a retro-styled, Hemi powered, mad man. Chevrolet throws down the gauntlets with their small block monster, the Camaro SS. Ford leads the heard with the muscle car icon, the Mustang GT, which in 2015 had a whole new generation reboot (looks great in my opinion). All these models have V-6 variants and they also have stronger variants, but Rev Junkie elected to go with the pure naturally aspirated V-8 versions. Naturally aspirated V-8’s define the muscle car and we want to see which car is the best when compared at the roots of their heritage. Let the battle begin!

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The oldest running model of the three would be the Mustang, created back in 1964. Mustangs suffered from horrible styling and low power ever since the second generation in the seventies up through generation four, which ended in 2005. Generation five perfected the Mustang look. Now here we are, 2015, the generation six Mustang. Up until now the Mustang had a major down fall, the lack of an independent rear axle, this made the cars handling iffy. Thankfully they fixed this in the 2015 models, thus making this car a real competitor now. It sits nice and pretty with a curb weight of 3810 lbs. Stuffed away in the front of car is a 5.0 L Coyote V-8 with 435 horsepower at 6,500 RPM (15 hp jump from the 2014 GT) and 400 lb-ft of torque at 4,250 RPM. This car will hit the 0-60 mark at an adequate 4.5 seconds and hitting the quarter mile in 13 seconds flat at 113 mph. Handling is an obvious step up due to the switch from the live axle in the generation five ‘Stangs to the independent rear suspension in the 2015’s (Mustang’s can turn now!). The comfort of the cabin also increased with an interior update, which really makes you feel like this generation is special. Driver feel has been reported as very enjoyable, turning into the corners have never felt better in a Mustang. When it comes to styling, it has been quite controversial. Ford continued the European styling cues that they have been putting in their cars recently, into the new Mustang. Many people find that this takes away from the aggressive American styling of the generation five models. All I have to say is, wait till you see this car in person and have chance to drive it, this car looks as aggressive as ever. Seriously look at it’s front end and its manacle grin. With that said, I do prefer the 2014 GT’s looks, you can’t beat them (except for maybe the Challenger)! Now if only they threw the new suspension in the 2014, then we would have a clear winner. In conclusion, the new Mustang is brilliant and a serious contender, especially with the 2015 generation update.

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Put your helmets on because were about to look at the bunker on wheels. By saying that I mean looking out of the Camaro is damn near impossible. I have never been a fan of the newest generation of Camaro’s styling (much better than the god awful 70’s version though). To me it just looks weird and huge, my one exception being the Z/28 track special, that thing is bad ass. Sadly were not reviewing the Z/28 (one of my favorite cars of all time), were reviewing the base V-8 trim, the SS. Chevy threw in a 6.2 L small block V-8, throwing down 426 horsepower at 5,900 RPM and 420 lb-ft of torque at 4,600 RPM. This will make this 3884 lb monster get to 60 in 4.5 seconds and hit the quarter mile in 12.9 seconds at 111 mph. Though it has lower power and more weight than the Mustang, the torque filled LS3 will get it going just as fast. Besides the looks, I absolutely love this car, and you would too if you ever heard this thing tear down the road, that naturally aspirated LS3 sounds incredible. This car is very much a drivers car and you can definitely feel it on the road. Precise steering and chassis rigidity really make this car shine. Motor Trend did a Head 2 Head of the 2015 Mustang GT and the 2015 Camaro SS and they awarded the Camaro the win hands down. That can vouch for it being drivers car statement. Now we wait for the 2016 Camaro generation reboot and see if they will fix the looks of this beast of a car.

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Here comes the big boy, the man of the three, the one and only Dodge Challenger SRT. I absolutely love this car and everything it encompasses (ok, bit of an exaggeration). Dodge made the a comeback with the Challenger in 2008 and they could have never made a better decision. Lets start off with my favorite thing about the car, its looks. Dodge took this project on with the Golden Era of muscle cars on their mind. They paid a complete homage to the 70’s Challenger and they did it flawlessly, the rear taillights especially. You can see a huge “Coke-Bottle” styling influence and it makes this car the most aggressive and beautiful car of the three in this battle. Burnouts will never look better, in my opinion. Under this masterpiece’s hood is a 6.4 L Hemi, making a big 485 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 475 lb-ft of torque. Those are big numbers, because they have to be. With all its whale sized glory it sits at 4,200 lbs., making it the heaviest of all the three. No need to fret though, it’s still the fastest! This Hemi will take the Challenger from 0-60 in 4.2 seconds and hit the quarter mile in 12.2 seconds. Now that’s what I’m talking about Dodge. As for the interior, it is really nice. Chrysler has been stepping up their game when it comes to car quality and it really shows within the inside of this Challenger (Chrysler owns Dodge). I have to admit, the Challenger is not the best of the three around the track, the weight starts to show, but that doesn’t mean it is a slump! Dodge has installed some great suspension on this thing and if you track it you can get some pretty good times out of it. Camaro times? No, but it is still quite good. Dodge has also thrown on some huge slotted Brembos to slow this flexing monster down and it is a great addition to this car. The sound is also impeccable, loud and in charge, that is what a huge Hemi will do for ya! To wrap it up for the Challenger, all I have to say is I want one.

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The Verdict:

1. 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT – This car defines the muscle car, fast, big, loud, and sexy. Out of all the cars tested, the Challenger takes the styling cake hands down. It does the 70’s Challenger justice by bringing the “Coke-Bottle” styling back with a modern twist. The Dodge also threw down the biggest and the fastest, despite its weight. Do you really have to care about weight when your car goes that fast in a straight line and wakes up the neighbors doing it? The answer is no. The interior is also very up to date and makes you feel like you are sitting somewhere special. Dodge has commanded and conquered the muscle car war with this immaculate car.

2. 2015 Camaro SS – Despite the fact that I think that the car is ugly and reminds me of a Normandy Beach pill box, I love this car. For driver engagement the other two just did not compare. When you are driving a Camaro, the roads your enemy and your eating it like a savage monster. A rigid chassis and sharp steering creates a certain type of smile that you just don’t see in the Mustang (you for sure get it in the Challenger). Too bad it’s ugly and the interior is cheap because the car goes fast and makes you smile as you listen to the small block mix tape.

3. 2015 Mustang GT – It is actually really sad to see the Mustang in the bottom spot of the podium. Ford has actually done really good things with this car and it definitely shows. In no way, shape, or form is the generation six a bad car. I love this car, just not as much as the others. Even though they fixed the suspension and made it more powerful while keeping it sexy, it just doesn’t engage you the way the other two do. Owning this generation Mustang just doesn’t make a statement like the others do (it is also not as fast). The sound it makes is quieter, it is slower, and doesn’t throw that childish smile on your face. This is all okay though. Ford just released this new generation, obviously there will be kinks in it, they have plenty of time to roll them out.

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