Even if you’re not familiar with the Gap Band, a southern funk band from the 1970s and 80s, you’ve probably heard “You Dropped a Bomb on Me,” one of their greatest hits. It must reflect how Chevy executives must have felt recently. As if the Mustang-Camaro rivalry needed any more fuel to stoke its ageless fire, Ford just released specs of its 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500—perhaps the most celebrated of the family— ahead of Chevy, effectively stealing its thunder. But that’s not all, Ford’s Mustang has 650 horsepower (repeat: six-five-oh), and its 5.8-liter supercharged V-8 is being billed as the most powerful production V-8 ever built. The Mustang even tops 200 mph, and, it’s street legal.
But why should all of this matter to the Chevy folks who’ve been parading the ZL1 and its Nurburgring times around? Isn’t the ZL1 the fastest, strongest Camaro every built? It is, but its otherworldly specs still fall short of Ford’s brawny GT 500. The 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1 has a top speed of 184 mph to the GT 500′s 200-plus mph. The Camaro’s absurd 580 hp gets trumped by the mind-bending 650 hp of Ford’s beast. All of this may seem excessive, most people will never need that many horses or won’t ever come close to seeing that speedometer needle top out, but practical use and these cars are not synonymous. This is about bragging rights, about one-upping, about saying you’ve got the most American muscle. So you can understand the dismay of Chevy higher-ups who’ve been keeping their figures for the new ZL1 under wraps.
Still, both cars are brutes that can keep up with supercars, and what they lack in refinement, they make up for in price. You could get yourself three 2012 GT 500s or Camaro ZL1s before you would be handed the keys to an Audi R8 GT. A Maserati Gran Turismo is double the price and only delivers 405 horsepower. Ford may top Chevy in brawn, but both are exemplary muscle cars.
Source: Ford, Chevrolet