Full article - 2018 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE vs. 2018 Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack - Motor Trend
As is the 1LE’s handling. Around our figure-eight track, the Mustang managed a 24.0-second lap. That’s a fantastic time, especially because the 2016 Mustang GT needed 24.4 seconds, and the BMW M4 takes 24.1 seconds. So that’s good company. But by comparison, the Nissan GT-R NISMO, Porsche 991 GT3, and Porsche 991.2 Turbo S all dance the figure eight in a significantly quicker 22.9 seconds. I mention this because so does the Camaro. I’m still having a hard time processing that number, but it is true. The workaday Chevy runs even with the world’s elite performance cars in a true handling test.
For the record, the quickest time we’ve ever seen around the figure eight is 22.2 seconds, put down by both the Porsche 918 Spyder and the Lamborghini Huracán Performante. Meaning the Camaro 1LE is within spitting distance.
Then came the track. We took the two American icons out to Streets of Willow. Here’s the good news for Ford fans. The fastback GT laid down a 1:23.97 lap. That’s 0.24 second off the aforementioned M4 (1:23.73), just quicker than a Lexus RC F (1:24.08), and nearly three tenths of a second better than a 2015 Mustang GT Performance Pack (1:24.29). The bad news? The Camaro SS 1LE laid down a 1:20.67 lap, 3.3 seconds quicker. In other words, these two cars wouldn’t be allowed to race together. Different class doesn’t cover it. The list of cars the Camaro went faster than should embarrass some OEMs: Porsche Cayman GT4, 2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus, Ferrari 458 Italia. I mean, come on!
To put it bluntly, the Camaro is in another league, with legitimate supercars. A 2015 GT-R NISMO held the Streets record—1:19.07—meaning the gulf between the quickest car ever lapped at the track and the Chevy (1.6 seconds) was less than half the gulf between our two competitors (3.3 seconds). But then we got bored at lunch and Randy ran a lap in a Lamborghini Huracán Performonte. Result: new champ, at 1:18.73—making the Camaro the sixth-fastest car around Streets. Yet the Chevy still is less than 2 seconds off the pace of a hypercar costing six times as much. Dang.
The winner of this round? The Chevrolet Camaro 1LE. In my mind, it’s not close. Chevy has done the near impossible, transcended the genre, and turned a once provincial pony car into an honest to goodness world-class sports car. This $46,000 miracle punches so far above its weight that I’m in danger of saying weird things that could easily be taken out of context. Such as, if I were an engineer at BMW or even Porsche, I’d be clearing off my drawing boards.
Where does that leave the Mustang? Well, if you don’t care about measurable performance and are instead into the “cowboy science” side of things, you have your winner. However (and here’s the part I hate writing), in the ways that actually matter to car guys, the 2018 Mustang got its butt handed to it. For less money, Chevy stone-cold out-engineered Ford. And this is what that galls me. Not only should Ford have done a better job, but I also know they can do a better job. The Shelby GT350R—a car that’s every inch as awesome and breathtaking as a Porsche GT3—proves Ford has the knowledge to build a better car. Now it remains to be seen how much the forthcoming Performance Pack 2 closes the handling gap with that GT350 R and this Camaro SS 1LE. You can probably expect another Camaro/Mustang face-off for the answer.