The global economic woes have done nothing to slow down the horsepower wars in Detroit, as evidenced by the two latest entries in the musclecar arena. Ford’s just-released figures on the 2013 Shelby (Mustang) GT500, an unprecedented 650 hp, 600 lb-ft, and 200 mile per hour top speed, were countered hours later by Chevrolet’s release of its own stats for the 2012 Camaro ZL1.
The 580-hp supercharged coupe is capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, running the quarter-mile in 12 seconds flat, and topping out at 184 miles per hour. All this can be yours for the price of $54,995, which includes a $900 delivery fee. Ford has not yet released official pricing for the ’13 GT500.
Chevrolet is quick to point out that the ZL1's power output eclipses a number of exotics costing more than double or triple the price, including the Audi R8 GT, Maserati GranTurismo, and Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. We highly doubt the muscle car will be cross-shopped with cars from that segment, but Chevy enjoys boasting its horsepower-per-dollar metric nonetheless.
Some of the hardware and technology enabling the ZL1 to deliver those formidable numbers are the third-generation of GM's Magnetic Ride dampers, which employs valveless damping and magnetorheological fluid to quickly adjust the damping firmness to match driving conditions. Performance Traction Management, which debuted on the Corvette ZR1, also makes an appearance on the ZL1, and coordinates Magnetic Ride, launch control (available only on manual-transmission models), electronic stability control and electric power steering settings to enhance overall performance.
Similar to the Cadillac CTS-V, the ZL1 with the optional automatic transmission ($1185) is slightly quicker than a comparable car with fitted with the six-speed manual. A/T cars return a 0-60 mph run that's a tenth of a second beneath the magic four second mark. Maximum lateral acceleration for both models is claimed at 1.0 g.
The ZL1 will be equipped standard with front heated, power-adjustable leather seats with suede microfiber inserts, a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics audio system, and USB and Bluetooth connectivity, and rear-park assist with a rear-view camera integrated into the center rear-view mirror. A suede package that also applies the material to the steering wheel, shift knob, and shift boot, is a $500 option.
The Camaro ZL1 coupe will go on sale in spring 2012 as a 2012 model, but the convertible won't arrive as a 2013 model until the summer of 2012.