Motor Trend Compares The 2014 Camaro ZL1 And 2015 Challenger Hellcat – GM Authority (blog)

Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2014

As soon as Dodge dropped the 707 horsepower hammer blow that is 2015 Challenger Hellcat on the automotive world, we knew this was going to happen. By “this”, we mean a comparison between the 2014 Camaro ZL1 and Dodge’s new crown jewel. Motor Trend was first to acquire the two iconic muscle cars and line them up side-by-side, so lets break down their results.

The Hellcat and the ZL1 both have 6.2-liter supercharged V8s, but there are a few differences. The Camaro has a 1.9-liter Eaton Roots style supercharger, while the Challenger has a larger 2.4-liter Lysholm unit. The Camaro is obviously down on power – 580 to the Hellcat’s 707, but it makes up for by being nearly 400 lbs lighter than the Dodge. As a result, the performance differences between the two when MT took them to their test track weren’t as big as you might think.

In the quarter-mile the six-speed manual Camaro posted a 3.9-second 0-60-mph time before blasting down the quarter mile in 12.2 seconds at 116.6 mph. The Hellcat meanwhile posted a 0-60 mph time of 3.7-second time with an 11.7 second quarter-mile at 125.4 mph. We all saw that one coming though, after all, the Hellcat was developed for the drag strip.

The figure eight let the ZL1 make good use of its smaller kerb weight. MT said the Camaro is “well-suited for handling work, with quick, accurate steering that weights up nicely, and a well-controlled ride, thanks to GM’s trick magnetic shocks.” As such, it posted the faster figure eight time of the two, 24.0- seconds to the Hellcat’s 24.7. That seems like a small difference, but MT says the Hellcat behaved “just like a (standard) Challenger. Understeer into the corner, oversteer out,” which speaks volumes.

So far no surprises then. The 5th generation Camaro has historically been America’s best handling pony car and the Hellcat has 707 horsepower, so it being faster at the strip was inevitable. The Hellcat drew significantly more attention from fellow motorists when MT drove around in it though, which is no doubt an important attribute of any flashy performance car. The California Highway Patrol even gestured for them to do a highway pull in it, while the Camaro received little to no attention.

MT say Chevy “appears to have forgotten” that “musclecars are supposed to be as much about the show as they are about the go,” with the ZL1, which is a statement we outright disagree with. In comparison to any other everyday car, the Camaro is a head turner, but lined up against the brand-new 707 horsepower Hellcat painted in a striking Sublime Green shade, it really stands no chance. We’d say Chevy styled the Camaro with show in mind, but the buzz surrounding the Hellcat is what created the especially overwhelming attention towards it. Admittedly, the Hellcat would have gotten the majority of our attention, too.

Chevrolet will have a new ZL1 or other performance variant of the Camaro when the sixth-generation of the muscle car drops next year, which may close the performance gap between the 580 horse ZL1 and 707 horse Hellcat. In the mean time, Dodge will no doubt have the performance advantage at the drag strip. It doesn’t really matter though, because the real winner here is the consumer. These two cars have a combined output of 1,287 horsepower and joint value of $123,715, which makes us feel like were living in a truly great time for performance cars.  You can read what MT thought of the ZL1 and Hellcat in their comparison test here.


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