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2017 Camaro ZL1 Rated Slower than the Hellcat Challenger, but Less Expensive

General Motors has announced some preliminary performance numbers for the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and, surprisingly, the supercharged GM muscle car is a few tenths of a second slower than the supercharged Mopar muscle car – based strictly on manufacturer’s official claims.

Now, before anyone goes running to the comment section to insist that the Camaro ZL1 will be faster when “insert real world variable here” – this piece is based strictly on manufacturer’s claims. We all know that there will surely be private owners who lay down better times and we all know that we will see some incapable owners turn in awful times, but based strictly on the claims of the two automakers – the Camaro ZL1 is the slower of the two supercharged muscle cars in a quarter mile battle.

GM Announces Camaro ZL1 Performance Figures
We learned recently that the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will have more horsepower than originally expected, with 650 horsepower and 650lb-ft of torque rather than the preliminary figures of 640hp and 640lb-ft of torque. Today, we learned from GM that the 2017 Camaro ZL1 with the new 10-speed automatic transmission will dash from a stop to 60 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds while blasting through the standing quarter mile in just 11.4 seconds. Those numbers are achieved with stock tires on an unprepped track surface.

That second figure is the key in this discussion, as the 2015-2016 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat has an official quarter mile time with stock tires of 11.2 seconds. In other words, based just on the manufacturer’s claims, the Challenger is still the quickest stock muscle car in the world.

For those wondering, the 0-60 times for the Challenger with the 8-speed automatic transmission vary, with the quickest being 3.5 and my personal best being a 3.6 – also on an unprepped track with stock tires. With little practice, 3.7 0-60 times in the Hellcat Challenger can be achieved very consistently, so depending on the real world numbers, the Camaro could be a little quicker out of the gate, but it will most certainly be a “driver’s race”.

However, with the Camaro’s official ¼ mile time being 2 tenths of a second slower than the Challenger’s official time (which was certified by the NHRA), the longer race may be a tougher one for the ZL1.

The Camaro ZL1 Costs Less
General Motors has also announced that the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 coupe with the manual transmission will have an MSRP of $62,135 while the ZL1 convertible with the manual transmission starts $7,000 more at $69,135. Both of these prices include destination charge.

For comparison, the 2016 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat (coupe – there is no modern Challenger convertible) with the manual transmission and destination starts at $65,190, so the new Camaro ZL1 starts more than $3,000 less than the Challenger.

GM hasn’t announced the price increase for the 10-speed automatic transmission which was equipped for the official performance numbers of 3.5 0-60 and an 11.4 quarter mile, but we do know that adding the 8-speed automatic to the Challenger increases the price by $2,995, bringing the base price of the quickest Hellcat Challenger to $68,185. Even if the new 10-speed gearbox adds $5,000 – which seems unlikely considering that the Challenger’s automatic only adds $3,000 – the Camaro will still have a lower MSRP compared to the Dodge.

Again, once we see the 2017 Camaro ZL1 in the hands of private owners, we will almost certainly see quicker-than-official numbers from the supercharged Chevy – but based on the manufacturer’s official claims, the Hellcat Challenger continues to hold the record as the world’s quickest stock muscle car.


Don (not verified)    August 8, 2016 - 9:50PM

If you read Dodge's claim of 11.2 could only be done on a sticky track with the factory tires at 10psi. Chevy is certified on a unprepped track.

James (not verified)    September 2, 2016 - 7:28AM

Yes, the Camaro is cheaper and it's arguably the better overall car, but the engine internals and overall drive line upgrades are what sells the Hellcat. It's a 700 HP+ brute built to last over the long haul if you don't abuse it TOO much. The forged internals, Sachs ZF Trans, active exhaust, and all the rest truly set the Hellcat apart.

Prices are also highly sensitive to dealer markups. Dodge dealers seem to have gotten that out of their systems for the most part now. Who really thinks they're going to get a ZL1 for anything close to sticker? I'm guessing it will be marked up to CTS-V territory for most, for awhile at least.

Darrel White (not verified)    November 27, 2016 - 3:27AM

In reply to by James (not verified)

I have the first 2017 ZL1 in Oklahoma. I will sell at sticker to the first person that contacts me. My name is Darrel and I work at Smicklas Chevy in Oklahoma City. 405-943-5721 ext. 2846

Steve (not verified)    November 28, 2016 - 11:46AM

In reply to by James (not verified)

Have you read the spec's on the ZL-1 engine? Includes titanium connecting rods, forged internals, and GM invested the time and money into developing a transmission for the car. The ZF's in the FCA cars have been problematic, go check recall and tech boards.

Trooper (not verified)    September 3, 2016 - 8:07AM

Could someone explain GM's pricing strategy for me? With the base volume cars they are well over Mustang and the Challenger, with the speciality car they are under them?
In my opinion if you're spending $60k+ for a go-fast car, $3k for the fastest go-fast car is money well spent. Not that I have any interest in either of these, however of the two, the ZL-1 is more likely to be found for $30k in a couple years....

Steve (not verified)    April 12, 2017 - 12:41PM

In reply to by Trooper (not verified)

Good question my own observation of GM is they definitely move to the beat of a different drummer. While Ford seems able to turn out one big hit after another, GM seems far more likely to do just the opposite. You have to wonder if the lesson's Ford learned by not taking a bailout keeps them more focused on building vehicles people actually want to buy, vs. ones people want to talk about. In any case, were it not for China sales and large SUV's GM would already be back in the red. Ford, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Jeep are now very focused on gaining market share in that segment. The Atlas is going to make a dent, if the Grand Wagoneer comes out it's going to make a dent. And like I said before, Ford has a history of swinging for the fences, the new Expedition and Navigator are a serious step up from the current generation. GM needs someone to step in for their investors, if not their investors are going to get shorted once again, I doubt anyone will be willing to give GM a third chance.

Steve (not verified)    November 28, 2016 - 11:44AM

This goes to show GM doesn't really care about the Challenger, my guess is they tested a ZL-1 with more HP that would beat the Hellcat, however found it adversely affected track performance - where this car is clearly focused.

David Baron (not verified)    April 12, 2017 - 10:42AM

No one ever talks about the handling or suspension of Hellcat, like it doesn't matter and there are only straight roads. What about that the car is ugly?

Dominick (not verified)    January 13, 2018 - 1:47AM

I had alot of problems with the ' 15 SRT Challenger, it was so bad in less than 2 years it racked up 22 service calls which Dodge never fixed. At 51000 miles the #5 piston blew the motor. Took my bell's deposit back and while I really wanted that challenger bell's I couldn't do it after all the problems with the one I had. Took the cash and ordered my '17 ZL1. Its runs like he'll and I haven't had a single problem with it. I've raced 3 hellcat and won 2 by a fender and lost by a fender. Waki g it up with a phase 2 upgrade being done by REDLINE MOTORSPORTS, which cosists of a larger supercharger pulley, headers, CAI (big) and a dynotune of the 10 speed auto and engine computer which will push hp easily past the 707 Mark. It will be faster than the stated 3.5sec to 60 and the 1/4 in 11.4sec at 127mph. A tenth or two faster than stock. Its going to the track when complete, so looking forward to it.