Chevrolet Might Not Bother with a Camaro to Challenge the Hellcat
The current horsepower war is all about how has the most power and whose performance models can go the fastest, so with the 6th generation Chevrolet Camaro coming within the next year or so, it is all but guaranteed that the new LT1 will power the 2016 Camaro SS. It was expected early on that we would also see a new Camaro ZL1 – likely packing the same 650hp LT4 as the 2015 Corvette Z06 – which would give that new Camaro the bragging rights of being the most powerful. At that time, we expected that the Hellcat would have less than the 640 horsepower offered by the SRT Viper, but the news that the Challenger SRT Hellcat packs 707 horsepower; the LT4 engine won’t be enough for the Camaro to surpass the Hellcat.
This will force General Motors to come up with a new engine for the 6th generation Chevrolet Camaro – or maybe GM won’t worry about the Hellcat. Maybe GM will let the lightweight Corvette Z06 take down the Challenger Hellcat with less power while the Camaro focuses on continuing to lead the muscle car segment in sales.
Why Not Chase the Hellcat with the Camaro?
The problem with General Motors building a Chevrolet Camaro with enough horsepower to unseat the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat is that it will need at least 708 horsepower. Building a Camaro with that kind of power would give the muscle car bragging rights over the Challenger, but it would also overpower the Corvette Z06 by a significant amount. In the past, General Motors has made sure that the Corvette lineup had at least one model that was more powerful than the stoutest Camaro. Even when the Camaro and Corvette have relied on the same engine at the same time, the Corvette’s engine was rated slightly higher than the Camaro.
Sure, the Corvette Z06 and the Camaro ZL1 are two very different sports cars so they wouldn’t exactly compete with each other, but I refer to the fact that GM has made a point of keeping the Corvette slightly ahead of the Camaro. Because of that, I don’t think that GM will build a Camaro that will overpower both the Challenger and the Viper – but also the Z06.
Some people point out that the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat offers a ton more power than the SRT Viper, so why can’t GM build a Camaro that will beat the Corvette?
Because the Corvette is selling well with a high price point and we can expect that the Z06 will also flourish, even with a price tag over $100,000. Viper sales have been fairly poor, but the 707 horsepower Challenger with a starting price around $60,000 is very likely to sell far better than the Viper. Like the Corvette and the Camaro, the Challenger and Viper are two very different performance cars so there will still be some people who pick the $103k+ Viper with 640hp over the $60k Challenger with 707. However, Chrysler really isn’t worried about the Challenger Hellcat stealing attention from the Viper…which really isn’t getting them much consumer attention right now.
We should also consider the fact that when Ford introduced the Shelby GT500 Mustang with 662 horsepower and 631lb-ft of torque, GM made no attempt to get the Camaro ZL1 over the 580/556 levels to fight with the Mustang. GM doesn’t want the Camaro to overpower the Corvette and the company has shown in the past that they won’t bother to play the horsepower race when they have a Corvette that will beat up the GT500…or the Hellcat.
The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Should Handle the Challenger Hellcat
One other reason that General Motors may not build a 700+ horsepower Chevrolet Camaro is because the company already has a car that will happily do battle with the Hellcat powered Challenger SRT. The Z06 will “only” pack 650 horsepower and 650lb-ft of torque, but we can expect that the top of the line Corvette will weigh at least a thousand pounds less than the Challenger. This will allow GM fans an option to take down the Hellcat Challenger and the SRT Viper at the same time.
We don’t know what the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 will run in the quarter mile, but we know that the C6 ZR1 was capable of running an 11.3 elapsed time. That is just one tenth of a second slower than the Hellcat Challenger so when you factor in the lighter construction of the C7 Z06 and the added power from the LT4 V8, it will almost certainly outrun the Hellcat in a straight line with equal drivers. Needless to say, the Z06 will surely out handle the Challenger as well, but with the horsepower war usually being fought a quarter mile at a time – the 2015 Z06 should be able to take care of the Hellcat so that the Camaro doesn’t need to.