I should start by explaining a few things for those who aren’t clear on what we know so far about the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro. General Motors has offered up a great deal of information, but they haven’t rolled out all of the numbers thus far. Most notably, while we know exactly how much power each engine in the 2016 Camaro lineup we offer, we don’t have the weight figures for any of the new Camaros, so all we can go on there is the fact that GM frequently talks about shaving 200lbs from the new generation.
Also, since the official figures for the 2016 Ford Mustang have not been announced in their entirety, we will use the figures for the 2015 model year Mustang, but we can expect that they will either be the same, or very similar for 2016. Since we have exact weight numbers for the Mustang, but not for the Camaro, I will use the heaviest available weight numbers for the Mustang fastback while using the 2015 model year Camaro weight minus the aforementioned 200lbs.
Finally, there is a long list of other aspects of both cars that will come into play during a real world race, but with so much discussion about how the 2016 Camaro will compete with the 2015 Mustang, I thought that today would be a good time to put together a piece looking at what matters most to the average gearhead.
The Base V6
As has been the case for years, both the 2015 Ford Mustang and the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro rely on a base model V6 engine that balances performance and fuel economy while keeping the purchase price low. For the Mustang, the V6 engine is the least expensive option and I expect that to be the same case with the 2016 Camaro.
The 2015 Ford Mustang with the base V6 engine packs 300 horsepower and 280lb-ft of torque in a vehicle that weighs 3,526lbs. The 2016 Camaro V6 delivers 335 horsepower and 284lb-ft of torque and while there are no official weight figures, we know that the 2015 Camaro V6 weighs 3,719lbs. GM has promised that the new models will cut at least 200lbs, so based on some very simple math, we can estimate that the 2016 V6 Camaro will weigh around 3,519lbs.
In other words, the 2016 Camaro V6 will have more horsepower and more torque while likely having a curb weight in the same range as the V6 Mustang. This gives the Camaro a clear advantage in the battle of the base V6 models.
The 4-Cylinder Battle
First up, both the 2016 Camaro and the 2015 Ford Mustang feature a fuel-friendly turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Ford’s 2.3L EcoBoost has quickly become a very popular engine option in the 2015 Mustang in the United States and I expect that it will be a smash hit in foreign markets where gas prices are much higher. The turbo-4 Camaro will likely compete in the same markets around the world, so the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine option could play a big role in the global sales race.
The 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost packs 310 horsepower and 329lb-ft of torque in a car that weighs just 3,532 pounds. The 2016 Camaro with the turbocharged 2.0L offers 275 horsepower and 295lb-ft of torque and again, since we don’t know the official weight, we have to estimate.
The 2015 Mustang EcoBoost weighs slightly more than the 2015 Mustang V6, likely due to the components included in the turbocharging system. Since the 2016 Camaro shares many of these components, I would guess that the turbo-4 Camaro will weight slightly more than the V6 Camaro and if nothing else, it should have a very similar curb weight to that of the EcoBoost Mustang.
However, weight aside, the EcoBoost Mustang has a massive advantage in both horsepower and torque, which should give the Ford a big advantage over the 2016 Camaro in the battle of the 4-cylinder muscle cars.
The V8 Muscle Cars
If you ask many muscle car fans, the only engines that truly matter in the 2015 Ford Mustang and 2016 Chevrolet Camaro lineup are the powerful V8s. The 2015 Mustang GT features a 5.0L V8 that delivers 435 horsepower and 400lb-ft of torque in a car that weighs 3,729lbs. The 2016 Camaro SS features an LT1 V8 that offers 455 horsepower and 455lb-ft of torque – giving the Chevy a large advantage in power. We know that the 2015 Camaro SS weighed just over 3,900lbs so in cutting 200lbs, the Camaro SS should be in the same general weight range as the Mustang GT.
So, in terms of the Mustang GT and the Camaro SS, the Chevy has a significant overall power advantage and once the official weight of the 2016 Camaro is announced, I expect that the SS will have a serious power-to-weight advantage as well.