Kelley Blue Book’s Micah Muzio and Zach Vlasuk want to see what happens when they put the 2017 Chevy Camaro ZL1 against the 2017 Mustang GT350, and run the modern muscle cars through some street and track tests. So, does the ‘most track capable’ Camaro take down the ‘most track capable’ Mustang as you’d expect?
The 2017 Mustang GT350 is no ordinary pony car, we’ll give it that. It looks pretty sharp, for a Mustang, and has been beefed up like the ZL1 has to make it a track-ready street car. It is equipped with two-mode adaptive dampers, huge Brembo brakes, and a naturally-aspirated 526hp/429 lbs.-ft. 5.2L flat-plane V8.
The version tested in the video is the $7,500 more expensive “R” that gives you a slightly lower ride height, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, 19” carbon fiber tires, a view obstructing rear-wing, and takes away those pesky rear seats, media center, back-up camera, and air conditioning for you — what a deal! After all the fees and added gas-guzzler tax, this car carries a $67,745 MSRP.
On the Chevrolet side of the spectrum, the tested ZL1 costs less than $64,000. The Camaro ZL1 comes with DSSV Multimatic dampers, Goodyear Eagle 1 supercar tires, an electronic limited-slip differential, Recaro seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel, Brembo brakes, and completely functional body upgrades that make the ZL1 look extremely aggressive. Powering this beautiful monster is the Corvettes LT4 supercharged 6.2L V8 that makes 650hp/650 lbs.-ft. of torque.
While the cars have both been crafted for track performance, most will be spending their times on the road, so the street portion of the test matters, a lot. The Mustang is already losing points with less options for ride control, and it also catches every variation of the pavement on the road (a great track feature, not so much on the road). The ZL1 does exactly what we expected, and proves to be a very street-worthy and functional car.
At the drag strip, the ZL1 has a major horsepower advantage that gives it a 3.5 second 0-60 mph, to the GT350R’s 3.9 second 0-60 mph pull. The ZL1’s absurd grip, amazing handling, and ease of use on a circle track is another check mark in its column, but that’s not to say the Mustang didn’t have the same track-friendly characteristics, because it certainly does. Each car has amazing stopping power, but the higher-revving Mustang seems to take this one for the hosts, based on that characteristic alone.
The hosts totally negate the fact that the ZL1 is faster/more powerful, superior on the road, has an air conditioning and other driver comforts, and we think it’s just better looking. Sure, the GT350R is great, for a Mustang, but it’s no ZL1!
Elizabeth is a hardcore horsepower enthusiast with unmatched intensity for making things faster and louder. She wakes up for power and performance and only sleeps to charge up for the next project that’s heading to the track. From autocross to drag racing, Elizabeth is there with you, so stay tuned for her unique perspective on horsepower news, builds, tech info, and installs — with her, it’ll never be boring!