Camaro-Mustang Horsepower Follies Continue

Frankly, it is hard for me even to look at the new Camaro; the Mustang’s design is growing very stale; and the whole muscle car thing is like a sick throwback to the ‘60s. There you have it: the Monday opinion blast.

Now GM has come up with the Big News that they underrated the output of the 2010 Camaro 3.6-liter V6. Seems that it actually makes 8 more horsepower than first claimed (now 312) and 5 more lb-ft of torque (now 273). An SAE recertification of the engine produced the new numbers.

2010 MustangAs our very own tgriffith reported last month, Ford had claimed a big-whoop 1-horsepower advantage for the Mustang. Smarting from that blow, GM now smacks its competitor with the news that it knew it was in the lead all along. Their press release says:

“The 304 horsepower in the 2010 Camaro was actually a conservative rating on our end,” said Tom Sutter, GM V-6 chief engineer. “But we knew already that this award-winning engine produced at least the amount of power we stated, but now we’ve gone the extra step in certifying the engine for this application and have verified an additional 8 horsepower.”

Well, gosh, Tom, that doesn’t make much sense to me. It sounds like: a) You calibrated the engine wrong in March ‘09; or b) you were trying to sucker Ford into making a big deal out of its 1-hp advantage (which it has not done); or c) GM Engineering doesn’t know what it’s doing.

I vote for “c.” Why would you not claim the power advantage from the beginning? When Ford announced the 2011 Mustang, it upped the ante by about 100 hp for the V8. If GM knew it had the power, why let Ford claim the stupid 1-hp advantage?

In fact, the whole horsepower war is not only stupid but counterproductive. As in any price war, ultimately both competitors will lose.

Yes, the Camaro is selling well, but that is owing to its design (which many seem to like), its power, driveability, and (dare we say it?) handling, which is very good for a car of this class. In these areas, Mustang doesn’t keep up.

I guess I still don’t understand the marketing of muscle cars. Any of you fans out there want to help me out?


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  1. Remember that GM Powertrain is the same outfit that misprogrammed the new Caddy turbos so the engines blew up when accidentally fed regular gas. Sounds like the “New” GM fired a few too many experienced (older) engineers and technicians. You picked a good color for the Camaro.

  2. The theory is more grunt more sales used to work well. The prototype Camaro was grafted onto a pontiac/Holden Monaro chassis and probably retains that floorpan and suspension. The Mustang uses ancient under pinnings instead of modern, Ford has a good handling rwd 6/8cyl platform in the Falcon but Americans cant have it.

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