I’m a Porsche guy now, but I wasn’t always a fan of German-engineered sports cars.
In fact, I started my car-loving life as a devoted supporter of the late-1960s muscle cars, specifically the Ford Mustang.
I spent my early teenage years dreaming of one day owning a Mustang. I wanted a 1965 coupe with the 289 V8 under the hood. I wanted to restore it and love it and keep it forever.
Then I grew up and realized that real motoring perfection came from Stuttgart, not Dearborn. I attributed my muscle car fascination to adolescent hormones and grew into adulthood knowing that nothing drives or handles like a perfectly engineered 911.
That’s why saying this next sentence hurts a little:
The new Camaro ZL1 might be better than a Porsche.
I’m not saying that the 2017 ZL1 is better than a 2017 911. I still believe that, as far as precision driving goes, there’s nothing better than Porsche. However, compare the ZL1 to modern used 911s, and a strong case could be made for the humble Camaro.
With 640-hp and an incredible 640 lb-ft of torque, the ZL1 could take some sales away from the mighty Corvette Z06. All of that power goes through either a six-speed manual or GM’s first 10-speed automatic transmission. There’s an electronic limited-slip differential and 20-inch wheels wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 rubber.
Plus, the new ZL1 is 200 pounds lighter that its predecessor, even with the 6.4-liter supercharged V8 sitting under its carbon fiber hood. How fast will all of that power be able to go? We don’t know yet. Here’s what Car and Driver said,
The last Camaro ZL1 we tested in 2014 hit the 60-mph mark in 4.1 seconds and ran the quarter-mile in 12.4. The 455-hp SS version of the new sixth-generation car trumped those numbers with a 3.9-second zero-60-mph run and a 12.3-second quarter-mile time. So, yeah, the ZL1 will be hellaciously quick.
Muscle cars have always been fast in a straight line, but have never been comparable to the rear-engine 911 on twisty roads. Zero-to-60 times of the modern 911 range from about 3.6 to 4.2 seconds. Go back to 2002 and times increase to about 4.8 seconds.
There’s no question that a new ZL1 will beat an older 911 off the line and in a quarter-mile race. It’ll even give a serious challenge to brand-new versions while coming in at about half the price.
People who prefer their fast cars to look mean and go straight will make the Camaro ZL1 the easy winner. For people who want a more refined diving experience, the 911 will always deliver.
For about $60,000, would you rather have a 2017 Camaro ZL1 or a 2013 911 Carrera?