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Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 vs Dodge Challenger SRT8 392: US car duel

Rossen Gargolov
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 versus Dodge Challenger SRT8 392
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K owalski? Doesn't mean anything to you? Kowalski aka Barry Newman rushes through the American West with wild power slides in a 1970 Dodge Challenger R /T 440 Magnum in the US cult film “Vanishing point”. Kowalski bets: From Denver to San Francisco in 15 hours. The devil's ride irritates the cops and ends with a furious crash in a roadblock. The 1971 Dodge Challenger was too expensive for the film producers - they sacrificed a used Chevrolet Camaro at the time.

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 versus Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

Pah, I'm not just cannon fodder, the Camaro seems to think to this day. 32 years later he wants to settle the outstanding bill with the pony car from the Dodge stable. In 2013, Chevy sent the Camaro ZL1 with a supercharged V8 and 587 hp into the race. Dodge wants to counter this with the Challenger SRT8 392 with a 477 PS strong 6.4-liter Hemi-V8.

On the data sheet it sounds like a David versus Goliath fight, but apart from Hockenheim laps and GPS-determined braking and acceleration values ​​are a fight at the same headlight level. Now V8 thunder, rubber aroma and driving license threatening drift angles rule. How good that law enforcement officers and road traffic regulations are only onlookers in our men's playground. After work in the steelworks, the ring is free for a slightly different eight-cylinder duel.

The cult factor

ZL1 1966: Start of the first generation of Camaro. 1969: Presentation of the first ZL1. The special model with 427ci-V8, 430 PS, sports suspension and reinforced four-speed gearbox was developed as a homologation model for drag racing. Price 1969: $ 7,200. Number of pieces: 69. The rarity drives the collector's value up today. 2012: Auction of the first ZL1 ever built for $ 400,000.

SRT 392 1969: Start of the first Challenger generation. Top model Challenger R /T from 1970 to 1972. Under the bonnet: a 383ci V8 (6.28 liters) with 340 hp. Various V8 optional, u. a. a 426ci Hemi V8 (6.98 liters) with 431 hp. 2008: Start of the third generation of the Hemi legend with a grandiose seventies retro look. Since 2012: Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 with 6.4-liter Hemi-V8. Kowalski would have only bet on 14 hours today.

Winner: SRT8

The sound factor

ZL1 From 3,000 tours, hammer, thunder, then heavy metal. Boat-like idle rattle swells at a maximum speed of 6,200 rpm to V8 thunderstorms. A flap exhaust system serves as an amplifier. Other highlights of the ZL1-Small Block in addition to the eight-cylinder concert: 587 hp at 6,000 rpm, 6.2 liters displacement, 754 Nm at 4,200 rpm, 1.9- Liter Eaton compressor, oil cooler in the Corvette ZR1.

SRT8 392 Kowalski would be disappointed. The 6.4 liter Hemi V8 with 477 hp babbles well and cultivated in idle. Under full load nothing more than a decent V8 humming escapes. Against the rock'n'roll of the primeval hemis, the 2013 SRT8 sounds colorless like a school band. No real consolation: Up Thanks to the audio system from Harman Kardon with 900 watts, the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 pilot doesn't have to do without bass beat altogether.

Winner: ZL1

The smoke factor

ZL1 Full throttle, let the clutch fly, then apply the brake with the left - this is how the rear-wheel drive car with manual Tremec six-speed gearbox becomes the perfect smoke machine . No letters to the editor, please: I would do it if my name was in the bill. Burnouts are, after all, part of the ZL1 history that began on the drag strip. For sprint fans there is a launch control, but it does not perform any heroic deeds at high starting speed. 0 - 100 km /h: 5.1 s.

SRT8 392 The Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 also smokes classic muscle car style with dense ground fog. The Launch Control with a selectable starting speed (2,500 - 4,500 rpm) accelerates to 100 km /h in 5.1 seconds. Emotional dragster gadgets in the instrument cluster: display for acceleration 0 - 100 km /h, g-force, timing 1/8 mile and 1/4 mile.


The cockpit factor

ZL1 Here the ZL1 has the edge. The interior is convincing for an American with good quality workmanship. Visually appealing: well-contoured sports seats made of smooth and suede with ZL1 logos, gear stick and instrument panel with suede cover, red decorative stitching, aluminum pedals. In addition to a head-up display, there are also attractive analog displays for boost pressure, oil pressure, oil temperature and on-board voltage.

SRT8 392 Every premium-pampered Audi driver would probably get a rash here, but at the bargain price of 47,900 euros there are not only V8 horses, but also US plastic in the cockpit of the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392. Except for sharp-edged plastic in the door shelves, the workmanship is okay. And the seats? Little lateral support, but comfortable for a relaxed chase from Denver to San Franciso in 15 hours.

Winner: ZL1

The drift factor

ZL1 The Camaro shines with high thanks to good suspension setup, mechanical differential lock and wide tires (285 front /305 rear) Traction. Wild power oversteer under full load cannot be accused of the Ami, even with deactivated ESP. It shows an astonishingly high degree of adherence to the ideal line for a US muscle car. The ZL1 therefore wants to be forced into drift.

SRT8 392 Slightly turn in, downshift and let the clutch click - clack, the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 with mechanical Getrag differential lock is immediately transverse without commuting or throttle. Then it can be kept playfully and good-naturedly in the drift are in demand. The attraction of letting the rear end hang out when turning maneuvers in the city is otherwise easy for cross-drivers to succumb to.

Winner: SRT8

The fun factor

ZL1 V8 thunder under full load and a wonderful exhaust gurgling while lifting the gas - not only the ZL1 sound ensures a good mood like one Atze Schröder appearance. In addition to the full torque and a GPS-measured top speed of 303 km /h, it is the honest and robust type that inspires: tight clutch, robust, precise gearshift and a snappy, appealing Brembo brake system.

SRT8 392 Once on the move, the disappointment with the brave V8 purring quickly evaporates. The SRT developers have succeeded in combining a comfortable cruising partner that is not annoying even on longer tours, and the fun drifting device. Corners and edges make the appeal. The switch stick is not annoying, the alleyways are reminiscent of a wooden spoon in mother's pea soup.


The race factor

ZL1 Braking system on the racetrack with a more defined pressure point than the basic Camaro, good traction under load, despite not completely fresh tires and high outside temperatures (34 ° air, 49 ° asphalt), steering smooth but direct, chassis in sport mode taut, but weight noticeable through body movements, neutral driving behavior. Lap time: 1.13.9 min (US competitor Shelby GT 500: 1.14.4 min).

SRT8 392 Significantly less precise, but driving fun at the limit. Test notes: Slides over the front axle when braking, steering imprecisely around the central position, strong side tilt, reacts refreshingly to load changes, the rear pushes slightly under load. Cool box, even if it is not faster than an Opel Astra OPC, lap time: 1:17.4 min.

Winner: ZL1

Who will win the emotions rating?

After the sport auto -standard criteria, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is clearly superior to the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392: better acceleration and braking values ​​and faster lap times. On the emotional level, however, the V8 duel only ends with a wafer-thin lead for the ZL1. The Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 conquers hearts with its iconic retro dress and wonderful drift angles. Both ponycars combine independent character traits with rough edges - a feature that is increasingly being lost in the cross-model modular principles of German premium manufacturers. Also unbeatable - a lot of V8 performance for little money.

ZL1: 5 points - SRT 392: 4 points


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