More Muscle

There is a new 2.0-liter turbo for the 2016 Camaro, certified at 275-hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. . .that will get an estimated 30 mpg highway.


You may have noticed that gasoline prices are beginning to climb back up.  Not nearly to the peaks that they once had ascended to.  But nonetheless, they are rising.  Especially if you live in California, where the price of regular is regularly $4.00.

Yes, that high.

That said, there is still a profound interest in muscle cars.

Just check these numbers of cumulative from January sales, from Autodata:

                             April 15                 April 14                 Delta

Charger:                35,281                   33,046                    7%

Challenger            22,728                   16,156                   41%

Mustang                42,955                   26,839                   60%

Camaro                 24,229                    28,611               -15.3%
 

The first thing to realize is that for vehicles that could be categorized as “niche” products, the niche is pretty large.

Consider that no Buick model has sold 24,000 vehicles.  No Cadillac has sold 24,000 vehicles—including the vaunted Escalade, which has sold 6,771, which is a 118.4% increase.  Escalade ESV sales are 4,365, up 138.4%

I am not picking on GM products.  It’s just that the Camaro number seems weak, and it is worth putting that into context.

The huge rise in Mustang numbers can be attributed to the fact that Ford went all-out in developing the new Mustang, which came out last year.

So Chevrolet, which initially created the Camaro 49 years ago in direct response to the product that rolled out of Dearborn, has again risen to the occasion.

How extensively have they changed the Camaro for its sixth generation?

Consider this: there are two carryover parts from gen-five: the rear bowtie emblem and the SS badge.

Yes, they’ve changed that much.

One of the big changes for muscle cars of today versus back in the proverbial day is how their efficiency has been improved.

In the case of the Camaro, not only have they created a more aerodynamic shape, but that shape is stretched over a much-more svelte structure: no matter what model, the 2016 Camaro weighs 200 pounds less than a comparable model.  And realize that this isn’t a matter of decontenting, because today’s consumers expect stuff.  Lots of stuff.  (The body-in-white accounts for a reduction of 133 pounds of mass alone.)

In addition to which, today’s muscle cars take a whole lot less of the aforementioned gasoline than their predecessors.

For example, there is a new 2.0-liter turbo for the 2016 Camaro, certified at 275-hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. . .that will get an estimated 30 mpg highway.  Oh, and 0 to 60 mph is under six seconds.

(In case you’re wondering: the 2016 Camaro is available with an eight-speed automatic or a six-speed manual.)

When the Camaro was revealed, Mark Reuss, executive vice president of Product Development and a guy who is known to like cars that go fast said, “Redesigning the Camaro is thrilling and challenging all at once, but the secret is to offer something more.”

What’s going on in this space is truly a tribute to clever engineers.  Product engineers.  Manufacturing engineers.  (Speaking of manufacturing, the Camaro will be produced in Lansing, Michigan, at the Lansing Grand River assembly plant.)

Yes, we can expect that the price of gasoline will be going even higher as we get to the summer driving season.

But it is interesting that due to the use of advanced materials and amazing powertrain technologies, whether it is a Camaro—or a Mustang or a Charger or a Challenger—those who like horsepower won’t have to be digging as deeply in their pockets.