With the 2015 Ford Mustang’s on sale date quickly approaching, the first drive reviews of the car are beginning to trickle out. The 5th generation Camaro had a small advantage over the 5th generation Mustang in the handling department thanks to its independent rear suspension, but this new Mustang has IRS, meaning Chevrolet’s chassis engineers will have their work cut out for them when trying to match and exceed the handling performance of the 2015 Mustang with their new Alpha-based Camaro.
But first, how is the handling performance of the 2015 Mustang? We’ll turn to Motor Trend to find out, who recently had a go in fully-loaded 2015 Mustang GT Premium model complete with the 435 horsepower 5.0-liter Coyote V8. On the figure eight course, the car and its fancy new IRS suspension put down a time of 24.7 seconds at an average of 0.84g. That’s quicker than the last Mustang GT (25.0 seconds at 0.77 g average) and is also better than the track-focused Mustang Boss 302, which did it in 24.7 seconds at an average of 0.78 g. MT never put the stock Camaro SS around the figure eight as far as we can tell, but for comparisons sake, the 2013 Camaro SS 1LE did the figure eight in 24.2 seconds at an average 0.83 g.
MT says the 2015 Mustang “didn’t feel like the front and rear ends were talking to each other,” and “turning in off-throttle resulted in moderate push (understeer from the front end), which needed to be corrected with the throttle.” They concluded that they were “expecting more” out of the Mustang’s IRS, but chalked the understeer/oversteer behaviour up to the Mustang’s 3814 lb kerb weight, which is 196 lbs more than the last Mustang GT.
A 2013 Camaro SS equipped with a manual transmission (MT’s Mustang was a six-speed) tips the scales at 3,860 pounds, meaning the 2015 Mustang won’t be too much lighter than the current Zeta-based Camaro. This gives Chevrolet engineers the opportunity to offer a lighter car in the way of the new Alpha-based 2016 Camaro. The heaviest 2014 Cadillac CTS, which also uses the Alpha platform, weighs 3,976 lbs. Even with a V8 stuffed under the hood, the Camaro will be likely be lighter than the heaviest four-door CTS, which in its lightest configuration can tip the scales at 3,615 lbs.
You can bet Chevrolet engineers will be playing close attention to the handling dynamics of the 2015 Mustang while engineering their new Alpha-based 2016 Camaro. The pony car race is no longer just about horsepower, and we couldn’t be happier about that. Check out MT’s review of the 2015 Mustang here and feel free to share with us what you’re looking for out of the 2016 Camaro’s chassis below.