You’d think comparing an American sports car against a finely tuned German equivalent would be brand suicide, but that hasn’t been the case for the sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro. Most recently, Road & Track published another comparison test, pitting the Camaro against another German so-called “driver’s car”. The publication pitted the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE against the 2019 BMW M2 with the Competition Pack. It may seem crazy by subjective standards; however, a closer objective glance reveals the two have become quite similar in recent years. Writer Jack Baruth called it “Convergent Evolution.” It’s where “Two creatures, despite having different ancestors, end up looking similar.” Sometimes, not even convergent evolution can differentiate predator from prey. In the magazine’s comparison test, the Chevrolet Camaro edged out a win over the BMW M2.
You don’t have to believe Baruth that Chevrolet Camaro is better than the BMW. All you have to do is look at the numbers. The Camaro sports a 6.2-liter LT1 V8 engine producing 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque, which routes through a six-speed manual gearbox to the rear wheels. The BMW M2 packs a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six making 405 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. Power hits the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Both hit 60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds in Road & Track’s testing. However, the smaller BMW ran a quarter-mile in 12.2 seconds at 115 mph while the Camaro did it in 12.3 seconds at 115.9 mph. One area the Chevrolet Camaro crushed the BMW M2 was in road-holding test, pulling 1.05 Gs to the M2’s 0.99 Gs. The Camaro even had a shorter braking distance, despite being the larger car.
One factor that helped the Camaro SS 1LE was its price, at $49,995. Baruth wrote, “No other car at the Camaro’s $49,995 price can match it for poise and pace around a road course. It’s an E36 M3 for modern times.” The BMW M2 is nearly $10,000 more expensive with a starting price of $59,895. As tested, the price jumps to $64,545, which is 640 hp 2018 Camaro ZL1 money. That’s a considerable difference for two cars that are so similar in performance.