Ever since the Camaro had its latest design change for the 2016 model year, many Mustang enthusiasts have been patiently (or impatiently, rather) waiting for Ford's answer to Chevy's lighter, more powerful Camaro SS. Beginning with the 2018 model year, Ford came out with an answer. And let's just say, it was well worth the wait! With tons of new technology both under the hood and throughout the rest of the car, the newest iteration of the Mustang GT is Ford's fastest, most powerful and most nimble GT to date.
Since its 2016 redesign, the Camaro SS is reported to deliver 455 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 455 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 RPM with an impressive 8.1 lb/hp ratio thanks to Chevy's switch over to the stronger, lighter Alpha platform. The 2018 Mustang delivers 460 horsepower at 7,000 RPM and 420 lb-ft of torque at 4,600 RPM. Factoring in Ford's estimated curb weight of a Manual GT at 3,705 pounds, you're looking at a slightly better 8.05 lb/hp ratio. The difference is negligible, but still something to note.
Now, we may be a bit biased considering we eat, sleep, and breathe Mustangs, but we have the utmost respect for both the Camaro and Challenger. Without this friendly rivalry among enthusiasts and automakers, the drive to produce a better muscle car just wouldn't exist. With that said, let's dive into what makes the Mustang and Camaro such perfect contenders for each other.
2019 Camaro SS
Mustang vs Camaro Exterior
In terms of aesthetics, both the Mustang and Camaro offer a unique perspective on the modern American muscle car. Sure, most enthusiasts focus on the power numbers. And rightfully so -- what muscle car owner doesn't like to take their car to the dragstrip and make a few runs? But, from an exterior perspective, you really can't go wrong with either choice. Both have their pros and cons, but the best part is, it's truly up to the eyes of the beholder as to which they would prefer in their driveway.
2018 Mustang GT with Performance Package 2
With that said, if you dive into the Camaro's exterior aesthetics, there is a lot going on. From the use of hard angles throughout the entire car to the wide “I'm going to eat you” lower grille consuming the front fascia. Tie that in with the daytime running lights and tight pin-point headlamps and you're looking at one mean face coming up in your rearview mirror. There's no doubt that the 2019 Camaro SS' exterior architecture is designed to not only look ahead of its time but also make a statement in doing so.
There's another side to this, though. There are several areas where the Camaro falls short in its design. How about that stubby rear end? From a distance, it looks like there's nearly zero distance between the rear wheel and the rear of the car. Add that in with the heat extractors on the hood that surely look like an afterthought that at first glance look more like nostrils than anything else. GM did a great job of catering the Camaro to Chevy enthusiasts, but to those who may be new to Camaro's looks, this kind of aggressive styling may be a bit much.
Camaro SS 1LE
Moving onto the newly refreshed Mustang, there's a lot to talk about with the front fascia. Next to its 2017 model year older brother, the 2018 Mustang's snout is roughly 0.8-inches lower to the ground in the front. This led to a newly redesigned hood, front bumper, upper and lower grilles, headlights, and fenders. Ford also took a more angular approach to the design of the 2018's front fascia. It's clear that Ford designers took a couple of cues from the Ford GT with those tall diagonal slants on either side of the front bumper. However, Ford was proud to point out that those air ducts in front of each tire are functional for aerodynamics, which is definitely rather cool.
In terms of some slight negatives on the Mustang, let's just say it's going to take some time for those harder angles on the front fascia to set in for many hardcore enthusiasts. Personally, it's grown on me and looks much better in person than it does in photos. Additionally, we're a bit upset that Ford is now including the taller spoiler as standard on the Performance Package 1 models. But, we're happy to report that the Performance Package 2 models (set for release early 2018) will receive a subtle, yet functional black rear spoiler to tastefully set off the rear.
As with any design change, the true, life-long enthusiasts will be a little taken back at major design changes. So many of those who weren't fans of the new 2015+ S550 body style of the Mustang upon its debut in 2014 are now owners of said body style. These auto manufacturers put in countless dollars and hours into designing these vehicles - give these design changes time to set in and check them out in person before forming an opinion.
2018 Mustang GT with HRE FF04 Wheels
Mustang vs Camaro Interior
The exterior theme from both the Mustang and Camaro carries inside each pony car as well. The Mustang has a distinguished, yet refined look that is reflected well in the interior of the car through the retro-style dash silhouette, optional 12-inch digital instrument cluster, fighter-jet style toggle switches on the center stack and well-thought-out offset cupholders leaving room for the driver to rest their arm in between shifts. Long-time Mustang owners know that it hasn't always been that easy...
2019 Mustang Interior
From the Camaro's perspective, the interior design cues are a bit edgier. From the distinctive surround for the instrument cluster, the infotainment screen that sits away from the rest of the dash and awkward horizontal line of heating and air conditioning controls above the vents which normally sit higher on most vehicles. Personally, I'm not as much a fan when it comes to the Camaro's interior, but that's mostly because I prefer cues that are aggressive, yet subtle. The Camaro's interior is for the enthusiast who likes to stand out from the pack and make a statement both inside the car and out. Another mark against the Camaro's interior is GM's overuse of plastics and lack of rearward visibility.
2019 Camaro Interior
Mustang vs Camaro Performance
"...pretty evenly matched"
When it comes to performance, both the Mustang and Camaro are now pretty evenly matched thanks to the upgraded Coyote engine in the Mustang for the 2018 model year. Between both cars, you're looking at a reported 5 horsepower difference between the two pony cars. Although torque is significantly higher on the SS, this makes sense considering there's a fair amount more displacement to the monstrous 6.2L engine under the Chevy's hood. However, the Mustang's Coyote is made to rev and rev high with peak horsepower being 7,000 RPM in comparison to the Camaro's 6,000 RPM. In summary, what the Mustang lacks in low-end torque due to its smaller engine, it makes up in revs up top where the 6.2L LT1 engine runs out of steam.
Ford's latest iteration of the Coyote engine in the 2018 Mustang GT certainly does a great job of leveling the playing field amongst these two pony cars. There's no question that the 2016 Camaro SS outpaced the 2015-2017 Mustang GT in many instrumented tests. Don't worry, Ford fans! The refreshed 2018 Mustang GT is more powerful and faster than ever - and certainly gives the SS (and 1LE, especially) a run for its money.
Camaro SS vs Mustang GT Comparison
||2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS
||2019 Ford Mustang GT
|Vehicle Base Price (MSRP)
||6.2L V8 DI Engine
||5.0L Ti-VCT V8 Engine
||455 hp @ 6,000 RPM
||460 hp @ 7,000 RPM
||455 lb-ft @ 4,400 RPM
||420 lb-ft @ 4,600 RPM
|Bore and Stroke (mm)
||103.25 x 92
||93 x 92.7
||Direct High-Pressure Fuel Injection
||Dual-Direct Port Fuel Injection
||345 (13.6 in.) x 30mm vented
fixed aluminum calipers
SS 1LE Package:
370 (14.6 in.) x 34-mm vented discs, Brembo six-piston fixed aluminum caliper
|352 (13.9 in.) x 32-mm vented discs, four-piston 46-mm fixed aluminum calipers
Performance Package 1/2:
380 (15.0 in.) x 34-mm vented discs, Brembo six-piston 36-mm fixed aluminum calipers
||339 (13.3 in.) x 26-mm vented discs, Brembo four-piston fixed aluminum calipers, integral parking brake
||330 (13.0 in.) x 25-mm vented discs, single-piston 45-mm floating aluminum calipers, integral parking brake
|Base Curb Weight
||16 city / 25 hwy / 19 combined (M/T)
17 city / 27 hwy / 20 combined (A/T)
|15 city / 25 hwy / 18 combined (M/T)
16 city / 25 hwy / 19 combined (A/T)
||4.0 sec (Auto, Coupe)
||3.9 sec (10-Speed Auto, Drag Mode)
|Quarter Mile (ET @MPH)
||11.8 @ 119MPH
16 city / 25 hwy / 19 combined (A/T)
Source: Chevrolet.com | Ford.com | CarAndDriver.com
Mustang Performance Package - Level 2 vs Camaro SS 1LE
Mustang GT Performance Package 2
If you had the opportunity to check out Motor Trend's Head 2 Head pitting the 2018 Camaro SS 1LE vs the 2018 Mustang GT Premium equipped with the Performance Package (1), the Camaro essentially outperformed the grand-touring version of the Mustang in almost every performance aspect. To Mustang owners and fans, this was a pretty hard blow to the gut.
The rallying behind the refreshed Mustang's debut to the world really put a lot of pressure for the 2018+ Mustang to perform. The thing is, Motor Trend came out and said right off the bat exactly what Mustang owners were thinking - that they'll give the Mustang another go when Ford releases the Performance Package - Level 2 variant of the 2018 Mustang as that is a more fair comparison to the Camaro's stripped-down SS 1LE.
Thankfully, we had the chance to check out the 2018 GT PP2 in person and needless to say, the hype lives up to the final product on this one. Regardless, it's hard to say which car will perform better in some instrumented tests, but the Mustang's Performance Package 2 certainly ups the ante with 19” x 10.5” (F) and 19” x 11” (R) wrapped in 305/40R19 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. If you're not familiar with that tire, it's shared with the track monster Shelby GT350R and essentially a street-legal slick with one or two tread grooves. These tires allow for insane amounts of grip, but be sure to have your wallet ready for a new set in relatively short order if you plan to daily drive the vehicle.
2018 Camaro SS 1LE
The Camaro's SS 1LE Package does offer a couple of things that the Mustang's PP2 does not, like the active exhaust and Recaro seats. Albeit the Recaro seats in the Camaro look like the Mustang's standard seats with a bit more bolstering and a Recaro logo - but who's counting? The one major leg up for the 1LE, in our opinion, would be the brakes. Thanks to the 1LE's combo of 6-piston brakes up front, 4-piston in the rear and sticky Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3 tires, the Camaro is able to come to a stop from 60 MPH in 93 feet. The PP1 will do it in 104 feet with the smaller wheels and more conservative Pilot Sport 4S rubber, but we're curious what will come of the more aggressive Cup 2 rubber and revised MangeRide calibration for weight transfer on the PP2.
Aside from that, we're excited to see what the larger magazines come up with for instrumented tests between the Camaro SS 1LE and Mustang GT PP2. It's bound to be a pretty even match given all the impressive improvements to the PP2 over the standard PP1.
2019 Camaro SS 1 LE vs 2019 Mustang GT Performance Package-Level 2
||SS 1LE Package
||GT Performance Package-Level 2
|| 20” x 10” (F) / 20” x 11” (R) Satin Graphite Forged-Aluminum Wheels
||19” x 10.5” (F) / 19” x 11” (R) Dark Tarnish Stainless-Painted Aluminum Wheels
||285/30R20 (F) and 305/30R20 (R) Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar 3 Summer-Only Tires
|| 305/30R19 (F/R) Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Summer-Only Tires
|| - Brembo Brakes with 6-piston monobloc Front Calipers and 2-piece rotors, 4-piston Rear Calipers - Red with 1LE Logo
||Brembo Six Piston Front Brake Calipers with 15” Rotors
||Magnetic Ride Control. Performance-tuned suspension with unique bushings, springs, and stabilizer bars
||MagneRide Damping System with Track Inspired Calibration. Unique Track-Inspired Springs, Sway Bar, Unique Chassis, Stability Control, EPAS, and ABS Tuning
|| Electronic Limited-Slip Differential(eLSD)
||Torsen Differential with 3.73 Axle Ratio
||Black Front Splitter
||High Performance Front Splitter
|| Black Rear Blade Spoiler
||Unique Rear Spoiler
||Silver Painted Strut-Tower Brace
|| Black Outside Rearview Mirrors
||Black Hood Wrap
|| Performance Exhaust
||Gauge Pack (Vacuum and Oil Pressure)
||RECARO Performance Front Bucket Seats
||Engine Spun Aluminum Instrument Panel
|| Suede-Wrapped Flat-Bottom Steering Wheel and Shift Knob
Mustang vs Camaro Price
If this article was referring to the 2015-2017 Mustang GT, it would certainly be a different story when it comes to pricing of both vehicles - where the Mustang would have a much higher bang-for-your-buck value.
However, with the refresh of the 2018 Mustang, Ford had to raise base MSRP and package prices across the board to offset the cost of all these high-tech upgrades. Some great examples of these upgrades include the MagneRide Damping System, 12-inch LCD Instrument Cluster, Gen 3 Coyote 5.0L, revised EcoBoost engine and numerous other improvements over the outgoing 2017 model year.
With that said, the Camaro and Mustang are now pretty evenly priced across the board. If you get a base Mustang GT with a manual transmission, you're looking at $35,355. However, for a base model Camaro 1SS, you're looking at an MSRP of $37,995.
At this stage in the game, the Camaro SS and Mustang GT in their latest model year match up pretty well when pitted against each other. From the creature comforts to the performance variables and exterior design cues, it really comes down to personal preference which car you want in your driveway. Now, we may be a bit biased on choosing the Mustang to come out on top, but the Camaro puts up a good fight the entire way through.
GT vs Camaro Summary
The Mustang GT and Camaro SS are similar in terms of performance, especially with the upgraded performance packages. However, the Mustang is less expensive, and its Performance Package Level 2 is also less expensive for equivalent power and better tires.
Ultimately, these two vehicles give each other a good run for the money, but it’s hard to ignore how much less money you’re spending for the Mustang.
- Mustang GT is less expensive
- Performance Package is also less expensive for the Mustang
- Mustang’s PP2 comes with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Tires
- Camaro’s Performance Package has better brakes
- Camaro has more torque (455 lb-ft to the Mustang’s 420 lb-ft)
Image Credit: Chevrolet.com | Ford.com