Mus­cle car war rages

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle News -

A21st cen­tury mus­cle car war is rag­ing across the Pa­cific as Amer­ica’s heart­land brands re­new their com­mit­ment to ev­ery­thing from the Chevro­let Corvette to the born-again Ford Mus­tang.

Holden has just given the Chevro­let SS a makeover for the 2015 model year that in­cludes the Com­modore’s au­to­matic park­ing sys­tem, a first for a main­stream four-door sedan in Amer­ica.

Sales of the only ex­port model on the Holden roster are only tiny, and likely to stay that way de­spite the SS head­lin­ing Chevro­let’s in­volve­ment in NASCAR rac­ing. Even so, it’s im­por­tant enough that a range of equip­ment from the lat­est Aussie-spec­i­fi­ca­tion VF has been in­cluded for Amer­i­can de­liv­er­ies, in­clud­ing a no-cost op­tional six-speed man­ual for the first time, the Mag­netic Ride Con­trol sus­pen­sion de­vel­oped by HSV, and six new body colours.

But it’s Chrysler that’s re­ally mak­ing waves, thanks to a car that’s claimed to be the most pow­er­ful four-door sedan in the world.

It’s the su­per­charged Chal­lenger SRT Hell­cat, which packs a 330km/h top-end punch thanks to a heav­ily-mod­i­fied en­gine that makes a whack­ing 520 kilo Watts of power – that’s 707 horse­power in old money – and 881 New­ton-me­tres of torque.

Chrysler’s SRT di­vi­sion – it stands for Street and Rac­ing Tech­nol­ogy – has been given an ex­pand­ing role in the company’s mus­cle car di­vi­sion and the Hell­cat is its cur­rent head­liner.

It turns the Chal­lenger into a road­go­ing race­car, thanks to ev­ery­thing from switch­able sus­pen­sion and su­per-quick shifts for the 8-speed au­to­matic, to thicker anti-roll bars and tauter springs.

Chrysler says the end re­sult is a car that will run a stand­ing quar­ter mile in 11.2 seconds and has to be speed-limited to 199 miles-an-hour (320km/h) for a start­ing price of $US59,995.

But the Hell­cat is not the only SRT hero, as Dodge has dou­bled Chal­lenger sales since 2009 and has also kicked more go into the four-door Charger – which is also avail­able with the Hell­cat en­gine for 2015 – and even their Jeep Grand Chero­kee.

The go-faster Chal­lenger lineup starts with the V6-pow­ered SXT, moves up to the 5.7-litre V8 R/T, then on to the 6.4-litre HEMI with a 0-100km/h time in the low four-sec­ond bracket, and fi­nally the SRT 392 with 485 horse­power from $US45,995.

The Chal­lenger Hell­cat makes a strong case but Chevro­let also has an up­dated Ca­maro ZL1 mus­cle car – as well as the track-fo­cused Z/28 – along­side its Corvette and Ford is con­tin­u­ing with the cur­rent Mus­tang GT500.

The lat­est ZL1 has 580 horse­power (420kW) with five-mode trac­tion con­trol, su­per-taut sus­pen­sion and sports seats and the rest in the cabin of a car that, don’t for­get, be­gan life as a two-door ver­sion of Aus­tralia’s Com­modore.

On the Mus­tang front, most of the em­pha­sis is al­ready on the all-new model com­ing for 2015. But Ford is con­tin­u­ing to keep things tick­ing with the out­go­ing car, even pro­vid­ing nail pol­ish matched to the body colours of the car.

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