My Bolt on 2018 Mustang GT vs 2021 Camaro ZL1

Idaho2018GTPremium

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I've been itching for a while for a C7 Z06, however, I need back seats so that's a no go. After a while I realized the Camaro ZL1 is the next best thing, and while the back seats are small, they aren't that much smaller than my Mustang. So, I decided that I'd test drive a ZL1 and if it was worth the additional cost, I would upgrade to one.

My car is a 2018 GT Premium with PP1, A10, MagneRide, and the safe and smart package. I've added bolt ons and done 70 lbs worth of weight reduction.

Now, I've I've always thought my car handles really well, which it does, and with the bolt ons and weight reduction I've done is noticeably quicker than stock.

I test drove a '21 Camaro ZL1 a week and a half ago. HOLY CRAP is all I have to say. I loved it. Aside from the obvious power advantage, the chassis was tighter, better steering, better tuned transmission programming - obviously a much better performance car than my Mustang (that was never in question), but the feel is palpable. It also has more performance oriented tech. which was cool.

Regarding the power difference impressions - This has a lot to do with first impressions of the supercharged 6.2 liter engine vs. a high revving DOHC 5.0 V8. The ZL1's mid range torque is awesome, no surprise (650 ft-lbs at 3600 rpm) and made it shoot forward at rpms that I'm not used to (i.e., 3500 rpm in 3th gear was very strong). My car at 3500 rpm in 3th gear is "decent", but it really needs to be 4500+ rpm to throw you back pretty hard in the seat. Obviously, the two engines are much different in characteristics. After driving the ZL1, I took my GT out and nailed it multiple times from a 55 or 60 mph roll letting it downshift into 3rd and take off. Even after driving the ZL1, I walked away from the drive in my car with the impression that my GT still felt fast, and threw me back in my seat. Although, not ZL1 fast, but definitely still quick.

I explained it to my Dad like this: When I nail it in my GT, I feel my brain being pushed to the back of my head as the car accelerates. With the ZL1, I feel that, plus I can feel my cheeks being pulled back as well.

Everyone complains about visibility...to that I say what visibility issues??
smiling1.gif
smiling1.gif


But for real, I barely noticed as I was trying to be in tune with the car as much as possible during my test drive. I liked the low slung sports car like position - my GT felt pretty upright in comparison when I got back into it after the ZL1.

I will say the visibility out the rear of the ZL1 is horrendous, and I didn't like the camera mirror display in the rear view mirror at all - I really don't like having to adjust my vision depth every time I looked in the rear view, so I just left it as a regular mirror and probably wouldn't use the digital display ever. There's a backup camera so I wouldn't even use it then.
That said, the visibility was not a deal breaker by any means because ZL1
bow.gif
. It's that good, y'all.

Other thoughts compared to my car (keeping it relevant to a Camaro ZL1 vs Mustang GT):

As far as interior overall - I like the design and styling - it's so different from my Mustang (they both are nice IMO, just different), and the slight downward tilted 8" screen was a little strange but not a detriment to using it. The screen has a higher resolution than my Premium screen. Overall, the ZL1 interior feels nicer to me and sportier than my '18 Premium because of the mix of Alcantara and leather, and the position. I liked the gauges (although I like the Mustang gauges better) and the screen between the gauges is more useful than the Mustang's small screen and has a lot more pages/information/choices. The gauge pod seemed a little bulbous but it didn't impede front visibility at all. The hard plastics are there, just like in the Mustang, and are of similar grade/quality to my car. I am a little concerned about fitting my kids in the back seat, it looked pretty small back there. I've never really been an Alcantara guy but it looks good in the ZL1 and after seeing it in the ZL1, I like it and can see the appeal.

I really liked the tire temperature display (cold, normal, etc.) and tire slip monitor. That was helpful. The performance page was more useful for real time performance metrics than my Mustang. My GT has temperatures and shows data of all the important things, but not as much useful real-time performance screens as the ZL1 data showed. I didn't use the HUD, but probably because I am not used to it. In fact, for some reason I didn't even notice it while I was driving. I had to make a conscience decision to look at it.

Other thoughts - the turn in and steering felt really good, my Mustang has a bit more of a dead feel on center in comparison, and a slight delay in turn in compared to the ZL1. I didn't get to push the ZL1 much around twisty roads, but was able to find a few curves and the ZL1 excelled. With the cold weather I wasn't willing to push the summer tires (same thing in my GT right now - I'm working from home so I haven't switched to my winter Michelin all season 3+).

My Mustang w/ MagneRide and PP1 doesn't have much body roll, but the ZL1 has less and feels more precise.

I glanced down at the speedo on the highway after mashing it at 60 mph, and the speedo needle was moving so quick it looked like a tachometer running up the rpms!

Another thing I noticed was the transmission tuning differences. Compared to my Mustang, the ZL1 downshifted into 3rd from 60 mph more quickly than my GT. Actual upshift gear change times were comparable; not surprising considering the A10 trans is a GM/Ford joint venture. The paddle shifters in my GT feel better to me - the paddles in the ZL1 had more travel in them, requiring a bit more time to flick them. Response time under moderate to hard throttle seemed similar in both cars using the paddles. The tuning of the paddles in the ZL1 under light throttle was better than my GT, which leaves some to be desired (probably my biggest complaint about the trans. tuning in my car is the light throttle paddle response).

The shifts in drag mode in my car are more brutal due to the shift logic. The shifts in the ZL1 sport mode felt similar to my car in "Sport+" mode. Essentially - very quick.

Parked next to each other, the ZL1 front end looked meaner and made my GT PP1 front end seem a little plain in comparison. I love the styling of the ZL1, but prefer the profile fastback shape and rear end of the Mustang. But the ZL1 looks really, really good, and after seeing it next to the GT, I like the front half of the ZL1 better than my Mustang. Now, GT500 vs ZL1 is a tougher call, but I'd have to give the edge to the GT500 I think. The ZL1 is awesome in person though.

I like the idea of driving a ZL1 that can hang with supercars on a track and put up a good fight in a straight line.

Anyway, those are some of my brain dump thoughts. Great performance car. I understand now why it has received such praise from automotive journalists.

And the last thing to address: the exhaust sound comparison between the two cars: I like my exhaust sound w/ the Borla S type over the factory system on the ZL1. Subjective, obviously. But that ZL1 did sound really mean at full throttle.

If you made it this far, know that I liked the ZL1 so much more than my GT from a performance standpoint that I placed an order and placed a deposit for one today. I'm having one built with the exact color and options I want. In 8-12 weeks I'll be a ZL1 man. I realize the GT and ZL1 aren't direct competitors, but the Shelby GT350 isn't quick enough for me, considering I have a bolt on A10 that is already quicker than a GT350.

I'll miss my Mustang, which I plan on selling, and I'll miss the 7500 rpm redline of the Gen 3 Coyote, but I have a feeling that I'll get really used to that LT4 and it's "low" 6500 rpm redline.





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Meatball

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As I was reading this I was thinking to just advise you to supercharge your Mustang, because like the ZL1 it’s an entirely different experience engine-wise. But (and not entirely just because you committed) I think what you’re doing is great...it’s way more fun as a car enthusiast to try new things, and the ZL1 will be a great new car to dive in to. I went the s/c route on my GT but there’s a guy down the street who went from an 18 GT to a 19 SS, and loves his new car and has for a while now. And you’re in a ZL1...Congrats!
 

WildHorse

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I test drove a '21 Camaro ZL1 a week and a half ago. HOLY CRAP is all I have to say. I loved it. Aside from the obvious power advantage, the chassis was tighter, better steering, better tuned transmission programming - obviously a much better performance car than my Mustang (that was never in question), but the feel is palpable. It also has more performance oriented tech. which was cool.
That's cause it's a dedicated track car masquerading as a street car.
 

WildHorse

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Meatball

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ZL1 is not a 'track' car, the ZLE (ZL1 + 1LE) is. The ZL1's effortless thrust is just lovely and smooth. But an A10 ZL1? Geez man, stick shift!!! Ok fine...
I’m with you, go stick. The 10-speed is fine but unless you’re in manual all the time it will just zing to high rpm and you’ll miss where the big displacement + TVS combo kicks butt on the street. Yeah, I know, it’s faster...
 

newmoon

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I see the other forum finally got to you ha? Actually i think coming out of a GT the ZL1 A10 is a great improvement. I looked hard at them a few months back, there were some really nice deals at that time. While the A10 was really fast under hard acceleration I found it a bit sedate when not mashing the pedal to the floor. I think about the 99% of the time I am driving and try not to focus on the 1%. All in all a well balanced machine just lacks a bit of character.
 
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Idaho2018GTPremium

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I see the other forum finally got to you ha? Actually i think coming out of a GT the ZL1 A10 is a great improvement. I looked hard at them a few months back, there were some really nice deals at that time. While the A10 was really fast under hard acceleration I found it a bit sedate when not mashing the pedal to the floor. I think about the 99% of the time I am driving and try not to focus on the 1%. All in all a well balanced machine just lacks a bit of character.
HA! It actually stemmed from my long desire for a C7 Z06 but that car not being practical right now with 3 kids. I realized the ZL1 is the next best thing and decided to test drive one, and yep, IMO it was worth paying for the upgrade over my car.

I wouldn't say the ZL1 lacks any character based on my test drive even with the A10, but I can see how it may not be as exciting as a GT350R, even if the ZL1 is quicker in a straight line and around a track.
 

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For someone who claims not to visit Mustang-centric websites, BlaqWhole sure does pull a LOT of information from this website and seems to know each and every person who has anything non-complimentary to say about a Camaro.
 

Strokerswild

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Ah, yes, the Ebony Orifice....
 

Andy13186

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I went through this process considering a ZL1 or z06, ended up deciding to just supercharge my GT since I think it has more hp potential without building the motor than the zl1's or z06's. I guess the zl1 10r90 is rated for more torque though. The thing about coyotes is they make a lot of hp but not too much torque which is good for higher max potential hp I think. Also didnt want to trade my car in for like 27k and get a 65k car
 
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shogun32

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The thing about coyotes is they make a lot of hp but not too much torque which is good for higher max potential hp
unless you changed the rev limit, the torque is what changes when you add a blower. HP is just an equation.
 

ice445

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unless you changed the rev limit, the torque is what changes when you add a blower. HP is just an equation.
HP is what actually gives you performance though. Torque puts you in the seat, but if its not sustained over time its not of much use.

I think his point was that high torque spikes tend to break stuff more. It's easier on engines and drivelines to have a lower peak but a longer duration.
 

Hack

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I've been itching for a while for a C7 Z06, however, I need back seats so that's a no go. After a while I realized the Camaro ZL1 is the next best thing, and while the back seats are small, they aren't that much smaller than my Mustang. So, I decided that I'd test drive a ZL1 and if it was worth the additional cost, I would upgrade to one.

My car is a 2018 GT Premium with PP1, A10, MagneRide, and the safe and smart package. I've added bolt ons and done 70 lbs worth of weight reduction.

Now, I've I've always thought my car handles really well, which it does, and with the bolt ons and weight reduction I've done is noticeably quicker than stock.

I test drove a '21 Camaro ZL1 a week and a half ago. HOLY CRAP is all I have to say. I loved it. Aside from the obvious power advantage, the chassis was tighter, better steering, better tuned transmission programming - obviously a much better performance car than my Mustang (that was never in question), but the feel is palpable. It also has more performance oriented tech. which was cool.

Regarding the power difference impressions - This has a lot to do with first impressions of the supercharged 6.2 liter engine vs. a high revving DOHC 5.0 V8. The ZL1's mid range torque is awesome, no surprise (650 ft-lbs at 3600 rpm) and made it shoot forward at rpms that I'm not used to (i.e., 3500 rpm in 3th gear was very strong). My car at 3500 rpm in 3th gear is "decent", but it really needs to be 4500+ rpm to throw you back pretty hard in the seat. Obviously, the two engines are much different in characteristics. After driving the ZL1, I took my GT out and nailed it multiple times from a 55 or 60 mph roll letting it downshift into 3rd and take off. Even after driving the ZL1, I walked away from the drive in my car with the impression that my GT still felt fast, and threw me back in my seat. Although, not ZL1 fast, but definitely still quick.

I explained it to my Dad like this: When I nail it in my GT, I feel my brain being pushed to the back of my head as the car accelerates. With the ZL1, I feel that, plus I can feel my cheeks being pulled back as well.

Everyone complains about visibility...to that I say what visibility issues??
smiling1.gif
smiling1.gif


But for real, I barely noticed as I was trying to be in tune with the car as much as possible during my test drive. I liked the low slung sports car like position - my GT felt pretty upright in comparison when I got back into it after the ZL1.

I will say the visibility out the rear of the ZL1 is horrendous, and I didn't like the camera mirror display in the rear view mirror at all - I really don't like having to adjust my vision depth every time I looked in the rear view, so I just left it as a regular mirror and probably wouldn't use the digital display ever. There's a backup camera so I wouldn't even use it then.
That said, the visibility was not a deal breaker by any means because ZL1
bow.gif
. It's that good, y'all.

Other thoughts compared to my car (keeping it relevant to a Camaro ZL1 vs Mustang GT):

As far as interior overall - I like the design and styling - it's so different from my Mustang (they both are nice IMO, just different), and the slight downward tilted 8" screen was a little strange but not a detriment to using it. The screen has a higher resolution than my Premium screen. Overall, the ZL1 interior feels nicer to me and sportier than my '18 Premium because of the mix of Alcantara and leather, and the position. I liked the gauges (although I like the Mustang gauges better) and the screen between the gauges is more useful than the Mustang's small screen and has a lot more pages/information/choices. The gauge pod seemed a little bulbous but it didn't impede front visibility at all. The hard plastics are there, just like in the Mustang, and are of similar grade/quality to my car. I am a little concerned about fitting my kids in the back seat, it looked pretty small back there. I've never really been an Alcantara guy but it looks good in the ZL1 and after seeing it live in the ZL1, I like it. and can see the appeal it has.

I really liked the tire temperature display (Cold, normal, etc.) and tire slip monitor. That was helpful. The performance page was more useful for real time performance metrics than my Mustang. My GT has temperatures and shows data of all the important things, but not as much useful real-time performance screens as the ZL1 data showed. I didn't use the HUD, but probably because I am not used to it. In fact, for some reason I didn't even notice it while I was driving. I had to make a conscience decision to look at it.

Other thoughts - the turn in and steering felt really good, my Mustang has a bit more of a dead feel on center in comparison, and a slight delay in turn in compared to the ZL1. I didn't get to push the ZL1 much around twisty roads, but was able to find a few curves and the ZL1 excelled. With the cold weather I wasn't willing to push the summer tires (same thing in my GT right now - I'm working from home so I haven't switched to my winter Michelin all season 3+).

My Mustang w/ MagneRide and PP1 doesn't have much body roll, but the ZL1 has less and feels more precise.

I glanced down at the speedo on the highway after mashing it at 60 mph, and the speedo needle was moving so quick it looked like a tachometer running up the rpms!

Another thing I noticed was the transmission tuning differences. Compared to my Mustang, the ZL1 downshifted into 3rd from 60 mph more quickly than my GT. Actual upshift gear change times were comparable; not surprising considering the A10 trans is a GM/Ford joint venture. The paddle shifters in my GT feel better to me - the paddles in the ZL1 had more travel in them, requiring a bit more time to flick them. Response time under moderate to hard throttle seemed similar in both cars using the paddles. The tuning of the paddles in the ZL1 under light throttle was better than my GT, which leaves some to be desired (probably my biggest complaint about the trans. tuning in my car is the light throttle paddle response).

The shifts in drag mode in my car are more brutal due to the shift logic. The shifts in the ZL1 sport mode felt similar to my car in "Sport+" mode. Essentially - very quick.

Parked next to each other, the ZL1 front end looked meaner and made my GT PP1 front end seem a little plain in comparison. I love the styling of the ZL1, but prefer the profile fastback shape and rear end of the Mustang. But the ZL1 looks really, really good, and after seeing it next to the GT, I like the front half of the ZL1 better than my Mustang. Now, GT500 vs ZL1 is a tougher call, but I'd have to give the edge to the GT500 I think. The ZL1 is awesome in person though.

I like the idea of driving a ZL1 that can hang with supercars on a track and put up a good fight in a straight line.

Anyway, those are some of my brain dump thoughts. Great performance car. I understand now why it has received such praise from automotive journalists.

And the last thing to address: the exhaust sound comparison between the two cars: I like my exhaust sound w/ the Borla S type over the factory system on the ZL1. Subjective, obviously. But that ZL1 did sound really mean at full throttle.

If you made it this far, know that I liked the ZL1 so much more than my GT from a performance standpoint that I placed an order and placed a deposit for one today. I'm having one built with the exact color and options I want. In 8-12 weeks I'll be a ZL1 man. I realize the GT and ZL1 aren't direct competitors, but the Shelby GT350 isn't quick enough for me, considering I have a bolt on A10 that is already quicker than a GT350.

I'll miss my Mustang, which I plan on selling, and I'll miss the 7500 rpm redlie of the Gen 3 Coyote, but I have a feeling that I'll get really used to that LT4 and it's "low" 6500 rpm redline.
I think the ZL1 is a good choice. I have looked at them before, but $$ were just too much for me. I bet you will love it. I wouldn't even consider the automatic, but it sounds like that's what you prefer. I get bored with automatics.

unless you changed the rev limit, the torque is what changes when you add a blower. HP is just an equation.
HP is calculated with an equation that helps you to understand how much torque you can get at the rear wheels through gearing. Engine torque is meaningless if you are trying to determine how fast a vehicle will accelerate.
 

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