2010 Chevy Camaro SS vs. 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T vs. 2010 Ford Mustang GT


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Dec 11, 2005
Seren?sima Rep?blica de California
1997 BMW 528i
In 2002, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second human being to set foot on the moon, punched a guy in the face for accusing him of faking the moon landing. Buzz was 72 years old at the time.

Go right ahead and question the existence of the 2010 Ford Mustang GT, 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T and 2010 Chevy Camaro SS and they, too, might just give you a knuckle sandwich in the kisser. Like Mr. Aldrin, they bear names from long ago that have made a collective return to the limelight. Like Mr. Aldrin, they are American heroes with unparalleled legacies reaching across decades. And like Mr. Aldrin, they have Ph.Ds in kicking ass.

Their makers may have proven that they have the financial acumen of a blind yak. However, we submit these pony car icons as proof that the home team can extract their craniums from their nether regions once in awhile and knock the cover off the ball.

Same Time, Same Place...Almost
Our usual comparison test protocol dictates that we test all cars in the same location with one driver.

Unfortunately, nobody told GM. No production examples of the 2010 Chevy Camaro SS exist yet, and these circumstances dictated that our driving time was split between two preproduction cars: a red 2SS we tested at GM's Milford Proving Grounds to provide all the go-fast numbers, and an identically equipped but silver 2SS we evaluated on the streets of Southern California (pictures of both are included).

In GM-speak, 2SS is the topmost trim level available on a V8-powered Camaro, and it starts at $34,180 with destination. Optioned only with the $1,200 RS package, the silver Camaro checks in at $35,380.

Unlike the Camaro, the Challenger and the Mustang were put through our battery of tests at our usual facility in SoCal, but as you can see from the photos, we spent the better part of a foggy cool day north of San Diego driving all three cars back-to-back.

The Mopar is our long-term 2009 Challenger R/T, which starts at $30,945 with destination. With its three option packages, however, including a six-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential along with comfort items, its MSRP is the highest of the three at $36,710. More performance would have required stepping another rung higher on the price ladder to the SRT8.

You might remember the 2010 Mustang GT Premium from its recent t?te-a-t?te with a certain two-seat Nissan. This is the very same Mustang from that test and it starts at $31,845 base price plus destination. It is dressed up to $35,625 including the Track Pack and comfort-related options.

All three cars are available with the same performance goodies for less money, but it wouldn't have changed the outcome.

3rd Place: 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T
Pony cars are about more than power and speed. They're about attitude. Plus burnouts and the occasional lawn job, but those kind of fall under the category of attitude. If 'tude didn't count for anything, these cars would be styled like suppositories.

Pick any production car, save perhaps for the Mini, and the Challenger's styling is the most evocative of them all. The Challenger R/T we tested, draped in a period-appropriate metallic black cloak, carves visual links to the past like a switchblade.

Those deep-set quad headlights, week-long overhangs and smooth, unadorned flanks speak of a simpler time. Yet the Challenger's keyless ignition and touchscreen navigation are contemporary touches not found on our Camaro and Mustang testers.

The dark cabin borders on austere, with a broad dashboard and an enormous steering wheel. You sit in a wide seat with your legs splayed. There's even a foot-actuated parking brake. What is this, a Ram?

Then you notice the pistol-grip shifter canted toward the driver and it all starts to gel. In the halcyon days of carburetors and bias-plies, muscle-car interiors were incidental. And so it is with this Challenger. Curling your mitt around the metallic gearchange lever, you're once again reminded that you're in something special.

It feels like a tank at first but it's really a user-friendly steed. It makes all the right sounds when you want it to and mellows out when you don't. Be warned ? the first time you use the featherweight clutch you'll swear the pedal just snapped off.

Unlike the busier-riding Mustang, the Challenger smoothes over the road: a Karen Carpenter lyric to the Ford's power chord. With its ridiculously tall 6th gear, it's just the thing for, say, an impromptu road trip from Denver to San Francisco. Kowalski would approve of this Challenger.

As a former road racer, he would take umbrage with its lame tires, though. The R/T's all-season tires snip the dangly bits from the Dodge's urge to frolic. Braking from 60 mph consumes 128 feet. Grip is tepid at 0.83g on the skid pad and you're constantly managing its punishing understeer through the flimsy sidewalls. As its 64.7-mph slalom speed suggests, the Camaro and Mustang flat-out leave the Dodge for dead on roads with turns.

Heads-up drag racing those two in the Dodge is also a bad idea. The 5.7-liter iron-block pushrod V8 kicks out a stout 376 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque, but is saddled with a lardy 4,055 pounds. Sixty arrives in 5.5 seconds (5.3 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) and the Challenger clicks off a 13.9-second quarter-mile at 103.2 mph.

The Challenger wins hearts, not races. You can consider its highest-in-test sticker price as an investment in the kind of escapism you can't find anywhere else.

2nd Place: 2010 Ford Mustang GT
When we reached the terminus of one of our test-loop drives, the editor who had just piloted the Mustang asked how hard I was driving the Dodge to keep up with him. Fairly hard, I told him, and it was true. There was more left in the Challenger but not a lot.

He hadn't told me how aggressively he had been driving the Ford. But once we switched cars I knew immediately that he hadn't been trying very hard. Hell, he was wearing slippers and the Mustang's radio was still playing smooth jazz. Meanwhile, the Challenger's brakes were smoking and I had swamp crotch.

The Mustang's 3,572-pound curb weight undercuts the fatty Dodge by nearly 500 pounds and the Camaro by almost 300, and you know it the first time you bend the Ford into a corner. It feels lithe and trim, and its front end bites into the tarmac with tenacity.

At the skid pad, the Mustang's 0.91g result is the grippiest in this comparison. It stops the shortest at 107 feet from 60 mph. And while its 68.4-mph slalom result cedes the smallest sliver of speed to the Camaro, there is no sharper car in this test than the Mustang. It boils down to a driver's race versus the Camaro on our continuously winding drive loop.

Ironically, the Mustang's whippy chassis is also the source of its biggest limitation ? the live rear axle. The independent rear suspensions of the Dodge and Chevy offer superior ride quality without compromising traction. As good a job as Ford has done in refining the live axle's execution, the Mustang drives like a relic compared to the other two.

In turn, those guys could learn from the Mustang's seats, which hold you in place the best and allow the easiest access to the backseat. However, the Ford's non-telescoping wheel places the driving position too close to the dashboard. Maybe Ford did that intentionally to give you a prayer of reading the too-busy gauges.

As you have already guessed, the Mustang's lean mass helps its 4.6-liter V8 punch above its weight, too. On paper, its 315 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque is downright meek. A 13.5-second quarter-mile sprint at 102.7 mph proves otherwise, neatly splitting the difference between the Chevy and the Dodge. Zero to 60 in 5.2 seconds (4.9 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) is nothing to sneeze at either.

There's something missing in the Mustang, though ? wow factor. Ford tells us that every one of the 2010 Mustang's panels save the roof is new, but in the wild it's a dead ringer for the outgoing car. Drive it in a convoy with the Camaro and the Challenger and you might as well be driving a Camry. It's invisible.

Chevy and Dodge owe Ford a debt of gratitude. Were it not for the Blue Oval's willingness to take a risk on the retro-heavy 2005 Mustang, they might never have known whether the market for throwback pony cars was big enough to justify entering the fray.

1st Place: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Let's make one thing clear. This baby's got motor. The Camaro SS sports what is easily the most powerful mill in this test ? a 6.2-liter pushrod LS3 V8 from the Vette. In the Camaro it blurps out 426 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque.

At 13.0 seconds at 110.9 mph, the Camaro SS is far and away the fleetest, smacking down the quarter-mile a half-second quicker than the next-quickest Mustang and nearly a full second quicker than the Challenger.

Get some air in its lungs and it belts out a V8 blat that is unmistakably Detroit. This thing hauls the mail. You expected that. What comes as a surprise is the Camaro's civility. Chevy's decision to abandon the live axle for a fully independent rear suspension will surely piss off the drag racers. Everyone else will appreciate the Camaro's newfound composure.

Yes, this Camaro handles. You can throw it into a corner and not worry about the front end washing away like in the Challenger. There's surprising agility on tap for a 3,857-pound car. As your entry speeds increase, it leaves you wanting for a bit more steering feel, but the poise with which it takes to corners is eye-opening. At 68.6 mph, it pips the Mustang's slalom speed despite having a bit less grip and packing hundreds more pounds. That, friends, is talent.

In 1967, you got four-wheel drum brakes. Today, all V8-powered Camaros come standard with biggie-size four-piston Brembo brakes and summer tires that halt the Camaro from 60 mph in just 109 feet. Bonus: The pedal feels nothing like stepping on a taxidermied raccoon. In fact, the Camaro's is the most solid pedal in this trio.

You grab a Hostess Ding Dong shift knob and peer over across a faux cowl-induction-style hood bulge that would make Whitesnake jealous. Despite the claustrophobic interior, it doesn't feel nearly as ponderous around town as the Challenger thanks to the Chevy's quicker steering and well-matched weighting of the pedals to the helm. Like the big Dodge, though, you have an obnoxious 1st-to-4th skip-shift to deal with when you walk it from a stop.

Say what you will about some of the fussy exterior detailing, this thing has massive presence. The glowering front three-quarter view is its best angle, especially with the halo rings of the RS package's HID headlights ablaze with evil intent.

If the Challenger is a tank, the Camaro is a bunker. Visibility stinks. Its imposing cowl meets a beltline that would deliver a wedgie requiring surgery if you tried to emulate it using your trousers. And reversing from a parking stall? Forget about seeing around the C-pillar. Your best bet is to be proactive and clear the area with a reverse burnout.

For good measure, Chevy included a few more reminders of the past like the four-gauge cluster below the center stack and a large, awkwardly shaped deep-spoke steering wheel. The cabin design and cheap-looking hard plastics won't give Audi designers sleepless nights. But when was the last time you saw anything from Ingolstadt do a burnout? You want to kick ass, or fondle the door panels, sissy?

Perhaps it is a strange time for the arrival of retro-infused pony cars. We're not complaining. Gift horses aren't something we look in the mouth. What we didn't expect with these ponies was their variety. If you want something that plucks your heartstrings like no other car, the Challenger is it. Racers will probably gravitate toward the spry and established Mustang.

But there can only be one winner, and the Camaro SS is clearly that. No longer does it have to apologize for its performance with a bang-for-the-buck cop-out ? though it handily snatches that crown, too. It packs a talented chassis, performance and, yes, attitude at a price within the reach of working-class stiffs.

There's little more to be said than the Camaro is back. In a big way. And SS once again truly means Super Sport.


Interestingly what they said about the Challenger is what people said about the Challenger back in the 60s. It was always the bigger car with poorer handling when compared to the Camaro and Mustang.
I'm glad to see the Mustang still handles well, despite the live rear axle. Good example of how reduced weight can compensate for an IRS.
I'd personally go for the Mustang. While a better car the Camaro can't justify its extra cost. The Challenger wins the retro challenge, it is as bad as the original.
There's an in-depth review by Motor Trend, the results were the same but the decisions were explained a little more.


Chevrolet Camaro SS
Angus MacKenzie: V-8 power delivery feels quite linear. Engine still very green, though -- just 867 miles; our Matt Stone reckons Chevy small blocks typically need 5000 miles before they're in the sweet spot. Steering feels slower, more deliberate than Mustang's, however it's linear and predictable. Clutch take-up on manual too sharp; have to be careful not to stall. Default handling is mild understeer at the limit. Car is impressively planted, regardless of the road surface. Rear-end traction is superb; car tracks brilliantly, even over mid-corner lumps. As a result, you will carry more corner speed in the Camaro than in the other two, regardless of road surface.

Ed Loh: Touchy clutch on the Camaro means it's the only one I stalled. Engine note and response not as thrilling as the Mustang's -- surprising given the 111-hp advantage -- but the Camaro is much quieter inside. Steering is a touch vague on-center in comparison with Mustang. Just off-center it picks up nicely, though still not as sharp as the Ford's. Again, I wonder how much of that is the Mustang's Track Pack. Far less body motion on the road than in the Challenger, but the front end seems to sashay side to side more than the Ford's when I make mid-corner corrections. Otherwise, once set in a corner, the Camaro feels exceptionally planted. Power out of turn and you're rewarded with nothing but forward thrust. Would love to see how this thing moves around a track like the Streets of Willow Springs.

Ford Mustang GT with Track Pack
Angus MacKenzie: The best steering in an American car. Ever. Direct, linear, good feel. Astounding turn-in response -- helped in no small way by the PZero tires. Superb pedal placement -- brake and clutch and gas pedals nicely aligned; heel-and-toe downshifts a cinch. Five-speed manual lighter, crisper shift than Tremec 6060 in the other two. Downside is there's a giant hole between fourth and and fifth. V-8 is smooth, revs nicely, pulls hard. Performance helped by weight advantage over other two; helps this 315-hp car punch above its weight.

Mustang feels very connected to the road -- telegraphs what's going on where the rubber meets the road -- at both ends. Handles better than any car with a live rear axle has a right to, though if the road surface is gnarly, you'll be chasing the rear end all the time, and therefore will be ultimately slower point to point than the Camaro. This is more like a sports car than a ponycar, and on a smooth road or track, you feel you can do almost anything in it.

Ed Loh: The biggest surprise here. I thought the Camaro would leave the Mustang in a ditch by the side of the road, but I was genuinely surprised at how capable the Mustang is. Its long and meaty third gear sends the car roaring up Sunrise Highway. Similar to the Camaro, though the downhill is where the Mustang begins to separate itself. Sharper more communicative steering (a result of that Track Pack?) gives the Mustang more confidence through corners. I felt more front-end grip and less lateral sway from the suspension -- especially under braking when approaching a corner.

Sure, the live axle might send the Ford shivering if the pavement were rougher, but I think it's important to note that we had no problems with this supposedly antiquated suspension setup. And, sure, I'd love to see how a non-Track-Pack-equipped version would handle up and down those roads. But as a guy who has long slagged the live axle, color me impressed.

Dodge Challenger R/T
Angus MacKenzie: Big steering wheel, like helming a yacht, with Benz DNA buried deep, as you can feel the slight pause as you swing through on-center. R/T suspension tune way softer, less controlled than SRT8's. More body movement, squirms around on the springs and bushings. Have to be deliberate with the car through the twisties -- brake, then turn, then get on the gas. Once it takes a set, though, it's quite predictable. Just gets flustered if you want to change direction in a hurry. Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires in nowhere near the same league as the Pirellis. You feel the shoulders juddering at the limit.

Default handling mode is understeer, amplified by lower-geared steering and big wheel. Brake feel the worst of the three. Terrific cruise car, though; just lopes along the freeways. Comfortable seats, ride. The 5.7 Hemi likes to rev. It's a nice engine and has well-defined V-8 sound in the cabin. Pedal placement is poor -- brake pedal high and widely spaced relative to gas pedal; makes heel-and-toe downshifts more clumsy.

Ed Loh: "This thing feels bigger by half" is the first thing I said after getting into the Challenger from the Mustang. Indeed, it's even about 25 percent larger than the Camaro, both in interior space (the Dodge's rear seat is the only one I'd want to be in on a trip longer than around the block) and the way it feels on the road. Drive the Challenger 20 yards on Sunrise Highway, and it becomes clear it doesn't stand a chance with the other two on the twisties. Even the much more expensive SRT8 would have trouble hanging with this crowd. With the R/T the power is fine, it's just the extra weight that translates to slow and deliberate handling. Asking it to carve up and down mountain roads is like asking a lineman to run double-out routes. It will do it, but it won't be pretty.

On my drives up and down Sunrise, the Challenger was the only car that substantially engaged stability control. Arrived at our turnaround spot with the brakes simply stinking. Simply too much mass to hustle around. For everything else -- highway blasts, cruising about town, roasting tires in parking lots -- the big orange Dodge is every bit the Mustang and Camaro's equal. I think it does so with more style, too; and no questions about the build quality (unlike with the Ford). I love that the modern Dodge Challenger's cultural touchstone is "Vanishing Point" -- an obscure movie from the era of the old car. I'm less enthusiastic that with the new Camaro everyone references a marketing campaign disguised as a summer blockbuster...
Mustang looks like more fun. Looks really responsive in the slalom. Challenger looks woefully awful...

I also like how ford keeps developing the solid rear axle. Shows that it can still be competitive, on the track at least. 2011 Mustang will have 400hp, which should easily be enough to hustle the SS.

Also, I think the new car looks way better than the outgoing model. SS should be compared to the SRT-8 and GT500, IMO.

Mustang > Camaro > Challenger
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Glad to see that it looks like GM did the new Camaro properly.

Starfox, I don't think the SS should be compared to the SRT8 and GT500 because the price is far more inline with the GT and RT.
Glad to see that it looks like GM did the new Camaro properly.

Starfox, I don't think the SS should be compared to the SRT8 and GT500 because the price is far more inline with the GT and RT.

I was thinking more along the lines of top model vs top model.

Maybe Chevy is planning a hotter Z/28 or ZL1 model?
I was thinking more along the lines of top model vs top model.

Maybe Chevy is planning a hotter Z/28 or ZL1 model?

I remember hearing it (along with the convertible) were put on hold on account of the carocalypse.
I thought GM officially cancelled the Z/28?

I'd have to say I like the Camaro the best of these three, even though the Mustang GT seems like the best deal. I dont think I'd buy any of them if I had the money (which I don't) but I completely understand the appeal.

These cars are all good bargains. Take the Camaro SS: slightly detuned (and probably underrated) small block from the C6, solid Zeta platform with IRS, Brembos, reasonable interior and a good looking exterior for less than $38K is a damned good deal. For the Brits present, do an exchange rate conversion on that... now you see why we buy American (sometimes).

One other note: I like the Challenger, but every time I see one, it looks bigger. Good God, those cars are just massive bricks. I haven't seen a Camaro, hopefully it's a little less massive.
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I've always been kinda 'meh' about the 'Stang, though there's no denying it's credentials, and I love the looks of the Camaro and Challenger. Unless seeing it in person is a disappointment, I'd take the Camaro in a heartbeat if I could afford it, along with a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gen. Fourth gen = :yucky:
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I didn't notice this until Jalopnik pointed it out, but these cars weren't driven back-to-back in the same place. The results may end up the same, but I bet there will be another round of testing. Maybe a larger comparo that includes the Genesis Coupe and maybe the 370Z as well?
I'd pick the mustang. Just something about it's stance is just "right" to me. The exterior refresh has grown on me now that we're seeing it on more than just Duplo Blocks colors. However...I just...ugh...the inside. The wheel looks nice and I know they improved the materials (anything that looks like alumin(i)um is actually alumin(i)um) but it just LOOKS cheap. Doesn't look much, if any, better than the interior in my car.

The challenger is actually smaller than I thought it would be when I saw one driving down the road...but it's not exciting to me. From the moment I heard they were bringing back the challenger, I thought "Why couldn't they just make a Charger Coupe?" And, again, the inside is just sad.

The Camaro looks great inside and out, but...I don't know why I like the Mustang better. I'm okay with that, though, too because it's cheaper. Save myself some coin on a car I like better. :)
...I just...ugh...the inside. The wheel looks nice and I know they improved the materials (anything that looks like alumin(i)um is actually alumin(i)um) but it just LOOKS cheap. Doesn't look much, if any, better than the interior in my car.

:idiot: You have a Mercury - a moderate luxury Ford. If the basic pony car looks as good as a previous mid-level car, that's a good improvement.
IL Track Tested: 2010 Camaro V6 vs. 2009 Dodge Challenger SE

So yesterday we showed you how the new 2010 Chevrolet Camaro V6 stacks up against the Hyundai Genesis V6. Not exactly your typical foes, but as the numbers showed, a surprisingly even matchup.

Today it's a more traditional fight, Chevy versus Dodge. A classic rivalry maybe, but let's face it, the Dodge is a little overmatched here. What used to be considered adequate power for a V6 has now been rendered, well, just adequate.

The sizes of their engines only vary by a tenth of a liter, but the Camaro's 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 out muscles the Dodge's 3.5-liter V6 by 54 horses. Add in the Challenger's extra 100 pounds of weight and four-speed automatic and it never really had a chance.

Vehicle: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro 1LT (with the RS package)

Price: $26,845

Drive Type: rear wheel drive
Transmission Type: 6-speed Manual
Engine Type: V6
Displacement (cc / cu-in): 3,564 cc (217 cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 304 @ 6,400
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 273 @ 5,200
Brake Type (front): 12.6-inch ventilated disc, single-piston caliper
Brake Type (rear): 12.4-inch ventilated disc, single-piston caliper
Steering System: variable ratio rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent, MacPherson strut, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent, multi-link, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 245/45ZR20
Tire Size (rear): 275/40ZR20
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: P-zero
Tire Type: summer performance
Wheel Size: 20 X 8.0 front - 20 X 9.0 rear
Wheel Material (front/rear): aluminum alloy
Manufacturer Curb Weight (lb): 3,728

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 2.4
0 - 45 (sec): 4.0
0 - 60 (sec): 6.0
0 - 75 (sec): 8.8
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 14.2 @ 98.9
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.7
30 - 0 (ft): 27
60 - 0 (ft): 107
Braking Rating: Very good
Slalom (mph): 68.2
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): .89
Handling Rating: Very good

Acceleration Comments: Strangely, the V6 Camaro can overwhelm its rear tires almost as easily as the V8, so a low engine speed is needed for launch. Starting with the revs at about 3200 rpm we dropped the clutch and let the tires spin about two-thirds of the way through first gear. Once the clutch is out, pedaling it is needed to keep wheelspin in check. Tranny really doesn't like to be rushed in this car. Second gear crunched every shift during acceleration testing. Slower shifts were never a problem.

Braking Comments: Despite its less capable single-piston calipers, the V6 Camaro's single-stop performance matches or beats the Brembo-equipped V8 car. We did experience marginal pedal fade after six 60-0 stops, so its heat capacity isn't as high as the more powerful and costly Brembos. Still, 107 feet from 60 mph is impressive.

Handling Comments: Largely the same as the V8 car, the V6 Camaro's handling is on-par for the segment. And it suffers the same visibility issues. Its small glass area makes placing the car precisely difficult at first. I never felt like I was as close to the cones as I should be in the slalom until I actually hit them. Having less power is the only trait which hurts the V6 car's performance through the cones where exit speed (through sharp acceleration) can make a difference. Otherwise, this car feels the same as the V8. Around the skidpad it burdens its front tires less than the heavier SS and it lacks the power to influence its balance as easily. Powerslides are not easy in the V6 which lacks the oomph to rotate on the throttle.

Vehicle: 2009 Dodge Challenger SE

Price: $ N/A

Drive Type: rear wheel drive
Transmission Type: 4-speed Automatic
Engine Type: V6
Displacement (cc / cu-in): 3,518cc (214.7 cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 6,800
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 250 @ 6,400
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 250 @ 3,800
Brake Type (front): 12.6-inch ventilated disc, single-piston caliper
Brake Type (rear): 12.6-inch solid disc, single-piston caliper
Steering System: Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent, short and long arm
Suspension Type (rear): Independent, multi-link
Tire Size (front): 225/60R18 99H
Tire Size (rear): 225/60R18 99H
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: ContiProContact
Tire Type: Summer performance
Wheel Size: 18 X 7.5 front - 18 X 7.5 rear
Wheel Material (front/rear): Aluminum alloy
Manufacturer Curb Weight (lb): 3,819

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 3.0
0 - 45 (sec): 5.1
0 - 60 (sec): 8.1
0 - 75 (sec): 12.1
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 16.1 @ 88.3
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 7.8
30 - 0 (ft): 29
60 - 0 (ft): 129
Braking Rating: Average
Slalom (mph): 59.5
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): N/A
Handling Rating: Average

Acceleration Comments: The SE favors being held against the brakes until revs reach about 2,000 rpm. Some chirp off the line with ESP turned off which just means a lenient version of ESP. Engine revs all the way to the 6,500-rpm indicated redline and upshifts are moderately fast, but smooth. Why no AutoStick in this sporty coupe? Also seems like a five-speed automatic would make better use of the V6 engine.

Braking Comments: First braking effort from 60 mph was the shortest at 129 feet and grew slightly longer from there to a 134-foot max. Although the pedal showed no signs of spongy fade, the odor from hot brakes suggested otherwise. In the slalom the front end gives up long before the rear does.

Handling Comments: Slalom: Light steering and front end gives up early. With ESP all the way off it becomes a guessing game. Also, without Autostick I had to select third gear which sometimes kicked down to second on exit. Only moderate roll stiffness, but decent impact-reducing damping. In the end, the limits are defined by the ESP.

Video at link: