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American Muscle takes on German Precision

By: Joel Patel \ Associate Editor \ July 7, 2014

The 1960s may have been the glory days for American muscle cars, but due to advances in technology, reliability and designing, some can argue that the new breed of American muscle cars are the best. Either way, American muscle cars have had stiff competition within and outside of the U.S. 


American muscle cars from yesteryear were only concerned with the quarter mile – a sprint that usually took place between a set of lights when the cops weren’t looking. Times have changed; muscle cars can now take corners at mind-bending speeds and manage to stay on the road. While the U.S. has been harnessing the ability to master the corner, Germany has created some amazing muscle cars of its own. German cars from the likes of Mercedes AMG, BMW and Audi are built suspiciously similar to the muscle cars found in the U.S. Large displacement engines in the front, power to the rear and relatively affordable prices make this showdown of precision German muscle against the utter raw horsepower of American muscle a fight to the end.


To combat the German automakers, the U.S. will call upon Ford, Chevrolet and SRT. These companies (everyone except for SRT) have been making muscle cars since the 1960s. Since these companies pretty much wrote the book on what a muscle car is, there’s no better option.  As stated before, muscle cars have changed drastically since their humble beginning. What better way than to compare them in their new natural habitat? We will compare muscle cars from both countries on the track – in the form of the infamous Nürburgring – better known as ‘The Ring’, a quarter mile race on Woodward Avenue, – and full out top speed run on the Autobahn. Since there are a plethora of vehicles to choose from, one will be chosen from the aforementioned companies to compete against the other in the three locations. 

Let’s start this battle off with a bang at the dreaded Nürburgring, the place where automakers test their vehicles to the extreme. At nearly 13 miles in length and with over 70 treacherous corners, the Nürburgring is the perfect track to pit high performace cars against each other.


For this track battle, the U.S. calls the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 up to the plate. Packing a monstrous 7.0-liter LS7 V-8 engine the Z/28 boasts 500 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, but it’s got more than just bark. To control the power Chevrolet has fit a six-speed close-ratio manual transmission and a limited-slip differential. The Z/28’s got plenty of go fast options, but the track isn’t just about grunt and neither is the Camaro. 

To obtain high levels of downforce, the Z/28 comes equipped with a full body kit – every piece on the vehicle aids in putting the power down to the rear wheels. Once the power gets going, the six-piston monobloc calipers tear into the massive 15.5-inch carbon-ceramic rotors up front. The rear brakes utilize a four-piston setup mated to 15.4-inch carbon-ceramic rotors.


Chevrolet went the extra mile with the Z/28 and has added parts that can make the vehicle destroy opponents on the track. But is it enough to tackle the German’s offering? Hail the mighty 2011 BMW M3 GTS. 

BMW’s engineers didn’t rebuild the M3, but instead heightened its capabilities. They did this by putting the E92 M3 on a diet, boring out the engine and placing racing specific material – like a roll bar – into the vehicle. After all of this the vehicle possesses 444 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque.


Just like the Z/28, the M3 GTS comes equipped with a ton of go fast goodies. A titanium, low-backpressure Boysen exhaust, seven-speed M-DCT paddle shifted gearbox fiberglass bucket racing seats, roll cage, polycarbonate side rear windows and six-point seatbelts have all found their way into the M3 GTS.


It’s a very interesting battle between Germany’s precision sniper versus America’s blunderbuss. Both of these vehicles having lapped the Nürburgring, however its the vehicle with the fastest time that wins. The M3 GTS lapped the “Green Hell” in approximately seven minutes and 48 seconds (7:48), which puts it in the same range as the Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06 and Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano. A great time for the M3 GTS around one of the hardest race tracks in the world. How did the Z/28 fair on the track? 

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