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Old 08-12-2009, 11:33 PM   #1
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Why I Chose the Camaro SS over 370Z, 135i & Challenger

I was fianlly able to place an order today, and after spending quite a while agonizing over the decision I chose the 1SS over the 370Z, 135i, Mustang, and Dodge Challenger. I feel like a lot of people are probably in the same boat I was so maybe this will help.

370Z

The Good
Probably the most purposeful sports car of the entire bunch. I used to absolutely hate the styling but the Z looks real nice in person. It really feels like a Porsche and you get the impression you're in a cockpit rather than a car cabin. The power is surprising; I used to own a 350Z and this new iteration is a marked improvement. It's just sharp all around. Plus, unlike the SS and the R/T, Z's are just sitting on lots, so it's easy to work out a good deal.

The Bad
It looks good but part of me wonders whether I would get sick of the styling after a couple years. There's little room to improve- I like to be able to tinker with my cars, but there's no way I would ever pay $12,000 to install a turbo or maybe half that to install the supercharger that this car needs IMO. Plus, in my situation with my wife and I trying for kids, a 2 seater probably isn't the most practical option.

Why I didn't choose it: 2 seats only, lack of 'mod'-ability, needs a turbo


Challenger R/T

The Good
Don't care what anyone says but this is an awesome looking car. I liked the interior space and the fact I could haul a couple friends around in relative comfort. I also thought this car had personality that the imports and the Mustang GT lacked. It's car I thought I would still have 20 years from now.

The Bad
I think the Challenger to have is the SRT8- it's got the power, better suspension, and better amenities. If the SRT8 was $30k, even $35k I just might be over at Challengertalk. But it's simply unjustifiably expensive to me. I also like to have a nice drive on country roads and the R/T's (relatively) poor handling did scare me off. I also felt like the 5.7 paled in comparison to the LS3.

Why I didn't Choose it: It's not the SRT8, SS is a better driver's car


Mustang GT

The Good
My wife likes this car. A lot.

The Bad
I like the new styling but the GT looks (and is) wimpy compared to the mighty GT500 IMO. I also didn't like the lack of a 6-speed in a $30k+ car. But it really boiled down to the fact that the 400HP 5.0 is coming in 2011 or so. So why get this GT now?

Why I didn't choose it: It's not 2011


135i

The Good
To me, the N54 engine makes this car kind of like the modern Supra. There's a lot of untapped potential. Plus it handles well like all BMWs. It's also "mature" in the sense that it's not brash and in your face like the SS and the R/T and the Mustang. Plus it's got 4 seats.

The Bad
Mainly, the styling. It's just too feminine & cute. Plus, it's overpriced like all BMWs. I priced it out with just 'basic' options and I was well over $38k, meaning over $42k out the door. Hard to justify when the 1SS as I like it is $33k.

Why I didn't choose it: Too effeminate, too expensive

Camaro SS

The Good
Incredible motor. It's the LS3. Great looks that I think will age well because the SS isn't just retro- it's a blend of heritage and modern styling. Interior looks good: Seats 4 fairly well. Strong and affordable aftermarket support already. Finally, of the four, the 1SS was the best priced (though the Z was close).

The Bad
Minor things mostly not particular to the Camaro itself: production situation is poorly handled in my opinion. Too many constraint problems, unavailable GMPP parts. Hard to find a dealer selling at MSRP. Some teething issues with transmissions. A track pack would've been nice. Blue Granite/Stealth Gray should've been an optional color. Visibility isn't that good. Optional 21"s should be much cheaper.

To me, the 1SS was the best of all worlds: 4 seats, a whole LOT of power, great styling, very good handling and a thriving aftermarket.

Last edited by SS 376; 09-11-2009 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 08-12-2009, 11:37 PM   #2
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You didn't go into a lot of detail with the 1SS though.. No negatives?? Did you drive one yet?
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Old 08-12-2009, 11:40 PM   #3
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great choice!, and a lot of thinking and typing.. lol
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Old 08-13-2009, 12:14 AM   #4
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Congrats on making your very own informed decision, and thanks for sharing it.
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Old 08-13-2009, 02:30 AM   #5
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Still like the Challenger

the best.
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Old 08-13-2009, 03:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supermans View Post
You didn't go into a lot of detail with the 1SS though.. No negatives?? Did you drive one yet?
You're right. In SoCal, it's hard to find one to test drive. Hell, it's hard to find one at all. So I haven't test driven an SS yet. I did drive the 135 and the Z. I guess I figure there's so much info here on C5 I didnt want to re-hash stuff. For me, here's how I looked at the 1SS

The Good
Incredible motor. It's the LS3. Great looks that I think will age well because the SS isn't just retro- it's a blend of heritage and modern styling. Seats 4 fairly well. Strong and affordable aftermarket support already. Finally, of the four, the 1SS was the best priced (though the Z was close).

The Bad
Only little things. Feels a little big but possibly because I'm used to smaller cars. A part of me still favors the ultra-retro styling of the Challenger. 21"s that I wanted real bad were simply a rip-off. Would've liked a proper navigation option. I wish the factory stripes were painted on and "bumblebee" style. I would've liked a Z51-type package too.

Why I chose it: Does everything very well and does it for a great price
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Old 08-13-2009, 11:30 PM   #7
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Thumbs up

Why I chose it: Does everything very well and does it for a great price[/QUOTE]

I couldn't agree more
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rham48 View Post
the best.
hope so. You must feel bad knowing you paid as much as an ss and have over 80 Hp less.
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:12 PM   #9
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This is a very interesting thread to me, as I am considering many of the same cars (absent 370Z - I need a back seat).

I currently own a BMW 335i, and LOVE it. It's a fantastic car - handling is great (has sport package), nice acceleration, effortless high speed cruising (did European Delivery of this car and had it up to 140+ on Autobahn). It also rides decent, and has great seats. For those reasons, the 135i is on my list. It's the same car, but smaller/lighter/faster. I don't think they're overpriced, in that the combo of power, handling and luxury is VERY difficult to match, and virtually impossible at their price. That thing feels like a VAULT when you're in it: like the whole car is one piece.

IMHO, the Challenger is the best looking of the three retro cars. I also like the big Hemi, the comfort and interior space. But, all three of these cars' handling is suspect, and the Challenger is worst of all. So it's not leading my list.

Mustang simply isn't on the list. If I'm buying a retro car, it'll be Camaro before Mustang. They cost the same, yet the Camaro looks better, goes faster and is a Chevy, which I prefer. I've owned two camaros previously: a 1968 w/327, and a 1970 fake Z/28 with a 350. I've also owned a '66 Chevy II SS 327, a 1970 Chevelle w/350, a 1972 Nova w/350 and a 1970 Comet drag car with a 427 Chevy. My first car was a 1971 Mustang w/302 auto. Uh, yea, I'm old.

Anyway, I'd say that right now it's a virtual tie between the Camaro and BMW. If I got the Bimmer, I'd do Euro delivery again - car is cheaper and the delivery process is a BLAST. Plus they'll deliver it to the BMW Performance Center in SC, and let you drive on their road course at speed. On the other hand, the Camaro is still less expensive (I'd get 2SS/RS), faster in a straight line, more unique, and love the V8 rumble. For me the styling of the Camaro is somewhat iffy in that the chopped look isn't great, and makes for poor visibility out. But, so is the 135i: it's OK, but certainly not fantastic.

I like the idea of buying American, too.

As for mods, either car can be modded to be faster, and at least while it's under warranty, I'm not doing MUCH to either car. I'd consider a CAI, exhaust and tune on the Camaro, and probably nothing on the Bimmer. Bimmer comes with 50k warranty and 50k maintenance. Camaro no maint. but 100k powertrain warranty. I'd say that comparison favors Camaro - three oil changes, three sets of wipers and a set of brake pads isn't as valuable to me as having someone else on the hook for a powertrain that IS going to see it's share of hard work . . .

I've recently test driven a 2009 911S w/PDK, and a V8 M3 w/DCT. I LOVE both of them, but jeesh, for $95k and $70k respectively, I should. I could have 3 Camaros for the P-car and 2 for the M3. Still that M3 motor is incredible. 414hp from 4 liters, and an 8400rpm redline. Not to mention great handling and brakes, along with all the luxury.

I'd say if I was choosing today, I'd go with the Camaro. But it's VERY close with the 135i. The others are also-rans for me.
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:50 PM   #10
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Nope

Quote:
Originally Posted by sav1 View Post
hope so. You must feel bad knowing you paid as much as an ss and have over 80 Hp less.
Feel great. In fact, I couldn't be happier, I do have the best car. Read the thread below if you care to know why. You might also want to read the last post I wrote of that thread entitled: "To all those who have added to this thread." It's on page 3, post #60.

http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37172
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Last edited by AZ MSCL; 08-15-2009 at 11:16 PM. Reason: ID post #60
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Old 08-16-2009, 05:19 AM   #11
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Can Am excellent thread. I can say that for most of what you said I agree with 100% but under BMW I looked at the 335i instead of the ONE series. but same concept. I agree I actually like the challanger styling better than the camaro and IM a GM nut.
I have two children already and the camaro would be my new car if it were not for them. I must say I dont understand why the G8 GXP was not also on your list. I went with the GT mainly because I have a long commute to work and was looking at active fuel managment, but in your situation the GXP puts down the same numbers as the camaro and has room for a family. (I sat in a new SS camaro and my kids hated the back seat but they are 8 and 10)
Just another option to the table, however enjoy your camaro. I love seeing you guys on the road. I always get whiplash, but for my purpose the G8 was the best choice.

pros: vast aftermarket, good styling, wonderful room for a family, cheap prices with Pontiac axed (I give 27,500 for my loaded GT out the door)

cons: dyno numbers, and 1/4 times on our L76 cars are about 20-30hp lower, and .5 second slower respective to the SS. (this doesn't include the GXP model which seem to be spot on with the SS but is also $37+)
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Old 08-16-2009, 08:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rham48 View Post
Feel great. In fact, I couldn't be happier, I do have the best car.
No the Camaro is the best car, that's why we are here.
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Old 08-16-2009, 08:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Can-Am View Post
You're right. In SoCal, it's hard to find one to test drive. Hell, it's hard to find one at all. So I haven't test driven an SS yet. I did drive the 135 and the Z. I guess I figure there's so much info here on C5 I didnt want to re-hash stuff. For me, here's how I looked at the 1SS

The Good
Incredible motor. It's the LS3. Great looks that I think will age well because the SS isn't just retro- it's a blend of heritage and modern styling. Seats 4 fairly well. Strong and affordable aftermarket support already. Finally, of the four, the 1SS was the best priced (though the Z was close).

The Bad
Only little things. Feels a little big but possibly because I'm used to smaller cars. A part of me still favors the ultra-retro styling of the Challenger. 21"s that I wanted real bad were simply a rip-off. Would've liked a proper navigation option. I wish the factory stripes were painted on and "bumblebee" style. I would've liked a Z51-type package too.

Why I chose it: Does everything very well and does it for a great price
You definitely should get inside one and test drive it. Even better yet, rent one for a day and go all out on it. I did drive a 350Z and a 370Z prior to even driving and ordering the Camaro SS and my main complaint about those is they were too small. I test drove a Challenger RT and felt it was very comfortable inside, but still felt slow.Yes, the SRT8 would have been faster but that is too expensive. So I did a blind order of the Camaro SS and am loving the car. However the shifter feels sluggish (harsh) in comparison to the 370Z for example which you might notice as well when you get yours. The cabin vision is not as good as in the 370Z and yes, you will miss the Sat Nav and better stereo system the 370Z comes with. Just my advice before spending the big bucks on a new car..
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Old 08-16-2009, 08:38 AM   #14
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Reading your post, I had to wonder if I typed it myself. LOL! Your perceptions of each car are dead-on with my own. I also dig the performance of the 135i, but you are right it does look like a chick car. The 335i is the smallest BMW I'd consider for that reason, it looks more mature, instead of "cute".

We had an '06 Mustang GT, and you are right about it sucking without a 6-spd. Every time I got on the freeway in that car, I was grabbing for 6th gear. Only to end up with a frowny face. It buzzes at higher rpm when doing 75-80 mph. The 4.6L Ford is also junk without a supercharger, it has no torque, no throttle response, and doesn't even rev like an OHC engine should. They NEED a blower, which is sort of sad. The GT500 is the only Mustang I'd buy.

Challenger looks great, but drives like a barge. I rented one a few weeks ago on a business trip (R/T) and it felt more like my 70 Chevelle than a modern car. LOL
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