Reviews The Leftovers: Camaro 1LE vs. M2 vs. Focus RS vs. 124 Spider Abarth vs. 718 Boxster S vs. 86

18:05  26 january  2017
18:05  26 january  2017 Source:   motortrend.com

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

  2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Riding sideways in the most powerful Camaro in history, we learn the value of big power, big noise, and total control.Bursting airborne and sideways, wheels stretching for the ground, the raw, stunningly rapid, and now very aloft Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 should be a barbaric, deadly thing. Yet, in the crucial milliseconds following its oblique touchdown, it defines itself differently. Aaron Link, the ZL1’s lead development engineer, adds a breath of countersteer, stays in the gas, and carries the slide, fully committed, to the track’s edge. Crimson leaves explode behind its rear diffuser, then waft to the ground in what remains of the ZL1’s throat-punch exhaust note.

Be honest. You can spend a week with one of two cars: the Ford Focus RS or the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R. Or for Europhiles, it's a decision between a Porsche 911 and a 718 Boxster S. You can't choose both, but you get to beat on your selection as hard as you like on both a closed road and a racetrack. Chevron is paying for the gas. That Focus RS is a cool hot hatch. But if you're being honest—really, truly, hand-on-a-holy-book honest—you choose the Shelby.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro V-6 1LE

  2017 Chevrolet Camaro V-6 1LE Like we've said, it deserves more power.For anyone who missed class on Camaro day this year, the Camaro 1LE performance package was extended to both V-6 and V-8 Camaros for 2017, bringing enhanced engine cooling, a retuned suspension, a limited-slip differential, Brembo brake components, 20-inch forged-aluminum wheels, and various interior and exterior modifications—all with the singular aim of making mincemeat of a road course on track day and looking utterly bad-ass while doing so.

Such was the sacrifice we made when choosing the field for our 2016 Best Driver's Car test. It was an embarrassment of riches in terms of jealousy-inducing vehicular choice. We could not bring 'em all for reasons ranging from available time and manpower to the width of the runway where we film the World's Greatest Drag Race. Being limited to 12 cars meant that to bring the Fiat 124 Spyder Abarth, we would have to cut the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S. Sorry, Fiat. And so the culling began.

Read our 2016 Best Driver's Car competition HERE

We made some tough decisions, and although I think we cut correctly, we left some cars behind. In the days after the McLaren 570S' win of our 2016 Best Driver's Car, we discussed how to get the leftovers together for a separate shootout.

First Drive: 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Coupe

  First Drive: 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Coupe LOS ANGELES, California — The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 wants to transition from the street to the strip to the track and back to the street without faltering. Chevy fell short of this “triple threat” five years ago when it brought out the ZL1’s predecessor, an engaging and impressive supercharged coupe with an underwhelming, flawed foundation that had understeer issues.

Fast-forward a few months, and we found ourselves doing what we love most: pushing great cars as hard as we can on the best roads we can find. We also called upon the services of our race cardriving buddy, Randy Pobst, to set lap times at the Streets of Willow circuit.

Meet what we have dubbed the Leftovers: the BMW M2, the Chevrolet Camaro 1LE, the Fiat 124 Spider Abarth, the Ford Focus RS, the Porsche 718 Boxster S, and the Toyota 86. Let's be clear. These aren't minor leaguers. They have serious performance chops. And unlike the six-figure price tags affixed to most of the BDC field, most of them have a family-friendly entry fee.

The competitive set's excellence became clear after our testing when the first round of initial voting resulted in a four-way tie for first place—and no consistent voting pattern for the silver and bronze, either. Three days of nonstop arguing resulted in our photo finish for first through fourth place. The fifth place car was but a hair behind. It was so close that each vehicle deserved a rebuttal from a dissenting judge.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Coupe

  2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Coupe Imagine a Hellcat that can corner, a GT350 with 124 more horsepower, and an M4 with great steering.Imagine a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat that can corner, a Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 with an additional 124 horsepower, and a BMW M4 with great steering. The Camaro ZL1 is all of these things and more.

The big takeaway: These are some very serious driver's cars, and all of them would have handily held their own at Best Driver's Car. There might be a winner, but it was far from clear-cut. - Jonny Lieberman

2016 Ford Focus RS front end in motion© Motor Trend Staff 2016 Ford Focus RS front end in motion 6th Place: 2016 Ford Focus RS

Weather the Storm

I'm among the minority of Motor Trend staffers from a "real" place. For my Southern California native buds, the sun is a year-round phenomenon, rain is something that happens once a year, and snow might as well be a myth.

But growing up as a car enthusiast in New York City, I understood that weather was a certainty, a cloth top was code for "rob me," and that a true driver's car has the power and the grip to be enjoyed at your limits rain or shine. That's the modus operandi of the Ford Focus RS.

The Focus RS is fast, grippy, and versatile. It might be disadvantaged in this group by virtue of its curb weight (four doors and five seats add up, after all), but it makes up for it with new-era technical wizardry and old-fashioned power. On the former front, the Focus sports a trick torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system, capable of routing nearly all of the engine's twist to either rear wheel, or none, as needed. In dry and sunny SoCal, that results in a car that bombs into corners at speed, plants itself, and squirts out the apex ready for more.

First Drive: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro G-Code by Ringbrothers

  First Drive: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro G-Code by Ringbrothers American CoachbuiltLike other Ringbrothers builds, the Camaro G-Code started as a ratty classic— in this case, a '69 Camaro RS. After Jim and Mike Ring found the car, they brought it to their small shop, which doubles as collision repair business, in Spring Green, Wisconsin. There, where cows outnumber people four to one, the brothers channel their automotive OCD into kinetic works of art like G-Code.

The Ford's engine is a firecracker, too. Powered by a 2.3-liter turbocharged I-4, the Focus RS has 350 ponies to play with and the most torque of the group at 350 lb-ft. There's surprisingly little lag from the engine and a ton of midrange torque even when cruising along the highway in top gear. The six-speed manual gearbox is nimble and precise; it's the type of gearbox you shift not because you have to but because the shifter is so enjoyable to row.

The engine's noise is just as important as how it performs. At full chat, the engine sounds like Ken Block's rally car (probably because it is). Nail a rev-matched downshift, and the exhaust crackles like machine gun fire.

With all this grip and an engine that just won't quit, why didn't the Focus RS finish higher? As much as I'd like to blame a West Coast conspiracy, the truth is the Focus RS rides worse than a dump truck. Its steering lacks the purity and play of the rest of our group.

It's not a real driver's car, but the Focus RS is a tremendous performance car and an easy choice for those where weather is a real concern. - Christian Seabaugh

2016 Ford Focus RS top view in motion© Motor Trend Staff 2016 Ford Focus RS top view in motion The Rebuttal

The last time I endured a suspension this harsh in so many environments was a Porsche 996 GT3 RS, but that was forgivable because #racecar. In the softer settings, the RS' constant vertical upheavals dominate the driving experience so much that it's hard to focus on what's good in the RS.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

  2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Chevrolet sends the Camaro to finishing school and ends up with an impeccably behaved monster.It’s a curious truth of automotive engineering that, in general, the lower the volume target for a new vehicle, the more effort is invested in perfecting it. Engineers seem to sweat the nuances of a Ferrari far more than they do those of a Fiat. The same goes for performance models of mass-produced vehicles. With the tedious stuff already taken care of—say, making the car come together as easily as a SnapTite model on the assembly line—the performance guys are free to spend months toying with bushing stiffness.

The engine is an absolute bulldog. Just imagine the Fiata or 86 with this engine. Am I right? But despite what Christian says, the shifter is notchy—not in a good way—and the clutch is vague and grabby at the same time. The midcorner grip and the way it can put power down out of corners is super impressive. Yet at the same time, I never quite knew where I was in the friction circle.

The all-conquering Focus RS is only 0.11 second quicker around the track than the fourth-gen Subaru WRX STI. There's a single way to get a car like this right, and there are so many ways to get it wrong. I can't blame Ford for trying. I'm glad it did. It's been such a long wait for this forbidden Euro fruit, but after tasting it, I think I'll pass on my next slice, thank you. - Chris Walton

2016 BMW M2 side in motion© Motor Trend Staff 2016 BMW M2 side in motion 5th Place: 2016 BMW M2

Best Engine Here

"This car is hands down the best BMW made in at least five years, probably more. It's the first M car in a long time to actually live up to the Ultimate Driving Machine tagline," features editor Christian Seabaugh says.

Others in our test group mirrored the sentiment. Which is why it stunned, irked, and bemused me that the panel voted the Bimmer fifth out of six entries.

I would reach for the M2 keys before any others in this pack. It has everything a driver wants: forceful power, reassuring handling, a smooth-enough ride, fantastic seats, interior refinement galore, and intuitive infotainment.

Road test editor Chris Walton says the M2 has one of the sweetest engines around and torque available everywhere. There is a mesa of power through the middle gears, so you don't have to downshift to get a surge of acceleration.

This Third-gen Camaro is an Absolute Street Beast

  This Third-gen Camaro is an Absolute Street Beast A twin-turbo LS3-urged all-metal Third-gen straight from the heart … of America. Understated elegance and imagery are qualities of a righteous car build. Abstention from the norm, celebration of diversity and timelessness form another aspect. These facets are undeniable certainly and are often difficult to achieve. But for those who undertake it, this is their reason; this is their art. They are starring in a movie of their lives, not sitting in the back row watching it.Just as there is night and day, there is always pressure on the builder and pressure is magnified when the clock is accelerating nonstop toward the drop-deadly date.

Associate editor Scott Evans said the engine was smooth and extremely responsive, and the steering was precise.

The M2 is confident and planted when driving at 80 percent of its staggering levels of ability—and that's the hardest you should be pushing any car on public roads. While driving aggressively around tight bends, the M2's seats were comfortable yet offered supportive bolstering. Not once did I have to brace myself with my knees to hold myself in place.

Evans mentioned a lack of steering feel. The gearshift throws and clutch pedal travel are longer than I'd like. But those aren't reasons to knock this car to fifth place behind the caveman Camaro, poky Toyota, and harsh Porsche (note, you should pronounce it "harsh-uh").

So what if ESC is conservatively tuned? It's still seamless compared to most systems. The heel-and-toe crowd berated the M2's automatic rpm blips on stick-shift downshifts—but not everyone needs to be Colin Chapman when they sashay through a mountain pass. Sure, the steering wheel is girthy—if your hands aren't yuge enough to handle the truth.

The M2 was the second-quickest car in Randy Pobst's race around the Streets of Willow. Even at its wallet-straining 54 large, the Bimmer deserves better than finishing second to last. I voted it first, and if I were to impose an executive (editor) order, that's where it would have stayed. - Mark Rechtin

2016 BMW M2 front end in motion© Motor Trend Staff 2016 BMW M2 front end in motion The Rebuttal

Cars in this test that could easily keep up with the BMW M2 on a winding canyon road include the Toyota 86, the Fiat Spider, and the V-6 Camaro. The car that can leave it for dead: the 718 Boxster. Ask me how I know.

I was a little shocked because around town the M2 feels fantastic. But when you push it hard or compare it to other cars, you realize it isn't as great as you'd hoped.

The biggest culprit is the steering. It's just dead. There's no feel whatsoever. This is a problem plaguing modern BMWs. Then there's the shifter, which initially has the familiar BMW feel, going back to the E46 M3. But this one feels jiggly, and the throws are quite long. "The whole car is rubbery and disconnected, " senior features editor Jason Cammisa says. And he's not wrong. The undefeatable rev-matching downshifts also annoyed all of us. We know how to drive stick shift, BMW. We don't need your help.

A Trip Down Memory Lane: 1967 Camaro 40 Years in the Making

  A Trip Down Memory Lane: 1967 Camaro 40 Years in the Making With so much new technology available on the market to improve the performance of vintage rides, Steve Gray says people can be pretty dismissive when it comes to his classic 1967 Camaro. After all, it's not LS-powered—it just has a little, 400ci small-block Chevrolet with a plate kit. There are no exotic electronics, no EFI, no turbos. Research chevrolet camaro See All Model Years See Pricing Factor in a 3,700-pound travel weight with a driver, small tires, and leaf springs, and Steve says most folks guess it's a low-11-second car. Well, they'd be wrong.

Going into this competition, I had the M2 picked as the odds-on favorite. After a day spent driving all six contenders, I had it in fifth place. So be it. - Jonny Lieberman

2017 Chevrolet Camaro 2LT 1LE front three quarter© Motor Trend Staff 2017 Chevrolet Camaro 2LT 1LE front three quarter 4th Place: 2017 Chevrolet Camaro (2LT) 1LE V-6

The Detuned Instrument

As soon as I put the V-8-powered version of the Camaro 1LE through the figure-eight test, I knew Chevrolet had accomplished something special. A week later, the rest of the Motor Trend staff verified my impressions by voting that car fourth place out of 12 world-class contenders in our 2016 Best Driver's Car extravaganza, beating the Dodge Viper ACR and Audi R8 V10 Plus among others. So we were naturally curious how the V-6 version would do.

The first thing you need to know about the Camaro 1LE V-6 is that the front end never gives up. Go ahead. Try to force this car to understeer. I'll wait. The steering itself is also exemplary, especially in Comfort mode, where the adjustable weighting seems to be just about right. What's nice is that you can decouple the steering from the chassis mode. Sport or Track modes are a must for fancy driving, as the stability control is too intrusive if you just leave it in Comfort. The car is such a great handler that you can turn the nannies off with a high degree of confidence.

Instead of the Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3 tires that ship with the V-8 version of the 1LE, the V-6 comes on Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 tires. These are still sticky summer tires that feature plenty of grip. Despite being naturally aspirated, the throaty 3.6-liter V-6 makes a healthy 335 horsepower. Remember when people gasped when V-8s made that number? Disappointingly, though, torque is rated at 284 lb-ft and is the top reason why you should opt for the V-8. Nonetheless, most of us agreed this motor sounded racy for a V-6 at redline.

Differences between the V-6 and the V-8 1LE might be more than you (and we) were expecting. The V-6 does not have Magnetic Ride Control shocks, does not possess the aforementioned better tires, does not have the borderline-magic eLSD rearend, and does not have the bigger, upgraded brakes. Because the torque is what it is (low), the V-6 1LE does not have the sweet Tremec T6060 shifter of the V-8 Camaros. The 2-3 shift might be the single worst part of the car, at least in Randy Pobst's opinion.

What it does have, however, is the ability to confidently attack a twisting back road. Despite their long pedal travel, the brakes are stout. If you're looking for a great-handling sports car, you could do a lot worse. - Jonny Lieberman

The Rebuttal

The Camaro 1LE is a special car—excuse me, the Camaro SS 1LE is a special car. But the V-6-powered version, despite the 1LE name, is missing a lot of that hardware. Of the SS 1LE gear, the Camaro 2LT 1LE gets none if it; it gets the stock Camaro SS' suspension and a tall-geared mechanical limited-slip diff. It has less sticky tires, less aggressive Brembo brakes, and a different six-speed manual.

The 335 horsepower from a V-6 should put a smile on your face, but it's mated to a sloppy, slow gearbox with long gear ratios that makes the car feel heavy and lazy. The Camaro's steering also doesn't do what the SS 1LE's does; the front wheels don't communicate what they're doing until after the tires give up. The chassis never does the neutral dance through corners that we've come to expect from Camaros.

The Camaro 2LT 1LE might be great in a world without the V-8 version. But it has its big brother breathing down its neck, and it's not a lot more money. After all, "You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family." - Christian Seabaugh

2017 Toyota 86 front three quarter in motion© Motor Trend Staff 2017 Toyota 86 front three quarter in motion 3rd Place: 2017 Toyota 86

Slow Car Fast

Ask anyone: Driving a slow car fast is always more fun than driving a fast car slow. The updated Toyota 86 (ne Scion FR-S) is the very embodiment of this idea and the essence of a "momentum car."

Don't take it from me, though. Listen to what my fellow editors had to say:

Jonny Lieberman: "An incredible driver's car. Anyone who says differently doesn't really understand cars." Christian Seabaugh: "This car is the type of car folks buy and immediately begin modifying and tuning. Don't do it. Stickier tires and power adders will ruin an otherwise sublimely engineered experience." Jason Cammisa: "This is a total blast and a fantastic sports car in the traditional sense." Chris Walton: "You can drive this car at its limit all the time and never worry that it's going to spit you off. That's what makes this car special—it has no bad habits or pitfalls when it's being driven hard." Mark Rechtin: "This car will really get you into drifting." Randy Pobst: "I didn't want to quit driving it. Total pure driver's car." With its balance of performance and tire, the 86 allows you to get the most out of the driving experience. But it doesn't do all the work for you. Where other cars here allow you drive with a ham fist and let the tire grip make up for your bad habits, the 86's commuter-car tires force you to drive to the best of your ability to maximize cornering speed. Drive sloppily, and you'll be punished with predictable and avoidable understeer or oversteer. Of course, if you like being loose, the 86 has your back. Oversteer is effectively on demand through tight corners, and it's progressive, consistent, and easily corrected. A good driver can keep this car right at or just over its limit.

The car comes with world-class controls. It employs a bolt-action shifter, pedals aligned for heel-toe downshifting, a linear brake pedal with great feedback, and the best steering feel here. You direct the mechanical ballet from a seat both comfortable for long hauls and bolstered for track duty, and the tires' audible feedback tells you what they're doing and how much they have left to give.

If you can find a better driving experience for even double the money, buy it. - Scott Evans

The Rebuttal

With its early onset loss of tire grip, the Toyota 86 can be fun—if you know what you're doing or have lots of runoff room. But against the rest of this pack, it's as slow as Christmas at Aunt Trudie's house.

The flat-four is far from sonorous; it sounds reedy when pushed. And features editor Christian Seabaugh observed that between 1,700 and 3,000 rpm, there's just nothing happening. "It has a hard time putting down even tiny amounts of power," senior features editor Jason Cammisa says.

Others found the clutch and gearshift entertaining, but I found the bite point parabolically sudden and the shifter throws too long. You need to come into the corner slowly and in the right gear if you want to get out of it quickly. There is a yawning power gap if you have to short shift the 2-3 transition. And is it the last new car where toggling the turn signal doesn't generate three blinks?

I love driving slow cars fast, but at some point, you must reckon that this car is simply behind the pack. - Mark Rechtin

2017 Porsche 718 Boxster S front three quarter in motion 03© Motor Trend Staff 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster S front three quarter in motion 03 2nd Place: 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster S

The Fast Track

How did the car with the best damping, best steering, best brakes, and just plain ol' best performances across the board not win this test of performance? Brand bias and vocal minority. I swear I heard somebody say, "Well, of course it's the best car here. It's a $90,000 Porsche!" Would it be OK with an Abarth badge on it instead? I can't dispute a price that includes $23,460 in options, but like our annual Best Driver's Car contest, that should not matter, either. If we had the $57,000 base 718 Boxster with a manual transmission, it would've received more votes than this apex predator. Ppffft.

The 718 Boxster's more powerful, more fuel-efficient four-cylinder turbocharged engine outperforms the old 981's atmospheric flat-six. It doesn't sound like a 911 because, imagine this, it is not a 911. With our Boxster S' optional sport exhaust, the engine has texture, a guttural voice, and attitude usually reserved for V-8 cars and V-twin motorcycles. It reminds me of the my first ride in an owner-massaged 914 in the '70s. It was bored out and had a giant Weber, headers, and minimal mufflers. That car, like this 718, had a genuine personality. Reserve your judgment and trolling until you drive or merely hear one under load.

Other so-called criticisms seemed to miss the point of this car. "It understeered if you drove near the car's limits," Jonny Lieberman says. Apparently, he wants oversteer while pulling a test-topping 1.03 g.

Added Mark Rechtin: "This car urges you to test your limits because it knows that you would have to be a certifiable moron to exceed its capabilities." To that I say it's not nice to call Jonny names. Also, this surplus capability is the direct result of decades of endurance racing experience, engineering, and victories.

Then we put the tires on the track. It beat the pants off the other contestants. More impressively, it's quicker than every 911 Carrera (993, 996, 991, 991.2) save for the most recent 991.2 Carrera S. Its lap time also beat a 2014 Audi R8 V10, 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia, 2014 Jaguar XKR-S GT, and 2015 BMW M4. Take it from the road test editor: Porsche wouldn't dare release a new car if it didn't outperform the car it replaces. This 2017 Porsche Boxster S got my first-place vote and is a winner in my book. - Chris Walton

The Rebuttal

The ease and fluidity with which the 718 Boxster S ingests a winding road is staggering. You'd need to drive it at reckless speeds to raise your pulse. I say it's a demerit, but I can accept that some people find excitement in capability.

But I can't defend the Boxster's engine. The 2.5-liter flat-four makes stunning amounts of power, but Porsche must have relaxed its internal NVH standards to get it to pass muster. I can't think of a recent engine, bar the Mitsubishi Mirage's three-cylinder, that sounds or feels worse.

At low revs, the boxer has auditory hints of a WRX STI—if that engine contained ill-fitting pistons made of leaded glass. By 3,000 rpm, the mechanical drone is reminiscent of a 1980s five-cylinder diesel, just without the cool staccato thrum. Near redline, there's more racket and white noise but not a hint of music.

This would be disappointing if this coarse four hadn't replaced an ultrasmooth flat-six that was one of the most aurally scintillating engines. But it did, and that's just not right. - Jason Cammisa

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth front three quarter in motion© Motor Trend Staff 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth front three quarter in motion 1st Place: 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth All

About Smile Power

When it comes to cars, we all have our preferences. We could argue about the relative merits of a turbo engine's midrange torque versus a naturally aspirated engine's instant response. Or whether steering precision is more important than feedback at the wheel. But there's one thing that you can't argue with: the power of a smile.

In this group, the Fiat 124 Abarth had the least powerful engine, but it was also the king of back-road perma-grin. The top-down motoring is enjoyable, but the Fiat is also willing to give it all. To wit: In its driver's seat, I followed the BMW M2, being pushed to its absolute limit by back-road demon Scott Evans (the guy who hated the Fiat.)

Not once in 30 miles of tight, twisty road could he, in the 365-hp M2, pull away from me in the 164-hp Fiat. This isn't because Evans isn't a fast driver (he is), because the BMW isn't quicker (it is), or because it doesn't handle better (it does.) The Fiat kept up with a much more capable car because it earns its driver's trust. That meant I could turn off its overly intrusive stability control and throw it into every corner without fear.

The Abarth keels over with far less body roll than its assembly line cousin, the Mazda Miata, then pitches its rear end 15 degrees sideways and just hangs on forever. Corner after corner, I had the throttle back on the floor before Evans' M2 had even finished settling into the turn. At car-chase speeds, the 1.4-liter Fiat's normally infuriating turbo lag wasn't an issue. All I noticed was its prodigious grip, indefatigable brakes, flawless chassis balance, quick steering, and precise shifter. Oh, and that my face hurt from smiling for so long.

If the Mazda Miata had this suspension when it launched last year, there's a fair chance it would have won both Best Driver's Car and Car of the Year. Similarly, if the Abarth had the Miata's charismatic and quick-responding naturally aspirated engine, I'd have awarded it every trophy we give, including SUV of the Year and Person of the Year. Flawed though the single-cam, port-injected Fiat engine is, it's bolted inside a chassis incredible enough that as a whole sports car, it beat some very serious competitors. Just please don't look at my smile and think I'm joking. This Abarth is no laughing matter. - Jason Cammisa

Chevrolet Camaro 1LE Ford Focus RS BMW M2 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Porsche 718 Boxster S Toyota 86 07© Motor Trend Staff Chevrolet Camaro 1LE Ford Focus RS BMW M2 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Porsche 718 Boxster S Toyota 86 07 The Rebuttal

The Fiata only comes alive when you're hurtling down a back road, caning the car for everything it's worth. Even then, there are pitfalls. That laggy turbo engine is happy to bog down exiting a tight corner if you let the revs drop below 3,000. Don't forget to short shift—the acceleration falls off above 5,000 rpm. That is a really small neighborhood. And keep the radio volume up, too, because the engine never sounds all that good. Where's the pop and snarl of the 500 Abarth? Where's the attitude? The tires complain a lot, too.

You'll also want to watch for bumps in the road because despite the Fiat having less body roll than the Miata, you'll occasionally land on its bump stops. When you do, be prepared to duck because the seat is higher than the Mazda's. Even an average-height driver's hair touches the roof.

Remember those caveats because the Fiata is not very forgiving of mistakes. Drive it the wrong way, and it's all big understeers and not-fun oversteers. You drive on its terms, or the fun goes away. - Scott Evans

Chevrolet Camaro 1LE Ford Focus RS BMW M2 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Porsche 718 Boxster S Toyota 86 05© Motor Trend Staff Chevrolet Camaro 1LE Ford Focus RS BMW M2 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Porsche 718 Boxster S Toyota 86 05
2016 BMW M22017 Chevrolet Camaro (2LT 1LE)2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, RWDFront-engine, RWDFront-engine, RWD
ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged I-6, alum block/head60-deg V-6, alum block/headsTurbocharged I-4, iron block/alum head
VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cylDOHC, 4 valves/cylSOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 181.8 cu in/2,979 cc222.7 cu in/3,649 cc83.5 cu in/1,368 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 10.2:111.5:19.8:1
POWER (SAE NET) 365 hp @ 6,500 rpm335 hp @ 6,800 rpm**164 hp @ 5,500 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 343 lb-ft @ 1,400 rpm*284 lb-ft @ 5,300 rpm**184 lb-ft @ 3,200 rpm
REDLINE 7,000 rpm7,000 rpm6,500 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 9.4 lb/hp10.5 lb/hp15.0 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual6-speed manual6-speed manual
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.46:1/2.93:13.27:1/2.61:13.45:1/2.92:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll barStruts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs,anti-roll barControl arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 15.0:112.1:1-15.1:115.5:1
BRAKES, F; R 15.0-in vented, drilled, 2-pc disc; 14.6-in vented, drilled, 2-pc disc, ABS12.6-in vented disc; 12.4-in vented disc, ABS11.0-in vented disc; 11.0-in disc, ABS
WHEELS, F;R 9.0 x 19-in; 10.0 x 19-in, forged aluminum8.5 x 20-in; 9.5 x 20-in, forged aluminum7.0 x 17-in cast aluminum
TIRES, F;R 245/35ZR19 (93Y); 265/35ZR19 (98Y) Michelin Pilot Super Sport245/40ZR20 95Y; 275/35ZR20 98Y Goodyear Eagle Asymmetric 3205/45R17 84W Bridgestone Potenza RE050A
WHEELBASE 106.0 in110.7 in90.9 in
TRACK, F/R 62.2/63.0 in62.5/63.7 in58.9/59.1 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 176.2 x 73.0 x 55.5 in188.3 x 74.7 x 53.1 in159.6 x 68.5 x 48.5 in
TURNING CIRCLE 38.4 ft38.1 ft30.8 ft
CURB WEIGHT 3,440 lb3,514 lb2,464 lb
WEIGHT DIST, F/R 52/48%52/48%54/46%
HEADROOM, F/R 40.1/36.5 in38.5/33.5 in37.4/- in
LEGROOM, F/R 41.5/33.0 in42.6/29.9 in43.1/- in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 54.4/53.4 in55.0/50.4 in52.1/- in
CARGO VOLUME 13.8 cu ft9.1 cu ft4.9 cu ft
0-30 1.8 sec1.9 sec2.1 sec
0-80 7.28.411.1
0-90 8.910.314.0
QUARTER MILE 13.1 sec @ 106.8 mph13.7 sec @ 101.7 mph14.9 sec @ 92.6 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 106 ft105 ft108 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 1.01 g (avg)1.01 g (avg)0.92 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 24.0 sec @ 0.82 g (avg)24.5 sec @ 0.78 g (avg)25.8 sec @ 0.70 g (avg)
1.6-MI ROAD COURSE LAP 84.27 sec85.19 sec89.05 sec
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 2,300 rpm1,800 rpm2,500 rpm
BASE PRICE $52,695$37,395$29,190
PRICE AS TESTED $54,795$40,690$29,190
AIRBAGS 8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee4: Dual front, front side
BASIC WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles3 yrs/36,000 miles4 yrs/50,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles5 yrs/60,000 miles4 yrs/50,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 4 yrs/Unlimited miles5 yrs/100,000 miles4 yrs/Unlimited miles
FUEL CAPACITY 13.7 gal19.0 gal11.9 gal
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB Not testedNot tested30.4/43.4/35.1 mpg
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 18/26/21 mpg16/28/20 mpg26/35/30 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 187/130 kW-hrs/100 miles211/120 kW-hrs/100 miles130/96 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.93 lb/mile0.98 lb/mile0.66 lb/mile
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premiumUnleaded regularUnleaded premium

*369 lb-ft @ 1,450-4,750 in overboost

** SAE certified

2016 Ford Focus RS2017 Porsche 718 Boxster S2017 Toyota 86
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, AWDMid-engine, RWDFront-engine, RWD
ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged I-4, alum block/headTurbocharged flat-4, alum block/headsFlat-4, alum block/heads
VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cylDOHC, 4 valves/cylDOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 138.0 cu in/2,261 cc152.4 cu in/2,497 cc121.9 cu in/1,998 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 9.4:19.5:112.5:1
POWER (SAE NET) 350 hp @ 6,000 rpm350 hp @ 6,500 rpm205 hp @ 7,000 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 350 lb-ft @ 3,200 rpm309 lb-ft @ 1,900 rpm156 lb-ft @ 6,400 rpm
REDLINE 6,500 rpm7,400 rpm7,500 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 9.9 lb/hp9.0 lb/hp13.4 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual7-speed twin-clutch auto.6-speed manual
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 4.06:1 (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th); 2.95:1 (5th, 6th, R)/2.77:13.62:1/2.24:14.30:1/3.30:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll barStruts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; struts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll barStruts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 15.0:112.5:1-15.5:113.1:1
BRAKES, F; R 13.8-in vented disc; 11.9-in vented disc, ABS13.0-in vented, drilled disc; 11.8-in vented, drilled disc, ABS11.6-in vented disc; 11.4-in vented disc, ABS
WHEELS, F;R 8.0 x 19-in forged aluminum8.0 x 20-in; 10.0 x 20-in, forged aluminum7.0 x 17-in cast aluminum
TIRES, F;R 235/35ZR19 (91Y) Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2235/35ZR20 88Y; 265/35ZR20 95Y Pirelli P Zero N1215/45R17 87W Michelin Primacy HP
WHEELBASE 104.3 in97.4 in101.2 in
TRACK, F/R 60.9/60.0 in59.6/60.6 in59.8/60.6 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 171.7 x 74.1 x 58.0 in172.4 x 70.9 x 50.4 in166.7 x 69.9 x 50.6 in
TURNING CIRCLE 39.4 ft36.0 ft36.1 ft
CURB WEIGHT 3,456 lb3,160 lb2,753 lb
WEIGHT DIST, F/R 59/41%44/56%55/45%
HEADROOM, F/R 38.3/38.0 in39.1/- in37.1/35.0 in
LEGROOM, F/R 43.1/33.2 in42.2/- in41.9/29.9 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 55.6/52.6 in51.3/- in54.5/51.7 in
CARGO VOLUME 19.9 cu ft5.3 (front), 4.4 (rear) cu ft6.9 cu ft
0-30 1.6 sec1.4 sec2.3 sec
0-90 10.97.513.5
0-100 13.89.316.7
QUARTER MILE 13.6 sec @ 99.3 mph12.2 sec @ 112.6 mph14.9 sec @ 94.6 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 110 ft99 ft116 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 1.02 g (avg)1.03 g (avg)0.91 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 24.6 sec @ 0.75 g (avg)23.5 sec @ 0.86 g (avg)26.0 sec @ 0.68 g (avg)
1.6-MI ROAD COURSE LAP 86.01 sec81.87 sec90.36 sec
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 2,250 rpm1,700 rpm2,750 rpm
BASE PRICE $36,995$69,450$27,120
PRICE AS TESTED $41,370$92,910$27,120
AIRBAGS 7: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, driver knee8: Dual front, side, head, knee6: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain
BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles4 yrs/50,000 miles3 yrs/36,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles4 yrs/50,000 miles5 yrs/60,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/60,000 miles4 yrs/50,000 miles2 yrs/25,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 13.7 gal16.9 gal13.2 gal
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB Not tested22.2/39.6/27.7 mpg27.8/37.0/31.3 mpg
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 19/25/22 mpg21/28/24 mpg21/28/24 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 177/135 kW-hrs/100 miles160/120 kW-hrs/100 miles160/120 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.91 lb/mile0.82 lb/mile0.82 lb/mile
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premiumUnleaded premiumUnleaded premium

*369 lb-ft @ 1,450-4,750 in overboost

** SAE certified

Streets of Willow lap times (1.6 mi)
Year Make model trim (option) Time
2015 Nissan GT-R Nismo01:19.07
2014 Nissan GT-R Track Pack01:19.55
2012 Nissan GT-R01:20.25
2011 Chevrolet Corvette Z0601:20.43
2017 Porsche 718 Boxster S (7 PDK)01:21.87
2014 Audi R8 V1001:21.90
2011 Ferrari 458 Italia01:22.30
2014 Jaguar XKR-S GT01:22.50
2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo01:22.68
2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE01:22.70
2015 BMW M401:22.94
2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS (2SS)01:23.15
2011 Ford Shelby GT50001:23.50
2015 BMW M401:23.73
2015 Lexus RC F01:24.05
2016 BMW M2 (6M)01:24.27
2015 Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack01:24.29
2014 Audi RS701:24.30
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 S AMG01:24.71
2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S01:24.80
2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT01:25.11
2017 Chevrolet Camaro 2LT 1LE (6M)01:25.19
2014 Chevrolet SS01:25.71
2016 Chevrolet Camaro RS 2.0L (Summer Tires)01:25.75
2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack01:25.76
2013 Ford Mustang GT Track Pack01:25.80
2016 Ford Focus RS01:26.01
2015 Subaru WRX STI01:26.12
2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG01:26.20
2014 BMW M235i01:26.37
2015 Jaguar XFR S01:26.49
2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat01:26.87
2016 Chevrolet SS01:27.24
2016 Ford Mustang Perf Pack (2.3L EcoBoost)01:27.32
2014 Subaru WRX01:27.32
2013 Subaru Impreza WRX Special Edition01:27.40
2011 BMW M3 Coupe01:27.70
2014 Chrysler 300 SRT801:27.74
2011 Ford Mustang GT01:27.80
2016 Chevrolet Camaro RS 2.0L (A/S Tires)01:28.18
2013 Ford Focus ST01:28.40
2001 BMW M501:28.65
2017 Fiat 124 Spyder Abarth (6M)01:29.05
2013 Ford Mustang V-601:29.10
2013 Hyunda Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec01:29.12
2013 Ford Focus ST01:29.30
2013 MazdaSpeed301:29.50
2014 Ford Focus ST01:29.68
2013 Subaru BRZ (Long Termer)01:30.30
2013 Subaru BRZ Limited01:30.30
2017 Toyota 86 (6M)01:30.36
2013 Scion FR-S01:31.20
2012 Volkswagen GTI DSG01:31.50
2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata01:31.90

A Trip Down Memory Lane: 1967 Camaro 40 Years in the Making .
With so much new technology available on the market to improve the performance of vintage rides, Steve Gray says people can be pretty dismissive when it comes to his classic 1967 Camaro. After all, it's not LS-powered—it just has a little, 400ci small-block Chevrolet with a plate kit. There are no exotic electronics, no EFI, no turbos. Research chevrolet camaro See All Model Years See Pricing Factor in a 3,700-pound travel weight with a driver, small tires, and leaf springs, and Steve says most folks guess it's a low-11-second car. Well, they'd be wrong.

Topical videos:

usr: 3
This is interesting!