03-31-2016, 08:17 PM
MotorTrend choosing the new Camaro SS over the BMW F82 M4 set off a debate on the BoostAddict forums that is still raging. The thing is, much like the MotorTrend comparison, the debate premise is flawed. Why exactly is a BMW M3 or M4 supposed to be cheaper and offer more performance per dollar than a Camaro (or a Mustang for that matter)?
As someone who has purchased more than one BMW M car I never once considered a Camaro or a Mustang instead. For one, the overall package of the American cars was garbage in comparison to BMW. The Americans have improved so comparing a Camaro to a BMW M car is not as crazy as it once was if you actually took the entirety of the car into account but it still is not and it still never will be a direct competitor.
It is pretty much the same thing as the Porsche 911 vs. Chevrolet Corvette debate. It's not that a guy buying a 911 Turbo does not know the Corvette Z06 exists. It is that he does not care about it and does not want the Corvette. Some people will opt for the 911 simply because it is a Porsche and for the prestige factor. Whether the premium is $50k, $100k, whatever, it does not matter.
The Porsche 911 will always be more money than the Chevrolet Corvette and the BMW M3/M4 will always be more money than the Camaro SS. MotorTrend says there is a $35k price difference and states normally you do not compare cars like this. Their reasoning is that the performance numbers are near identical.
You know what other cars are near identical in performance? The $130k Maserati Granturismo and the $33k Mustang GT. Both have naturally aspirated V8's, both are RWD, and both are similarly quick. Where is the comparison test between the two of them to spice things up?
MotorTrend starts off the video comparison they finally uploaded by stating a Camaro to Mustang comparison is boring which is why they brought in the M4. Fine, but understand this is done primarily to drum up interest and get views (which is why this video initially was released to a pay to view subscription channel). Not because the cars are competitors or because this is an honest comparison.
There are many flaws with this comparison. The Camaro and M4 both are not in their highest performance states of trim. The M4 came out well before the Camaro so it makes sense for it to receive a mid-life update. It did. It is called the Competition Package. The M4 is not equipped with it. It is also not equipped with the higher performance DCT transmission. Fair is fair, the Camaro SS should also have all of its top performance options if you want to make this 'objective' as they claim.
MotorTrend fails to mention any other options for these cars when they state they are identical. That is a major failure designed to make this comparison seem 'even' between the two. It is not even and MotorTrend ignores options that significantly would change the numbers and the result in order to maintain the illusion that there is no bias and that this is diligent work. If you have to conceal info to make a comparison seem legitimate it is by default flawed.
Now, that brings us to the drag race. They launched the cars 75 times and state the Camaro won 68 times. Well, where is this data? Do they just average the numbers? Why do we get one set of numbers that favors the Camaro in the drag race when by their own admission the Camaro did lose? Is the Camaro quicker in the 1/4 mile or is it a driver's race? Is MotorTrend just poor at launching BMW's? Do they need better testers? Claiming in the real world that the Camaro is quicker when the BMW is easier to launch with the DCT is misleading.
Despite all of these flaws by MotorTrend the M4 still wins around the track:
They call it a tie. Why is the Camaro having a tenth on the M4 in the 1/4 mile a decisive win yet the M4 winning by over a tenth on the track a tie? You want to know why? Because this comparison is biased.
Look, there are a lot of things wrong with the M4 and M in general. The M4 is heavier than it is supposed to be. It sounds like a blender on a high setting. The balance is not the classic 50/50 any longer. The artificial sound being piped in is a joke. The steering feel is numb and disconnected. Yes, M is not as good as it once was. A win is a win however and MotorTrend only praises the Camaro when the numbers are skewed in its favor yet calls the cars equal when the BMW comes out ahead.
MotorTrend practically pulls a muscle patting Chevy on the back. They actually state who needs different suspension modes or performance modes? Seriously? Pressing a button to tailor the car how you want it is a bad thing?
Ultimately, this does not matter. Nobody buying an M4 is even going to stop to think about the Camaro SS. Those buying a Camaro SS will tell everyone how it compares to an M4 and how MotorTrend likes it better. That helps the Camaro owner validate their cheaper purchase.
Is the Camaro better than it ever has been? Yes. Partially because it was so poor in comparison to BMW for so many years. It's easy to go up when you are so far down. Where the Camaro succeeds is in areas BMW M has failed and areas that used to be M strong points. The responsive naturally aspirated motor, the sound, the feedback, the chassis, and the feel.
Chevrolet deserves credit. They built a great car and GM is building great cars (about time). They do not need MotorTrend to force feed the Camaro down your throat.