Can Chevy’s New 2016 Camaro SS Beat BMW’s M4?

The new Camaro SS is arguably way better than the previous model, but is this enough to compete with some of the best out of Europe, say the BMW M4?

On paper, these two are neck-to-neck in almost every comparable figure – bar the price, with the M4 costing $81k and the Camaro SS going for $46k as tested here by Head2Head base prices start at $63,500 for the BMW and $37,295 for the Chevy in 1SS trim.

The BMW M4 produces 425hp out of its turbo straight six engine while the Chevrolet Camaro SS makes 455hp thanks to its 6.2-litre V8 with the torque figure giving a similarly small edge to the American car.

The German car is slightly lighter though which should shift things back to even. Both can be specified with six-speed manuals, both are rear-wheel drive hooligans and both claim to set new performance standards in the segment.

Here’s the thing though; the era when BMW M models were easily justified for their price premium comes to an end and the latest Camaro has nothing to lose against the iconic German model.

Motor Trend
brings the two together in their latest Head2Head episode to find out which one is the conclusive winner.

VIDEO

  • Bo Hanan

    I love my E39 M5, but- can’t think of a better way to show how over rated the M4 is than with the new Camaro. “M” is not the “M” it used to be. Sadly, the E-series cars are the last real M-Cars. The F-cars are all turbo and suffer for it.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      I loved my E39 M5 as well.
      But I can’t help but think these guys are just out to tarnish the Bavarians.
      The F cars are a new era of bimmer. It will take a minute to get used to.
      I’d still take an F10 M5 though.

      • Matt

        Don’t think motortrend is out to give bmw a hard time. Ive been watching them for years and read their magazine before that. They loved the older Ms, especially the M3s to the point that, like many mags, it was the standard for them (just as the 911) for road feel, fun and cornering. But now that other cars have improved in areas they were lacking: corvette got an interior/good seats, c63 got cornering, more road feel, audi did the same. now the new camaro ss lost 200lbs got the vettes engine at full power, started being a sports car with last gens 1le, has one of the best chassis, road feel, a non embarrassing interior and priced $25k less then the m4. Bmws Ms got more expensive, got softer, lost the v8/na 6, lost the feel that made them stand at the top for so long and interior went a little down. While the m4 looks better inside and out to me, plus line of sight aside, it would be an easy choice for me to pick the ss over the m4. The lt4 is phenominal in power, sound and response which added up to such a smug giddy grin everytime i got to drive with it.

        • Andrewthecarguy

          So MT should hire you to tell it like it is.
          I hear you and I espouse the way you explained it…makes it hard for anyone to disagree.
          I guess what’s left for BMW is brand cache. The loyalists like me will continue to find what they like about BMW. I have been upset at BMW in times past for a product I thought was a disaster only to fall in love with said product. Happened with the E65/66 (pre-LCI still sucks) and now happening with the F07.
          Awesome response Matt. A++

  • Kash

    I think a better test would’ve been using automatic gearboxes only because it would’ve given more consistency and there is no room for human error. Manuals aren’t for reviews like this unless you’re reviewing the gearbox specifically or the car only comes with a manual.

    • Six_Tymes

      good point.

    • Kash

      I would like to add this: when they were talking about the camaro’s biggest problem being the bow tie badge and Camaro nameplate on the back i think that’s completely wrong. I think that’s the Camaro’s best feature, especially in this comparison, well the second best thing because the only thing better is the price tag on it.

      Now I would love to see the new ZL1 camaro take on the M4 GTS next. Now i think that would be an interesting comparison.

    • diehard

      My first thought as Well!!!

    • Nigel

      An automatic may remove the human element, but at least manuals are for the most part mechanically equivalent, and in the hands of a skilled driver, the operation of manual transmissions will be very consistent between cars. I will argue that there is a greater variation in performance between automatics due to the significantly different automatic transmission designs. Case in point, the Camaro uses a conventional automatic with a torque converter, and 8 speeds, whereas the BMW ‘automatic’ is actually a dual clutch manual with 7 speeds. Hardly an apples to apples comparison.

      • Kash

        Let’s see, have a human try and shift at the precise points in one of the many cars they drive on a regular basis or have the computer do it because it’s been designed to do that and only that job and can calculate and find the exact perfect moment to shift? hmmmmmm. Yeah Imma go with the auto trannies for that one.

        Out of the 3 guys who drove both these cars in the video I’d only say one of them would be skilled enough to rule out all but a very minute chance of human error and it was neither of the guys in suits. Then there’s the question about which tranny choice is going to be more common? I’d say the automatic will be, so why test the less common option?

        • Nigel

          Unlike a human, a car doesn’t know where it is, what it’s being used for, or what’s going to happen next, so the computer has to make a best guess based on the limited feedback it gets as to when and which gear to shift to. How well it’s able to do that is up to the skill of the programmers, which is a significant source of human error in itself, and what they have to work with. So, there’s still huge variability as a consequence.

          That’s why In anything other than accelerating in a straight line, this is often far from being the right gear, or the “exact perfect moment.” That’s also why automatics have manual modes, but even then, the responsiveness can be unpredictable with conventional torque converter/planetary gear automatics. The gap is closing, but it’s only very recently that automatics have come anywhere close to emulating the human thought process for correctly choosing when and which gear to shift to with any consistency.

          • Kash

            There’s far less room for error in a computer program that’s been written by a half dozen people I guarantee you that. It’s not like these cars wouldn’t be able use the supercomputer crammed into the gearbox to figure out that you’re running around a circuit, nope. Can’t do it, they can shift a gear box and make your entire car function but they can’t figure out you’re running around a track and so they need to adjust the shifting, I mean the Ford Focus can adjust the way it shifts based on who’s driving it by gathering data about the different ways each person drives it so no these cars wouldn’t be able to determine anything similar.

            Automatics have manual modes because it gives people the “best of both worlds in one car!” and allows you feel like you have a manual when you take your daily driver to the track to show off to a bunch of people driving around in Miatas that are zip-tied together. Mostly they’re there to make it easier for people to come to grips with the death of manuals which in the US is something that comes closer with each day, made evident by the lacking number of manuals sold and even more so by the lack of manuals being offered.

  • Six_Tymes

    One of the best videos they have done yet. So, if you get the Camaro up to similar cost of the M4 with say for example the new ZL1 that is soon to come out, it will ruin the m4.

    • Kash

      ruin might be an understatement. obliterate, destroy, bend over a table and turn into a twinkie? yeah. lol.

    • Tumbi Mtika

      Like a lamb to the slaughter…

  • zRoX101

    Great video. I am surprised how far the SS and American cars in general have come close to the German sports cars. The letter M may no longer be the most powerful word but it still and always be the bench mark for them.

    I really wanted to see a comparison of M4 with SS now I want to see what the M2 will do.

    Being an M4 owner, it will be fun to see how M will adapt now. I hope for the best, I look forward for the mid cycle change, the competition package and minor changes.

    Upset yes but congrats to the new SS owners you got a hell of a car.

  • Tumbi Mtika

    This was super professional. Oh who am I kidding? Did anyone catch Lieberman being silently cussed out? Also, “I’ve got the key you stupid @#$%!” LOL!

  • Tumbi Mtika

    Who’s ready for Camaro V Mustang #718 !!!

  • Tumbi Mtika

    I never did like the M4…

  • Andrewthecarguy

    MT is on a crusade to diminish BMW.
    The Camaro is a bargain, much like its big brother Corvette. The same argument can be had for comparing Corvette to Ferrari.
    Is BMW loosing its edge? I think so…it’s all about market share now, if BMW is going to stay alive and thrive.
    Let’s not forget that Camaro came from American taxpayers coffers.

    • Enter Ranting

      As an American, I can say that I’m happy a tiny percentage of my taxes went to save a company that can produce a Chevy that competes and maybe wins a performance competition with the vaunted BMW M Division. To say nothing of all the jobs that were spared by not losing a massive manufacturing asset…

  • KidRed

    So a 6.2l V8 is split second faster than a 3.0l V6 turbo? SHOCKING!!

    • Andrewthecarguy

      And a split second slower on the track

    • Rick Holland

      What’s shocking is the $35,000 price difference. (And if they tested with the 1SS Camero the performance would have been the same but the price difference would be $40,000, exactly half the price for the same performance).

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