The ultimate muscle-car showdown
Calabogie, Ont. — The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 boasts 6.2-litres of pumped up American V8, a four-lobe Eaton supercharger and a booming exhaust commensurate with its muscle-car status. Given its head and sufficient boost, it will pump out 580 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. Further down the rev scale, there's an almost-as-impressive 556 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm. If Motor Trend magazine's timing is to be trusted, the ZL1 will scoot to 60 mph (96 km/h) in just 3.8 seconds and takes but 12.1 seconds to eclipse the timing light at the end of a quarter mile. Given enough breathing space, it will also creep mighty close to the magical 300 km/h.

And it's the slow car in this comparison test.

2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Ford Shelby GT500(Photo: Justin Couture)

Ladies and gents, the pinnacle of modern muscle

The same specifications for the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500, you see, read like something out of a Lamborghini brochure. This latest rendition of the supercharged 'Stang has a steroidal 662 horsepower on tap (at a heady 6,500 rpm), a whopping 631 lb.-ft. of torque to spin the rear wheels and Motor Trend's stopwatches say the GT500 beats the ZL1 by 0.3 and 0.5 seconds in the aforementioned acceleration runs. Oh, and it'll top out at over 320 kilometres an hour. Did we mention that it only costs $61,699? Were supercar showdowns waged on paper, the Ford would have won this comparison in a walk.

Thankfully, at least for General Motors, there's a lot more to driving than simply dominating the back page of a showroom brochure (do automakers still print those things?). Indeed, in the interest of objectivity, MSN Autos drove both cars for more than 1,000 kilometres and then subjected both to the rigours of the demonically twisty Calabogie Motorsport Park's long track (over five kilometres long and with 20 or 21 corners, depending how you count them). It's a true test of man and machine.