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Chevy vs. Dodge vs. Ford: Which Ultimate Pony Car Is the 1/4-Mile King?

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 5 days ago Connor Hoffman
 
a car parked on the side of a road: 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, and 2019 Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE

Acceleration times are only one aspect of what makes the complete package. To read our complete take on today's brawniest ponies, check out our comparison test.

a car that has a sign on the side of a road: A Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE, Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye, Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, 2207 horsepower, and a 1/4-mile of asphalt.© Greg Pajo - Car and Driver A Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE, Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye, Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, 2207 horsepower, and a 1/4-mile of asphalt.

High-horsepower American muscle cars and drag racing go together like Dominic Toretto and saying he lives his life a quarter-mile at a time. We're in the midst of an epic horsepower war among the big three, and Dodge set a new standard for over-the-top power with the 840-hp 2018 Challenger SRT Demon. Horsepower isn't everything, though. So, to figure out which one wears the crown when it comes to the quarter-mile, we grabbed a 2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, a 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody, and a 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and set out to settle the debate.

Research the Dodge Challenger on MSN Autos | Find a Dodge Challenger near you

a car driving on a road: Which Ultimate Pony Car Is the 1/4-Mile King?© Greg Pajo - Car and Driver Which Ultimate Pony Car Is the 1/4-Mile King?

The Camaro's launch control programming can be beat. By doing things the old-fashioned way, it jumps off the line the quickest, blasting to 30 mph in 1.4 seconds. The Dodge and the Ford are just behind it, both reaching that speed in 1.7 seconds. Although the Chevy is the first to reach 60 mph—in 3.4 seconds—the GT500 just keeps pulling. It catches its Camaro rival at just over 90 mph, rocketing to 100 mph in 7.1 seconds—three-tenths of a second quicker than the Camaro—and blasting through the quarter-mile in 11.4 seconds at 132 mph. The Camaro follows in 11.5 seconds at 124 mph, and the Challenger Hellcat Redeye is a tenth of a second later doing 128 mph.

Research the Chevrolet Camaro on MSN Autos | Find a Chevrolet Camaro near you

We might be in a horsepower war, but sometimes too much power can be a problem. On non-prepped surfaces with manufacturer-recommended tire pressures, the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, with its massive 797 ponies, had trouble jumping off the line cleanly. Its launch-control programming isn't the best of the bunch, either. Its aggressive intervention to prevent wheelslip can easily be beat with a precise right foot. Launch control did prove to be the quickest method in the 760-hp GT500, though, and it was set to the lowest rpm allowed (1200 rpm) to prevent igniting a rear-tire fire.

a car parked on the side of a road: Which Ultimate Pony Car Is the 1/4-Mile King?© Greg Pajo - Car and Driver Which Ultimate Pony Car Is the 1/4-Mile King?

The heaviest car loses. The Challenger Hellcat Redeye Widebody weighed in at a portly 4529 pounds. That's 470 pounds heavier than the winning Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (at 4059 pounds) and 643 pounds heavier than the Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE (which weighed 3886 pounds). All these engines are big supercharged V-8s, because horsepower. The GT500 is equipped with a double-overhead-cam 5.2-liter V-8; the Camaro ZL1 1LE is powered by the heroic pushrod 6.2-liter V-8; and for the Challenger Hellcat Redeye, it's the boat-anchor iron-block 6.2-liter V-8.

Research the Ford Mustang on MSN Autos | Find a Ford Mustang near you

Dodge may hold the title for the most horsepower in a production American muscle car with the now-out-of-production Challenger SRT Demon, but Ford is the quickest in the race to the quarter-mile. This could change, though, as there are rumors that the next-generation Challenger could have a lighter, track-focused ACR variant. We'll go back to the test track as often as necessary to keep track of who's king of the quarter-mile.

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