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Old 09-15-2021, 10:51 AM   #1
455bhp
 
Drives: Mercedes-AMG GT S
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: CA
Posts: 19
SS 1LE vs AMG GT S

Hi all,

I'm an AMG GT S and CTS-V wagon owner but I adore the sixth-gen Camaros and I've considered buying one many times. I recently got a lengthy test drive in a 2019 SS 1LE on my favorite mountain roads, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on the SS 1LE vs AMG GT S!

(My full writeup of the test drive is on my blog.)

Front-end: Both cars have fantastic front-end grip and minimal body roll. The GT S turns in more eagerly thanks to its lighter steering resistance and faster steering ratio. But the SS 1LEís 285/30R20 front tires are 20mm wider than the GT Sís, so the 1LE could have more grip.
Tie

Brakes: Research on the forums suggests the 1LEís brakes are track-ready out of the box, whereas the GT Sís steel brakes need cooling and pad upgrades to keep from fading. (Iíve been okay on stock GT S hardware so far, but Iíve been driving less taxing tracks.) Both cars are completely capable in the canyons.
Win: Camaro

Engine: When fitted with the sports exhaust, the Camaroís LT1 sings glorious (and varied) songs up and down its rev range. The naturally aspirated V8 has the immediate reactions of an electric motor yet climactically builds power to the redline. On the other hand, the GT S barks a monotone baritone belt at all times and delivers as much thrust at 3k RPM as it does at 6k RPM. I thank the twin turbos for the GT Sís greatly superior thrust, but blame them for the slightly dulled throttle response. I also appreciate that the GT S can be run quietly, without overrun burbles, while the SS 1LE cannot.
Tie

Chassis: Both cars have rock-solid bodies that let their suspensions do their best work. But the Camaro SS 1LEís magnetic ride control is far better at delivering a comfortable ride. The GT S rides firmly, with jitters, no matter what mode itís in! Both chassis are capable and confidence-inspiring at the limits. Both condone track driving.
Win: Camaro

Steering: The steering in the GT S ceaselessly hums with tire and suspension feedback. Itís as smooth and slick as a mayonnaise-coated cucumber, yet as loquacious as an inebriated African Grey parrot. Both cars are free of tram lining, but the GT Sís light steering resistance and quick ratio can make it flighty at highway speeds. The Camaro SS 1LEís steering has commendable pace and feelÖfor EPAS. Bumps and some road texture bubble up through the helm. But the steering resistance is overly heavy in Sport and Track modes.
Win: GT S

Transmission: Now Iím really comparing apples to oranges. The Camaroís 6-speed manual is stout and satisfying, with tight throws and clear gates. Its rev-matching program eases the burden of downshifting under heavy braking and even makes stop-and-go commuting a breeze. The GT S, on the other hand, uses a snappy DCT for lightning shifts and is equally adept at (automatically) picking gears on a racetrack or swapping cogs in traffic.
Tie

Cabin: The 2SS is the Camaroís luxury package, and it adds cooled seats, ambient lighting, a pleather glove box covering, padded door cards, and blind-spot monitoring. Yet, the Camaro is far from luxurious: Hollow plastics litter the doors and dash, the crotch-high vents and tilted navigation screen are awkward, and the homely steering wheel wonít win any contests. The seats are mostly comfortableÖunless you want adjustable lumbar support, which I did. In contrast, the GT S has a gorgeous interior thatís dripping with fine leather, aluminum, glass, and carbon fiber. But itís dated: thereís no HUD, Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, and the infotainment system is low-resolution. Its seats are highly adjustable but also firm and cramped. Still, itís a luxury car experience in the GT S and a rental car experience in the Camaro SS.
Win: GT S

Rear-end: With good tires in the drive wheels, both cars are locked to the pavement and easily handle their copious power outputs. Their e-differentials make mincemeat of twisty roads. They are trustworthy steeds that wonít suddenly spit you sideways.
Tie

Cargo capacity: The Camaroís small trunk can be enlarged by folding down the rear seats. (Or you can just throw the luggage on the back seats!) While its trunk canít swallow a full-size spare, it can be loaded with a jack and a large toolbox. The GT S canít even fit the toolbox! Youíll have to unpack the essential tools and lay them in the GT Sís shallow trunk if you plan on torquing your lug nuts at the track. Back seats? Ha! The GT S has none.
Win: Camaro

Exterior styling: The Camaro is wedgy and aggressive, a clear statement of mean-tempered power. The GT S melds aggression with elegance, evoking the iconic sports cars of the 1950s and 1960s yet reminding you of AMGís current might. Random strangers will send kudos and questions at the GT S, while the Camaro will mostly receive disapproving scowls from pedestrians with bleeding eardrums.
Win: GT S



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