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Question of the Day: Is it OK to Spec a new Camaro or Mustang With a V6?

Question of the Day: Is it OK to Spec a new Camaro or Mustang With a V6?

We recently read some stats that suggested half of new Mustangs and Camaros sold leave the lot equipped with a V6. The V6 motors that Chevy and Ford are offering in the cars are certainly stout for what they are and are light years ahead from the boat anchor six poppers that lived under their hoods for decades. Still though, we don’t think that we could go into a dealer and buy one on purpose. Is that just us being dumb?

It’s totally a generational thing for us. When we were of driving age in the late 1990s the six cylinder options with respect to used Mustangs and Camaros were completely awful. Third-Gen Camaros and Firebirds with that hideous 2.8L engine were slower than an ox cart and sounded like a low budget version of a Nissan VQ engine. We actually had a high school buddy who swapped a V8 IROC exhaust onto his 2.8L powered Camaro and we think the car may have made negative torque after that.

On the Ford side, laying down money for a Fox body with the 3.8L six was not an option either. Our little sister wanted a Mustang for her first car so dad bought one with a blown motor and we swapped in a junkyard 3.8 for her. It sounded like a Ford Ranger and ran like a tug boat.

Those were our experiences with V6 powered pony cars and they were so bad that we still think bad thoughts when the subject comes up. If we were picking a V6 at gun point, we’d opt for the Camaro. We’d still look longingly at the V8 cars when they passed, but there would be some level of pride waxing lots of stuff on the strip and between the stoplights with it.

So here’s the question. Are V6 pony cars just for girls and poseurs or have they raised their level enough in recent years to be considered legit BangShift fodder?


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27 thoughts on “Question of the Day: Is it OK to Spec a new Camaro or Mustang With a V6?

  1. weasel 1

    i grew up in the sixties and always thought they should have V-8’s. i then drove a stock ’12 Camaro with a V-6. damn impressive! i personaly would order one with a V-8, but would be ashamed to drive one with a V-6

  2. joebogey

    In 1969 you could order a new Camaro with a 396ci/350hp V8. In 2013 you can order a 3.6L/323 hp V6. I would not sneeze at that, especially if it’s going to be your daily grinder.

    Also that 323hp V6 tops 9 of 15 engines offered in the Camaro in 1969.

  3. POS Dakota

    I have a new ls3 camaro…there is no way I could go to a v6 after what i have now, but the v6 isnt really a bad engine! It’s not even too bad in the mustangs either. I guess if the v8 option isnt affordable, then the v6 is the next best thing.

    But really the v8 is the only thing that’s gonna give you the full experience.


    I’d buy one but I’m the kind of guy that took a 425 Nailhead out of my Riviera and put a 4.1L Buick Turbo6 in it’s place.

    Bad thing is that I don’t like any of the pony car body styles on the market today though I guess I’d pick a Mustang if I had to. V6’s need a boosted option in either the Camaro or Mustang. The Charger can just suck it and die for all I care.

  5. Whelk

    When I was getting out of high school in the 80’s, There was the Mustang GT with 174 horsepower, or the Camaro Z28 HO with 190. So yeah the V6’s today blow those away. I could live with it.

  6. CharlesW

    I took the family’s 2012 Bunkstang out Saturday night going to the roundly round races when a C4 better pulled up next to me on a access feeder road here which was in a rural area, yea I know what I did was wrong BUT me and the Yvette had a lil green light go-time leaving a light, well I don’t think he was expecting what went down and was easily put in my rear view mirror, maybe he missed a shift or maybe his car he thought was fast is tired of a hard life but with 300hp IMO Im happy with the car and so is my monthly insurance bill

    1. Anonymous


  7. Sid S.

    A new Mustang V-6 Automatic runs the 1/4 in the 13’s at 101 mph!!! (bone stock) That’s faster than a Tri-Power 389 GTO, faster than a 327 Fuelie Corvette, faster than a 440 6-pack Charger, faster than a Shelby GT-500, faster than a 409 SS Impala, by a bunch! I could go on and on.
    All I can say is, “If you haven’t driven one, you don’t have a clue.”

  8. Andy

    Since last year I purchased a new ’12 Camaro Convertible with the V-6, I felt that I would chirp in here.

    The LFX V-6 that is in my Camaro is an excellent running engine, it has plenty of guts. Factory rated at 323 horsepower, hell I had Impalas that had a V-8 rated at 195 HP. This engine is quite responsive for all my driving needs and desires. It is also equipped with a 6-speed stick and is fun to drive.

    Would I have liked to get the SS with 426 HP, sure I would! However, my budget would not allow it, as it is I am paying a quite hefty payment on this 6 holer.

    When I went to FL about a month ago, I rented the Mustang convertible with a V-6 and I gotta say that this was a POS. My Camaro would run circles around it. Of course, I have always been a Chevy guy, so I am somewhat prejudiced.

    There are performance parts out there already for the LFX V-6. Polished throttle bodies, Cold Air intake, performance exhaust. Those three items alone would be good for another 20-25 HP, so the little LFX would be putting out around 350 horses…..not too shabby, in my opinion.

    Plus, I do get around 20 MPG, the SS boys are lucky to get 17 or 18.

    There’s my insight on this debate, I love my LFX V-6 Camaro convertible.

  9. Dan-0

    The V6 would be just fine, but not in stock form. I would have to plant a turbo on it. I have heard that road racers like the V6 Camaro better because it has a closer 50/50 weight ratio. And a Turbo to make up for the horsepower lost to the V8.

  10. OldBob

    I think the LFX V6 certainly deserves some respect. Is the SS still king? Yep. But of all the performance oriented cars I have owned in the many years, only one had more legit HP than the LFX. I can live with that with the other advantages the come with the V6.

  11. arrow1100

    Yes the V6’s are ok
    Good power.
    Lighter handle better
    Better MPG
    Cheaper INS.
    69~70 Dodge challenger T/A with a little 340 6 pack or 440 / hemi
    Camaro with a ” chevey 302 ” or heavy 396 ?
    Both COOL but witch one is better ?
    there not the old 90 hp inline 6 bangers of the past

  12. Barn Engineering

    Having recently decided that my ’94 pickup has served me well all these years and another vehicle (with working wipers and radio) may be required, I was touring the Chevy lot. Would we put one of those 6 bangers into a Vette? No! We gotta show the same respect for the new Camaros and Mustangs.
    Tho, as Andy stated above, the six of today isn’t exactly the one found in the Falcons or Valliant’s of yesteryear – or even the Blue Flame of the ’53 Vette – its still a six. Nobody is kidding me. They sound like sixes driving by. The technology these days has made 6s equal to that of many older V8s. But remember… the V8s of these days kick the crap out of most muscle car mills from back in the day, too. So, for me, modern car, modern V8. If I want a 6, I’ll rent one in Florida or Hawaii from Hertz or Avis, roll down the top,crank up the tunes, and maybe let the wife wear out the tires a bit.

  13. rich hinsley

    I was referring to the low 13’s 1/4 mile with a stock v-6 Mustang auto. Not buying it.

  14. Rich

    I read the Car and Driver review and believe they had a 6 spd with 3;73’s 2012 model and claimed 13’s. I am impressed, even if you can run low 14’s that’s alot of car for the money and mpg. Kudos to Ford but I still love my 6spd Challenger R/T and my first 2 cars were 68 Mustangs.

  15. William Robinson

    I priced up a 13 Mustang up here on the east coast of Canada, thinking I could get a V-6 premium with the track pak option that IIRC was avaliable on tthe 12 premium V-6 Mustang, nope no dice. So here in Canada you need the GT to get the track pak option so It would be the V-8 GT mustang for me. Does anyone know if the track pak option is avaliable on a new V-6 stang in the states?

  16. The Outsider

    I bought a Coyote . . . and a DOHC Cobra before that . . . and a 2.3 Turbo
    SVO before that . . . .

    More sixes are a consequence of fuel economy laws. But the OEMs really should be offering at least two sizes of V8s instead of the current six/V8 choice.

    A two-liter direct injection multi-valve turbo V8 with cylinder deactivation and variable valve timing would be a lot more attractive than even the hyper DOHC sixes they sell now. It would get better fuel economy 95% of the time (part-throttled, running often as a one-liter) and pump out more power and “area under the curve” the other five percent.

    And V8s — regardless of size — will be more attractive for Bangshifting than a “buzzin’ half-dozen.”

  17. Mike Brooks

    V6 camaro’s are good enough for Jeff gordon i guess. That’s a 6 cylinder in that Pepsi commercial.

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