Celebrating American Muscle

© FCA USBorn in the USA
Power and speed — two glorious aspects of the automobile that many Americans still care about when considering a new vehicle. Although driving cleaner, more efficient cars with increasingly better fuel economy is certainly part of the equation, for those who count themselves among true car enthusiasts, it’s still the enticing roar of a big V8 that puts a stomp in the right foot and a smile across the face. Today’s choices for American power are better than ever, with a plethora of high-performance rides available from U.S. companies and brands. Take a look at some of the most powerful American cars, trucks and SUVs on the market today, listed in order by price. Please keep the drooling to a minimum.

© Ford Motor Company2018 Ford Focus RS
Base MSRP: $41,120
Not every American performance car requires a big engine — case in point: the exciting Ford Focus RS. But this is the last opportunity to own one of these high-performance pocket rockets — a limited-edition version will be sold in 2018 as Ford sunsets the current generation of the RS. The Limited Edition RS is available in either Race Red or the signature Nitrous Blue and features a limited-slip differential, carbon-fiber interior trim and gloss-black exterior trim. The Focus RS offers spirited fun, motivated by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine producing an impressive 350 horsepower. Drivers can make proper use of all those ponies via Ford’s specially-developed all-wheel-drive system designed to provide excellent traction and grip for grin-inducing performance. Up to 70 percent of the torque can be diverted to the rear axle, and up to 100 percent of that torque can be sent to each rear wheel.

© Ford Motor Company2018 Ford Focus RS
Sometimes more fun can be had when there isn’t much grip, so Ford bestowed the RS with “drift mode,” specifically for those who like to drive sideways — on racetracks, of course. The RS doesn’t look like the standard-issue Focus — the powerful front end features a bold grille above a deep splitter incorporating a large opening for engine cooling. The other big openings on either side of the grille house fog lights as well as additional air intakes to cool the brakes — these apertures also give the RS a wider stance than the typical Focus. With its big power in a small package, the Focus RS is a great way to get some American muscle in your garage.

© Ford Motor Company2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt
Base MSRP: $46,595
The Mustang is one of the most iconic members of the American muscle family, and for the 2019 model year, Ford introduces the latest version of the Bullitt Mustang. This special Mustang is a nod to the classic movie ‘Bullitt” that features Steve McQueen at the wheel of a 1968 Ford Mustang GT pursuing a Dodge Charger through the streets of San Francisco — arguably one of the best movie chase scenes ever. The 2019 Mustang Bullitt is a proper tribute to the original, swathed in classic Dark Highland Green paint and subtle chrome accents with classic torque thrust 19-inch aluminum wheels. Shadow Black is also available. The interior has a balanced mix of classic and modern touches with an all-digital LCD instrument cluster and available Recaro black leather seats with green accent stitching.

© Ford Motor Company2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt
The nostalgic Mustang gets a performance open air intake, a Mustang Shelby GT350 intake manifold, a larger throttle body and unique powertrain control module calibrations, all of which contribute to the 5.0-liter V8’s output of 480 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough thrust to push this special Mustang to a top speed of 163 mph. The Bullitt possesses a proper manual transmission that features a classic white cue ball shift knob. To create the proper sound, Ford fitted the Bullitt with an active-valve performance exhaust tuned to give the car its signature burble. The new Mustang Bullitt goes on sale this summer.

© Ford Motor Company2018 Ford F-150 Raptor
Base MSRP: $50,675
Ford introduced this off-road performance truck in 2010, and since then there really hasn’t been anything else on the road quite like it. An all-new version of the Raptor rolled out last year, and it improves on the original in just about every way. With a bold grille that sets it apart from other F-150s, the Raptor features a new torque-on-demand 4-wheel-drive system as well as 3.0-inch FOX Racing Shox that provide variable damping rates depending on wheel travel, making for a smoother ride on or off the road.

© Ford Motor Company2018 Ford F-150 Raptor
Powering the Raptor is a twin-turbo 3.5-liter high-output EcoBoost engine that generates 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque, teamed with an advanced 10-speed automatic transmission. To make proper use of all that power, the Raptor features a Terrain Management System is designed to optimize performance for nearly all driving conditions. To showcase the Raptor’s extraordinary capabilities, a stock Raptor (with minor alterations) competed in and completed the grueling Baja 1000 off-road race.

© FCA US2018 Ram 2500 Power Wagon
Base MSRP: $52,495
Ram refers to the Power Wagon as the “most capable off-road truck in America,” and the big pickup received updated styling and features last year. This is the latest in a line of Power Wagons that began in 1945, when the original was the first mass-produced 4WD pickup truck. “Dating back to 1945, the Ram Power Wagon’s heritage holds a distinctive position in the Ram Truck lineup as an example of engineering innovation and off-road capability,” said Director of Ram Truck Engineering Rob Wichman.

© FCA US2018 Ram 2500 Power Wagon
Among the Power Wagon’s impressive capabilities are 14.3 inches of ground clearance, 26 inches of wheel travel and the ability to drive through up to 30 inches of water. Front and rear electronic locking differentials are standard, as is a Warn winch with a 12,000-pound rating mounted to the front bumper. The Power Wagon’s 6.4-liter HEMI V8 engine kicks out 410 horsepower — good enough to tow more than 10,000 pounds. It may not be fast, but for those looking for American muscle, the name says it all.

© General Motors2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Base MSRP: $61,500
Auto enthusiasts rejoice when carmakers try to best each other by adding more and more power to production cars. The Camaro ZL1 is a perfect example of this practice. The ZL1 sports a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that generates an incredible 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. This powerful engine gets teamed with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 10-speed (yes, ten) automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Performance stats are impressive — a sprint to 60 mph takes a mere 3.5 seconds and the quarter mile gets eclipsed in 11.4 seconds.

© General Motors2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
It’s easy to recognize the dominant Camaro when you see it. The ZL1 stands apart from common Camaros with a larger lower grille opening, a carbon-fiber composite hood air extractor, a larger front splitter, wider fenders, a wing-style rear spoiler and 20-inch forged aluminum wheels fitted with Goodyear Eagle F1 high-performance tires. Available as a coupe or convertible, the ZL1 is at home on the street as well as the track —proven when it completed a lap of Germany’s legendary Nurburgring Nordschleife in 7:29.6 — 12 seconds faster than the previous-generation ZL1.

© General Motors2018 Cadillac ATS-V
Price: Starting at $61,595 sedan; $63,795 coupe
Cadillac’s entry-level model is the latest from GM’s premium brand to get the V-Series treatment. Available as a coupe or sedan, the ATS-V is the first use of a twin-turbocharged engine in a V-Series Cadillac. The 3.6-liter V6 produces 464 horsepower and 444 lb-ft of torque, teamed with either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. “As the smallest and lightest V-Series ever, the ATS-V forges a great connection with the driver, with exceptional nimbleness and responsiveness,” said David Leone, Cadillac executive chief engineer.

© General Motors2018 Cadillac ATS-V
This small Cadillac offers impressive performance — 60 mph arrives in just 3.8 seconds and top speed approaches 190 mph. Brembo high-performance brakes provide the necessary stopping power, and GM’s Magnetic Ride Control keeps the ATS-V connected with the road. The ATS-V is also 25 percent stiffer than the standard ATS. It’s easy to spot the ATS-V with its vented carbon-fiber hood, unique front and rear fascias, signature mesh-pattern grille and the wide fender flares that house 18-inch lightweight aluminum wheels. Cadillac has announced that 2018 is the last year for the ATS sedan — so if folks want one, now is the time to act.

© FCA US2018 Dodge Durango SRT
Base MSRP: $62,995
It seems as if big SUVs such as the Dodge Durango have regained ground as a vehicle of choice since the popularity of sport utes continues to grow. But there’s no reason that this big people mover can’t sport a little muscle, so Dodge added the Durango to its lineup of SRT (Street & Racing Technology) models. Under the hood is a 392 cubic inch (6.4-liter) HEMI V8 that makes 475 horsepower. With an 8-speed automatic transmission and sport-tuned full-time all-wheel drive, the big 7-occupant SUV can sprint to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and can cover the 1/4 mile in a mere 12.9 seconds. The Durango SRT also is capable of towing up to 8,700 pounds.

© FCA US2018 Dodge Durango SRT
The Durango SRT stands out from less-powered trims with a wide-body look that includes wheel flares, body-color side rocker panels, an SRT hood with a functional center air inlet and hot air extractor, an SRT grille mesh pattern and a new front fascia that includes cold-air ducting and LED fog lights. At the rear this Durango gets a body-color lower fascia with gloss black accents and 4-inch dual round exhaust tips. Durango SRT also gets big stopping power from 15-inch vented front brake rotors with high-performance 6-piston Brembo calipers, and 13.8-inch rear rotors with 4-piston calipers.

© FCA US LLC2018 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Price: Starting at $66,295
It’s not unusual for an elite sports car to boast 500-plus horsepower, and there are a handful of ultra-exotics from small factories that surpass 700 horses. Then there’s the 4-door, family-size Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. This aptly-named sedan sports a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 engine that boasts a crazy 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. And if all that power doesn’t make this car stand out from the crowd, the final shocker is that this Hellcat comfortably seats five, has all the latest high-tech convenience features, and has road manners that make it pleasant enough to drive every day.

© FCA US2018 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Unlike most family cars, the Hellcat can pass a quarter mile in 11 seconds and boasts a top speed of 204 mph. According to Chrysler, the Charger SRT Hellcat is the fastest, quickest, most powerful production sedan ever. Add the fact that it’s rated at 22 mpg on the highway and priced well below any other sedan with this kind of performance and it’s no wonder why this is one of the most talked-about models in the Dodge lineup.

© FCA US2018 Dodge Challenger Demon
Base MSRP: $83,295
For those who subscribe to the notion that more horsepower is more better, then it doesn’t get much better than this latest Dodge Challenger. The limited-edition Challenger SRT Demon — powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI Demon V8 engine — produces 840 horsepower and 770 lb-ft of torque. The widest Challenger ever, the SRT Demon adds factory-installed fender flares that increase the overall width by 3.5 inches, and up front sits a wide Air Grabber hood scoop — the largest functional hood scoop on a production car.

© FCA US2018 Dodge Challenger Demon
The HEMI Demon V8 is the highest horsepower V8 engine ever offered in a production car, and Dodge claims that it makes the Demon the fastest production car ever. The performance stats are nothing short of amazing: a sprint to 60 mph takes 2.3 seconds, and the Demon can eclipse a quarter mile in an insane 9.65 seconds with a trap speed of 140 miles per hour. The Challenger SRT Demon also is the first production car to lift its front wheels at launch, as certified by Guinness World Records. We should mention that the Demon is indeed street legal.

© FCA US2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
Base MSRP: $86,200
For years there had been rumors about Jeep dropping the vaunted Hellcat engine into a Grand Cherokee. Now the rumors have been put to rest with the introduction of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Taking a page from the Hellcat Guide to Horsepower (not a real book, but one that should be written), this new extreme Jeep boasts a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine producing a massive 707 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque, teamed with an upgraded high-torque capacity TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission and full-time all-wheel drive.

© FCA US2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
The massive engine has already proven itself in Dodge’s Charger Hellcat and Challenger Hellcat, but this is the first application in an all-wheel-drive vehicle. With power being sent to all four wheels, the Trackhawk screams to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds, topping out at 180 mph. Of course, possessing the power to go fast also means needing equal strength to stop, and Jeep has provided high-performance Brembo brakes with 15.75-inch vented rotors up with 6-piston calipers up front and 13.78-inch with 4-piston calipers in the rear. The Trackhawk still has SUV capabilities to accompany its outrageous performance, featuring 8-inches of ground clearance and a tow rating of more than 7,000 pounds.

© General Motors2018 Cadillac CTS-V
Base MSRP: $86,495
If car shoppers are looking for a luxury sedan with outrageous performance, they are no longer limited to offerings from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and other European super sedans. Cadillac offers a superior sport sedan in the extreme CTS-V. The V-Series is Cadillac’s high-performance offering (which began with the 400-horsepower CTS-V in 2004), so it’s fitting that this latest version is the most powerful V-Series ever. At the heart of CTS-V lurks a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine generating 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque, teamed with a quick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission.

© General Motors2018 Cadillac CTS-V
CTS-V drivers will enjoy race-inspired Recaro seats and a thick-rim steering wheel as they accelerate to 60 mph in a mere 3.7 seconds. Magnetic Ride Control adjusts to surface conditions at a rate of 1,000 times per second, and big Brembo brakes along with sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires help keep all that power under control — much-needed features considering the CTS-V is capable of speeds up to 200 mph.

© General Motors2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
Base MSRP: $118,900
The Corvette is the quintessential American sports car, residing at the top of the Chevrolet lineup as the brand’s highest performance offering. Now Chevy’s halo car has risen to new heights with the introduction of the all-new 2019 Corvette ZR1. Although rumors have been circulating among auto pundits about an upcoming mid-engine ‘Vette, this new ZR1 remains a traditional front-engine, rear-drive powerhouse — as many think it should be. Production of the previous ZR1 ended in 2013, coinciding with the rollout of the current-generation Corvette. At the time, the ZR1 was the most powerful and highest-performing Corvette in the company’s history. Not anymore.

© General Motors2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
The new ZR1’s LT5 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine rates a stunning 755 horsepower and 715 lb-ft of torque. The increased performance is largely due to a more efficient supercharger that offers 52 percent more displacement that the Z06’s LT4 supercharger. With that much volume, the ZR1 boasts the highest output ever for a Chevrolet production vehicle. Top speed is expected to exceed 210 mph. Of course, stopping power is just as vital as horsepower, and the ZR1 delivers. Massive 15-inch carbon-ceramic brake rotors occupy all four corners. Up front are 6-piston aluminum calipers, with 4-piston calipers in the rear. Available as a coupe or convertible, the ZR1 stands out from the typical Corvette with a unique rear spoiler and all-new front fascia designed to channel more air for better engine and drivetrain cooling.

© Tesla Motors2018 Tesla Model S P100D
Base MSRP: $135,000 (before tax credits and incentives)
Electric cars are improving every year, with better performance and longer ranges between charges, but no other vehicle has been able to match the Tesla Model S. Although there are new EV offerings coming soon from Jaguar and other European car companies, for now the Model S remains the only mainstream luxury performance sedan powered solely by electricity. The top-of-the-line P100D costs about three times the price of a Nissan LEAF, but buyers get a lot for their money.

© Tesla Motors2018 Tesla Model S P100D
The P100D offers performance that easily matches or bests some of the most powerful gasoline-fueled sport sedans on the market. With two electric motors — one in front and one at the rear — this AWD luxury sedan will hit 60 mph in a mere 2.5 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph. And unlike most electric cars, the Model S P100D can travel up to 315 miles between charges, making it much more useful for everyday driving.

© Tesla Motors2018 Tesla Model X P100D
Base MSRP: $140,000 (before tax credits and incentives)
The Model X is currently the only production electric SUV on the market (Jaguar I-PACE arrives later this year), and this sleek vehicle offers more than simply impressive fuel economy. According to Tesla, the P100D has a range of around 289 miles on a full charge while offering seating for up to seven. The Model X really stands out when the rear Falcon Wing doors swing open, offering easy access to rear seats even in tight parking spaces. Thanks to its lack of an internal combustion engine, the Model X also offers a large front trunk (sometimes called a frunk) in addition to the rear cargo area.

© Tesla Motors2018 Tesla Model X P100D
Like its sedan sibling, the Model X features full-time all-wheel drive with a motor powering each axle. Acceleration is extreme — the Model X P100D can sprint to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds when using “Ludicrous” mode. (Yes, we said Ludicrous.) The Model X also tows up to 5,000 pounds and can be equipped with many high-tech features including a HEPA air filtration system and an enhanced autopilot system.

© Ford Motor Company2018 Ford GT
Base MSRP: $450,000
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford’s 1966 victory at Le Mans, Ford introduced the extreme GT ultra-high-performance supercar as a showcase for the company’s application of race technology, use of lightweight materials, aerodynamics and EcoBoost power. The mid-engine 2-seat coupe has the most powerful production EcoBoost engine ever: a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 producing 647 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque, teamed with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

© Ford Motor Company2018 Ford GT
The sleek body incorporates active aerodynamics such as a deployable rear spoiler, and the GT uses lightweight materials such as carbon fiber and aluminum. Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes provide appropriate stopping power. Even before the Ford GT went into production late in 2016, Ford returned to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a GT race car based on the new Ford GT, winning the LMGTE Pro class 50 years after that first Ford GT win. Due to high demand for this American supercar, Ford accepted applications from interested buyers to determine who would be permitted to purchase this exquisite specimen of American muscle.

© FCA US2019 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye
Base MSRP: $58,650
For those who missed out on the limited-edition Challenger Demon, all is not lost. Dodge has introduced what is best described as a Hellcat possessed — the all-new 2019 Hellcat Redeye. The Hellcat’s new dual-snorkel hood is fitted atop a 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8 straight out of the Demon that generates a mind-blowing 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough power to move this Challenger to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds on its way to a top speed of 203 mph. The Redeye can pass through the quarter mile in an impressive 10.8 seconds at a speed of 131 mph.

© FCA US2019 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye
The Hellcat Redeye will be available in either standard width or widebody. Like the outgoing Demon, the Redeye features 25 major component upgrades, including a larger supercharger, strengthened connecting rods and pistons, high-speed valvetrain and fuel injection systems, as well as an improved lubrication system. But unlike the Demon, this won’t be a limited-edition model — gearheads who want to buy a Hellcat Redeye will be able to do so, according to Dodge. The Redeye is slated to arrive this fall with pricing to be announced closer to the on-sale date.

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