Modern American Muscle: Born in the USA

© FCA USModern American Muscle
Power and speed — two glorious aspects of the automobile that many Americans still care about when considering a new vehicle. Sure, the tech advances of electric vehicles and self-driving cars attract the most attention, but 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 modern American muscle are better than ever, with a plethora of high-performance rides available from U.S. companies and brands. But these powerful vehicles aren’t always affordable, and they’re not always cars. Take a look at modern American muscle: cars, trucks and SUVs on the market today — listed in order by price — all born in the USA.

© Ford Motor Company2020 Ford Mustang GT
Base MSRP: $35,880
The Mustang is one of the most iconic members of the American muscle family, available without pause since its introduction in 1965. The current rendition of the Mustang sports a low hood, wide grille and big rear fenders for a positively mean stance. As a sign of the times, Ford recently moved to offering a high-performance EcoBoost turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in the Mustang, but for props as a proper modern American muscle machine, a powerful V8 engine is the way to go. Luckily Ford still offers the 5.0-liter V8 in the Mustang GT in both fastback coupe and convertible form.

© Ford Motor Company2020 Ford Mustang GT
The standard engine in the Mustang GT comes is a 5.0-liter direct-injection V8 unit producing 460 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. Power gets sent to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox — the way it should be for a proper muscle car. Five selectable drive modes are available that include “track” and “dragstrip,” and drivers can measure acceleration and braking via Track Apps. Mustang GT can also be equipped the latest SYNC infotainment system as well as advance driver-assistance features.

© General Motors2020 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Base MSRP: $37,500
A classic muscle car that returned after an eight-year hiatus, Camaro returned to the U.S. market about 10 years ago with styling cues heavily influenced by the 1969 Camaro but as a thoroughly modern performance car. Camaro has undergone several updates in style and performance during the intervening 10 years; last year this American classic received new front-end styling that features signature lighting as well as an extractor-style hood and an open bowtie emblem in the grille, referred to as the “flowtie.” The SS is available as a coupe or convertible and — unlike the original Camaro — this one comes with the latest high-tech safety and convenience features.

© General Motors2020 Chevrolet Camaro SS
The SS may not be the most powerful Camaro available (see the ZL1 later in this list), but it is one of the best values on the market when it comes to power for the dollar. Under the hood lurks a 6.2-liter V8 engine that generates 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque. The standard gearbox is a TREMEC 6-speed manual with Active Rev Matching, but those who prefer to stick with two pedals can opt for the 10-speed automatic transmission. In addition to the powerful V8, the Camaro SS comes with a limited-slip rear differential, Brembo performance brakes, performance suspension, dual exhaust and 20-inch aluminum wheels.

© FCA US2020 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack
Base MSRP: $38,995
This modern-day 4-door muscle car has a full range of powertrain options, but one of the best performance values is the Charger Scat Pack. Although it’s not as powerful as the vaunted Hellcat, the Scat Pack is considerably less expensive. And with an aggressive stance complete with a big hood scoop, a performance grille, a rear spoiler, performance side sills, a 392 HEMI badge and 20-inch black wheels, the Charger Scat Pack certainly looks the part of a muscle car. The Charger Scat Pack also comes with Launch Assist for that optimum blast from a standstill.
Review: Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack
Of course looks don’t make a muscle car, so the Scat Pack has plenty under the hood. Power comes from a 6.4-liter V8 engine producing 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. A standard 8-speed automatic transmission directs all that oomph to the rear wheels — as a car such as this should. The Charger Scat Pack also comes with high-performance suspension, active exhaust, Brembo 4-piston brakes and configurable drive modes to set up the car for comfort or ultimate performance.

© Ford Motor Company2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1
MSRP: $50,000 (est.)
In 1969 the Mach 1 began its reign as one of the most well-known performance Mustangs, offering impressive performance until the mid to late 1970s, with the name appearing again for a short time in the early 2000s. A Mach 1 badge has not adorned a Mustang in 17 years, although for 2020 this label returns to a track-ready Mustang sporting a powerful 5.0-liter V8 engine. “Bold styling, great acceleration and speed – Mach 1 says it all,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s chief operating officer. “This is one of those special Mustangs that truly brings a smile to the faces of our owners, enthusiasts and fans – including me – so there’s never been a better time to bring back Mach 1 and have it go global too,” Farley also noted.

© Ford Motor Company2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1
The latest Mustang Mach 1 gets a specially tuned version of Ford’s 5.0-liter V8 engine to produce 480 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, teamed with the Tremec 6-speed manual gearbox found in the Shelby GT350. With a unique front fascia and grille that mimic the original Mach 1 as well as improve cooling for the big V8, this special Mustang gets hood and body side stripes and a larger rear spoiler in homage to the Mach 1. More than simply a decor package, the Mach 1 gets improved aerodynamics with increased downforce versus the Mustang GT, as well as Brembo 6-piston front brake calipers, unique chassis tuning, enhanced structural bracing and larger front and rear stabilizer bars. The Mustang Mach 1 is expected to arrive in spring 2021.

© Ford Motor Company2020 Ford F-150 Raptor
Base MSRP: $56,440
Ford introduced the Raptor off-road performance truck in 2010, and since then there hasn’t been anything else on the road quite like it. With a bold grille that sets it apart from other F-150s, the Raptor features a clutch-based torque-on-demand transfer case that can automatically distribute torque between the front and rear axles, but also includes a mechanical lock for both 4-wheel-high and 4-wheel-low ranges. The Raptor’s 3.0-inch FOX Racing Shocks provide variable damping rates depending on wheel travel, making for a smoother ride on or off the road.
First Look: 2021 Ford F-150

© Ford Motor Company2020 Ford F-150 Raptor
Powering the Raptor is a twin-turbo 3.5-liter high-output EcoBoost engine generating 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 designed to optimize performance for almost any 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.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Super Duty
Base MSRP: $57,350
Ford introduces a refreshed F-Series Super Duty for the 2020 model year, and in addition to its updated styling the big truck receives new features as well as more capability. Unlike the other vehicles on this list, the Super Duty may not be built for speed, but the truck certainly has big muscle. For those who need maximum towing power, Ford offers the F-450 Super Duty with a 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V8 engine that pumps out 475 horsepower and a class-leading 1,050 lb-ft of torque at only 1600 rpm. With the right configuration — F-450 Super Duty Regular Cab — this heavy-duty truck can tow up to 37,000 pounds — almost five times its own weight.
Review: 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Ford Super Duty
The new Super Duty can do much more than tow massive loads. For those who need to haul gear in the truck bed, there’s a diesel-powered F-350 Super Duty. The F-350 Super Duty Regular Cab 2WD pickup can tote up to 7,850 pounds. For some perspective, this truck could haul a fully-loaded F-150 in its bed — if it would fit.

© General Motors2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Base MSRP: $58,900
After months of rumors about a mid-engine Corvette, Chevrolet has come to market with the eighth generation of this legendary sports car and it is indeed the first mid-engine Corvette in history. “Corvette has always represented the pinnacle of innovation and boundary-pushing at GM. The traditional front-engine vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating the new layout,” said GM President Mark Reuss. Still recognizable as a Corvette but with new styling, the all-new Stingray is designed with better weight distribution, vastly improved performance and a high-tech cockpit.

© General Motors2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Most pundits believe there will be more muscular offerings in its future, but for now the new C8 Corvette gets Chevrolet’s all-new LT2 6.2-liter V8 engine producing 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. No manual transmission is offered — instead, the engine gets teamed with a quick-shifting dual-clutch 8-speed automatic gearbox. This combination allows the Stingray to jump to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds — the fastest time ever for an entry-level Corvette. With a strong, stiff yet lightweight structure as well as ride and handling upgrades, the C8 is a big step forward for the Chevrolet flagship sports car. Corvette is offered as a coupe or convertible.

© General Motors2020 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Base MSRP: $63,000
Auto enthusiasts rejoice when carmakers try to best each other by adding 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 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 Motors2020 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
It’s easy to recognize this 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, which is 12 seconds faster than the previous-generation ZL1.

© FCA US2020 Dodge Durango SRT
Base MSRP: $63,245
Lately big SUVs such as the Dodge Durango have regained ground as vehicles of choice as the popularity of sport-utility vehicles continues to grow. But there’s no reason this big people mover can’t sport a little muscle, so Dodge adds the Durango to its lineup of SRT (Street & Racing Technology) models. Under the hood lurks 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, this big 7-occupant SUV can sprint to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and cover the quarter mile in a mere 12.9 seconds. The Durango SRT also is capable of towing up to 8,700 pounds.

© FCA US2020 Dodge Durango SRT
The 2020 Dodge Durango SRT stands out from lesser-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 has big stopping power from its 15-inch vented front brake rotors with high-performance 6-piston Brembo calipers, and 13.8-inch rear rotors with 4-piston calipers.

© Ford Motor Company2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500
Base MSRP: $70,300
The Shelby name has been associated with Mustang performance since 1965 when — at the behest of Ford — Carroll Shelby built a competition Mustang and the Shelby GT350 was born. Now Ford Performance creates the most capable production car to bear the Shelby name to date: the all-new 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. According to Ford, the Shelby GT500 will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and complete the quarter mile in 10.7 seconds — impressive numbers for a Mustang. Aero and cooling are both important for such a vehicle, so much of the design is functional —including a louvered hood as well as an integrated rear spoiler. The double front grille opening improves airflow for better cooling and contributes more downforce as well.
Review: 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500

© Ford Motor Company2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500
Ford recently announced the new GT 500 will sport a 5.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that produces 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque. Surprisingly, Ford will not offer the GT500 with a manual gearbox; the big V8 gets teamed with a TREMEC 7-speed dual-clutch transmission capable of shifting gears in less than 100 milliseconds. Final performance figures haven’t been announced, but Ford expects this ultimate Mustang will sprint to 60 mph in the 3-second range with top speed likely to approach 200 mph. To manage all that power, the Shelby GT 500 is equipped with Ford Performance-spec Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. Providing the stopping power necessary to corral this Mustang are massive 16.5-inch 2-piece brake rotors with Brembo 6-piston calipers.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody
Price: Starting at $72,095
Dodge has done a miraculous job of taking a platform that dates back to the DaimlerChrysler era and keeping it relevant — even sought after — and certainly enjoyable to drive. With aggressive styling, enormous power and a comfortable cabin that easily seats five, the Charger Hellcat Widebody is the ultimate American family muscle car. The Widebody treatment features wider fender flares integrated into the front and rear fascia that make the body 3.5 inches wider. These larger fenders accommodate 20-inch Carbon Black aluminum wheels shod with massive Pirelli 305/35ZR20 tires. The Widebody treatment not only gives the big Charger a mean look, it also includes unique suspension tuning with Bilstein three-mode adaptive damping, which improves handling and overall performance.
Review: Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody
At the heart of the 2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat is a 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8 engine that produces a prodigious 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. Power gets sent to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. Dodge claims the Charger Hellcat will hit 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and can pass a quarter mile in 10.96 seconds and — with a top speed listed at 196 mph — the Hellcat is one of the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedans in the world. It may be best known for its outrageous performance and power, but the Charger also offers a big, comfortable cabin with the latest infotainment system and comfortable seating up front as well as in back.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye
Base MSRP: $70,595
The Challenger Hellcat is a beast of a car, boasting 717 horsepower — more than most folks will ever need. But what if they do need (read want) more power? Dodge now offers what could be best described as a Hellcat possessed — the Challenger Hellcat Redeye. The Hellcat’s new dual-snorkel hood gets dropped atop a 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8 engine straight out of the now-discontinued 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.
Review: Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceDodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye
The Challenger Hellcat Redeye is available in either standard width or a Widebody package. Like the outgoing Demon, the Redeye features 25 major component upgrades, including a larger supercharger, strengthened connecting rods and pistons, a high-speed valvetrain and fuel injection systems, as well as an improved lubrication system. Unlike the Demon, the Challenger won’t be a limited-edition model — gearheads who want to buy a Hellcat Redeye can get one from their local Dodge dealership.

© FCA US2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye
MSRP: $80,000 (est.)
With its 707-horsepower plant, the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat borders on insanity, but for those muscle-car shoppers ready and willing to cross that border, there is the Charger Hellcat Redeye. Billed as the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world, the 2021 Charger Hellcat Redeye joins the Challenger Hellcat Redeye with a boost in power to 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque. To manage all that power, the Charger Redeye features the Widebody exterior, making room for 20-inch lightweight carbon black wheels fitted with high-performance Pirelli 305/35ZR20 tires.
First Look: Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye

© FCA US2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye
Even as one of the most powerful cars on the road, the Charger Redeye can also be an everyday family car. The big sedan has plenty of room both front and back and comes with the Uconnect infotainment system as well as launch control — sure to be a family favorite. Fuel economy is rated at 22 mpg when driving calmly on the highway; however, at full throttle the Redeye would drain the tank in about 11 minutes. This full-size sedan takes about 3.5 seconds to reach 60 mph and will ultimately reach 203 mph — perfect for that high-performance family outing. The 2021 Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye arrives in showrooms in early 2021.

© FCA US2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock
Base MSRP: $84,000 (est)
Two years ago Dodge created the limited-edition Challenger Demon — an 840-horsepower beast ready to dominate the drag strip straight from the showroom. That car was available for only one model year, and in limited numbers. Now the Dodge brand is ready to drag race again with the all-new Challenger SRT Super Stock. The Super Stock gets built on Dodge’s standard Widebody platform to accommodate very sticky 315/40R18 Nitto NT05R drag radials at each corner, mounted on lightweight 18-inch Low Gloss Granite wheels. The uniquely tuned Bilstein Adaptive Damping Suspension helps shift weight to the rear tires for better traction at launch.
First Look: Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock

© FCA US2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock
The 2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock resides at the top of the SRT horsepower ladder — a long ladder indeed. Under the hood lurks a 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8 engine that powers the Hellcat Redeye, although recalibrated to deliver 807 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful production muscle car available. According to the folks at Dodge, the new SRT Super Stock is now the quickest muscle car on the road. It can scream to 60 mph in a mere 3.25 seconds and will turn a quarter mile in 10.5 seconds at 131 mph. Unlike the Demon, the 2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock is not a limited-edition model — it will be ready for ordering this summer and available to anyone who wants one.

© FCA US LLC2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
Base MSRP: $87,400
For drivers who need a two-row SUV but still want a performance car, Jeep has the perfect solution. Taking a page from the Hellcat Guide to Horsepower (not a real book, but one that should be written), this 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 USJeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
The massive V8 engine in the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk has already proven itself in Dodge’s Charger Hellcat and Challenger Hellcat, and now the first application of this supercharged powerplant in an all-wheel-drive vehicle. With power sent to all four wheels, this 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 the Grand Cherokee has high-performance Brembo brakes with 15.75-inch vented rotors and 6-piston calipers up front, and 13.78-inch rotors 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.

© FCA US2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat
MSRP: $90,000 (est.)
It was bound to happen — Dodge has finally put the powerful Hellcat engine into the Durango SUV, creating what the company is calling a proper 3-row muscle car. With aggressive exterior styling, retuned suspension, big exhaust outlets and massive Brembo brakes, the 2021 Durango Hellcat gets 710 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque out of its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine. Power gets sent to all four wheels, providing enough power and grip to launch this SUV to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and through the quarter mile in a mere 11.5 seconds. Top speed for this SUV is listed at 180 mph.
First Look: 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat

© FCA US2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat
Even while possessing the performance stats of a sports car, the 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat remains a capable SUV. The 2021 Durango Hellcat has a spacious, comfortable interior with seating for six as well as plenty of cargo room. All that muscle can be used for utility as well — the Durango Hellcat can tow up to 8,700 pounds, providing all of the utility expected of an SUV. For those seeking this ultimate muscle-bound family hauler, the Durango Hellcat can be ordered this fall with deliveries early in 2021. Don’t delay — the Durango Hellcat will be sold for the 2021 model year only. And — appropriately for this high-power SUV — they will go fast.

© TeslaTesla Model S Performance
Base MSRP: $94,990
When it comes to modern American muscle, folks typically think of a big V8 with roaring exhaust, but the future of muscle cars could be something quite different — like the Tesla Model S. Electric cars have been improving every year, with better performance and longer ranges between charges, and while there are strong competitors coming from companies such as Porsche and Jaguar, the Model S stands out as the only high-performance luxury sedan made in America. It may not roar like a Hellcat, but the Model S Performance can silently leave the big Dodges in their dust.

© TeslaTesla Model S Performance
The top-level Model S 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 very quick 2.3 seconds and has a top speed of 163 mph. And unlike most current electric cars, the Model S can travel almost 350 miles between charges, making it much more useful for everyday driving.

© TeslaTesla Model X Performance
Base MSRP: $99,990
The Model X was the first production electric SUV on the market, and this sleek vehicle offers more than simply impressive fuel economy. According to Tesla, the Model X Performance has a range of around 305 miles on a full charge while still offering seating for up to seven occupants. The Model X 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.

© TeslaTesla Model X Performance
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 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 CompanyFord 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 CompanyFord GT
The GT’s 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 modern American muscle.

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