American sports cars are known more for their muscle than their handling prowess, but there remains a subset of high performance heavy metal in the U.S. that has been designed not just to blow up dyno charts but also scarf down a road course without breaking a sweat. This new generation of American sports cars includes special editions of old stalwarts, all-new designs, and a few boutique brands that have quietly made names for themselves in the annals of speed. Let’s take a quick look at 8 of the best American sports cars.
1) 2015 Ford Mustang GT
All new for 2015, the Ford Mustang GT is the best example of the latest generation of pony car. Featuring a 5.0-liter V-8 engine, the Mustang GT puts down 435 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. Power is managed with a choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. Even better, the Mustang GT is offered in both fastback and convertible body styles, and a little fresh air will make that power sound even better. A fully redesigned interior, featuring higher quality materials than the previous generation, lends the 2015 Mustang GT a bit of refinement that turns this sports car from a track-only toy to a comfortable everyday option.
2) 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is the most powerful version yet of one of America's favorite domestic sports cars. The Chevy Corvette Z06 features a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine that has been tuned to provide 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, with the option of a seven-speed manual or a new-for-2015 eight-speed automatic gearbox. Like the aforementioned Mustang, the Corvette Z06 is also available either as a coupe or a convertible.
3) 2015 Hennessey Venom GT
The Hennessey Venom GT is one of the fastest production cars in the world, even if it's achieved from a "tuner" approach rather than a ground-up design and build. The Hennessey Venom GT is based on the Lotus Exige, which is a small and lightweight car designed strictly for performance. To achieve supercar status, though, Hennessey stuffs in a twin-turbo 6.2-liter V-8 engine, for an output of 1,244 horsepower and 852 lb-ft of torque. Altogether, the Venom GT weighs less than 3,000 lbs, yet has enough power to hit 200 mph in 14.5 seconds.
4) 2015 Dodge Viper SRT GTS
For a while, the Viper omitted the Dodge branding and wore just the SRT badge, helping promote Dodge’s in-house tuning division. But the Viper recently reclaimed its heritage, and the Dodge Viper SRT GTS returned for 2015. The Viper SRT GTS is the boldest trim level of the two-seat coupe, and it comes with an adjustable suspension system as well as an advanced electronic stability control system. Track-ready rubber is also available, to better control the Viper's 645 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque. The Viper’s power is delivered by an 8.4-liter V-10 engine, paired to a six-speed manual transmission. The 2015 Dodge Viper SRT GTS can hit 60 mph in a tick over three seconds.
5) 2015 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
The 2015 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is in many ways the Bowtie brand's answer to the most powerful Mustang on the market. The Camaro ZL1 features numerous upgrades over the base model, and comes powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine, paired to either a manual or an automatic transmission. This potent combination offers 580 horsepower and 556 lb-ft of torque, for those who want their American muscle as pure and traditional as possible.
6) 2015 SSC Ultimate Aero
The SSC Ultimate Aero is the product of the company that was once-upon-a-time called Shelby SuperCars. The SSC Ultimate Aero was once the fastest production car available, and it’s been usurped only by the Bugatti Veyron. The SSC Ultimate Aero sprints to 60 mph in under three seconds, and it boasts a top speed approaching 260 mph. The SSC Ultimate Aero may not look particularly American, though, using aerodynamics to its advantage for a svelte profile unlike other Stateside sports cars. It hardly matters when the car is moving, though, since the Ultimate Aero’s 6.3-liter V-8 twin-turbo engine produces 1287 horsepower and 1112 lb-ft of torque.
7) 2015 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
The 2015 Cadillac CTS-V coupe might not come from the same sports car DNA as the other members on this list, but the two-door luxury car provides explosive performance thanks to the dedicated efforts of the American brand's engineers. The Cadillac CTS-V coupe offers 556 horsepower and 551 lb-ft of torque from a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8, and it also comes with a magnetically-controlled suspension system in order to keep the heavy car planted through the corners. A six-speed manual transmission is recommended with the CTS-V, although a six-speed automatic featuring a traditional torque converter design is also available.
8) 2015 Factory Five Racing MK4 Roadster
Kit cars are not often considered legitimate production vehicles, but Factory Five Racing has carved out a unique niche amongst Cobra-replica vendors with the Factory Five Racing Roadster. The MK4 version of the Roadster moves the sports car up a notch and enables it to accept a range of power plants, including both the original and the modern 5.0-liter V-8 mills built by Ford. It's possible to spend anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 on a Factory Five Roadster build, and the car's potential for over 500 horsepower, an independent rear suspension, and a curb weight approaching that of a first-generation Miata equals a formula for checkered flag-taking fun.