Camaro, Mustang try to outgun each other with high-powered V-8s

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News

It's Ford Mustang vs. Chevy Camaro, one more time.

Under the tentative labor pact reached this week between Ford and the UAW, the automaker will retool one of its engine plants to produce a supercharged 5.8-liter V-8.

Until now, the engine fell under the rumor category, the focus of Web site chatter. Now it's official: If the UAW ratifies the contract, the big V-8 will be produced.

The UAW deal doesn't say whether the engine will appear under the hood of a Ford or Lincoln. But the expectation is that the 2013 Mustang Shelby GT500 will be the lucky recipient.

Ed Welburn, GM's head of design, introduced the 2012 Camaro ZL1 at the 2011 Chicago auto show. It packs a 550-horsepower, supercharged V-8 and will be the fastest Camaro ever offered by Chevy when it goes on sale next year. Photo credit: GM

Now, the current GT500 is no slowpoke. The 2012 model has a supercharged, 550-hp, 5.4-liter V-8, pumping out 510 pounds-feet of torque. The 2013 model will be hotter.

Its likely horsepower? Ford isn't talking.

But the 2012 Camaro ZL1 offers a clue to where the Mustang likely is heading.

When sales begin early next year, the newest Camaro ZL1 will pack a supercharged 580-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 with 556 pounds-feet of torque.

You can bet Ford's powertrain engineers are looking for every conceivable way to top Chevy.

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