2012 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe (Base price: $62,165)
2012 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
GM Corp
Can a Cadillac be a muscle car? When it’s packing a 556-hp supercharged V-8 and six-speed manual transmission it can.Most definitely.

The CTS-V is even more powerful than the fearsome Dodge Challenger SRT8, outmuscles the steroidal Camaro Z28, and can even throw down with the Ferrari-kicking Corvette Z06. If its 3.9-second 0-60 capability doesn’t impress you, then its hulking presence ought to do the trick. This coupe weighs in at just over 3,900 pounds — about the same as a midsize, four-door 4WD SUV and nearly 1,000 pounds more than a Porsche 911. Yet it can beat the 911’s acceleration and match its handling too. With its driver-adjustable suspension set to Sport or Touring modes, the CTS-V is capable of pulling 0.9g on a skid pad.

This is truly the Caddy that zigs.

It also stops. In addition to its high-powered engine, the CTS-V comes equipped with high-performance Brembo brakes and oversized rotors to safely pull the beast back from the orbital velocities it’s capable of achieving. But it’s also still a Cadillac, so you can get high-end features such as a 40-gigabyte music-storage hard drive and 10-speaker­ Bose surround-sound stereo, LED accent lighting, real wood trim, and Recaro sport buckets trimmed with ultra-plush microfiber suede inserts.This Caddy is fundamentally a muscle car. It’s big, it’s heavy, it’s rear-wheel-drive, and it has a monster V-8 under that hood.

Turn off the traction control, bring up the revs, sidestep the clutch, and let it rip — twin 50 yards of rubber seared onto the surface is the brutal evidence of your passing.

2012 Chevy Camaro Z28 (Estimated base price: $50,000)
The Camaro made a comeback in 2010 but the ultimate Camaro — the Z28 — has been hibernating.

The same thing happened once before in Camaro’s past. Back in 1975 (and through the ’76 model year), Chevy sold Camaros — but not Z28 Camaros. The times just weren’t right. In the mid ’70s, it was because of high gas prices, inflation, and a perceived wilting of interest in high-powered cars. In 2010, when Camaro made its comeback after an eight-year absence, it was because GM had recently flirted with collapse. It didn’t seem appropriate to bring forth a 500-hp, $50k — and likely 15-mpg — muscle car in that context.

But GM is back, and so is the Z28. Specifications were still preliminary at press time — so preliminary that GM was still keeping all photos of this spiffy new ride to itself — but there’s no doubt that the reborn Z will pack an even mightier punch than the current SS Camaro, which is powered by a 6.2-liter, 426-hp V-8 that can get the car to 60 mph in just under five seconds. Hints of what’s to come can be found by perusing the specs of the current Corvette — from which Camaro sources its mighty V-8s. A version of the Corvette’s standard engine is already doing duty in the Camaro SS. It’s the optional 7.0-liter engine in the Z06 ’Vette that comes in at 505 hp that seems a likely transplant into the latest and greatest Z28.

Holy horsepower! That would be 215 more horsepower than the original 1967 Z28’s 5.0-liter V-8 delivered. And with an expected 0-60 time around four seconds flat, the 2012 Z28 would be around two to three seconds quicker than the original Z too.So much for the good old days. They’re here now.