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Muscle cars used to be adhere to the 'bigger is better' philosophy.

But today, catchphrases like 'there’s no replacement for displacement' are being muted by ideas like 'work smarter, not harder,' especially in the muscle car segment.

As fuel mileage continues to be a top concern among buyers, automakers have been advancing their turbocharged powertrains and cutting weight from their vehicles, ensuring that vehicles are as efficient as possible. And as the EcoBoost four-cylinder-powered Mustang proved, efficient cars don’t always have to sacrifice performance.

Starting with the 2015 model year Mustang, Ford offered an upgraded engine that slotted between the usual V6 and V8 motors and was available with a performance package. A 2.3-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine made marginally more horsepower than the V6, but much more torque. It also promised improved fuel economy over the V6. Muscle car traditionalists decried the decision to include a four-cylinder, but strong sales of the EcoBoost have told a different story.

The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro is following the Ford Mustang by offering a turbo-four in its pony car, but instead uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged motor as the base engine, rather than the mid-level offering. Another departure from the Mustang is that the four-cylinder turbo model won’t be available with a full performance package. Drivers can, however, get upgraded brakes and cooling features.

Fortunately, the sixth-generation Camaro has a number of improvements that make it a solid performer out of the box, with many thanks to the new Alpha platform. First used as the underpinning to the sharp Cadillac ATS sedan, the new Camaro is significantly lighter than the past generation model and is, on average, about 202 pounds lighter than the last generation V6 and V8 models. The new turbo-four model is a whopping 390 lbs lighter than the old V6 model, making it noticeably more nimble and agile.

A quick back-to-back track comparison of the 2015 Camaro V6, 2016 Mustang V6 and 2016 Camaro 2.0T demonstrated the new generation’s advancements in terms of handling, especially in its ability to change directions quickly and handle elevation changes. When driven back-to-back with the new Mustang V6, the Camaro felt stiffer and more responsive, while the Mustang felt large and floaty on the track. Lighter and more rigid, the new Camaro feels confident and more like a real sports coupe when pushed to its limit.
Read more about the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro 2.0T Review at AutoGuide.com.
 
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