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Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang offering new technology for 2018

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Three years after a complete redesign for 2015, Ford's given its sporty Mustang a few tweaks for 2018 to help keep it fresh. (KABC)

Three years after a complete redesign for 2015, Ford's given its sporty Mustang a few tweaks for 2018 to help keep it fresh.

It's tough to spot the slight exterior changes, namely a lower hood and different taillights, but there is some new technology inside. The instruments are now LCD instead of physical gauges, so the driver can customize them to suit his or her taste and driving style.

Choose the Mustang GT model, and not only is there now 460 horsepower from the V8 engine, but you can actually change the sound of the exhaust via controls on the dash for baffles in the exhaust pipes. Want to keep the audible thrills building on an open road? You can make the dual exhausts sing a hearty song. Or to keep your neighbors happy, you can make the exhaust nearly silent.

And remember when you dreamed of a "10-speed" bicycle as a kid? Mustangs now have an optional 10-speed automatic transmission, for both fuel savings and performance. It's available with both the V8 in the GT model, and the EcoBoost 4-cylinder base Mustang.

And speaking of performance, the name Saleen has been associated with Mustang performance since the nineteen eighties. And to honor winning the SCCA Endurance Racing Championship 30 years ago, an anniversary Saleen Mustang is being produced, in the same color scheme as the original race car from 1987.

General Tire even got involved making special rubber, as General was Saleen's tire supplier back in the racing days. Saleen is building 30 examples of the special Mustang for a price of $87,000.

Ford first brought out the Mustang as a 1965 model and the car was an immediate success, selling as fast as Ford could build them in three assembly plants. It didn't take Chevrolet long to respond with the Camaro, which debuted for 1967. And in the 50-plus years since, it's been a legendary battle of car culture. Mustang versus Camaro; Ford versus Chevy.

The Camaro is still going strong for 2018 too, and tops the factory performance wars with the ZL1 model. Supercharged 650 horsepower, and an optional track package called 1LE for maximum thrills if you decide to head out for some fun where there are no speed limits. Chevrolet engineers actually track tested the ZL1 1LE on Germany's famed Nurburgring track during the car's development.

The ZL1 was previously only available with a 6-speed manual transmission, but if you don't like to shift your own gears, there's a 10-speed automatic available for the first time. Does that transmission sound familiar? It should, as GM and Ford developed the new transmission jointly, though each fine tunes it to their particular products. So in the gear count, Mustang and Camaro are tied, at 10.

But the bigger debate rages on among enthusiasts: Mustang? Or Camaro? Both are very good. And both are surviving - and even thriving - in this high-tech era.

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