In a time of movement toward green and self-driving vehicles, there’s still  something about muscle cars that speaks to U.S. shoppers. 

“Mustang itself is an icon, and GT500 is the pinnacle,” said Erich Merkle, Head of US Sales Analysis. “The Mustang speaks to the Ford heritage, as an automaker and to our ability to push the performance edge to new frontiers.”

“Here at Dodge, we own who we are and what we build,” said Kevin Hellman, brand manager for the Challenger. “We make no apologies for our sports cars. Our Challenger is an attitude and a lifestyle.”

“Our Corvette has always pushed the boundaries of performance, technology, and design,” said Jennifer Korail, analyst for GM Corporate News. “The Corvette ZR1 is the ultimate expression of that innovation.”

Muscle cars are all about performance, excitement, and thrills. They’re a statement of arrival, figuratively as well as literally. Theories abound for why someone buys a sports car. For most drivers, fun and excitement are at the top of the list.

That's why it's full horsepower ahead for automakers.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

The most powerful street-legal Ford ever, this Mustang boasts 700 horses. Featuring a 5.2-liter, supercharged V-8 mated with a first-in-its-class seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, the GT500 will hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and turn the quarter-mile in less than 11. The all-aluminum V-8 is built by hand, with cylinder heads optimized for maximum airflow, larger forged connecting rods, and internal passages improved for better lubrication and cooling. A 2.65-liter, roots-type supercharger features an air-to-liquid intercooler. A carbon-fiber driveshaft routes all that power to the rear wheels; the dual-clutch transmission is capable of changing gears in less than 100 milliseconds.

“Mention the name Ford, and Mustang is almost always the first association,” Merkle said. “And since the Mustang has such an incredible reputation, it portrays the image of quality and fun that we want to be known for.”

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat/Redeye

The top-of-the-line Challenger comes in two flavors: The renown SRT Hellcat with a 717-horsepower supercharged Hemi V-8, and the pumped-up Redeye with 797 horses. Both have substantial brakes and adaptive suspensions; a standard six-speed manual transmission or a proficient eight-speed automatic that funnels power to the rear wheels. Flared fenders and wider wheels and tires give the Widebody package a distinctive appearance. These power-crazy Challengers don't stint on comfort with a spacious cabin.

“A car like the Challenger is more about attitude than anything,” Hellman said. “Dodge hangs it hat on performance. Our heritage with the Challenger is what our customers connect with. Challenger sets the tone.”

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

This icon begins and ends with the mighty LT5 engine, a supercharged V-8 that generates more than double the horsepower of the V-8 in the 1990 version. The 6.2-liter LT5 features a new 95-mm throttle body, port- and direct-injection fuel delivery, an upgraded crankshaft, a new oiling system, and a new Eaton supercharger. The LT5's intercooler doubles the heat exchange capacity, and there are four new heat exchangers (13 "radiators" in total) tucked within. Combine all of this with the new halo hood, the ZR1 boasts 41 percent more air flow.

“Our customers are passionate enthusiasts who want a no-compromise solution for both track days and weekend getaways,” Korail said. “The ZR1 fits the bill.

“The Corvette is indicative of what Chevrolet and GM are all about,” Korail added. “The Corvette has and will continue to be a beacon for what Chevrolet can build.”