Polaris Side-by-Side Squares Off Against Mustang


A muscle car is like a bodybuilder with something to prove. Cars like the Pontiac GTO, Dodge Charger, Pontiac Camaro and the Ford Mustang stand in a class all their own.

Of course, in racing circles, the Mustang can be the butt of some unfair jokes. All things considered, the Mustang is still a legend, so it does have some gravitas on its side. For this reason, it bears repeating here that a 2015 Mustang GT 500, out for the day at a Spokane, Washington drag strip, had its chassis handed to it by not another muscle car, not a qualified dragster, but by a Polaris RZR side by side.

We’re not kidding.

Here’s a sport version of a UTV, looking almost like a Hotwheels car or a radio controlled buggie, revving up next one of the fastest Mustangs ever to roll off the assembly line: The Shelby GT500. The car tops out at 200 mph. We might think the race was over at the line, but the line is a strange shadow junction when it comes to raw torque and the magic rush of 12.2 seconds. The RZR tops out at just 98 mph. That’s still impressive for a UTV, but really just a warm-up for a GT 500.

It seems like an obvious outcome, but the important thing to remember is the colossal difference in weight between the two vehicles. One is packed with horse power and built to withstand it, not to mention built to operate like a typical road car at the same time. The other is essentially an engine and drive train with some seats and a way to control it.

Yes, that’s what happened. The RZR left the GT 500 at the line and pulled out on the quarter mile, leaving the Mustang only just approaching speed when it was all over. The RZR smoked the Mustang, and all anybody can do is argue (or at least cite) the physics involved, because nobody, and especially not any Mustang owners, wants to face the reality that their muscle car was left at the line by a UTV. Maybe next we should pit a GTO against an RZR. We could work down the line and eliminate all doubt.