What’s a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 then?
The most muscular version of Chevy’s pony car, with a supercharged V8 producing 640bhp. Unlike most muscle cars, though, it should be able go round corners, too.
What do I need to know?
Lesser Camaros are a vast improvement on the old car, with a lighter, more rigid chassis – shared with the Cadillac ATS – producing ride and handling not that far off European competition like the BMW 4-Series.
The chassis has to work hard here, containing all 640bhp and 640lb/ft of torque served up by the s’charged, 6.2-litre V8 LT4 motor, borrowed from the Corvette Z06. In standard form it’s attached to a six-speed manual gearbox with rev-matching on downshifts, but there’s also the option of a new 10-speed automatic (co-developed with Ford).
Supercar-baiting performance is the result. The manual car posts a 0-60mph time of 4.0secs with a top speed of 180mph; the auto manages 3.9secs and 184mph.
If you’re thinking the ZL1 is a straight-line specialist, then think again. The latest version of GM’s Magnetic Ride variable dampers features alongside Performance Traction Management, electronic limited-slip diff, launch control, drive mode selector, vast Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tyres wrapped around 20in forged wheels and Brembo brakes with six-piston front calipers.
According to development boss Mark Reuss: “The Camaro ZL1 is designed to excel at everything. It’s a 2+2 coupe offering incredible performance – acceleration, braking and handling – with the highest levels of technology and perfect chassis damping, making it suitable for everyday driving. It will compare well to any sports coupe, at any price and in any setting.”
Brave words. Take performance out of the equation and the ZL1’s nearest competition will be the BMW M4, Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe and Shelby Mustang GT350R, not cars short on talent.
The styling has been heavily revised, mostly in the search for improved aero and cooling. The splitters, skirts and rear spoiler look a bit ‘tacked on’ for our liking, while the air intakes are big enough to inhale a Labrador. It’s definitely intimidating, though.
How much does it cost?
No official word yet, but bare in mind the Zl1’s closest homegrown rival, the Mustang GT350R, costs $61,000.
When can I buy one?
Late this year, if you live in the States. On this side of the Atlantic, you’ll have to import one privately.
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By Only Motors