MSRP: $23,200 – $37,900
MPG Range: 24 – 24 mpg
Body Style: Convertible, Coupe
MILFORD, MICHIGAN – Chevrolet is staging one of those long, bit-by-bit rollouts of its new King of the Hill Camaro ZL1, and the latest tidbits are power and torque ratings. The 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1 will make 580 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 556 lb-ft of torque at 4200 rpm. That trumps Ford’s Shelby GT500, rated 550 horsepower and 510 foot-pound of torque.
Other Mustangs enjoy serious weight advantages over their Camaro counterparts, though 30 horses and 46 foot-pound could make the ZL1’s likely extra weight easy to overcome. Chevy hasn’t released weight figures yet. First drives are planned for late this year. The ZL1 goes on sale in early 2012 as a ’12 model.
The new musclecar also will benefit from Chevrolet’s newfound interest in chassis refinement, its desire to make the car turn fast as well as go straight fast. GM’s latest version of Magnetic Ride Control, with 1,000 damping adjustments every second, also found in the Corvette ZR1 and Cadillac CTS-v, is standard. It features twin wire/dual coil dampers at each corner. Performance Traction Management (PTM) — designed for both the race course and the drag strip — also comes standard.
PTM HAS FIVE SETTINGS:
Mode 1 – Traction control for wet conditions, with stability control on and Magnetic Ride Control set on Tour.
Mode 2 – Traction control on Sport 1, with stability control on, Magnetic Ride Control on Tour.
Mode 3 – Traction Control on Sport 1, stability control on, Magnetic Ride Control on Sport.
Mode 4 – Traction Control on Sport 2, stability control off, Magnetic Control on Sport.
Mode 5 – Traction control on Race, stability control off, Magnetic Ride Control on Track. Launch control for drag strips (six-speed manual, only).
Chevrolet isn’t talking pricing yet, either, though it’s likely to be competitive with the Shelby GT500, while coming standard with track-ready components that are optional in the Ford, or available through its racing catalogue. The ZL1 will come with an engine oil cooler off the C6 ZR1, a rear differential cooler and a high-performance fuel system. Chevy says about one third of the ZL1’s components are upgraded from the Camaro SS, or are exclusive.
The engine is not. It’s a specially tuned version of the 6.2-liter supercharged LSA small block V-8 also used in the CTS-v. Here, the extra 24 horses come from its unique induction system with a lower-restriction air filter, dual inlet paths and improved supercharger housing airflow. The supercharger intercooler is of a higher efficiency. Transmission options are a six-speed automatic with manumatic control and a Tremec six-speed manual. The ZL1 also becomes the first Camaro to get electric power assisted steering.
Don’t panic. Chevy says the EPAS is a belt-driven system from TRW that will have the feel, feedback and precision you’d expect from such a car. Eliminating this particular parasitic loss can help save power as well as efficiency.
The ZL1 isn’t ready for EPA fuel economy testing yet, and Chevy won’t commit to whether or not its new musclecar will escape the gas-guzzler tax. There’s still more to learn about the ZL1 (and you can be sure we’ll be bringing it all to you), but what we do know for sure is even in the new decade, the Chevy vs. Ford rivalry won’t be relegated to Volt vs. C-Max Energi. With the Camaro ZL1 nearly ready to take on the Shelby GT500, the horsepower race is still on.
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