2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS First Drive Review

2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS First Drive ReviewGM’s 10-speed automatic finally trickles down to its iconic pony car

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I’ll start with the former, since that’s what Chevrolet specifically invited me to sample in the mountains of Malibu—but rest assured, I also bothered the carmaker’s reps about the latter. Chevy brought in Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser to run down some of the updates for 2019, starting by talking about how his team wants a holistic lineup that can offer something for everyone: a chicken in every pot, a Camaro in every garage. To get there, Chevy has done the usual refresh work of trimming weight, upgrading the suspension, and adding tech like a rear mirror camera.2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS First Drive Review under the hood2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS First Drive Review rear view

There’s another strategy at play, though. Oppenheiser believes the key to taming the Ford Mustang, which far outpaces Chevy’s sales on the low end of the market, lies in broadening the company’s offerings in a way that will bring down the average transaction price. He pointed to the base LS model, which starts at a cheaper $25,995 and benefits from a lower curb weight, better balance, and a few more standard features. You might cock an eyebrow at this, but the company believes the manual-equipped LS might steal sales from the dwindling world of hot hatches.

But it’s the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS that everyone’s talking about—for reasons good and bad. Paired with the reliable LT1 V-8, the 10-speed transmission is a notable addition; co-developed with Ford, it’s one of the few ‘boxes with a double-digit gear count in the passenger car market. Chevy wants it made very clear that it’s made it distinct, however, with unique software, controls, and some cool add-ons that exist purely for fun.2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS First Drive Review interior2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS First Drive Review under the hood closeup

A new function called “Liftfoot Gear Hold” does exactly what it says in Sport and Track modes: holding the gear you’re in when you lift off the throttle to prevent excessive shifting. Shift behavior itself is algorithmic, responding to how you’re driving; the car’s computer can even read data like g-forces to snap off shifts when it knows you’re trying to have a good time. In manual mode, holding the downshift paddle for 1.25 seconds will force the car to drop the maximum amount of gears for a blast of strength right in the middle of the power band.

There are purposeful pops and crackles in the exhaust—Oppenheiser advised keeping it between 3,000 and 5,000 rpm to enjoy the music—and it automatically downshifts to rev the engine when you put it into Sport or Track mode as if to say, “Okay, let’s do this.” Line lock and launch control make triumphant appearances. It’s supposed to “not feel like a Mustang,” Chevy says, and a classic So-Cal loop in a Crush Orange 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible confirms the modus operandi here.2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS First Drive Review Bowtie2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS First Drive Review headlamp

I drove the Camaro up the Pacific Coast Highway before turning up a freshly-paved Mulholland Highway and giving it the beans, and two things immediately stood out. One, few cars make more sense as a convertible than the mighty ‘Maro. Its bunker-like cabin is markedly improved by removing the roof—doubly so when you’ve got a jewel-like ocean glittering just off the road. And two, the 10-speed is good enough to stand up in a car that most enthusiasts would insist come with a row-your-own manual transmission.

With the slushbox, the engine never felt like it was hunting for any of those 455 horses. At no point did the gear count feel excessive or cumbersome. The ratios are closely spaced in a way that aims to maximize power delivery; more importantly, the algorithmic behavior means the car swaps cogs unobtrusively around town while retaining the racking-a-shotgun shifts you want under heavy acceleration. That learning goes deeper in different performance situations: straight-line speed and technical turns yielded noticeable (and helpful) variances in shift feel.2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS First Drive Review driver's side

In general, the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS a fun, lively thing, a competent athlete that’s completely comfortable with its semi-pro status. The handling is predictable enough to wring it out with confidence even with its propensity to push through tighter turns. I’ll need to spend more than a couple hours with it to give a final verdict, but the 10-speed transmission is looking like a great addition to a classic badge.

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Source: 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS First Drive Review: 10-Speed Automatic Helps This Muscle Car Gallop – The Drive

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Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE: 4th Place – 2017 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car

Camaro on Motor Trend's best driver's car listThe Camaro is the most track-capable road car GM has ever sold, and is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 producing 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque.

We’ve all heard about the bad old days at GM when no car was allowed to challenge the Corvette’s performance supremacy. Those days are long dead. Team Camaro has applied its 1LE handling philosophy to the monstrously powerful ZL1, and the resulting monster is the most track-capable road car GM has ever sold.

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Up front, the standard Camaro ZL1’s 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 still makes 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque because frankly it didn’t need to make more. Being an enthusiast’s car, a six-speed manual is the only transmission on offer. An electronically controlled differential rounds out the powertrain. Out at the corners, magnetic shocks are replaced with Multimatic spool-valve shocks, and like the rest of the suspension, they’re hard-mounted with metal bushings, not rubber. The ride height, front camber, and rear anti-roll bar are all manually adjustable. A bigger grille improves cooling, and dive planes on the front corners and a massive rear wing provide downforce across the car. Equally massive brakes do the stopping.

 Put it all together, nail the launch, and you’ll see 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and an 11.7-second quarter mile at 123 mph flat. Going the other way, the 3,837-pound ZL1 1LE will stop from 60 mph in a scant 91 feet. Put it on a skidpad, and it’ll pull 1.11 average g. Fling it at the figure eight, and you’ll get a 23.0-second lap at 0.93 average g.

WE SAY

“This car needs five-point harnesses because the dampers are so unforgiving. It’s true this 1LE has incredible grip; however, the compression damping is way too harsh while the rebound damping is just right. I’m not sure where they tuned this, but it clearly did not have a lot of bumps and jumps. The steering is freakishly quick. It took me three corners to calm my hands down, so I didn’t steer into and across the apex. The power seems to be well matched for the chassis, for a change, unlike the Z06. Third gear seemed very tractable and had a wide bandwidth. This feels like what I imagine a ’60s-’70s Trans Am car would be like.” – Chris Walton

“I know Jonny loves this car, but I just can’t warm to it. Probably because I’ve lost all my fillings, and my kidneys are bruised. With the exception of the best roads, the ride in this Camaro is punishing. I’ve encountered smoother paint mixers. I had to remind myself that based on the numbers, this car is fantastic. Endless grip, fade-free brakes, abundant horsepower. But the thing is, I didn’t care. The bouncing was so bad that I found myself reacting to that instead of focusing on sheer act of driving. The Camaro might be brilliant on the track, but I wouldn’t want to drive this to get there.” – Derek Powell

If you like this story you may enjoy 2017 Camaro versus 2017 Mustang.

Source: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE: 4th Place – 2017 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car – Motor Trend

chevrolet camaro zl1 1le

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Won't Be Sold in EuropeThe extra bodywork on the fastest Camaro ever makes it hazardous to European pedestrians.

The 650-horsepower Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, the boss of the sixth-generation Camaros, will not be available in Europe. You might think it’s because of limited availability, low demand, or emissions, but it’s for a much weirder reason. According to a feature from Motor Trend, the ZL1 1LE is illegal to sell in Europe because the aerodynamic bodywork is too dangerous for pedestrians.

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Won't Be Sold in Europe because of body panelsA weapon on the track, Europe is worried this car would quite literally be a weapon on the street. Additional bodywork exclusive to the ZL1 1LE includes a huge front splitter and dive planes which serve a functional purpose in improving downforce and cooling. The fact that it all makes the car look badass is just a bonus.

Unfortunately, those extra wings and blades sticking out of the Camaro’s beautiful face are just too extreme for European roads. Getting hit by a standard Camaro would be bad enough, but to get run over by a ZL1 1LE would ruin your whole day with that extra bodywork attacking you, according to the report.

If these aero mods were purely cosmetic, it would be easy for Chevy to bust them off or just swap out the front end with a regular Camaro to make it legal in Europe. However, since it’s all functional and pretty important for making the ZL1 1LE the car that it is, this beauty just won’t fly across the pond.

The Camaro ZL1 1LE eats up the Nurburgring in just 7:16.04, which is 16 seconds faster than a Shelby Mustang GT350 R. The track is where this car was born—and unfortunately, that’s where it will stay as far as Europe is concerned. Our friends in Europe will have to settle for the “milquetoast” Camaro ZL1 without the 1LE track package.

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Ron Westphal Chevrolet is located in Aurora, IL.  We serve clients in Chicago, Downers Grove, Plainfield, Joliet, Bolingbrook, Wheaton, Elburn, Yorkville, Plano, Sandwich, St. Charles, Batavia and more.

Source: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Won’t Be Sold in Europe Because the Aerodynamics Are Too Dangerous – The Drive

2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Sets Camaro Lap Record At The Nürburgring

2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Officially, the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE is the fastest Camaro around the Nürburgring. With a lap time of 7:16.04, this track-day car is in good company on the leaderboard.

The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE can’t be called a muscle car. It’s got so much rework going into its aerodynamics, suspension setup and construction that the car is more of a track-day machine than a raw muscle car built for straight-line blasts.

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And to prove that the ZL1 1LE is something that the Europeans, the Japanese and the Italians should be scared of, Chevrolet unleashed their track monster on the Nürburgring. The car didn’t disappoint at all. Posting a lap time of 7:16.04, the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE is now the fastest Camaro around the Green Hell. That’s 13 seconds faster than the Camaro ZL1.

The lap time places the Chevy at the 14th spot on the Nürburgring’s Top 100 leaderboard. The Camaro ZL1 is at seat number 36 and the spots between those two are populated with the likes of the Nissan GT-R, the Ferrari 488 GTB, McLaren MP4-12C, Porsches and the Chevy Corvette ZR1 among other fast cars.2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

So how does the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE turn out to be much faster around the German track when its 650 hp L4 supercharged V8 powerplant is more or less the same as the one found under the regular ZL1? To begin with, the aero kit is not for endowing the ZL1 1LE with menacing looks. Everything from that massive rear wing to the front dive planes work to create downforce strong enough to keep the car glued to the road and the Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R summer-only tires do the rest. The Multimatic DSSV suspension is far superior to the Magnetic Ride Control setup found in the standard ZL1 and is better for the role of a track-day car. It’s also lighter than the ZL1 by 27 kg.

Chevrolet has released the onboard video of the lap and the driver toils a lot throughout the run since the car has a 6-speed manual transmission (Thank you, Chevy!) The driver’s right arm is extremely busy as seen in the clip. Err… that didn’t sound right, did it?

Source: 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Sets Camaro Lap Record At The Nürburgring