2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
The new sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro offers a four-cylinder engine for the first time since the 1980s, and its 1LE handling package is now available for the V-6 model. The Ford Mustang, too, has turned to a turbo four in response to tightening fuel-economy and emissions standards. But lest you think the days of howling, rip-roaring V-8 muscle cars are fading, the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is here to change your mind.
To order your new 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 rival with a brand new 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine for only US$18,000.
The latest ZL1 also weighs 200 pounds less than its predecessor, according to Chevrolet, thanks to the Camaro lineup’s move to GM’s lithe Alpha platform that’s shared with the Cadillac ATS and CTS. This improved power-to-weight ratio should make for blistering acceleration times.
The last Camaro ZL1 we tested in 2014 hit the 60-mph mark in 4.1 seconds and ran the quarter-mile in 12.4. The 455-hp SS version of the new sixth-generation car trumped those numbers with a 3.9-second zero-to-60-mph run and a 12.3-second quarter-mile time. So, yeah, the ZL1 will be hellaciously quick.
The ZL1 comes standard with a six-speed manual with active rev-matching capability, as you’d expect. But the big surprise is that the ZL1 will be the first GM product to offer the new 10-speed automatic transmission. This gearbox, developed in conjunction with crosstown rival Ford, has a 7.39 overall ratio spread, and Chevy says that the smaller ratio gaps between gears help optimize gear selection for acceleration and when exiting corners. Paddle shifters come standard.
During a brief ride-along in a prototype ZL1 automatic, we were especially impressed with the 10-speed’s quick, crisp shifts. This new transmission will also be installed in seven additional models by 2018—we’d guess that the Corvette Z06 and the LT4-powered Cadillac CTS-V might be the next recipients.
Although the ZL1’s horsepower and torque numbers seem strategically designed so as to not upstage the Corvette Z06, the Camaro team took more liberties with the chassis setup. Nearly all of the Z06’s best components are present in the ZL1, from the magnetorheological dampers to an electronically controlled limited-slip differential to GM’s impressive Performance Traction Management system. Standard 20-inch wheels are wrapped with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires in staggered sizes of 285/30 up front and 305/30 at the rear.
The Camaro ZL1’s Brembo brake rotors, although not carbon-ceramic, are humongous 15.4-inch two-piece serving platters (Chevy has not yet shared information on the rear brakes). Those front rotors are actually larger than the standard Z06 units, and they’re only 0.1 inch smaller than the carbon-ceramic rotors offered with the Z06’s upgraded Z07 performance package. Chevy also throws some shade at the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 and its harder-core GT350R variant by saying that the Camaro ZL1 is prepared for track duty without any optional add-ons, as it comes standard with 11 heat exchangers for proper powertrain cooling.