by: Mike Ginsca,
With its 50 plus years heritage, the Chevrolet Camaro continues to be the thorn in the Ford Mustang’s side. This 6th generation Camaro moves further away from a traditional muscle car and closer to a true sports car. You know, the kind that can go around corners without crashing. With the last generation of Camaro, Chevrolet tried hard to turn it into a sports car by giving it fully independent suspension and more powerful engines but it still felt like it belonged in the 1990’s. With this new one, Chevy tried even harder but is it enough and can it dethrone the current king of muscle car to sports car, the Ford Mustang?
disclaimer: I did not have a lot of time with this vehicle so this is not a full detailed review.
There are many engines that are offered with the Camaro. There’s a 2.0L Turbo, a 3.6L V6, and a 6.2L Supercharged V8. But this is the one you want… well this or the supercharged V8. Anyway, under the hood of this Camaro is a naturally aspirated 6.2L V8 that develops 455hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. With a body weighing in at just under 1,700kg, the V8 engine can propel the Camaro to 100km/h in about 4.2 seconds. That’s BMW M4 territory and the M4 is twice the price. Sure the engine has direct injection and cylinder deactivation for better fuel economy but it’s still an old fashioned pushrod small block. As a result it has old fashioned torque from what feels like idle. If you’re gentle, you can get the car going from a stop without giving it gas if equipped with a manual transmission. That’s how much torque it has.
But power isn’t everything. When the roads get twisty, the new “Alpha” platform that the Camaro sits on, makes the car feel like it belongs in 2018. The overall dimensions of the Chevrolet Camaro have shrunk compared to the last generation as has the weight. It is now just over 200lbs lighter than the outgoing model and it is immediately evident that the new Camaro is a much better handling sports car than the previous generation. It feels nimble and taught around corners with good feedback through the steering wheel. The 4-piston Brembo brakes that the V8 models get are great at bringing the car to a stop in a quick and orderly fashion.
The Chevrolet Camaro SS is not only a fast sports car but it also makes for a good daily commuter. So long as you don’t have to carry a lot of groceries or more than one person at a time, it can be driven in comfort on some of the worst streets a city can throw at it. The suspension not only manages to make the car a delight through corners but it can also absorb imperfections and potholes on city streets with ease. The seats add to the comfort by offering excellent support through corners but they are soft enough to not give you back aches if you use the car for daily commutes.
It also comes as well equipped as the Germans without breaking the bank. You get the usual stuff like climate control, a backup camera, a sunroof, satellite navigation and radio but you can also opt for features like heated and ventilated seats, blind spot alert, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, and Chevrolet’s latest version of MyLink infotainment system that’s available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
Odds and Ends
The redesigned exterior is still reminiscent of the classic Camaros from the late 60’s and early 70’s but it has nice modern touches like the LED daytime running lights and taillights along with angular shapes throughout the front and rear bumpers. On the inside, the Camaro thoroughly looks modern. Gone are the square bezels on the instrument cluster and the square gauges down by the shifter and replaced by modern looking analog gauges and a digital screen displaying various vehicle parameters or infotainment information. There is also an available heads-up display on the SS model for those who want to feel like Maverick in Top Gun.
The interior is a very nice place to look at but unfortunately not so nice to be in. The windows are small and you get a feeling of claustrophobia in addition to the fact that outward visibility is very poor. Also depending on what surface you actually touch, some of the materials feel of good quality whereas others feel like they should belong on the Chevrolet Spark hatchback only and not on a $43,700 CAD sports car.
The Chevrolet Camaro has come a long way in its 50+ year history. From taking on the Mustang in the 60s to now knocking on the door of the more expensive German rivals. It’s hard to ignore the bang for your buck performance that’s packed into the 6th generation Camaro. Sure the interior quality doesn’t stack up to the BMW M4 or Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, but the performance is right up there with them. And in the end, I’d rather have a good sports car and about $40,000 CAD extra to spend on other things.
Thank you to the owner for providing the vehicle.
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.