May 18, 2015
GM have taken the wraps off the sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro. The new Camaro aims to go toe-to-toe with the latest Ford Mustang.
One of the most striking things about the all-new Camaro is, in fact, the dimensions: the 6th-gen car is actually smaller in length, width and height than the outgoing car. Its very rare indeed these days for a car to get smaller; the Camaro loses an inch or two in each direction. The classic proportions remain intact you’ll never mistake this for anything but a Camaro design director Tom Peters confidently states. The new Camaro appears a crisper, leaner, more-focussed interpretation of its predecessor. The deletion of the bubble arch extensions makes for a more muscular yet tidier flank. The Chevy pulls off a trick that has been the preserve of Audis looking remarkably similar to the outgoing model and yet simultaneously making it look out of date.
Providing the muscle for the range-topping SS version of the new Camaro is the LT1 small-block V8, all 6.2 litres of it. 80% borrowed from the Corvette, it features direct-injection, cylinder shutdown, variable valve timing, and more importantly, headline figures of 455hp and 617Nm. Chevrolet havent let slip any performance figures just yet, but no doubt the new Camaro will be plenty rapid enough. Aiding the performance will be a claimed weight reduction of 90kg over the last generation, with 60.5kg shaved off the bodyshell alone. The new Camaro will also be sold with a naturally-aspirated 3.6 V6 rated at an impressive 335 hp / 385Nm. Countering the Mustang blow-for-blow, there will also be a 2.0 four-cylinder turbo, rated at 275hp / 400Nm. Each engine can be paired with either a six-speed manual (featuring Active Rev Match so you can pretend to be a heel n toe hero) or an eight-speed automatic, with paddles.
As if more proof was needed that the muscle car is trying to be all grown-up, the new Camaro too gets magnetic dampers and a myriad of configurable driving modes. So many are the modes Chevrolet felt the need to provide a reference table. Suffice to say, the options dont break with convention Snow/Ice, Tour, Sport, and for the SS, Track. On top of this, a switchable exhaust is available on the V6 and V8 models. Both of which also feature mechanical sound enhancers arguably totally pointless when you have a stonking great V8 capable of aural wonders all by itself, but the proof will be in the listening.
Inside the new Camaro strays further from the fifth-generation model. It retains two analogue dials, but between them nestles a configurable HD screen. This supplements an 8” touchscreen in the centre console, which sports Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system. Similar to the new Audi TT (a sentence I never thought I’d write when discussing a Camaro!), the heater controls have been integrated into the vents, allowing the button count to be kept low. The cabin is further tidied up by the use of an electronic handbrake. Some traditional muscle car fans may bemoan the loss of the oversteer lever, but there’s plenty of torque available to loosen the rear tyres grip on the tarmac.
Chevrolet will start filling showrooms across America with the new Camaro toward the end of 2015. Whilst the car will make it to Europe, there will be no right-hand drive version, so for the UK the Mustang will hold an advantage. Elsewhere, it’s going to be a hard-fought battle between the yellow bow-tie and the blue oval.
Drawn to cars like a moth to a lightbulb. The automotive world is a life-long obsession for this engineer. If it has four wheels and an engine, chances are he can babble incoherently about it for hours.