New York 2016 Preview: 640 PS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 unleashed

New York 2016 Preview: 640 PS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 unleashed image

Text: Anton Andres / Photos: Chevrolet | posted March 16, 2016 14:41

Most powerful production Camaro to date

Chevrolet is further expanding the Camaro lineup with the addition of the ZL1. This new model now becomes the top of the line Camaro in the range with a significant hike in horsepower and a host of chassis tweaks.

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 rear

“The Camaro ZL1 is designed to excel at everything. It’s a 2+2 coupe offering incredible performance – acceleration, handling and braking – with the highest levels of technology and perfect chassis damping, making it suitable for everyday driving. It will compare well to any sports coupe, at any price and in any setting.” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president of Global Product Development.

Separating the ZL1 from the standard models is a reshaped front bumper with larger air dams, a larger front splitter, unique side skirts, a wing-style rear spoiler and wider front fenders. There is also a new hood, with a carbon fiber insert and heat extractor that pulls hot air from the engine compartment. According to Chevrolet,  the exterior was shaped during more than 100 hours of wind-tunnel testing and on-track validation to improve aerodynamics and cooling for track use. Accordingly, its exterior elements all play a part in managing airflow over, under and through the ZL1.

Camaro ZL1 interior

Inside, it gets a pair of black leather and suede-trimmed Recaro bucket seats with red contrast stitching. More suede trim with red stitching can be seen throughout the cabin, along with ZL1 badging on the Recaro seats plus a flat-bottom steering wheel. Standard in the ZLI is Chevrolet MyLink with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.

Under the hood, the ZL1 features a supercharged LT4 6.2L V-8 Small Block engine which is rated at 640 PS and 868 Nm of torque. It also gets a unique intake and exhaust system tailored specifically for the ZL1. Chevrolet offers two transmission options for the Camaro ZL1; a 6-speed manual and a new 10-speed automatic. Changing gears with the automatic is done via the paddle shifters. According to Chevrolet, the 10-speed automatic allows the engine to remain at optimal rpm levels during acceleration, particularly when exiting corners, for quicker laps and lightning-quick responses on both up- and down-shifts.

Camaro ZL1 on track

Handling upgrades were also made for the Camaro ZL1. It gets Magnetic Ride suspension, Performance Traction Management, electronic limited-slip differential, Custom Launch Control and a Driver Mode Selector. For grip, it gets a staggered Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires mounted on 20-inch forged aluminum wheels. Tire widths measure in at 285/30ZR20 in front and 305/30ZR20 at the back. Stopping power is provided by Brembo brakes with six-piston monobloc front calipers and 390 mm two-piece front rotors.