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650 reasons to lust after Camaro ZL1

When Chevrolet announced that it was planning something special for its signature muscle car—the Camaro —on its 50th birthday, it wasn’t hyperbole to distract diehard petrol-heads and gear-heads from what Ford was doing with the latest-generation Mustang. With 650hp on tap it is the fastest, most powerful Camaro in the car’s history.

The 2017 ZL1—which will be offered in coupé and convertible form when it goes on sale later this year—uses a 6.2-litre supercharged V8 engine to output 650hp and, when specified with the optional 10-speed automatic transmission, a phenomenal 0-60mph time of 3.5 seconds.

To put those figures into perspective, the current Shelby Mustang GT350 delivers 526hp and a 0-60mph time of 4.3 seconds—or 3.9 seconds in R trim, but that means losing the rear seats to cut weight.

It’s being bruited about as the fastest Camaro in the car’s history with 650 horses on tap.
In fact with 650hp under the hood, the Camaro is as powerful as Chevrolet’s flagship Corvette Z06, yet is twice as practical.

“The Camaro ZL1 offers supercar performance with daily-driver refinement, a combination that stacks up against any other sports coupe—at any price—around the world,” said Steve Majoros, director, Chevrolet marketing.

And at $62,135 for the ZL1 coupe and $69,135 for the drop-top (including destination charges, but not tax, title or other dealer fees), both cars are as competitive on price as they are in terms of performance.

But the company’s not finished there and has decided to make its 1LE track-ready package available as an option on any Camaro, rather than simply the SS model. Depending on the base Camaro model the tweaks can include suspension upgrades, magnetic dampers and an electronic limited-slip differential.

When fitted to the LT model, it results in a 0-60mph time of 5.2 seconds while on the SS, the 0-60mph time is an impressive 4.2 seconds as is the lateral g-force it can handle -- 1.02g.

“Building on Chevrolet’s well-established recipe for track-focused performance, the new 1LE packages expand the performance envelope of the Camaro SS and, for the first time, the Camaro LT,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer.

All of which could give anyone other than the biggest die-hard Ford fans that are taking delivery of a Mustang a tiny pang of regret. However, proving that competition is good for everyone, Ford is reportedly developing an even more potent 800hp Mustang that could make an appearance as early as next January’s Detroit auto show.

Topics: Chevrolet , Camaro ZL1
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