GM has successfully kept their promise of lighter weight and more power with their new 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, a track car they’re already taunting rivals with by saying Camaro ZL1 vs Everybody.
Given the arena where it plays and what it’s got going, why not taunt the competitors whether they be from Detroit or from around the world. This is because right out of the gate, Chevrolet’s new top-dog Camaro is 200 pounds lighter and 60 horsepower more powerful than before.
Right on the surface, this trumps the Shelby GT350 Mustang in raw horsepower. And while the Dodge Charger Hellcat has some 707 horsepower it also weighs over 500 pounds more, most of that on the front wheels. Some quick math gives the power-to-weight ratio nod to the ZL1.
Making all this happen is the latest generation supercharged LT4 6.2 liter V8, now good for 640 horsepower. Torque is up also by 80 pound-feet also now at 640. The standard gearbox is a six-speed manual transmission but the automatic is something all new.
The Camaro ZL1 will be the first Chevrolet to get a close ratio 10-speed automatic transmission. With a sport calibration that provides automatic rev matching and shift paddles, the new transmission Chevrolet says gives lightning quick shifts up or down.
And with 10 speeds that means that engine can stay in its power band sweet spot more often, and that means more speed whether on the track or wherever you might be. Keeping that power to the ground is a standard electronic limited-slip differential.
Handling is amped up too with GM’s Magnetic Ride suspension and huge ZL1 logo Brembo six-piston calipers that squeeze 15.3-inch two piece rotors up front. These can be seen through its 20-inch forged aluminum wheels, wearing 285 section Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires up front, and 305 at the rear.
The ZL1 also of course comes with lots of visual details unique both inside and out. The interior gets upgraded suede leathers throughout, some excellent sport seats, and a flat bottom steering wheel among other things. And of course there’s the logos where they need to be.
Exterior changes Chevrolet says were all about purpose in managing air flow at speed. Wind-tunnel and track testing to improve both high-speed aerodynamics and cooling shaped things like the new fascia with larger inlets and a more aggressive splitter.
Even the bow-tie is now a “flow-tie”, hollow in the center to allow more air flow, as does its unique grille design. Other obvious adds are the new two-piece hood with a carbon fiber center with heat extractors, and wider front fenders to get air around its wider rubber.
Wider rocker sills also help to keep air flowing down the side and at the rear it of course gets a massive wing-style spoiler for both a visual punch and downforce at speed. It’s all finished off with huge exhaust tips and a new lower rear valance.
In the final statement of Chevrolet’s announcement came a shot across the bow of a major competitor you can probably guess who. They said, “there’s no need to purchase an optional package to make the ZL1 track ready. Track capability comes standard”.
The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 comes to market later this year, with pricing to be announced closer to that time. And I hope, we’ll be getting our first test drive in one very very soon.