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Car and Driver: ZL1-derful: Chevy Prices Camaro With 650-Horsepower LT4 From $62,135


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2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1


The rumors are true: The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1‘s 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine will produce a full 650 horsepower—10 more horsepower than Chevy initially estimated, and equal to what’s found under the hood of the mighty Corvette Z06. So much for hierarchical order, at least for a year until the Corvette ZR-1 sets things right with more than 700 horsepower.


In spite of the shared horsepower figures, though, Chevy isn’t betting on its most powerful Camaro beating the Z06’s performance figures. No surprise, really, given the Corvette’s role in the lineup and the Camaro’s additional girth, though Chevy claims it took 220 pounds out of the new ZL1. For what it’s worth, our long-term Camaro SS coupe tips the scales at 3718 pounds, or 188 pounds more than the last Z06 coupe we tested with a manual transmission.


Regardless, expect the ZL1 to be one mighty quick pony car. Chevrolet estimates that, when it’s equipped with the optional 10-speed automatic transmission, the LT4-powered Camaro ZL1 coupe will reach 60 mph from a standstill in 3.5 seconds, and that it will pass the quarter-mile pole at 127 mph after 11.4 seconds. Meanwhile, Chevy says its sticky tires are expected to help the ZL1 grip the pavement at a maximum of 1.02 g. (Quick note: Such figures are subject to the testing methods and the diameter of the skidpad used; our own tests usually measure lateral grip on a 300-foot skidpad.)


Compared to a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with an automatic transmission that we tested two years ago, these manufacturer claims for the ZL1 better what we pulled from FCA’s 707-hp coupe by 0.1 second to 60 mph, as well as 0.3 second and 1 mph in the quarter-mile. Although we’re hesitant to rely on Chevrolet’s maximum grip figure, it’s worth noting that our long-term Camaro SS tops the Hellcat’s maximum skidpad lateral g-rating by 0.06 g. Expect the ZL1 to be even grippier when it goes on sale at the end of the year with a base price of $62,135 for the coupe and $69,135 for the convertible.


If the ZL1 is too scary-quick for your tastes or its price simply exceeds budgetary constraints, then consider the track-ready 1LE package.  Chevrolet is democratizing the package, previously limited to V-8 Camaro SS models, by offering it on both V-6 LT and V-8 1SS Camaros. You’ll need to be willing to shift for yourself, though, as the package is offered on manual-transmission Camaros only.


In the case of the V-6, consumers will need to plunk down $4500 for the 1LE package. Doing so brings key Camaro SS suspension components, including its dampers, rear subframe mounts, ball-jointed toe links, and anti-roll bars. Staggered 20-inch wheels wrapped in sticky summer tires, as well as four-piston Brembo front brake calipers, and auxiliary coolers for the engine oil, transmission, and a limited-slip differential round out the package. Adding the 1LE kit to the V-8 Camaro 1SS requires that customers fork over $6500. The extra money buys suspension components from the Camaro ZL1, six-piston Brembo front brake calipers gripping 14.6-inch two-piece rotors, and still includes the limited-slip diff and auxiliary coolers. Both cars wear trim-specific wheels and bodywork, including a black hood and three-piece rear wing.


Frankly we’re just happy to see Chevrolet continue its commitment to creating Camaros that are geared to both the road and the track, although admittedly we’re a little more anxious to get our testing equipment on the beastly ZL1 to see how compares to the, relatively speaking, more mundane 1LE.


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