Don't be fooled by its familiar appearance, the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro
is vastly different than its iconic predecessors.
Redesigning the sports coupe was a heady task, especially as its
archrivals, the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger, drive better and
are more powerful than ever. But the new Camaro is aiming to be the
best combination of handling and raw performance, with quick
acceleration and competitive fuel economy. "Redesigning the
Camaro is thrilling and challenging all at once, but the secret is to
offer something more," Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice
president of product development, said in a statement.
It all began with a weight-loss plan. The new Camaro shed more than
200 pounds compared with the outgoing car, with 133 pounds coming from
a lighter body-in-white. Then engineers culled weight nearly
everywhere, using aluminum for the instrumental panel frame and some
suspension components to trim as much fat as possible.
The slimmer body rests on new bones. The Camaro's rear-wheel-drive
platform is lighter and stiffer in a bid to improve handling. It's a
modified version of the underpinnings used by the Cadillac ATS, though
about 70 percent of the architecture is unique to the Camaro. Chevy
said structural rigidity is improved by 28 percent. As you'll see,
healthy doses of Cadillac and Corvette technologies have been used to
bolster the Camaro's drive character and performance. The new car is
also expected to handle better thanks to a slightly smaller footprint.
It is about two inches shorter in length, with most of that due to the
more compact wheelbase. It's also an inch shorter in height and an
inch slimmer in width.
So yes, the Camaro will be leaner, but it will still be plenty mean.
The Camaro SS tops the range (for now) with the Corvette's 6.2-liter
V8 pushing put 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. Known as
the LT1, is has a cast aluminum block and cast aluminum cylinder
heads, and it's fortified with direct injection, variable valve
timing, and cylinder deactivation. About 20 percent of the engine's
parts are said to be unique to the Camaro, including the exhaust
Like the Mustang, the Camaro also gets a four-cylinder engine that
promises to maintain performance and offer improved fuel economy. The
2.0-liter turbocharged engine is rated 275 hp and 295 lb-ft, with
maximum torque available at 3,000 rpm. It also has direct injection,
variable valve timing, and uses aluminum components. Chevy says it
will hit 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds and return more
than 30 miles per gallon on the highway. It's expected to be the most
fuel-efficient Camaro ever, and Chevy is billing this as the standard
engine for the lineup. The naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6, which is
rated at 335 hp and 284 lb-ft, has direct injection, variable valve
timing, and cylinder deactivation. It is slotted in between the
four-cylinder and the V8.
All of the engines can be had with a six-speed manual or an
eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The
four-cylinder and the V6 use General Motors Hydra-Matic 8L45 (tuned
for small engines), while the SS has the 8L90. The V8's manual (a
different version of the Tremec unit than the one used by the smaller
engines) also has active rev matching technology like the Corvette
that blips the throttle during downshifts.
On the road, the new car will be mistaken for nothing other than a
Camaro. The changes are subtle, but meant to call out the car's
renewed attention to weight and handling. We see a tauter appearance
with new proportions. The front gets a grille/head lamp aperture,
which Chevy says is reminiscent of the first-generation Camaro. The
roofline in the rear has a more dramatic, fastback appearance, and the
SS variant gets a spoiler. The roof panel, which we saw called out in
some strange spy shots, is lighter and more rigid. Loyalists will also
note lightly refreshed red, white, and blue Camaro insignias on the
front fenders. Though the car looks similar, it's more aerodynamic
thanks to 350 hours of wind tunnel testing, and Chevy says only two
pieces, the rear bow-tie emblem and the SS badge are carryover.
Inside the cabin, the Camaro gets a new instrument panel. It blends
analogue elements with an available eight-inch center screen that
shows performance, entertainment, and navigation information. Another
eight-inch screen is in the center with the Chevy MyLink system.
Designers also integrated the heating and cooling controls into the
vents, and dressed things up with an available LED ambient lighting
system, which can cue 24 different colors. Drivers can tailor the
shifting, steering, and chassis settings via a new driver mode
selector, which is mounted in the center console.
While the Camaro is different inside and out, the more significant
changes continue under the skin. The car rides on a new multi-link
MacPherson strut front suspension with a double-pivot design that
makes the electric power steering more linear than the current car's
setup. In back is a new five-link independent setup. Brembo brakes are
available throughout the line and are standard on the SS. The SS also
gets Magnetic Ride Control for the first time, which adjusts the
damper settings to improve the car's ride.
"The driving experience is significantly different," Aaron
Link, lead development engineer, said in a statement.
"Immediately, you will notice how much lighter and more nimble
the Camaro feels. That feeling increases when you drive the Camaro
harder it brakes more powerfully, dives into corners quicker, and
accelerates faster than ever."
For now, we'll have to take Link's word on that. While the Camaro was
revealed on Saturday, we are among the lucky few who will get a short
drive in a prototype on Sunday. Come back to Autoblog for our
impressions, and to see if the Chevy delivers on the promise of a
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