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Old 01-27-2011, 01:22 PM   #1
nick at night
 
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Post Camaro Convertible First Drive Review by Jalopnik

2011 Chevy Camaro Convertible: First Drive

Full review at http://jalopnik.com/5743351/2011-che...le-first-drive

Quote:
The Chevy Camaro convertible drives just like the Chevy Camaro coupe... except with one key difference; with the top down you can actually see out the back of it.

Camaro's been fighting the new Mustang for over a year now like a heavyweight with one hand tied behind his back. While the 'stang comes in three flavors — coupe, convertible and GT500, the Camaro comes in one. Despite the handicap, Chevy beat Ford in muscle car sales this past year for the first time in two decades.

That's because although I was out here in sunny Southern California four years ago to drive the Chevy Camaro Convertible concept, that whole "Carpocalypse" thing got in the way of GM actually producing the real thing.

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Until now. With this summer's introduction of the 2011 Chevy Camaro Convertible, the bowtie-badged brand's getting a second stocky fist to pummel its crosstown rivals as both continue their UFC-like muscle car war (let's just ignore Dodge and the Challenger for a moment. As sales would indicate, buyers are ignoring them too).

The first thing you notice when you step into the drop-top with the top down is how much more vision you have. It's refreshing, especially after driving the Camaro coupe, which, thanks to its massive C-pillar, is sort of like driving around in a small cave. Although that might do a disservice to caves. Whatever. Anyway, the act of removing the entire roof of a car tends to fix that problem.

Like its hard-topped brother, the Camaro convertible comes in the same trim levels and engine choices. The base model gets the same 312 horsepower direct-injection V6 engine. I have no idea how that engine performs but I'm sure someone does. I spent yesterday driving an LS3-flavored Camaro SS convertible and I'm happy to report that the glorious 6.2-liter V8 throws down its phallic 426 horsepower gauntlet with the same level of satisfaction it always does.

To gain access to that beating V8 heart, you'll get a standard six-speed manual transmission. We also here there's an optional six-speed automatic, but like the V6, we don't know nuthin' about it.

With the manual gearbox and the V8, the convertible is just a touch slower than the Coupe, but at a tenth of a second, it's a difference indistinguishable to anyone but V-Box-wielding buff book writers. Sadly, none were available yesterday to help us distinguish between the two. In my not-yet-patented stoplight-to-stoplight test in downtown San Diego, I found little to complain about in the acceleration department.

But frankly, you can put an LS engine in pretty much anything and I'm a happy camper. Note to GM engineers: Please stop looking at me funny every time I bring up the idea of an LS-engined Chevy Cruze. I think it'll work and that's all that matters, OK? Stop laughing. It's really not nice. Thanks.

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I digress. Back to the topless mullet-mad muscle car.

So acceleration's good. What about handling dynamics? Well, to talk about handling you have to poke a very touchy subject for Chevy — weight.

No surprise — the convertible's even heavier than the coupe. What was a really beefy car before is even more husky with its top off. And if the Camaro's Cartman-like 3,849 lb. (for the SS with a manual transmission) weight made you queasy, then you'll lose your lunch over the drop-top's super heavyweight class-level 4,116 lb. weight.

But, what do you expect? It's a convertible, it needs to be bigger-boned to increase stiffness lost from dropping that claustrophobic top. Even more so in the case of the Camaro as Chevy tells us that they simply were not willing to soften the suspension. It's a point Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser made abundantly clear to me every time I needled him over the weight gain as we drove through the first half of our day near the Mexican border.

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Oppenheiser explained that Chevy, in addition to a big top crossbar, added four strategic reinforcements to achieve a level of torsional stiffness just a touch shy of the coupe. The first is a tower-to-tower brace under the hood, the second is a transmission support reinforcement brace, third is an underbody tunnel brace and fourth is front and rear underbody "V" braces.

On the tight-and-twisties South of San Diego, the added reinforcement pays off. This is no boulevard cruiser like your pappy used to drive. In almost every way — from donuts to oversteer — the Camaro convertible feels exactly like the Camaro coupe.

Look, here's the thing about the Chevy Camaro Convertible — like the coupe, it's an acquired taste. The positives and negatives of one all still apply to the other. Except you can see out the back of this one.

http://jalopnik.com/5743351/2011-che...le-first-drive
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Old 01-27-2011, 01:56 PM   #2
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Sounds like a nice, positive review
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:27 PM   #3
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I can't wait to pick mine up in a few weeks from my dealer
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:38 PM   #4
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I can't wait to pick mine up in a few weeks from my dealer
Few... "weeks"?????? Im jealous! I ordered in beginning of Nov and im still a good month out from delivery!
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:41 PM   #5
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Motortrend and jaopnik need to stick with the chevy cruze when it comes to testing a car. There is no way what so ever anything wrong with the visibility in the Camaro I mastered seeing out of it from the moment I stuck the keys in the ignition.
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:03 PM   #6
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Love the color! Love the car! Not sold on the XM/OnStar fin! Please GM, take it off!
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:05 PM   #7
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Love the color! Love the car! Not sold on the XM/OnStar fin! Please GM, take it off!
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jekyll-N-Hyde View Post
Motortrend and jaopnik need to stick with the chevy cruze when it comes to testing a car. There is no way what so ever anything wrong with the visibility in the Camaro I mastered seeing out of it from the moment I stuck the keys in the ignition.
I agree...whats the big problem with the visibility? If you know how to drive...its hardly an issue.
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:34 PM   #9
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Motortrend and jaopnik need to stick with the chevy cruze when it comes to testing a car. There is no way what so ever anything wrong with the visibility in the Camaro I mastered seeing out of it from the moment I stuck the keys in the ignition.
I'll second that.
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:41 PM   #10
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I agree that the Onstar/XM sharkfin is a little out of place, but where else would they have put it?

Also, consider me the only happy Camaro fan re: the car's weight. 4,116lbs is awesome. The Camaro is one big, safe beautiful car that performs excellent. It's Herculean dimensions and weight are much appreciated, at least until truck drivers drive sober, and soccer moms wielding 6,000lb SUV's are all finally prescribed valium.

Edit: oh, and an LS3 with a Chevy Cruze strapped to it would be much appreciated, too.
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:06 PM   #11
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LS engine in a Chevy Cruze...I'd buy that!
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:29 PM   #12
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I agree that the Onstar/XM sharkfin is a little out of place, but where else would they have put it?

They were able to hide the radio antenna in the rear spoiler, you would think they could come up with another clever solution with the fin.?.?
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:45 PM   #13
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I will never understand why Chevy went the tacky approach and slopped the third brake light on top of the trunk rather than slightly redesigning the spoiler (for so-equipped vehicles) to incorporate it much more cleanly. Heck, I think it'd even look better that way in the hard top variety.....

Oh well, beautiful car regardless.
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:54 PM   #14
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Still do not like the vert but I'm sure they will sell.
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:40 PM   #15
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No back seat? Can't realy tell.
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:46 PM   #16
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No back seat? Can't realy tell.
It's there, check the first pic.
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:33 PM   #17
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I cant wait to see what the:
Quote:
"the second is a transmission support reinforcement brace, third is an underbody tunnel brace and fourth is front and rear underbody "V" braces."
Looks like!

I wonder if they will be able to bolt up to the 2010 Camaro
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:18 PM   #18
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I can't wait to pick mine up in a few weeks from my dealer
Me too!!
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:23 AM   #19
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Few... "weeks"?????? Im jealous! I ordered in beginning of Nov and im still a good month out from delivery!
I ordered on November 20th and still no idea when its going to production!!!
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