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Old 03-18-2011, 07:39 PM   #1
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Cool Road and Track: 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 - First Look

Road and Track: 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 - First Look

Serious supercharged power–124 bhp more than the Camaro SS, and looks to match.

By Shaun Bailey / Photos by Marc Urbano
March 10, 2011

Quote:
We’ve referred to it as the Z28 for almost two years. Chevy, however, is calling its new high-performance Camaro the ZL1, and this 550-bhp pony car will be the most potent Camaro ever. Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser and Program Engineering Manager Tony Roma have provided the details on the car, which will have stand*ard Magnetic Ride Control damping.

In 2006, when John Heinricy was head of Performance Vehicle Operations, he made sure the Camaro could someday house a larger differential and bigger rear tires. Slight changes to the floorpan created the space. As such, the ZL1 retains its stock chassis and bodywork. Only the hood and fascias are changed externally. The standard fenders house the 305-width rear tires, while the aluminum hood is modified with a black carbon-fiber vent for clearance over the supercharger and heat extraction.

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The ZL1 is designed to shine on road courses and dragstrips, with the Shelby GT500 as its benchmark. Says Oppenheiser: “The ZL1 takes the SS to a new level. Roughly 30 percent of the car has been engineered to go out and dominate…our new leadership has told us we don’t just compete anymore, we win.”

From pistons to tires, the ZL1 has been built to take abuse. The word “beefy” was in every other sentence describing the drivetrain components. In back, the asymmetric halfshafts and clutch-type limited-slip differential are built to handle repeated drop-clutch launches.

New ZL1-specific forged wheels are shod with custom Goodyears. The wheels and tires are lighter than those on the SS, even though they are larger. There are still 10 months left in the ZL1’s development, so the tire has another round of changes before being finalized. Rather than focus on a square tire setup (same size rubber front and rear) to aid cornering performance, GM says it will do this via tweaks to the rear suspension, anti-roll bar and tire compounds.



A 6-speed manual from the CTS-V will be standard, with shorter throws than in the current SS. A smaller steering wheel with improved ergonomics will be welcomed by performance drivers, and the smaller shift knob is said to offer a more natural feel. The seats are basically unchanged, but they will have vibrant stitching and suede inserts. Updated gauges will feature a shift light or indicator, plus a standard head-up display.

Other neat ZL1 technology includes electric-assist power steering and exhaust flapper valves. As for launch control, we can expect the ZL1 to have it, and maybe the Performance Traction Management from the Corvette ZR1. This might alter bracket racing forever, with repeated sub-12-second quarter mile passes a real possibility. Look for the ZL1 early next year, priced at about $50,000.





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Old 03-19-2011, 10:40 AM   #2
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Sweet.
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:42 AM   #3
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Wow - amazing pictures!
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:43 AM   #4
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:45 AM   #5
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I wish they had these in all cars... wonder if they would work on any camaro.
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:45 AM   #6
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Well for those who were speculating over the price, looks like "around $50,000", although that's probably a R&T estimate and not official GM. Great review and pics!
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:46 AM   #7
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Simply Fabulous!!


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Old 03-19-2011, 10:56 AM   #8
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I like the part that says sub 12 second quarter miles are a real possibility
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:06 AM   #9
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What I'm really excited about is the gauge-pod shot which shows "Performance traction 5 - race."

For those that haven't ridden in a ZR1 (I'm lucky enough that my pops has one), it has a 6-setting PTM system which is KILLER. It totally changes the personality of the car. I'm too lazy to look for a link for more info right now... but it's great for tearing up the track because it allows you to dial in exactly how invasive you want the system to be and how many nannies are barking at you... from full TC/AH (wet) to no TC but AH on, etc.
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:08 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by BeckyD@RodgersChevrolet View Post
Simply Fabulous!!


Make mine.. White....
Make that two! You have great taste Becky!!
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:13 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by DroptopZ View Post
What I'm really excited about is the gauge-pod shot which shows "Performance traction 5 - race."

For those that haven't ridden in a ZR1 (I'm lucky enough that my pops has one), it has a 6-setting PTM system which is KILLER. It totally changes the personality of the car. I'm too lazy to look for a link for more info right now... but it's great for tearing up the track because it allows you to dial in exactly how invasive you want the system to be and how many nannies are barking at you... from full TC/AH (wet) to no TC but AH on, etc.
I got a ride in one and OMFG!!! What an experience that was!!! I feel like nothing I can get would ever compare
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:24 AM   #12
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That car is so..so...soooo...
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:34 AM   #13
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Sick sick sick... this car is disgusting! And I mean that in the best way possible. Its gorgeous. I hope some of thes features go in the SS. Like the new steering wheel, new shift knob design. I know the suede is probably ZL1 exclusive but I'm hoping we see some new type of contrast in the interior for the SS.
Also I think its still not too late to ressurect the Z/28 name. They should get rid of the 1SS, then make a new interior with cloth seats and leather bolsters. a few weight reduction treatments and rid of power seats and all of the unnecessary tech stuff. Lighter weight wheels than the SS, a more aggressive tune. and call it the Z/28. So the SS will ride the same as it does unless u opt for the suspension package but the Z will be stripped with a standard susp package and more aggressive tranny. Possibly giving the Z around 20 more horses. Let's say the SS gets 430hp and the Z gets 450hp with 60lbs cut from it.that would be a nice package for a Z/28.
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:46 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by OverZeaLouS View Post
Sick sick sick... this car is disgusting! And I mean that in the best way possible. Its gorgeous. I hope some of thes features go in the SS. Like the new steering wheel, new shift knob design. I know the suede is probably ZL1 exclusive but I'm hoping we see some new type of contrast in the interior for the SS.
Also I think its still not too late to ressurect the Z/28 name. They should get rid of the 1SS, then make a new interior with cloth seats and leather bolsters. a few weight reduction treatments and rid of power seats and all of the unnecessary tech stuff. Lighter weight wheels than the SS, a more aggressive tune. and call it the Z/28. So the SS will ride the same as it does unless u opt for the suspension package but the Z will be stripped with a standard susp package and more aggressive tranny. Possibly giving the Z around 20 more horses. Let's say the SS gets 430hp and the Z gets 450hp with 60lbs cut from it.that would be a nice package for a Z/28.
If they make a Z28, it better whoop the BOSS mustang lol. The damn weight is the problem. Adjustable shocks like the boss has without the electronic control would be nice
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