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Old 07-17-2013, 10:18 AM   #1
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Considering a 2LS? Read This First!

***Important update regarding TapShift and Sport Mode: See the 04/06/2014 update below for more information.***

***NOTE: This post is not an attempt to belittle the 2LS or those who have chosen to purchase one. Please read the entire post before jumping to any conclusions.

When the 5th Gen Camaro was introduced for the 2010 model year, the base V6 trim was the “LS,” and the only model in that trim level was the 1LS. For low- to mid-$20K, buyers could get all the goodness of the new direct-injected V6 LLT powerplant—and the killer 5th Gen looks—without any frills to drive the price up.

In February of 2012 (late in the 2011 model year run), GM changed things up a bit. They split the LS trim level into two models, adding the 2LS to the 1LS. The 1LS remained virtually unchanged, becoming the base model equipped with a manual transmission.

The 2LS, however, is a bit of a different story. On the surface, the 2LS appears to be identical to the 1LS, except that it has an automatic transmission. This is essentially true, as the available options for either of the LS trims are otherwise identical.

However, there are a few other key differences between the 1LS and the 2LS that prospective buyers need to be aware of, and that neither GM nor their dealerships make clear. In fact, many salespeople likely aren’t even aware of these differences, and may tell buyers that the manual vs. auto is the ONLY difference between the two.

Heck, our own Camaro5 wiki doesn’t even make it clear. I have seen numerous posts from 2LS owners that were unaware of these other differences, and may have made different purchasing decisions had they known in advance. This post is an attempt to remedy that situation, and help Camaro5 continue to be the best resource for complete and accurate 5th Gen information.


So, here are the other key differences that your Chevy salesperson likely doesn’t know and won’t tell you about:
  • The 2LS is geared differently than other V6 Camaros.

    The 1LS and all LT Camaros (auto or manual) come with a 3.27:1 axle ratio. The 2LS, however, has a 2.92:1 ratio.

    What does this mean and why would GM do this? Well, the why appears to be so they can have a Camaro that gets an EPA rated 30MPG highway, which they can advertise and which also helps their CAFE numbers. The taller 2.92:1 ratio means lower RPMs at highway speed, and the 2LS is the only Camaro (as of this writing) to get that 30MPG highway rating on its sticker. (As pointed out by RallySportRand in post #31 below, the 2011-2013 2LS also has a more aerodynamic lower grille than other V6 Camaros to help achieve that EPA rating.. However, RacnJsn95 saw that both 2014 LS models share the same lower grille design.)

    BUT…that same tall gearing also reduces performance a bit. The 2LS’ 0-60 time is 6.4 seconds, vs. 5.9 seconds for all of the other V6s. The 2LS’ quarter mile stats are 14.8 seconds @ 93MPH, whereas the LT autos are 14.4 @ 98MPH and the 1LS/LT manuals are 14.3 @ 98MPH.

    UPDATE (11/27/2013): It has also been discovered that the carrier in the 2LS differential is different than the automatic LT model carrier. Automatic LT owners can change their gears to an aftermarket 3.55 set, but these same aftermarket gears will not fit in the 2LS carrier. The carriers have different listed part numbers and prices. See this post by RacnJsn95.

    As you can see, there is a tradeoff involved here, which is fine, as long as buyers are aware of it going into their purchase. (The above gearing and performance numbers are published by Chevy, and are available here. Look on page 24, under the heading “Performance.”)

  • The 2LS transmission does not have Sport Mode.

    The LT (and V8) Camaros with automatic transmission switch into Sport Mode when the shifter is moved into the “M” position (and the paddle shifters are not used). A letter “S” appears in the DIC and in the HUD (if equipped). In Sport Mode, shifts are firmer and quicker, and each gear is held longer into the RPM range before shifting.

    However, if you look at any owner’s manual for 2012 or newer Camaros (available here), in the section discussing the automatic transmission you will see references to “vehicles with any axle other than GW8” and “V6 models without Axle GW8.” In the 2012 manual, this section is on pages 9-30 to 9-36. The GW8 axle they’re referring to is the one that comes with the 2LS.

    Instead of Sport Mode, when shifted to “M” the 2LS goes into Electronic Range Select (ERS) Mode. ERS mode basically only allows the driver to choose the highest gear that the transmission will shift to. In ERS mode, the paddle shifters allow the driver to choose a particular “maximum gear,” which according to the owner’s manual is useful when towing a trailer (avoiding overdrive gears, which when towing can result in lots of “gear hunting”/unnecessary shifting) or descending a steep grade (engine braking).

    If you shift to “M” in a 2LS and don’t touch the paddles, the ERS sets a maximum gear, and the car drives within the range of 1st to whatever the max gear is, upshifting to the maximum gear and downshifting normally, unless the driver selects a different maximum gear via the paddles.

    NOTE: 2LS owners in the discussion that follows this post have stated that ERS either defaults to 4th or 6th for the maximum gear. This may be something that changed from model year to model year, similar to the ability to use TapShift when in "D." RacnJsn95 experimented with his '13 2LS and had this to say:
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RacnJsn95 View Post
    I played with this, it seems to set the max gear based on speed/rpm. It doesn't always set the max gear to 4th, or shift to 4th... Depending on the speed/rpm if you shift from D to M, It's set the max gear on me to 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, but no higher than 4th (probably because I haven't gone fast enough and tried it to see if it goes to m5).
  • The 2LS transmission does not have TapShift.

    The LT (and V8) Camaros with automatic transmission go into TapShift mode when the gear selector is in “M” and the paddles are used. 2012 and newer V6s (and all model year V8s) can briefly go into TapShift mode (for 10 seconds) if the paddles are used while in “D” (2010-11 V6s cannot). This allows the driver to have some manual shifting control, and can be fun to use.

    However, as described above, the 2LS goes into ERS Mode when in “M,” and all the paddles do is select the maximum gear that the transmission will automatically shift to. This is discussed in the same section of the owner’s manual mentioned above. When in ERS Mode, the DIC in the 2LS displays the maximum gear selected next to the letter "M," unlike tapshift mode which always displays the current gear the transmission is in.

    Update (02/03/2014): As posted here by RacnJsn95 (thanks again, Jason!), the lack of true TapShift in the 2LS also makes it very difficult to get a "clean" dyno run, as the car shifts during the course of the run.
Update (04/06/2014): C5 member BlackoutLFX, using HPTuners, has discovered that both Sport Mode and TapShift can be enabled on the 2LS (and appears to provide the same functionality as the LT models). See BlackoutLFX's thread here. This has since been verified by a couple of other 2LS owners as well. BlackoutLFX basically copied the settings for the LT models from several transmission-related tables that HP Tuners displays, which he shows in post #25 of that thread. This should allow proper dyno results on these cars as well. A few caveats:
  • As with any tuning, this will void your powertrain warranty.
  • While the functionality changes, allowing Sport Mode, the "S" indicating Sport Mode is not displayed in the DIC. This may require changing something in the Body Control Module (BCM). When using TapShift, however, the selected gear is displayed, just like the LTs.
  • This does not completely transform a 2LS into an LT, as the differential gearing difference remains (2.92 vs. 3.27).
Caveats aside, this is great news for 2LS owners who are willing to tune their cars, and can help those who bought the 2LS without knowing or being told of the differences this post describes. Kudos, BlackoutLFX!!!
For those that don’t care about these differences and want a great looking base model Camaro that happens to get the best mileage of any current Camaro—probably any Camaro EVER—the 2LS is a great car. Just be aware that your salesperson is probably clueless about the uniqueness of the 2LS.

Hopefully this will reach those who are considering the 2LS, so that they may make an informed buying decision and avoid any buyer’s remorse.

I am attaching copies of the 2012 owner’s manual and the 2013 Camaro brochure referenced above, in case the links I posted are ever changed.
Attached Images
File Type: pdf 2012_Camaro_Owners_Manual.pdf (6.05 MB, 295 views)
File Type: pdf MY13 Camaro eBrochure_081612.pdf (5.30 MB, 273 views)
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Old 07-17-2013, 01:14 PM   #2
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Nice post. Knew about the gear ratio but never about the sport mode. Understand the gear ratio from GM's perspective because that 30mpg is a good sales pitch. Don't understand the sport mode change though. Who it out towing with a camaro
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:19 PM   #3
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Nice post. It should also be added that none of the popular gear set options will fit, supposedly the only available gear set that will fit is 3.55.

*edited*
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Old 07-17-2013, 03:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RacnJsn95 View Post
Nice post. It should also be added that the rear end in the 2ls is different than the rest (weaker), and none if the popular gear set options will fit, supposedly the only available gear set that will fit is 3.55. The 2ls rear also does not have a limited slip/posi of any kind, and I don't believe one is available, but I may be wrong there.
It's not just the 2LS that has a different differential housing and no LSD. That's true for all V6 autos, unfortunately. That's why I didn't include that in my post, as I'm addressing 2LS specific differences only.

Same for the limited gear options. You have to swap axles and part of the drive shaft, etc., just to swap a V8 differential into any V6 auto. The V6 manuals have the same housing as the SS, so things are easier (and they have LSD).
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Old 07-17-2013, 03:47 PM   #5
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Interesting read -- I tried telling my dad that he isn't actually shifting his engine when it's in manual mode, but I guess if you're downshifting it to 1st every time you come to a stop, in a way you're still controlling which gear it's in. The only time that this sport mode issue would come into affect would be if you left it in 3rd and came to a stop at a light and then went to take off, you wouldn't take off in 3rd gear - right?

The reason I ask this, is my dad drives my mom's 2012 2LS in the winter and he swears he puts it in manual mode and takes off in 3rd gear.
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:45 PM   #6
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Good info here...
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:47 PM   #7
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Interesting read -- I tried telling my dad that he isn't actually shifting his engine when it's in manual mode, but I guess if you're downshifting it to 1st every time you come to a stop, in a way you're still controlling which gear it's in. The only time that this sport mode issue would come into affect would be if you left it in 3rd and came to a stop at a light and then went to take off, you wouldn't take off in 3rd gear - right?

The reason I ask this, is my dad drives my mom's 2012 2LS in the winter and he swears he puts it in manual mode and takes off in 3rd gear.
My understanding of how it works in the 2LS is that the transmission shifts automatically, both up and down, but only up to the maximum gear you choose with the paddles. The only way you could force it to shift with the paddles would be if you selected a lower gear than you were currently in.

Of course, even in manual mode on other trim levels the transmission downshifts for you as you come to a stop. It does not hold a specific gear higher than first when stopped, and you don't HAVE to manually downshift as you slow.

What your dad is likely seeing is that he has selected 3rd as his max gear, giving the 2LS the "range" of 1st to 3rd to use. The DIC displays the max gear the driver selects when in ERS Mode, not the gear the car is currently in.
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:20 PM   #8
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Excellent info. I knew most of it, but I learned a few things.

Good job!
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:44 PM   #9
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Sweet post, this needs to be a sticky for sure! I love my 1LS, I've got the hardware of the more expensive boys and the affordability.
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:50 PM   #10
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Sweet post, this needs to be a sticky for sure! I love my 1LS, I've got the hardware of the more expensive boys and the affordability.
Indeed. The 1LS is a real steal, if you can do without the frills.
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:26 PM   #11
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Everything there seems to be right except the introduction year of the 2LS then again you did state 2012 LFX which is the year the LFX was introduced so ya. but 2LS's were around before then and aside from the manifold changes in the LFX everythiing the OP stated is completely true for the LLT aswell.
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evil-Bee-NH View Post
Everything there seems to be right except the introduction year of the 2LS then again you did state 2012 LFX which is the year the LFX was introduced so ya. but 2LS's were around before then and aside from the manifold changes in the LFX everythiing the OP stated is completely true for the LLT aswell.
Yes, you are correct about the year of introduction. The 2LS was a late-year intro in February of 2011, so it was indeed available for a brief period of the 2011 model year. I will correct that error.

I'm not sure what you mean by "aside from the manifold changes." I'm not trying to discuss LFX vs LLT.

One other change I have to mention is that I believe the LLTs cannot activate TapShift for 10 seconds while in Drive. I believe hitting the paddles in a LLT when in Drive does nothing, IIRC.
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:35 PM   #13
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I picked up a 2013 2LS as my 3rd car and my daily 80 mile commuter in traffic. With rebates and incentives I was in the mid $22k for a new car that looks like this... add some stripes, foglights, CAI and exhaust and I am done.

I have gotten 30+ miles per gallon consistently on trips where I maintain 55-65. For my commute from Daytona to Orlando and back its smooth sailing at 7am (25-28 mpg at 70-80) and pure stop and go 2 hour hell at 4:30. I am averaging 22.5-25mpg per 400+ mile tank depending on how many times my wife steals it at night to take the kids somewhere locally in town. Shut off the traction control and I can shred rubber forever if I wanted to act like some little kid.

Shifting D to M on the highway drops me to 4th instantly and I have plenty of HP and gear at 4th to get me into a hole or pass "slower traffic" safely and pretty freaking quickly.

Yes I am setting the maximum gear with the paddles. I can wind every gear to red-line if I want, or I can downshift to any gear I want (holding a gear sounds great with magnaflow glasspacks)...What I can't do is lug the engine (too high a gear for the speed) or accidentally start the car in anything but first.

The problem with those two things is what?


I own a 2003 SMT6 MR2 Spyder. A true clutchless 6-speed transmission. the hydraulic clutch is engaged by the computer and the engine revs to match the gear selection or lugs because of poor selection. That is true paddle shifting, if you ever auto-crossed one you know what I mean.
a computer controlled double rev blip to keep the nose up when downshifting in a tight corner is SAWEET.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a 2LS or its gearing unless you are looking for a quarter mile killer, or track car. If you thought you were going to get a competive car for those purposes for under $30k new you are an idiot or not competitive anyways

My 2cents
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2fullgarage View Post
Shifting D to M on the highway drops me to 4th instantly and I have plenty of HP and gear at 4th to get me into a hole or pass "slower traffic" safely and pretty freaking quickly.
This is good to know. I will add it to the OP, thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2fullgarage View Post
Yes I am setting the maximum gear with the paddles. I can wind every gear to red-line if I want, or I can downshift to any gear I want (holding a gear sounds great with magnaflow glasspacks)...What I can't do is lug the engine (too high a gear for the speed) or accidentally start the car in anything but first.

The problem with those two things is what?


There is absolutely nothing wrong with a 2LS or its gearing unless you are looking for a quarter mile killer, or track car. If you thought you were going to get a competive car for those purposes for under $30k new you are an idiot or not competitive anyways

My 2cents
This thread is not saying there's anything wrong with the 2LS or the way it functions. It is trying to convey information to prospective buyers that GM doesn't make obvious and that most dealerships/salespeople either don't know about, have forgotten about, or don't care about.

The 2LS and it's differences from other V6 automatics may be the perfect car for some buyers, such as yourself. The problem arises when those differences are important to people, and they buy without knowing they exist or because they are misled.

This thread is an attempt to rectify that, nothing more.
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Old 07-18-2013, 01:26 PM   #15
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I am not arguing or disagreeing with anything you said. The writeup is fantastic, I had all that information in making my choice.

Having you to summarize would have made it easier for me

Just want to let people know first hand what my experience was with it. Hope between the two of us we educate somebody before they are locked into payment
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:49 PM   #16
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This has all been said before but im sure many people are still not aware of this. Also I didnt read any comments but im positive they made 2ls available before 2012
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Old 07-18-2013, 03:48 PM   #17
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You would be correct on the paddle shift into M from D it doesn't do that on the LLT version you just need to drop the shifter to M from D which you can do without hurting the transmission for the same reasons you staed earlier M in the 2LS starts in 6th same as Drive so the transmission doesn't piss and groan when done. Throttle response is noticeably more lagged in M on the 2011 2LS unless you disable traction control not really sure what the connection is with that honestly.
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Old 07-18-2013, 03:55 PM   #18
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The 1LS and all LT Camaros (auto or manual) come with a 3.27:1 axle ratio. The 2LS, however, has a 2.92:1 ratio.

What does this mean and why would GM do this? Well, the why appears to be so they can have a Camaro that gets an EPA rated 30MPG highway, which they can advertise and which also helps there CAFE numbers. The taller 2.92:1 ratio means lower RPMs at highway speed, and the 2LS is the only Camaro (as of this writing) to get that 30MPG highway rating on its sticker.

BUT…that same tall gearing also reduces performance a bit. The 2LS’ 0-60 time is 6.4 seconds, vs. 5.9 seconds for all of the other V6s. The 2LS’ quarter mile stats are 14.8 seconds @ 93MPH, whereas the LT autos are 14.4 @ 98MPH and the 1LS/LT manuals are 14.3 @ 98MPH.

As you can see, there is a tradeoff involved here, which is fine, as long as buyers are aware of it going into their purchase. (The above gearing and performance numbers are published by Chevy, and are available here. Look on page 24, under the heading “Performance.”)
I bought a 2LS for the price and the gas mileage. I drive 80+ miles a day, so the 30mpg come in handy. As for the gearing, I really don't care if I am 0.5 sec later on the next red light then a 1LS, or 2 sec later then a V8. It's still a great car....
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:17 PM   #19
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Also I didnt read any comments but im positive they made 2ls available before 2012
In post #12.

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Old 07-18-2013, 05:01 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by SoCalThug View Post
This has all been said before but im sure many people are still not aware of this. Also I didnt read any comments but im positive they made 2ls available before 2012
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Originally Posted by JohnnyBfromPeoria View Post
In post #12.

John B.
Yes, thank you. Someone else pointed it out, and the first post has been corrected.
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:01 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by MGD View Post
I bought a 2LS for the price and the gas mileage. I drive 80+ miles a day, so the 30mpg come in handy. As for the gearing, I really don't care if I am 0.5 sec later on the next red light then a 1LS, or 2 sec later then a V8. It's still a great car....
Sounds like it was just the right car for you! Glad you are enjoying it.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:18 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by 2fullgarage View Post
I am not arguing or disagreeing with anything you said. The writeup is fantastic, I had all that information in making my choice.

Having you to summarize would have made it easier for me

Just want to let people know first hand what my experience was with it. Hope between the two of us we educate somebody before they are locked into payment
Ok, that's good. Your other response seemed like you felt you had to defend the 2LS, just wanted to make sure I clarified that I'm not dissing it or it's merits.

Glad you made an informed purchase.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:24 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Evil-Bee-NH View Post
You would be correct on the paddle shift into M from D it doesn't do that on the LLT version you just need to drop the shifter to M from D which you can do without hurting the transmission for the same reasons you staed earlier M in the 2LS starts in 6th same as Drive so the transmission doesn't piss and groan when done. Throttle response is noticeably more lagged in M on the 2011 2LS unless you disable traction control not really sure what the connection is with that honestly.
Interesting. Another poster (in post 13 above) stated that his 2013 2LS sets the max gear to 4th when he shifts into M, but it sounds like your LLT 2LS does not? I wonder if that was another change going from LLT to LFX, like being able to use TapShift in D. Hopefully some other 2LS owners with various model years will chime in with their experiences.

Also interesting that you find reduced performance in M with TC engaged. Wonder why.
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:14 PM   #24
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One other thing you may want to correct. The LS version in 2010 and 11 was available with the automatic transmission. I had one on order until I changed my mind and ordered the 1LT.
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Old 07-23-2013, 03:11 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Angrybird 12 View Post
One other thing you may want to correct. The LS version in 2010 and 11 was available with the automatic transmission. I had one on order until I changed my mind and ordered the 1LT.
I'm not sure where I got it in my head that you couldn't get it with an auto before they came out with the 2LS, but I had myself convinced that was a fact.

Thanks for the correction, I will make the change!
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