GM details ‘Top Gun’ 2017 Camaro ZL1

Published Mar 17, 2016


By: Dave Abrahams

Detroit, Michigan - There's a reason they call them muscle-cars.

Historically, American performance cars have been, by European standards, big, clumsy, underdeveloped and remarkably unsophisticated.

So you'll forgive us a certain measure of scepticism when Chevrolet global product development head Mark Reuss says the 2017 Camaro ZL1 is "poised to challenge the most advanced sports coupés in the world, in any measure".

Lighter, tighter new Camaro revealed 

Rather than poking fun at Chev's new Bad Boy, however, let's focus on what it does have, starting with its 6.2-litre LT4 supercharged petrol V8. Intake and exhaust systems have been tailored specifically for this car, and it's rated for 477kW and a robust 868Nm - 44kW and 108Nm more than its predecessor.

Compared to European boosted V8s such as the Mercedes-Benz SL63 (5.5 litres, 430kW, 900Nm), Jaguar F-Type SVR (5 litres, 423kW, 700Nm), Porsche Panamera Turbo S (4.8 litres, 419kW, 800Nm) and BMW M6 Competition (4.4 litres, 441kW, 700Nm) it stacks up quite well, although the Ferrari 488 (3.9 litres, 492kW, 760Nm) and McLaren 675LT (3.8 litres, 496kW, 700Nm) are clearly in a different league altogether.

The LT4 drives the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual gearbox or an (optional) all-new 10-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission, and an electronic limited-slip differential. Magnetic ride adaptive suspension is standard, as are 390mm ventilated front discs and six-pot Brembo monobloc callipers, behind 20 inch forged alloy rims shod with 285/30 front and 305/30 rear Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar gumballs.


Three drive modes are standard, as are exhaust flaps, traction control, launch control and 'advanced connectivity features' (wireless smartphone charging, 4G LTE and Apple CarPlay) while a performance data logger is an extra-cost option.

The cabin furniture has been tricked out to match the car's gonzo persona, with standard Recaro front sports seats, and a flat-bottomed 'sueded' steering wheel and gear-lever knob, which we assume is GM-speak for alcantara synthetic suede trim.

No performance figures have been released as yet, beyond a generalised statement that the new Camaro's body-shell is both stiffer and 90kg lighter than its predecessor, so it should be plenty fast.

The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will be released in North America during the fourth quarter of 2016; sadly, there are no plans for right-hand drive production, so we won't be seeing it here in South Africa.

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