New Camaro looks tougher, goes faster and wants to send the Ford Mustang packing
THE 2016 Chevrolet Camaro has been revealed ahead of its US-market launch later this year. Based on the new Alpha platform, it’s the sixth generation of the classic Chev and is lighter, more powerful and comes with a choice of four, six and eight-cylinder engines.
Slightly smaller overall with a shorter wheelbase, narrower tracks and lower ride height, the new Camaro sees the existing model’s Coke-bottle hips and overall shape tweaked ever so slightly – the look of the original 1967 F-body pony car is still there, in tune with its key rival, the 2015 Ford Mustang that’s due in Australia in December this year. With more surface sculpting and sharper edges, thinner LED head and taillamps, the Camaro has turned up the aggression in the looks department. Chevrolet says that the styling has been wind-tunnel tested to reduce front lift and improve handling.
It will need a good chassis, as this is the most powerful Camaro ever built. The hero is the 6.2-litre LT1 V8 that was first seen in the 2014 C7 Corvette – but the best news is that it hasn’t been de-tuned for the Camaro. In the SS, it delivers 339kW and 617Nm of torque. That compares to 317kW/569Nm for the current Camaro SS, and means the new model should easily dust off 0-100km/h faster than the current model’s 4.7sec claim (for 0-60mph).
There’s also a new 3.6-litre V6 offered, and despite the familiar capacity, it’s an all-new engine boasting direct injection, variable valve timing and active fuel management (GM-speak for cylinder deactivation). It still delivers a hefty 250kW/385Nm without a turbo in sight, up from 241kW/377Nm, and should see 0-100km/h off in around 5.6sec.
Yet for 2016, Camaro comes with a third engine choice: the first four-cylinder offered since the third-generation Camaro’s fabled ‘Iron Duke’, sold between 1982-84. Unlike the Ford Mustang EcoBoost that sits above the V6, for Camaro, the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder will be the entry-level engine, and despite no official power claims, Chevrolet says it is capable of a sub-6.0sec 0-100km/h time. All engines in the 2016 Camaro are offered with a choice of six-speed manual gearbox or eight-speed auto, while the four-pot is the only model not to have a ‘sound-enhancer’ in the cabin.
The expensive, sophisticated new Alpha platform that underpins the new Camaro is also that platform for the 2016 Cadillac ATS, but Chevrolet says that 70 per cent of components are unique to Camaro. While it’s 28% stiffer than the Zeta platform of the current car that also underpins the VE and VF Holden Commodore models, the new platform helps reduce overall weight by as much as 90kg.
So too does the use of aluminium in key areas such as the front McPherson-type suspension and five-link rear suspension, which should also reduce squat when the Camaro gets spanked off a standing start. The 2016 Camaro also benefits from the magnetic dampers that we’ve seen in HSV models Down Under as well, and was previously only offered on the track-focussed Camaro ZL1.
Also improving point-to-point performance, Brembo brakes will be offered across the range, with 320mm four-piston front calipers housed inside 18-inch alloys on LT models, growing to 345mm for the SS with its 20-inch wheels. The SS also gets four modes of the all-new Drive Mode Selector, with a Track mode for its most ferocious tuned of its electric power steering, throttle response and damper settings. Track mode is offered in addition to the three modes – Snow/Ice, Tour and Sport – offered in regular models, just as the HSV GTS runs four modes against the Clubsport’s three.
The interior of the Camaro is more ‘driver-focussed’ – a term used more often than not, it seems – with 24 different ambient light settings, including a ludicrous ‘Car Show’ feature that cycles through the entire colour palette when the Camaro is parked – sure to wow the kiddies. There’s also an eight-inch HD touchscreen and digital instrument cluster, both of which are customisable, as well as neat touches such as temperature control incorporated into the air-vents.
The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro goes on sale in the US later this year, but it may not make it to Australian market. GM Asia-Pacific boss Stefan Jacoby confirmed that a dedicated sports model will be part of Holden’s line-up once local manufacturing ends here in 2017; however a right-hand drive version of the Camaro is yet to be confirmed.
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