AN all-out American civil war is looming, as General Motors prepares the fastest and most powerful iteration of the iconic Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 to take on the latest Ford Mustang Shelby GT350.
Sprung testing at the Nürburgring, and due out Stateside sometime next year, this thinly disguised prototype sports the lairiest body kit yet seen on the US pony car, including a serious aero bumper upgrade, tabletop boot spoiler, and a very wide set of rubber boots.
All underscore the four-seater coupe’s extreme track focus, suggesting that a helical limited-slip diff and uprated (ceramic) brakes might also make their way to the Z/28.
Reports say that a naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 is the most likely engine, rather than the LT4 supercharged version powering the current flagship ZL1, with torque channelled to the rear wheels via a seven-speed manual gearbox. Whether the ZL1’s 10-speed automatic also gets a guernsey – instead of the regular Camaros’ eight-speeder – remains to be seen.
There is also a rumour that the next Z/28 might score a new twin-turbo V6. It would have to be something very special out of the box if the latter is to match the Mustang Shelby GT500 5.2-litre Flat Plane Crank V8’s 392kW/581Nm output.
The last Z/28, unveiled in 2013 as a model-year 2014 version and touted at the time as the fastest street-legal production vehicle ever to wear that badge, boasted a Chevy Corvette-based 376kW/651Nm 7.0-litre LS7 V8, capable of catapulting the Camaro to 100km/h in four seconds, on its way to a 277km/h top speed. So expect to see a three-something sprint-time and possibly close to 300 clicks next time around. The last one was also significantly lighter than other versions, helping it set a Nürburgring time of 7:37.47sec. Clearly, GM’s hoping to smash that result next time around.
To keep you up to speed with the Camaro, this is the sixth-generation version launched in May last year, based on GM’s Alpha Platform ( and also underpins the Cadillac ATS and CTS sedans). Though it appears very similar to the 2009 version that used the Holden-developed Zeta architecture, this one is almost all-new according to Chevy, since it’s shorter, narrower, and nearly 100kg lighter, with no shared body panels and a completely redesigned interior.
Whether Australians will actually get a chance to see the Z/28 is anybody’s guess, as Chevrolet hasn’t announced any right-hand drive plans for this-gen Camaro. However, with the spectacular success Ford is enjoying with the latest Mustang globally as well as Downunder... well, we wouldn’t rule it out.
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