What is it? Taking a page from the Ford Mustang playbook, Chevrolet has resurrected a classic moniker (and order code) with the Camaro Z/28. Sure, fuel economy may be the buzz of the show, but it is heartening to see that the muscle car battles continue.
The Camaro Z/28 seeks a spot in a line now crowded with the SS, 1LE, and ZL1 by defining itself as the ultimate track variation. The formula is a good one: lighten weight, fortify the chassis, enhance aerodynamics specifically for track use, dry-sump oil system, install transmission and differential coolers, and fit massive Brembo brakes.
To shed pounds, the Z/28 makes due with 19-inch wheels, shaving off 42 lbs. over the 20-inchers found on the SS and ZL1. (There is a notable lesson there…) Gone is the tire inflation kit, trunk carpeting, some sound deadening, and fog lights. Air conditioning is an option, the rear glass is slightly thinner, and the battery is a lightweight LN3 unit. The stereo has been scuttled, with just a single speaker retained for the obligatory seat-belt minder chime. In total, 300 lbs. were cast aside.
What’s new or notable? While there are potent engines in the Camaro lineup already, the Z/28 pulls from the Corvette, adapting the Z06’s LS7, said to be good for at least 500 horsepower. A six-speed manual is the only transmission offered, and it rows an aggressive, tire-challenging 3.91:1 final-drive ratio. Power can be harness via a limited-slip helical-gear differential. Using the Performance Traction Management system, the driver can adjust the throttle and brake intervention to suit traction needs.
All Camaros receive exterior updates for 2014.
CR’s take: Muscle car choice is good for enthusiasts and future collector car shows. The Z’s return is welcomed, and it sounds like an impressive machine—especially based on the teeth-rattling soundtrack heard at the auto show. This package doesn’t address any of the car’s core weaknesses (visibility, rear seat, etc.). While we understand that matters not to diehard Bowtie enthusiasts, it would be easier to command the Z on the track if you could see out better.
When will it be available? Fall 2013.