What is it? The Camaro ZL1 is a modern rendition of a legendary, high-performance Camaro sold in 1969. Like that rare collectible, the new Camaro ZL1 boasts a suite of distinguishing upgrades, with the most significant being under the dramatic aluminum hood. The all-aluminum, small-block engine is topped with an Eaton supercharger to produce 580-hp and 556 lbs.-ft. of torque from a supercharged 6.2-liter V8. Aimed at strictly performance purists, the gears are rowed with a Tremec six-speed manual transmission.
The chassis features Magnetic Ride Control, a driver-selectable suspension system that uses magneto-rheological fluid to adjust the shocks and enable them to react quickly to road feedback. This technology has been used on Cadillac models and the Corvette for years. The ZL1 also borrows a dual-model exhaust system technology from the ‘Vette, enabling the sound levels to adjust in response to engine rpm.
What is new or notable? This powertrain was originally slated for a Camaro to be dubbed the Z28, which was the highest-performance production trim level of the first-generation Camaro. But GM marketers apparently decided to change the designation to the more rarified ZL1 before this introduction. This move still leaves GM to use the coveted Z28 moniker for a future variation.
CR’s take: Everybody likes more power… including us. But if there’s one thing the Camaro needed, it wasn’t more power. Better visibility, improved interior, and increase cargo space would do more for the Camaro than a bigger engine.
When will it be available? Late 2011.