The Chevrolet Camaro: A legend reborn
It was the muscle car that stole the hearts and imaginations of people everywhere, providing subject matter for wall posters, T-shirts, and songs for four decades. Now it's back, better and mightier than ever and ready to reclaim its place of honour on European roads. And bedroom walls.
The all-new 432PS V8 Chevrolet Camaro has returned to Europe after a decade-long absence with a design that is at once instantly recognisable and entirely modern.
The contemporary 21st-century design, an expression of the Camaro's rich heritage, features a V-shaped nose; wide, planted stance; and broad rear shoulders, all distinguishing features that acknowledge the legendary past while claiming the Camaro’s place as a contemporary design icon.
“The Camaro is an ensemble of power, comfort and technology, offering great value for money that cannot be matched by our competitors," says Susan Docherty, President and Managing Director, Chevrolet Europe.
Put through its paces at the famed Nürburgring racetrack in Germany, the Camaro has been tuned to European taste with all-new suspension and a host of other refinements.
The Camaro's vital stats are as impressive as its design: the manual transmission boasts a superb 432PS 6.2-litre LS3 V8 engine that produces 569Nm of torque at 4,600rpm. This translates into a 0-62mph acceleration time of 5.2 seconds for the coupé and 5.4 seconds for the convertible.
The automatic transmission is mated to a 405PS L99 6.2-litre V8 engine that produces 556Nm at 4,300rpm. The automatic coupé covers 0-100km/h in 5.4 seconds, with an additional 0.2 seconds for the convertible. The Camaro has an impressive top speed of 155mph.
Prices for the coupé start at £35,025 while the convertible prices start at £40,025 OTR, although prices may vary across markets depending on local taxation and import duties. The 45th Anniversary packages come at an additional £1,500 each including VAT.
The car makes its presence felt from afar, its deep, low-frequency rumbling V8 motor delivering an unequivocal message of its impending arrival.
The European Camaro is similar in content to the 2SS model offered in North America. The new model, Europe's first, features an all-new FE4 suspension that was developed specifically for this side of the Atlantic. The set-up – characterised by optimised stiffness and lateral stability for high-speed performance and manoeuvrability – has proven so popular that it will be also offered in the US. The FE4 suspension package features retuned front and rear dampers, plus new solid front (23mm) and rear (24mm) stabiliser bars.
“Our objective was to create a more precise sport suspension with greater road-handling capability," says Al Oppenheiser, Camaro Chief Engineer. “We applied lessons learned from extensive track testing to better the suspension geometry for flatter cornering, a more neutral balance during hard turns and minimised understeer at the limit.”
Power is transferred to the road through 20in wheels wearing Pirelli P-Zero tyres, while the Brembo four-piston anti-lock disc brakes combine with StabiliTrak and traction control ensure effective braking and quick cornering. The wheels are positioned to be virtually flush with body surfaces for an agile, planted appearance.
Jaw-dropping exterior design
There can be no blending in with the crowd with the Camaro because its design rarely fails to turn heads as other road users and pedestrians alike watch in awe and admiration as the Camaro makes its commanding way down the road.
“From the very beginning, the fundamentals of the new Camaro were that it had to look great, have a real performance streak to it and be affordable," says Oppenheiser.
The V-shaped nose is flanked by high-intensity discharge headlamps with glowing LED xenon halo rings, mimicking deep-inset eyes and giving the Camaro a menacing look. Chevrolet's 'gold bow tie' logo proudly adorns the grille directing one’s gaze towards the power-bulge bonnet, creating an aura of dynamic movement even when the car stationary.
The rear of the exterior is unique to the European-spec Camaro. Twin LED tail-lamp elements mirror the unique look of the front end, and design is finished off with large, round chrome exhaust tips similar to those on the Corvette Z06.
An array of sound-insulating applications ensures occupants transported to a different world as soon as they sit inside a Camaro, although a hint of the burble of the V8 penetrates the interior by design. It's just enough to enjoy without becoming intrusive.
In homage to the spirit of its heritage, the new Camaro’s interior conveys simplicity and refinement while incorporating contemporary details in the dials, switches and ambient lighting.
The integrated centre console combines stereo and climate controls into a single piece of modern electronics, while the use of rubber and chrome matches the character of the evocative Camaro name.
Chevrolet Blue Ice ambient light runs across the doors and the same colour illuminates the speedo and rev counter, with further driver information displayed in between. Optional orange ambient lighting is available with the Inferno Orange Interior Trim.
Similarly, the cluster of four gauges – oil pressure and temp, transmission fluid temp and battery voltage – in front of the gearlever harks back to the legendary 1969 Camaro, but includes contemporary LED backlighting.
The performance seats have sport bolstering and sculpted shoulders with accent stitching to provide optimum comfort and security for occupants.
Data including fuel consumption, trip information and tyre pressure is provided by the Driver Information Centre. However, the Camaro is the only vehicle in its class to offer a standard Head-Up Display (HUD) that projects information, such as speed and stereo selection, on the windscreen. Ultrasonic rear parking assist with camera and six airbags are standard, as are ISOFIX anchor points.
The Camaro offers the discerning music aficionado a premium Boston Acoustics nine-speaker stereo system. USB ports for personal devices, along with Bluetooth connectivity, are also part of the package.
Active Fuel Management
The manual models have a combined consumption figure of 20mpg while the automatics return 21.5mpg. CO2 emissions are rated at 329 and 304g/km respectively.
While fuel economy might not be high on the priority list of a Camaro owner, the Active Fuel Management system on the L99 engine automatically shuts down four of the eight cylinders during light load operations, improving fuel consumption by as much as 7.5%.