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First Drive: 2016 Chevrolet Camaro

Initial impressions suggest Chevy has pulled together a winner.

by on May.18, 2015

Still wearing camouflage, a handful of new 2016 Camaros launch down the Grand Prix track.

The early morning calm is shattered by the sound of the big V-8 firing up. Shifting into gear, I head out onto the winding road course that will, in two weeks’ time, play host to the annual Detroit Grand Prix. But on this particular Sunday morning it is serving as a test track for a first ride in the new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro.

To provide some perspective on the new car, Chevy starts me out on a lap of the 2.35 mile circuit in the outgoing, fifth-generation pony car. If anything, they’ve set the bar high, however, using as comparison the high-end 2015 Camaro Z28. As I blast out of the pits and onto the straight, its raw torque sinks me deep into the car’s sports seats. I slam through the gears, accompanied by the sound of squealing tires and squeaking brakes, hammering through a series of tight corners before finally pulling back into the pits.

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Sweating more than you’d imagine on this cool Detroit morning, I jump out of the old car and into a new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro – all the while, wondering what they could have had in mind putting that Z28, with its 6.2-liter V-8, up against a “base” car with a far more modest, 3.6-liter V-6. But my questions are quickly answered as I head out for a second run on the Grand Prix course on.


First Drive: 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

A new take on the classic American muscle car.

by on Aug.10, 2011

The 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 gives a modern interpretation to the classic American muscle car.

So many things in life look better in hindsight.  You’d probably never be caught dead in the outfit you wore to the prom.  And remember the moves you mastered back in the disco days?  The same is true with the muscle cars of the ‘60s and ‘70s.  Those lumbering lumps of metal just wouldn’t cut it today.

Not without a dramatic update, anyway, as Dodge has done with two of its classic nameplates, the Charger and Challenger.  We were pleasantly surprised when we got a long weekend behind the wheel of the 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8, discovering a remarkably modern take on the classic American muscle car that delivers not only gobs of power and a distinctive retro style but also the sort of ride, handling and braking one would expect in 2012.

When it comes to a muscle car, let’s face it, the most important thing really is muscle.  And the new Challenger SRT8 comes through.  Parent Chrysler has done a great job with the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 shared by all four of the new Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep SRT models.

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Tip the throttle and you’ll be rewarded with neck-snapping acceleration and the sort of rumbling exhaust note that is, for muscle car fans the equivalent of popping an automotive Viagra.  As the kid in the next lane looks on in awe, the Hemi’s 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque will launch you to 60 in just 4.8 seconds.  And if you’re willing to risk a night in jail, keep your foot on the floor as you accelerate to a 180 mph top speed.

This is the sort of Motown metal that could even intimidate the gold-chain Ferrari crowd.


First Look: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Heating up the pony car wars with the fastest Camaro ever.

by on Feb.09, 2011

Chevrolet rolls out the fastest, most powerful Camaro ever , the 2012 ZL1, at the Chicago Auto Show.

Chevy is adding a little more muscle to the pony car wars by bringing back the once-formidable Camaro ZL1.

The General Motors division rocked the market when its reborn Camaro outsold the Ford Mustang, last year, for the first time in a quarter century.  But GM officials admit it won’t be easy to keep that momentum going – not without broadening the Camaro line-up.

The long-delayed Chevrolet Camaro Convertible is about to go on sale.  (For a review, Click Here.) Now comes the 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1, which is making its debut at the Chicago Auto Show.

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Ed Welburn, GM’s vice president of design, recalled how the original Camaro ZL1 became an instant classic when it first appeared in the late 1960s.  The hope is to repeat that success with the new car.

“The 2012 ZL1 will be the most technically advanced Camaro every built by GM,” Welburn said, during the GM press conference.  “The new ZL1 continues the momentum of Camaro, propelling it into an entirely new realm of leading-edge performance technology,” added Welburn, who said the car will be rolling into Chevy showrooms next January.


First Drive: 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

This is no "boulevard cruiser."

by on Feb.04, 2011

Better late than never, the 2011 Chevy Camaro Convertible will finally reach showrooms by spring.

For those who’ve been wondering whether General Motors really can get its proverbial mojo back and deliver the sort of products that once propelled it to the head of the class, you only have to look at the new Chevrolet Camaro.

The reborn pony car has won plenty of kudos from the motoring press but, more importantly, it’s won over the hearts, minds and pocketbooks of pony car buyers – last year overwhelming its age-old rival, the Ford Mustang for the first time in a quarter century.  That’s all the more impressive when you consider Camaro did it with a coupe alone.

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But, just in time for spring, Chevy will be rolling an all-new Camaro Convertible into showrooms, a model the market has been anxiously awaiting since it made its debut, in concept form, at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show.  The ragtop was delayed more than a year because of both General Motors’ financial woes and the collapse of the parts manufacturer originally tapped to deliver the foldaway roof.

Ironically, that may have worked out to Chevy’s advantage, laughs Russ Clark, Camaro’s marketing director.  History shows that sporty coupes and pony cars tend to have an 18 to 24-month shelf life before buyers head off looking for the next big thing.  Ford has wisely read the tea leaves and regularly rolls out significant updates to Mustang to keep demand hot.  So, the unplanned delay may have wound up timing things perfectly for Camaro.


New King in the Pony Car Wars

Camaro trounces Mustang for the first time since 1985.

by on Jan.05, 2011

The winner and new champion...

The automotive equivalent of the Hatfields versus the McCoys has been roundly resolved – at least for the moment, anyway.

For the first time since 1985, the Chevrolet Camaro has trounced its cross-town rival in the pony car wars, the Ford Mustang.

But who’ll take the crown this year is anything but certain.  Both clans are arming themselves for another shoot-out.  Chevrolet is readying the long-delayed Camaro Convertible, while Ford not only has the big Boss 302 on tap, but also a pair of new powertrains for both the base and Mustang GT models.

Competition, it’s often said, improves everyone’s game.  That assessment was questionable for many years.  While Ford firmed up its hold on the pony car segment, Chevy and now-abandoned Pontiac seemed to be just going through the motions for many years, finally calling it quits and pulling their Camaro and Firebird twins from the market, a decade ago.


Camaro Z28 Likely Returning, GM’s Reuss Hints

Others confirm the performance pony car set for 2012 revival.

by on Dec.03, 2010

A hint of what's to come? The Camaro Red Flash Concept appeared at this year's SEMA show.

With a new Camaro Convertible on the way, can a true performance version of Chevrolet’s pony car be far behind?  For the fans who’ve been eagerly awaiting the return of the Camaro Z28 there appears to be good news, hints General Motors President Mark Reuss.

In an exclusive conversation with, Reuss noted that a close look at “spy shots” of a performance-based Camaro “shows my head behind the wheel.”  While he declined to officially confirm what the camouflaged vehicle was, Reuss said, “yeah,” when asked if a Z28 might be considered a good guess.

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Other sources confirmed that the Chevrolet Camaro Z28 is set to debut late next year, and that it will go into production most likely carrying a 2012 model-year designation.

A variant of the current Camaro V8, bored out to 6.2 liters, is expected to provide the power – which will almost certainly exceed 500 horsepower.  Using modern measurements, it would be the most powerful car ever to wear the Chevrolet Camaro badge.


Chevy Sets $30,000 Price For Camaro Convertible

Aiming for a “greater range of drivers.”

by on Oct.04, 2010

Chevy will finally get its Camaro Convertible to market by next February.

After a delay of more than a year, the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible is finally making it to market – although some might question the timing of a February launch for the ragtop muscle car.

Then again, Chevy will put the focus on the Sunbelt first, revealing a production version of the Camaro Convertible at next month’s Los Angeles Motor Show.

But Chevrolet officials have jumped the gun, at least on pricing, revealing that the convertible pony car will carry a base price of $30,000 plus another $850 for destination and delivery.  That adds up to about a $7,000 premium over the Camaro coupe.

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By the time the convertible hits the road the reborn Camaro will have been on sale for nearly two years.  It’s a matter of debate whether that’s unfortunate or fortuitous timing.


First Drive: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro

If timing is everything, does 4.7 seconds, 0 - 60, count?

by on Mar.20, 2009

If timing is everything, does a 0 - 60 time of 4.7 seconds count?

If timing is everything, does a 0 - 60 time of 4.7 seconds count? Okay fuel economy might help.

Timing is everything – especially when it comes to muscle cars. It’s hard to argue against 0 to 60 times, of course. This is a class that embraces the hare, not the tortoise. But timing matters in another sense.  The original Ford Mustang hit the streets at precisely the right time to launch the pony car craze, and enthusiasm seemed even stronger when the first Chevrolet Camaro followed, two years later.

Ford hit it right, once again, with the 2002 Mustang, which launched the short-lived retro craze. Dodge, however, couldn’t have planned it worse with the introduction of the resurrected Challenger, which hit market just as oil prices started soaring to record levels. So what to make of the reborn, 2010 Camaro, which went into production this week?

There’s no question it’s long overdue. The concept version made its debut at the 2006 North American Auto Show, and was unquestionably the star of that event. But a lot has changed in those three years.  While fuel prices have settled back from their mid-’08 peak, everyone expects they’ll shoot back up when the recession ends.  And that pesky economic downturn has resulted in the lowest demand for new cars since, well, not long after the original Chevy Camaro rolled into showrooms, more than four decades ago. (more…)