2015 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Things have changed since the Camaro ZL1 bullied its way back on the scene for the 2012 model year. A 580-hp 6.2-liter LSA V-8 and a sense of tactile refinement that veiled the beast within led many people to believe that the ZL1 stretched the pony-car blueprint to its limits.
They were wrong.
Within months of the ZL1”s arrival, Ford unleashed the Mustang Shelby GT500, a 662-hp schoolyard taunt hurled in the Chevy”s direction. While those two were busy duking it out‘here they are in our comparison test‘Chrysler was laying the groundwork for the completely bonkers, 707-hp 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, a car that trumps them both in terms of raw muscle.
But while the ZL1 received many of the updates made to the rest of the Camaro lineup for the 2014 model year‘excepting the new front fascia, as it didn”t allow the ZL1 to breathe as well‘it was completely overshadowed by the slightly less powerful but more track-focused and iconically badged Camaro Z/28. To see how our impressions of the ZL1 have held up since our last test, we strapped on a 2015 model for one last go-round before the Camaro shifts to GM”s Alpha platform next year.
The objective of the ZL1-specific exterior aesthetic elements remains the same as before: maximize cooling and minimize lift. A unique fascia and hood are designed to increase engine and brake cooling and to help create downforce. The rear spoiler is the largest factory unit in all of Camaro-dom. The rockers are also shaped for optimal airflow and downforce. Hidden from view are the two turbulence-quelling panels attached underneath the car.
With output of 580 horsepower and 556 lb-ft of twist at 4200 rpm, the ZL1 is no longer the most potent pony in the herd, but it remains capable of humbling plenty of steeds. The 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 still delivers the smooth, linear accelerative rush we found so addictive when the car debuted. Unsurprisingly, the performance numbers we extracted from our 2015 ZL1 test car fell in line with those posted three years ago by a 2012 version: Both cars clocked an impressive 4.1 seconds in the 0-to-60 run, the newer car taking one tenth longer to trip the quarter-mile lights with a 12.4-second run. Rowing the Tremec six-speed manual”s husky shifter is a bit cumbersome in traffic, but it feels oh-so-right when it comes time to hustle, and anything lighter in action would be an affront to the ZL1”s personality. Just the same, a six-speed automatic is available.
Braking capability‘a ZL1 strongpoint from day one‘hasn”t moved far from the mark, either. The pedal is firm and modulation is easy. Posting a 157-foot figure in our 70-to-0-mph measure, the 2015 ZL1 is in league with its contemporaries; the heavy 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack did the deed in a surprisingly economical 151 feet, while the no-compromises 2014 Camaro Z/28 required 155 feet to come to a halt.
Aided by GM”s third-generation Magnetic Ride Control adaptive shocks, our 4118-pound ZL1 danced far better than it had a right to. A few circles around our 300-foot skidpad revealed 0.99 g of grip, the beefy 20-inch Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar G:2 radials (285/35 front, 305/35 rear) hanging tight. Considering the amount of physics-defying grip on tap, it”s surprising how true the ZL1 tracks on uneven broken pavement. Living with this superpony on a day-to-day basis is definitely an option.
Although the switch to the Alpha platform will result in a lighter, leaner Camaro with a smaller footprint, Chevy hasn”t let slip if or when a ZL1 version of the next-gen Camaro might materialize. So if the ZL1 is the Camaro of your dreams, you better act fast. After all, it took Chevrolet more than 40 years to resurrect it the last time.Read Source
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