Things are getting even more interesting for the new Camaro, with Chevrolet announcing the first performance package on the sixth-generation model. The 1LE package returns for the 2017 model year, but this time it will be available on V-6 and V-8 models. Previously, the 1LE option was exclusive to the V-8. Both vehicles will make their public debuts at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show.
With the 355-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6, the 1LE package will be available on 1LT and 2LT coupe models. Helping to raise handling prowess are the FE3 suspension from SS models including stiffer dampers, rear cradle mounts, ball-joint rear toe links, thicker antiroll bars, staggered 20-inch forged aluminum wheels wrapped with Goodyear Eagle F1 tires (245/40 R20 front, 275/35 R20 rear) and a mechanical limited-slip differential.
Other performance hardware includes front four-piston Brembo brakes, a dual-mode exhaust system, the Camaro SS fuel system capable of coping with the higher cornering capabilities and a track cooling package with engine oil, differential and transmission coolers. Recaro seats are available as options.
The result with the 1LE equipment on the V-6 is quite impressive, according to Camaro Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser, who says that in development testing, it produces comparable lap times to the outgoing V-8 model.
For the 6.2-liter 455-horsepower V-8, the 1LE package steps things up even more over the V-6 package. In addition to the cooling package and exhaust system, it's got a Magnetic Ride Control suspension, electronic limited-slip differential and 20-inch forged aluminum wheels with meatier Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar rubber (285/30 ZR20 front, 305/30 ZR20 rear). Six-piston Brembo front brakes clamping down on two-piece rotors and rear four-piston Brembos brakes are included. The more supportive Recaro front seats are also standard.
Compared with the standard SS, Oppenheiser says the 1LE V-8 is 3 seconds faster around the Big Willow track at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, Calif.
Visually identifying the 1LE models are a satin black hood, front splitter and three-piece rear spoiler on the outside, while a suede steering wheel dresses the inside. Similar to the Chevrolet Corvette, Cadillac ATS-V and CTS-V, a Performance Data Recorder will be available as an option that records lap footage and performance data to share with friends or analyze later so you can be quicker the next time you hit the track.
Chevy says the 1LE packages will be available in late 2016 only on coupe models with manual transmissions. Pricing hasn't been announced, but the company is claiming that the 1LE models will offer unmatched track capabilities per dollar. For a point of reference, the 1LE option on a 2015 Camaro SS was $3,500.