Chevrolet understands what customers expect from the Camaro, and the sixth-generation model exceeds those expectations. The Camaro rides on GM's Alpha platform, which is shared with both the Cadillac ATS and CTS. It's an incredibly stiff and light foundation for a performance car, and coupled with weight loss elsewhere relative to the previous generation--200 pounds in total--the Camaro packs quite a punch.
The Camaro is offered in several trim levels: 1LS, 1LT, 2LT, 1SS, 2SS and ZL1. It is also the most fuel-efficient Camaro to date, thanks to three fantastic engines. The 2.0L turbocharged four puts out an impressive 275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque while posting a 0-60 mph time of 5.4 seconds and returning an estimated 30 mpg on the highway, according to GM.
The direct-injected 3.6L V6 features variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation--a V6 first--all of which combine for 335 horsepower and 284-lb-ft of torque, plus up to 27 mpg on the highway. GM claims it will hit 60 mph from a stop in just over five seconds. The engine is the most powerful naturally aspirated V6 in its class.
Finally, the 6.2L V8 is also direct-injected and makes a healthy 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque--enough to propel the Camaro SS to 60 mph just 4 seconds. It, too, features cylinder deactivation, and the engine returns an estimated 28 mpg on the highway. In the ZL1, this engine is supercharged and makes 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque.
Suspension is handled thanks to double-pivot control arms and struts up front and a five-link setup in the rear. Chevy's adaptive Magnetic Ride Control damping system is optional on the SS and provides fully adjustable control for aggressive cornering.
A 6-speed manual transmission is standard on all Camaros, while an 8-speed automatic with steering wheel paddles is optional. In the SS, it features rev matching during downshifts.
The Camaro is available in either coupe or convertible form, and trim levels are more or less equal. The chief difference, of course, is the automatic drop top, which can be controlled by either the key fob or a button on the dash. It can be lowered at speeds up to 30 mph.
The entry-level 1LS Camaro offers standard automatic headlights with LED daytime running lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, and, when equipped with the manual transmission, a limited-slip differential. Included inside are 8-way driver and 6-way passenger power-adjustable cloth seats. A rear-vision camera, cruise control and a tilt/telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel are also included, as are a 6-speaker stereo, Bluetooth and 4G LTE WiFi connectivity and Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment on a 7-inch touchscreen. An adjustable Drive Mode Selector is also standard and includes Tour, Sport and Snow/Ice settings.
The 1LT adds remote start and paddle shifters when equipped with the automatic transmission. The 2LT features an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated and ventilated leather front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and an upgraded infotainment system with an 8-inch screen and Bose premium audio.
In addition to its monster V8 engine, the 1SS trim is outfitted much like the 1LT but also adds xenon headlights and LED taillights, quad exhausts and a rear spoiler. Beneath the surface there's a limited-slip differential, upgraded brakes and suspension, and a Track mode is added to the Drive Mode Selector for extra aggressive performance. The 1SS rides on run-flat tires and 20-inch wheels. A 1LE Track Performance Package brings improved suspension with adaptive dampers, special forged alloy wheels, Brembo brakes and Recaro sport seats.
The 2SS Camaro builds upon the 2LT with the Convenience and Lighting Packages, which add heated, auto-dimming outside mirrors, illuminated sill plates, a heated steering wheel, inductive mobile device charging, a heads-up display and improved gauge cluster, and rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning.
Finally, in addition to its supercharged V8, the Camaro ZL1 features launch control and all the features of the 2SS and 1SS 1LE trims. A 6-speed manual is standard, though a 10-speed automatic is optional. On the ZL1, the 1LE Extreme Track Performance Package brings track-ready suspension dampers, a carbon-fiber hood and rear spoiler and 19-inch forged alloy wheels.
Popular options for the 1LT and 2LT include the RS Package, which features appearance items like xenon headlights and LED taillights, 20-inch wheels and a unique grille and front spoiler.
Safety features include several airbags, including full-length side curtain, traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes and OnStar with automatic crash notification, remote unlocking and turn-by-turn navigation.
With a supercharged V8 making 650 horsepower, the 2019 ZL1 is definitely Chevrolet's bitchin' Camaro. Packed with the best of everything Chevy throws at its Camaro line, the ZL1 is a take-no-prisoners performance coupe with one badass attitude.
Whether you choose coupe or convertible, the ZL1 doesn't get the homely new front fascia seen on other 2019 Camaro models, mostly because it needs that wide grille for maximum cooling. The carbon fiber composite hood extractor helps air move through the engine compartment, and helps decrease front lift. A front splitter also helps with aerodynamics, as does a substantial rear wing.
The heart of the ZL1 is its supercharged, 6.2-liter V8, with 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive makes this thing a burnout machine, and drivers have their choice between a six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission.
The Good The 2019 Chevy Camaro ZL1 Convertible has a 650-horsepower supercharged V8 and a sophisticated Magnetic Ride Control suspension.
The Bad Visibility is a challenge, and the cramped cabin is full of subpar materials.
The Bottom Line Not many cars offer the performance of the Chevy Camaro ZL1, and in convertible guise, it offers a thrilling wind-in-your-hair experience.
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