For the first time in its nearly 50-year history, the new model Chevrolet Camaro doesn't look radically different than its forbear. From nearly every angle, the still-handsome sixth-generation 2016 model is a studied evolution of its predecessor.
So you'd be forgiven for thinking that General Motors has gotten a bit meek (or perhaps even a little lazy) in redesigning its rival to theand , but nothing could be further from the truth. The angle that matters most -- beneath the skin -- is radically different from the outgoing model, and Chevy has now provided some performance stats to back up just how different this new Camaro actually is.
After many years of producing overweight cars, GM has finally seen the light(weight), and in recent years, it's produced some of the leanest new cars in their respective classes. The adoption of a so-called "gram-by-gram" strategy has seen The General's engineers hunting high and low for redundant ounces, to the point they're literally shaving unnecessary threads from bolts in order to save infinitesimal amounts of weight. The strategy worked for Cadillac on its ATS and CTS models, and it works here in the Camaro, which shares much of its underlying structure with those vehicles.
The result? Despite the addition of new features and technologies, the 2016 Camaro weighs up to 390 pounds less than its predecessor, yet its platform is 28 percent stiffer. Combined with a revamped V-8 powertrain pumping out 455 horsepower and a matching amount of torque, the new SS can burst from 0-60 mph in 4 seconds flat and power on through the quarter-mile in 12.3 seconds. And before you dismiss the Camaro as a straight-line muscle car of yore, it can deliver 0.97 g's of neck-straining grip on Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 summer tires, and is available with the altogether wondrous driver-adjustable Magnetic Ride Control suspension system.
Not all Camaros are fire-breathing V-8 monsters, of course. The 3.6-liter V-6 engine returns, and it's been massively overhauled to deliver 335 hp and 284 lb-ft, and it's now available with a new eight-speed automatic. So equipped, the Bowtie 2+2 still delivers a very quick 5.1-second 0-60 time and trips the drag-strip lights at 13.5 seconds. Riding on the RS spec's 20-inch wheels and Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric all-season run-flat tires, the V-6 will corner at 0.89 g's and stop from 60 mph in a tidy 124 feet.
Perhaps the most interesting powertrain for the Camaro is the new 2.0-liter, four-cylinder base engine -- the first factory-issued Camaro turbo ever. With 275 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque (11 more than the V-6), even it's quick, with 0-60 arriving in 5.4 seconds and the quarter-mile passing in 14 seconds dead. That's several tenths quicker than a BMW 428i. In fact, the four-cylinder Camara is similar in both output and acceleration figures to the 1993-1995 5.7-liter V8 Camaro Z28. On standard 18-inch all-season tires, the Camaro can still net 0.85 G and brake from 60-0 in 129 feet.
It will be interesting to see if the import tuner community embraces the Camaro, as it's known for being fond of tweaking the boost on small-displacement fours in search of more power.
Fuel economy figures are not yet available for the 2016 Camaro, but GM has promised that the four-cylinder will achieve over 30 miles per gallon on the highway -- lower weight doesn't just benefit accelerative performance, it boosts efficiency, too.
At least on the numbers side, it's all good news so far for the new Camaro. Well, unless you're Mark Reuss, GM's executive vice president of global product development. When commenting on the Camaro's newfound performance and refinement at a September 10 media briefing, he joked, "It's unsettling, because I'm not [always] sure what car I'm in!"