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2016 Chevrolet Camaro gets a bump in tech as well as price

The all-new sixth-generation 2016 Chevrolet Camaro is lighter and more powerful than its forebearer. It looks to be a winning package in a hot segment, but is it priced right?

The pony car war is about to get a serious kick in the spurs.

Chevrolet has just announced that its all-new 2016 Camaro will start at $26,695, including delivery fee. That's a not-insubstantial price creep over the $24,700 base on the outgoing model, but the sixth-generation model promises big gains in performance, technology, fuel economy and refinement.

The asking price for the base 1LT may seem rather ambitious considering it costs more than not only the $24,700 2016 Ford Mustang V-6, but also the $26,200 turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost coupe, as well. However, that MSRP slots the Camaro just under the $27,990 window sticker of the 2015 Challenger SXT from Dodge, which has yet to release 2016 model-year figures.

The fifth-generation Camaro is a chiseled evolution of its predecessor. Chevrolet

Pricing and availability has not yet been disclosed for other global markets, including the UK and Australia, but there's a new configurator/visualizer available online for those who want to view the customization options.

Balancing the Camaro's price increase is what promises to be a much better equipped, thoroughly modern muscle car. The reborn Chevy should be a formidable foe for its crosstown rivals, having gone to the gym and cut 200-plus pounds from its now slightly smaller and more athletic chassis, which it will share with the Cadillac ATS.

The new Camaro enters the market when performance car sales are on a tear. For a time, muscle cars were thought to be on their way out, thanks to the financial crisis, higher fuel prices, increasingly stringent fuel economy standards and shifting consumer tastes. But the sales pendulum has swung back hard the other way, with high-performance cars moving in strong numbers. By some estimates, US sales of performance vehicles are up 70 percent since the 2009 financial crisis, a development that's handsomely padded auto makers' coffers in the process.

The base 2016 Camaro engine, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, arrives with 275 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, which GM says is good for 0-to-60 mph in "well under 6 seconds" and "more than 30 mpg on the highway." It also features such standard tech niceties as Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, an OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and a drive-mode selector and backup camera.

The new midlevel 3.6-liter V-6 may not be turbocharged, but its direct injection and continuously variable valve timing are good for 335 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque, plus it features cylinder deactivation for better fuel economy (its performance and efficiency numbers haven't yet been disclosed).

The full-house 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 1SS will brandish 455 horsepower and a matching torque figure, along with Brembo brakes, high-performance run-flat tires and auxiliary coolers for the transmission, differential and engine oil, all for $37,295.

Up until the debut of the redesigned Mustang last year, the Camaro held the lead in the pony car sales war. It will be interesting to see if this shiny new bowtie can help Chevy reclaim the segment's sales crown when it goes on sale later this year.