Muscle cars aren't really for the likes of us Europeans. They're too big, too thirsty, and a bit silly for our refined, hatch-loving tastes. We like small cars with economical engines designed to putter around our tight, windy city roads and ever narrowing A-Roads. Oh, who am I kidding? Give me a choice between a European Econobox and a RWD 6.2-litre V8 Chevy Camaro and the first set of keys taken will start the one that kills the most flowers.
The Chevrolet Camaro is a bit of a stand-out car at the moment. Its motor show debut showed the world that Ford hadn't got the retro-styling thing entirely to itself and that Chevrolet could really inspire the car-buying public with something stunning (that isn't a Corvette). A tie-in with the much-hyped feature-length toy commercial, "Transformers," meant that all of a sudden it wasn't simply a Camaro anymore: it was Bumblebee.
I'm not ashamed to say that this generation of Camaro is Bumblebee to me, too. When I first saw "Transformers," I wanted to drive one; it looked so cool, so new, and so good that I went a bit wobbly.
It's a modern/retro take on the Mk 1 Camaro (the best-looking of the retro Camaros), the car Chevrolet designed to spank the popular Ford Mustang in the '60s. It didn't. It lost that fight in a big way. Subsequent generations weren't much cop, either -- the fourth generation did so poorly that Chevrolet decided to kill the name off...
...Only to resurrect it in 2009 to take on the newer, retroer Mustang. For Round 2, though, I hear that the Camaro is winning the muscle car race. That's one for the books.
Having a go in one was a bit of an "I've waited years for this" moment. You know what? I wish it had stayed as one, too. The Camaro, as a car, is awful. Every bit of the basic Camaro is terrible: the fittings, suspension, noise, trim -- you name it. I suspect it's because they're cripplingly expensive to import to the U.K., and the bits that make it drive as you'd hope are a bit on the dear side.
In the same breath as saying it's terrible, though, it really isn't. Because it's a Camaro. Kids stare, adults look in wonderment, its size cuts a pretty nice path through busy traffic. I mean, just look at it -- You're driving Bumblebee, for Pete's sake. That's worth all the wobbly suspension in the world.
|Torque||410 lb. ft.|
|0-62 mph||5.6 seconds|
|Top speed||155 mph|