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2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 (pictures)

The top trim level of the Camaro has a supercharged 6.2-liter engine, with 580 horsepower.

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Wayne Cunningham
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1 of 23 Josh Miller/CNET
The ZL1 version of the Camaro is the top trim level, with a strong performance note. The car borrows technologies used in other GM cars to enhance power and handling.
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2 of 23 Josh Miller/CNET
The ZL1 keeps the basic Camaro exterior but adds ZL1 badges and a more aggressive air intake up front.
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The hood includes functional vents, and with this car, an optional carbon fiber insert.
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The LSA engine comes under GM's LS engine line, an aluminium V-8 block with 6.2 liters of displacement and a supercharger to force air through the intakes and bring horsepower up to 580.
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As with the standard Camaro, the low greenhouse means constrained visibility.
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The 20-inch wheels, with Goodyear F1 tires, come standard, along with Brembo brakes.
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The suspension uses GM's Magnetic Ride Control technology, which adjusts the dampers based on driving style and road conditions.
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With its large engine, the quad pipes sticking out the back are for more than just decoration.
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The trunk offers a good amount of depth, but the opening is particularly small, making it difficult to get larger items through.
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The front sport seats are very comfortable, and the bolsters are not so high as to make it difficult getting in.
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There is not much room in the rear seats, and the two-bucket design means there is only room for two in back.
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Although the ZL1 gets some nice fabric materials covering part of the cabin, much is still the hard plastic found in the standard Camaro.
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Chevrolet uses an electric power-steering system, and although the wheel is precise and suitably heavy, it lacks road feedback.
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The display between the speedometer and tachometer not only shows trip info, but can show navigation instructions and a lap timer.
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The six-speed automatic, an option in the ZL1, delivers precise manual shifts, but its automatic modes are not particularly sport oriented.
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Square gauges in front of the shifter hearken to the Camaro's heritage and show supercharger boost, oil temperature and pressure, and generator power.
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This head unit comes standard, and is not upgradable. It shows music and phone information, but there is no onboard navigation available.
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This display is adequate for choosing music from a connected iPod or USB drive, but a color touch screen would be nicer.
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The display is large enough to show four lines when selecting satellite radio stations.
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Chevrolet gives the Camaro ZL1 a Boston Acoustics audio system with nine speakers, but it sounds underpowered.
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The Bluetooth phone system integrates with a paired phone's contact list, but that list cannot be accessed through voice command.
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The head-up display shows a variety of screens, such as this one, which includes lateral g-forces.
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A rearview camera display is embedded in the rearview mirror.

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