A four-banger in a Camaro! Blasphemy you say? Could be, but what four-pot are we talking about? In this case, the General's car czar Bob Lutz suggests that the new 2010 Camaro due next February could offer the same 2.0 liter direct-injected engine used in the Saturn Sky Redline, Pontiac Solstice GXP and the SS versions of the Chevy HHR and Cobalt. Before dismissing the turbo-four immediately, consider the top-of-the-line engine options the Camaro offered after the last oil-embargo-driven doomsday. In '72, the big block 402 engine offered just 240 horsepower; in '73, the Z28 was equipped with a 245-horse 350 and by '75 the hottest option underhood made only 155 horses. Ouch. The 2.0 being considered for the Camaro punches out 260 horsepower, and based on our time with the engine, you feel each of them as you run up towards the redline. The next step-up will likely be a version of GM's 3.6, as offered in the CTS and G8, also making around 260 horsepower.

Other Camaro tidbits mentioned by Lutz: it will be priced higher than the Mustang, as GM sees the Camaro as a higher-end offering. Specifically, Lutz suggests that the Camaro will feature a much better interior than the 'Stang, along with its inherently better independent rear-suspension arrangement.

Perhaps a bigger question to ponder is how bad will the performance industry be impacted by new fuel efficiency standards along with the ever-tightening emissions regulations. Just so long as carmakers such as GM continue to offer engine options like their 2.0 liter DI four-banger, the performance drop-off won't be nearly as drastic as it was back in the mid-70s. Thank God for that!

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[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]