General Motors has finally let one of its biggest cats out of its bag: The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will be officially rated at 580 horsepower and 556 pound-feet of torque.

Al Oppenheiser, chief engineer of the Camaro, is justifiably proud of his creation, saying, "The Camaro ZL1 delivers supercar performance and technology in the sports-car segment. For sheer power, the ZL1 delivers more horsepower than a Ferrari 458, more torque than an Aston Martin DB9 V12, and a better power-to-weight ratio than a Porsche 911 Carrera GTS."

The supercharged engine is the most powerful mill ever put in the engine bay of a Camaro – besting the rated output of the 1969 Camaro ZL1's 427-cubic-inch V8 by 150 horses – and it can be mated up with either a six-speed manual gearbox or, importantly for mass appeal, a six-speed automatic fitted with Drive, Sport and Manual modes for increased driver involvement.

You may be wondering how Chevrolet expects all that power to reach the ground in any meaningful fashion that doesn't involve incinerating a fresh pair of tires. And the answer would be with Performance Traction Management and third-generation Magnetic Ride Control. Magnetic Ride control uses Magneto-Rheological fluid in the shocks and is computer controlled with readings that adjust damping a staggering 1,000 times per second, and has Tour, Sport and Track settings.

Performance Traction Management, not surprisingly, is a traction control system with five distinct modes appropriate for everything from rain to race, which is calibrated for use at drag strips conditioned with VHT (a traction compound sprayed on asphalt).

Inquiring minds want to know: How will Ford and Dodge respond to the 2012 ZL1? We'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, click past the break for the complete press release.
Show full PR text
Camaro ZL1 Delivers 580 Horsepower and Exclusive Technologies

Supercharged, 6.2L LSA V-8 delivers 580 horsepower (432 kW) and 556 lb.-ft. of torque (754 Nm)

ZL1 power complemented by exclusive Magnetic Ride Control and Performance Traction Management

Track-capable standard equipment includes high-performance fuel system, as well as engine, transmission and differential coolers

DETROIT – The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1's supercharged 6.2L engine is SAE-rated at 580 horsepower (432 kW) and 556 lb.-ft. of torque (754 Nm) – making it the most-powerful production Camaro ever.

The ZL1's outstanding power is complemented by advanced powertrain and chassis technologies, including exclusive Performance Traction Management and third-generation Magnetic Ride Control.

"The Camaro ZL1 delivers supercar performance and technology in the sports-car segment," said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. "For sheer power, the ZL1 delivers more horsepower than a Ferrari 458, more torque than an Aston Martin DB9 V12, and a better power-to-weight ratio than a Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.

"The Camaro ZL1 also features exclusive chassis and traction technologies," Oppenheiser said, "to offer the best of all worlds – including balanced handling for the track, acceleration for a drag strip, and the comfort of a daily driver."

The most-powerful production Camaro ever

The 2012 Camaro ZL1's surpasses the advertised power of the legendary 1969 Camaro ZL1's 427 cubic-inch big block by more than 150 horsepower (112 kW) – while meeting modern emissions requirements. And, the new ZL1 is backed by General Motors' five-year / 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

"The torque is going to make the ZL1 a car you won't want to get out of," said John Rydzewski, assistant chief engineer for small block engines. "Not only will the ZL1 have more power and torque than the competition, we're making it available with an optional automatic transmission, to appeal to a wider group of sports car enthusiasts."

The all-aluminum LSA supercharged V-8 is part of GM's legendary small-block engine family. For a solid foundation, the engine's lower end uses six-bolt main bearing caps that clamp and lock in the forged steel crankshaft to the deep-skirt block. Its 1.9L Roots-style blower uses an efficient four-lob rotor set and compact intercooler to deliver boosted air into the high-flow cylinder heads.

For the Camaro ZL1, the LSA features a unique induction system, with a lower-restriction air filter, dual inlet paths, and improved airflow through the supercharger housing. Other changes include a higher-efficiency supercharger intercooler and electric power steering system, which consumes less engine power than hydraulic-steering systems.

The ZL1 will be offered with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The Tremec TR-6060 "MG9" manual features 30 percent more torque capacity than in the Camaro SS. The higher torque capacity results from a strengthened output shaft, high-strength rear housing, and additional roller bearing. The MG9 has also been tuned for improved shift feel, with a dual-mass flywheel, twin-disc clutch, and triple synchros for smooth, precise shifts.

Similarly, the Hydra-Matic 6L90 automatic has been strengthened to handle the torque and horsepower produced by the 6.2L supercharged small block. The 6L90 features a strengthened input gearset with two additional pinion gears, additional clutch plate, and a strengthened output shaft and gearset. To make the ZL1 perform equally well on street and track, the 6L90 features three distinct drive modes:

Drive: The shift pattern is calibrated for optimal fuel economy, including second-gear starts, while the shift feel is tuned for a smooth driving experience. Engaging the tap-shift feature on the steering wheel or shift lever engages temporary manual mode.
Sport: The shift pattern is calibrated for more aggressing driving, including first-gear starts for maximum performance. The shift feel is also more aggressive, with a performance algorithm that holds the transmission in lower gears during aggressive driving.
Manual: Here, the 6L90 offers the driver true manual control, with no automatic up shifts, and staged upshifts for incredibly fast shifts and maximum performance.
Other track-ready features of the ZL1 include:

An engine-oil cooler, identical to the system on the Corvette ZR1. The integral liquid-to-liquid system is so effective that both the manual and automatic transmissions are deemed to be fully track-capable with the standard factory-installed cooling package.

A rear-differential cooler, which pumps transmission fluid to a heat exchanger, reduces temperatures in the differential by more than 100 F.

A high-performance fuel system delivers fuel to the LSA engine under any performance driving condition. For example, the system features additional fuel pickups on the primary side, and the secondary fuel pickup is moved outboard for continuous fuel access during high-g cornering under low fuel conditions.

Magnetic Ride Control 3.0 adjusts damping 1,000 times per second

The Camaro ZL1 will feature the third-generation of Magnetic Ride Control (MRC).

MRC employs valve-less damping and Magneto-Rheological (MR) fluid technology. MR fluid is a suspension of iron particles in a synthetic fluid. When the system is activated, the particles are magnetized and aligned into fibrous structures, changing flow resistance. By controlling the current to an electromagnetic coil inside the piston of the damper, the system varies the suspension firmness to match the road and driving conditions.

"Traditional suspension systems at some point compromise ride quality for road-holding grip and body control," said Oppenheiser. "With Magnetic Ride Control, we can offer customers the best of both worlds: A comfortable ride that makes the ZL1 appropriate as a daily driver and the incredibly precise body control that makes the ZL1 so enjoyable on the track."

For the third-generation, MRC uses new twin-wire/dual-coil dampers at all four corners. The smaller dual-coil system – with one coil at either end of the damper – replaces the larger single-core design of the previous generation.

The new design allows even more precise control of the electrical current (and magnetic flux), allowing greater range between the softest setting for ride comfort and the firmest setting for track driving. The new dual-coil design also enables faster response, with damping levels now adjusted up to 1,000 times per second – about one adjustment per inch of vehicle travel at 60 mph – making the system exceptionally responsive to changing driving and road conditions.

There are three settings for MRC in the ZL1: Tour, Sport, and Track.

Exclusive Performance Traction Management for the race course, and the drag strip

The Camaro ZL1 will also offer Performance Traction Management (PTM) as standard equipment, which is exclusive to General Motors. First introduced on the Corvette ZR1, PTM is an advanced system that integrates magnetic ride control, launch control, traction control and electronic stability control, to enhance performance on the racetrack and drag strip.

For example, the launch control feature (manual transmission only) automatically modulates engine torque for the best possible acceleration without excessive wheel spin. When the driver pushes the throttle to the floor, the system holds a predetermined engine speed until the driver releases the clutch. Then, the system modulates engine torque 100 times per second to maximize the available traction. The system is capable of approaching a skilled driver's best effort and repeats it consistently.

Similarly, on a road course, the driver can apply full throttle when exiting a corner and PTM will automatically manage acceleration dynamics to maximize exit speed based on available traction.

Five PTM performance levels or modes are available to accommodate the given ambient and track conditions, driver experience/vehicle familiarity and driver comfort levels. They include:

Mode 1 – Traction control set for wet conditions, with stability control on and Magnetic Ride Control set on Tour.
Mode 2 – Traction control set for dry conditions, with stability control on and Magnetic Ride Control set on Tour.
Mode 3 – Traction control set on Sport 1, with stability control on and Magnetic Ride Control set on Sport.
Mode 4 – Traction control set on Sport 2, with stability control off and Magnetic Ride Control set on Sport.
Mode 5 – Traction control set on Race, with stability control off and Magnetic Ride Control set on Track. Launch control tuned for VHT-prepped drag strips.

"Like the Magnetic Ride Control, the Performance Traction Management system improves the ZL1 experience as a daily driver and on the track," said Oppenheiser. "By offering five distinct modes of traction management, the driver can select what's best for them based on their experience and the driving conditions. As a result, novice drivers will find the ZL1 is very enjoyable to drive, while expert drivers will find PTM supplements their driving skill without interfering with their intentions."

About Chevrolet

Chevrolet is a global automotive brand, with annual sales of about 3.5 million vehicles in more than 130 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. In the U.S., the Chevrolet portfolio includes: iconic performance cars, such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long lasting pickups and SUVs, such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers, such as Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers "gas-friendly to gas-free" solutions including the Cruze Eco and Volt, both arriving in late 2010. Cruze Eco will offer 42 mpg highway while the Chevrolet Volt will offer up to 40 miles of electric, gas-free driving and an additional 300 miles of extended range (based on GM testing; official EPA estimates not yet available). Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security, and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response, and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models, fuel solutions, and OnStar availability can be found at www.chevrolet.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 122 Comments
      bleexeo
      • 3 Years Ago
      The most important change, by far, was to get rid of that absolutely crap regular Camaro steering wheel.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @bleexeo
        [blocked]
          Mike K
          • 3 Years Ago
          try using it to drive... it's terrible, it gets in the way of itself.
          kingrat001
          • 3 Years Ago
          It was the ugliest wheel I can remember, going back about 50 years, and I've seen a fair share of ugly wheels. Kind of went along with the rest of it, ugly wheel, ugly interior (partially fixed for '12), and hideous exterior.
        Fonin
        • 3 Years Ago
        @bleexeo
        the original wheel is one of the ugliest (to me) that i have seen in a production car. i'd rather havd a 1-spoke datsun or saab wheel.
      Frisky_Dingo
      • 3 Years Ago
      I kind of have mixed feelings about this car. I so desperately wanted a new Camaro when they came out. I was planning on trading my 06 GTO for one. Then they came out, and I drove one. It drove JUST like my GTO. So needless to say, I couldn't justify spending so much money on something so similar. The car eventually grew 'off' me, and I began to actually hate them. Now though, I work at a GM dealer in sales and spend a lot of time around/driving these cars. And the more I do, the more I come to appreciate them. Sure, they have poor visibility, they don't handle like a Mustang, they're kinda cramped inside, and they can be kinda pricey. But they feel solid, are fairly comfortable to drive, make good power, and look far more expensive than they really are. They're kinda like the middle ground between the sporty Mustang and the boulevard cruiser Challenger. That'd where the car really excels. As for the ZL1, so long as it can put it's power down, which it should, it will be a great GT 500 competitor. And I think it looks better. But I still would have rather them built a Z28 w/a an LS7, less weight, upgraded suspension and brakes to go toe-to-toe w/a the Boss. Mayne they'll still build one. I definitely can't wait to drive one of the ZL1's though.
        kcroc10077
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Frisky_Dingo
        Z-28 is coming. It will be built on the Alpha platform.
          Frisky_Dingo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @kcroc10077
          Yeah, supposedly, but it will undoubtedly use one of the upcoming Gen V engines. I REALLY wanted to see an LS7 powered Camaro. I know they're heavy and all, but if they could have just gotten the weight down to 3,500-3,600lbs, it would have been one hell of a car. Oh well, here's to hoping for a 3,400lb ~470hp DI 5.5 (like the C6 racer) Z for the next gen. And a price under $50K.
      dan1malk
      • 3 Years Ago
      Excited to see the caparisons with this car. Lots of sources show the GT500 and CTS-V being very, very close. With more power and less weight than the Caddy the ZL1 should fair pretty well against the Ford. As the muscle wars go, the newest one is usually the fastest one.
        LostBoyz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dan1malk
        What is this lower weight you speak of? I hear strong reports of the 13 gt500 having ~600hp from a new SC5.8L so we will see what happens.
          dan1malk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @LostBoyz
          Yeah the next GT500 will probably be faster than the ZL1, then the next ZL1 will be faster than that GT500, then the next GT500 will be faster than that ZL1, then the next ZL1 will be faster than that GT500, and then the next GT500 will be faster than that ZL1, THEN!... guess what... I'll bet the ZL1 after that will be even faster than that GT500! Can you believe it?!?!
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @LostBoyz
          You're hearing rumors, not reports.
          Mike K
          • 3 Years Ago
          @LostBoyz
          Who ever told you they're moving to a 5.8L obviously has no idea about cars. Ford doesn't make a 5.8L mill, nore have they since 1996. 2013 GT500 will have an SC5.4L. Will be redesigned in 2014 for the anniversary.
      Randy
      • 3 Years Ago
      This certainly will not win any bang for the buck contest because I'm sure the price will be crazy but this is impressive either way. I'm a big Mustang fan, all cars really but more the Mustang and I'm kinda excited to see what's next from Ford and Dodge.
      JCR
      • 3 Years Ago
      how much?
      Prince David
      • 3 Years Ago
      This or GT500, who wins?
        Paul P.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Prince David
        Car Enthusiasts.
          QCRamAir
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Paul P.
          You're right. Gas prices suck, but right now is an awesome time to be a car enthusiast.
        Robert Niknam
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Prince David
        This. Ford's traction control is the equiv of wet sand paper...
          Krishan Mistry
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Robert Niknam
          Wet sand paper is actually very useful in detailing and polishing. Especially the smooth high grid sandpaper.
      Mike K
      • 3 Years Ago
      So it's only got 30 more HP then the 2012 GT500, so it will STILL be slower then the Ford. GM just sucks lol
        Justin
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mike K
        putting lol at the end of something doesn't actually make it funnier or more valid.
          WillieD
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Justin
          @Justin Ford had asset backed loans. There's a difference.
          Mike K
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Justin
          What's wrong with Ford? The fact they didn't require a bailout? The fact their quality ratings blow GM's out of the water? The fact Ford isn't stuck in the stone age using oversized Pushrod engines to try and compensate for lack of power? The fact Ford is beating GM in every way possible?
          Justin
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Justin
          Ford took a government loan too, just a bit earlier (to their credit but still)
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Justin
          [blocked]
        Frank
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mike K
        The GT500 will still walk as it does with all Maros!
          Mike K
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Frank
          Every Mustang walks it's Camaro equivalent. It's gotta be depressing being a Camaro owner.
        dan1malk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mike K
        A troll is a troll. Ignore Mike K
          Mike K
          • 3 Years Ago
          @dan1malk
          Actually by you responding and not discussing the topic and making a statement to ignore me, have proven that YOU in fact are the troll.. GJ stupid.
          Kevin Parker
          • 3 Years Ago
          @dan1malk
          @Mike Congratulations! You're a huge dick! Consult flow chart for explanation: http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/4/2011/09/the-system-519-true-stories-from-otakon.jpg
        SYJ
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mike K
        CTS-V is heavier and hits 60 in 3.9-4.1 secs with less power. How do you figure this will be SLOWER than the GT500? Fastest time I've seen for the GT500 is 4.1 secs. The ZL1 will most definitely have advantage in the quarter mile. Should be in the low 12s with a trap near 120mph. Aside from speed this LOOKS better and will ride better with the MR shocks.
      Silly Pickle
      • 3 Years Ago
      "The Camaro ZL1 delivers supercar performance and technology in the sports-car segment. For sheer power, the ZL1 delivers more horsepower than a Ferrari 458, more torque than an Aston Martin DB9 V12, and a better power-to-weight ratio than a Porsche 911 Carrera GTS." Any chance it can beat any of these in a corner? How 'bout resale? Lust per $ or chicks per pound? Not if the drivers are all overweight 50+ yr old dudes with mullets...you know, retired hockey players. And such. "it can be mated up with either a six-speed manual gearbox or, importantly for mass appeal, a six-speed automatic fitted with Drive, Sport and Manual modes for increased driver involvement." What...no live axle option for those drag racers out there? Pfft! Mustang still wins!! (j/k guys, settle it down) "Performance Traction Management, not surprisingly, is a traction control system with five distinct modes appropriate for everything from rain to race, which is calibrated for use at drag strips conditioned with VHT (a traction compound sprayed on asphalt)." Oh, that's how they're fixing that. Sounds pretty cool. If you use it though, will they void your warranty? (Hello Nissan?) Too bad it's priced (or will be) out of your typical Camaro owner's price range. My bud had an early 80's Z28 in high school, no way on this earth he'd EVER be able to afford one of these, nor his kids in high school. Granted anything from the early 80's aint exactly high tech nor fast, and back then they were cheap as Borscht. I think my Taurtoise is faster than his Z was in stock form though. Most little cars now would be. This on the other hand shoots into a whole new stratosphere. My guess is I'll never even see on live.
      yesaninsider
      • 3 Years Ago
      Dear GM. You are now somewhat forgiven for killing Pontiac. Somewhat.
        diablo000
        • 3 Years Ago
        @yesaninsider
        No, they're not. I would still have liked to see them keep Pontiac around as a niche performance brand. But we can't all get what we want...
      chlova05
      • 3 Years Ago
      Finally!!! American cars are attractive and desirable. Not only do they have character now but they also have attitude. Something the 90s and 2000s cars didn't have. And reliability is not a problem anymore (or at least on par with foreign). Hey I'll take this over any Japanese luxuries any day (umm... of course not the LFA). Go Detroit!
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @chlova05
        So the Cobras and Mach 1s of the 90s and 00s didn't have any attitude? The Terminator is probably one of the most intimidating Mustangs off all time. That would also bring up the '98-'02 Camaro SS. Chevy even lied about the engine's power rating so to not steal Corvette sales.
          Frisky_Dingo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          Those New Edge Mustangs and 4th gen F-Bodies you speak of also had the build quality of a Fisher Price playset. Cheap materials, horrible fit and finish, poor ride, poor handling, poor brakes, shall I continue?? Look, I owned two fourth gen T/As, one LT1, and one LS1, both WS-6 cars. As well as an 06 GTO. And I've looked high and low to find a nice low-mile Terminator. So I for one, most definitely will not deny their appeal. For cheap thrills, they're hard to b eat. But they're lack of refinement, quality, and updates is what got them killed (F bods, at least). Cars like that can't survive in todays marketplace. Consumers want quality, refinement, and reliability along with performance. And the new Camaro, Mustang, and Challenger all do a pretty decent job of it. These cars are on a whole different level compared to their predecessors. And the price reflects that.
          Mike K
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          The LS1 Camaro's were the last respectable version of the Camaro. I hate this new hunk of crap
      Don G
      • 3 Years Ago
      ATTENTION GM AND CAMARO HATERS: AUTOBLOG HAS A NEW POST ABOUT THE CAMARO FOR YOU TO BASH. Please disregard the fact that an American car company is offering one of the best (notice I said one of, not the only) bang for the buck performance cars ever offered here or anywhere else for that matter. What an awesome time to be a car enthusiast.
        Mike K
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Don G
        You're being a bit over zealous considering we have no idea what it will cost yet.
        SYJ
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Don G
        Wait! what about the interior plastics? I mean that is what's really critical in a performance car with over 500hp. The S5's interior is so much nicer to carress and poke. Without more soft materials, alum trim and a Euro badge this car can't be taken seriously. Why not the IPL G37 instead and revel in its 90s inspired body kit?
          LUSTSTANG S-197
          • 3 Years Ago
          @SYJ
          Enough about interiors!! You all sound like a bunch of women on here. The fact is that interiors have improved immensely over just the last 5 years, and yet you people are still complaining.
          Rampant
          • 3 Years Ago
          @SYJ
          Wow, i miss the days when nobody gave a damn what a cars interior was made of.
          SYJ
          • 3 Years Ago
          @SYJ
          The American auto press is responsible for the obsession over interior plastic quality.
      Andrew
      • 3 Years Ago
      I used to own an iroc before the engine blew I'd rather they build a new iroc instead if a stoopid zl2
        Mike K
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andrew
        I can't like this comment enough. I'd love to see a new IROC.
          Mr Clickerson
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Mike K
          @ Tetratron... I can't imagine a more ignorant post... The IROC-Z- straight line performance? Apparently you have no idea what the IROC-Z was used for, what it did, or was tributed to... What a joke. The IROC-Z was all about track handling and was capable of .92G's BONE STOCK on the skidpad. That's impressive, especially considering other equally ignorant posts trash talking solid axles. Get a grip on reality before you go about posting a load of tripe.
          Tetratron
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Mike K
          Bringing back the IROC would be inherently bad. The IROC hearkens back to a day when pony cars were about straight line performance, the mullet was the hairdo of champions, and Budweiser was the only beer to drink... Oddly so does the original ZL-1 as it was meant for a drag racing set up... Honestly this car puzzles me because the Z/28 was the Handling Camaro and the ZL-1 was the straight line performer... But then no one wants a straight line performance car. Either way the IROC evokes an image of a car that no one would want to buy if it was new anymore. Not saying I'd ever turn one down. They are bad ass, but I feel GM is justified with bringing a more storied moniker back.
          black08mustanggt
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Mike K
          IROC doesn’t exist anymore, Chevy probably couldn't get rights to the name if they wanted to.
          Blackout X
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Mike K
          Can someone say...FISTPUMP?
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