General Motors has announced that the world's most powerful production droptop* – the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible – will officially debut at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. Like its coupe kin, the ZL1 Convertible will pack 580 horsepower and 556 pound-feet of torque from its supercharged 6.2-liter LSA V8, besting the Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible's power figures of 550 hp and 510 lb-ft.

Good thing Ford is working on that all-new supercharged 5.8-liter V8 for the next-generation GT500. The horsepower wars are anything but dead.

GM tells us that it has added a whole host of supports and reinforcements to the ZL1 Convertible's body structure in an effort to reduce droptop demons like cowl shake. The improvements include things like a front X brace and rear V brace, a transmission support reinforcement brace, underbody tunnel brace and tower-to-tower brace under the hood.

The Camaro ZL1 coupe goes on sale in early 2012, and we'd expect the convertible to arrive shortly thereafter. We'll have the full details in Los Angeles next month, but for now, hit the jump for GM's official release.


*Apparently cars like the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport don't count in GM's world.
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Camaro ZL1: Most Powerful Chevrolet Convertible Ever

DETROIT – Chevrolet announced today the brand's most-powerful convertible ever – the 2013 Camaro ZL1 – will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month. When it goes on sale in late 2012, it will deliver more performance and technology than many exotic cars and ultra-luxury convertibles.

"The Camaro ZL1 convertible will be one of the most powerful and most capable, convertibles available at any price," said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. "This is a car that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you drop the top – or hit the gas."

Like the coupe, the Camaro ZL1 convertible features a supercharged 6.2L "LSA" engine, SAE-rated at 580 horsepower (432 kW) and 556 lb.-ft. of torque (754 Nm). That's enough to exceed the output of 2+2 convertibles of many performance icons, including:

2012 Aston Martin DB9 Volante – 470 hp / 443 lb.-ft.
2012 Mercedes SL63 AMG – 518 hp / 465 lb.-ft.
2011 Porsche 911 Turbo S – 530 hp / 516 lb.-ft.
2011 Ford Shelby GT500 – 550 hp / 510 lb.-ft.

The Camaro ZL1 convertible's power is complemented by advanced powertrain and chassis technologies designed to deliver exceptional performance on the road or track. In fact, it's the same balance of acceleration, handling and ride quality that enabled a Camaro ZL1 coupe recently to lap the Nürburgring's Nordschleife course in 7:41.27 minutes.

From Day One, the architecture for the fifth-generation Camaro was designed to accommodate a convertible model, which gives the ZL1 convertible coupe-like driving dynamics. Four strategic reinforcements enhance the already-stiff body structure to quell the cowl and steering wheel shake common in convertibles. They include:

A tower-to-tower brace under the hood
A transmission support reinforcement brace
Underbody tunnel brace
Front "X" brace and stiffer cradle as well as rear underbody "V" braces.
Additional structural reinforcements in the ZL1 convertible are designed to improve noise and vibration characteristics, while also reducing unwanted ride and body motions. They include a hydrofoamed tube in the A-pillars, an inner reinforcement bracket in the windshield header, a reinforced front hinge pillar and reinforcements inside the rockers.

The suspension of the ZL1 convertible uses the third-generation of Magnetic Ride. New, twin-wire/dual-coil dampers at all four corners enable 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.

The Camaro ZL1 convertible will also offer Performance Traction Management as standard equipment, which is exclusive to General Motors. First introduced on the Corvette ZR1, it is an advanced system that integrates magnetic ride control, launch control, traction control and electronic stability control, to enhance both launch-acceleration performance and corning.

The result is a convertible designed to preserve nearly all the acceleration, road-holding and performance capabilities of the Camaro ZL1 coupe, which goes on sale in early 2012.


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