2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible

The 2012 Camaro ZL1 Convertible was unveiled at the LA Auto Show with the same 580-horsepower LS9 V8 powerplant of the ZL1 Coupe, but with a stowable top. Team Chevrolet is happy to point out that this sledge-hammer-of-a-drop-top is the most powerful production Chevy ever produced in the brand's 100-year history, but its open air nature doesn't mean it's a performance slacker.

General Motors engineers fitted the ZL1 Camaro with a tower-to-tower brace under the hood, an underbody tunnel brace, a transmission support brace and a front X brace and rear underbody V braces to give the ZL1 Convertible a more coupe-like ride. The result is less cowl and wheel shake than is expected of most convertibles. GM also added structural reinforcements to keep noise and vibration in check.

The ZL1 Convertible also features the same advanced suspension setup as the ZL1 Coupe: Magnetic Ride with damping levels that now adjust up to 1,000 times per second. The ZL1 Convertible can also travel from zero to 60 miles per hour in a scant 3.9 seconds, making it quick enough to keep the driver happy even when the top is up.

The ZL1 Convertible is scheduled to hit dealerships early in 2012. Follow the jump to read over the official press release, and you can peruse the high-res images of the ZL1 Convertible in the gallery above.
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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 hydroformed 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.