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.
Show full PR text
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.


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  • 49 Comments
      LUSTSTANG S-197
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like how this convertible actually maintains its shape. That can't be said about many drop tops.
      chris
      • 3 Years Ago
      "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..." I'm assuming they meant the most powerful production Chevy *convertible* ever produced. Otherwise, umm, C6 ZR1, anyone?
        Jai302
        • 3 Years Ago
        @chris
        Looool a month back they were calling it the most powerful convertible ever. Now it's the most powerful "chevy" convertible ever. Way to go Ford. Knocked the wind out of Chevy's sails. w00t!
        Bavarian818
        • 3 Years Ago
        @chris
        Ummm Duh!!! Press Releas Quote: "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."
      john m
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm a huge fan of topless... uuhhh... powerhouses. Awesome wheels.
      Northern Light
      • 3 Years Ago
      That has to be one of the fugliest cars I have ever seen. The front end looks like it's made of 4X4 and bricks. Did the designers never see any cars designed since the 1970's, or have they been locked in a basement since then?
        FriskyDingo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Northern Light
        Beauty is all in the eyes of the beholder. I think it looks awesome.
      Johnny Trailerpark
      • 3 Years Ago
      Kinda' sad that the ZL-1 is already outgunned by the new GT 500. Plus, the ZL-1 is a mess around the Nurburgring. Not a very poised vehicle.
        tinted up
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Johnny Trailerpark
        Mehhhh different strokes for different folks. I didn't expect the ZL-1 to outgun the GT500 from the get go anyway. Maybe next cycle they will have a more competent contender. That being said all ZL-1 Camaros will sell rather quickly based on looks and name alone.
        Jiyakku
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Johnny Trailerpark
        Still not sure what you mean by mess but here are lap times around the Nurburgring copied from the Wikipedia with cars that posted similar times to the ZL1: 7:40.76 Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera 7:41.23 Porsche 911 Turbo S 7:41.27 Camaro ZL1 (2012) 7:42 Porsche 911 GT3 7:42 Lamborghini Murciélago LP670-4 SV With that, still not sure what you mean by "Mess".
        Talisman
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Johnny Trailerpark
        It's funny to me what now qualifies as "a mess" to some people. It ran a 7:41 which is about dead even with a Porsche 911 GT3. Somehow, I feel like you don't quite know what you are talking about.
        macmovieman
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Johnny Trailerpark
        The part that I find amusing is that the Ford GT500 leapfrogged the Camaro and went after Chevy's beloved Corvette all on Chevy's 100 year anniversary. I like the ZL1 but if I were to pull the trigger on a Chevy it would need to be a Vette.
      Evan
      • 3 Years Ago
      Your mom's a topless powerhouse..
      ryanandrewmartin
      • 3 Years Ago
      I simply DO NOT understand how a car that SHOULD be so badass and exciting is just so absolutely boring to me.
        LUSTSTANG S-197
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ryanandrewmartin
        I wish I had that problem. Maybe you don't notice enough Camrys, Accords, Impalas, CUVs etc.
        ryanandrewmartin
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ryanandrewmartin
        This may as well be a Camry, Accord, Impala, CUV etc...
          LUSTSTANG S-197
          • 3 Years Ago
          @ryanandrewmartin
          I did not know you could buy a Camry with two doors, a convertible, and 580 hp. Your opinion is just that, but I must say you are in the extreme minority. These cars turn heads wherever they go, something something your average grocery getter cannot do.
          Frisky_Dingo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @ryanandrewmartin
          You're an idiot.
          ryanandrewmartin
          • 3 Years Ago
          @ryanandrewmartin
          I'm an idiot because you're a fanboy that's in love with an ugly car? Chevrolet could've made it look like ANYTHING(they obviously didn't try too hard) and the hard up Camaro ladies would've eaten it right up. It is a me-too, busy as ****, caricature of a pony cay. Sack up and take it fanboys. The Camaro is the least desirable offering in the new pony car war. It was designed/built simply so that Chevy would have SOMETHING in the game. TRY to see past your Chevrolet/Camaro erections. Just try...
          LUSTSTANG S-197
          • 3 Years Ago
          @ryanandrewmartin
          No, but saying a Camaro may as well be a Camry sounds idiotic to most. The only thing I am a "fanboy" of is cars.
      Frisky_Dingo
      • 3 Years Ago
      This car has an LSA, not an LS9. Sweet car. I'll take a white manual.
        ZOZ
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Frisky_Dingo
        A white Camaro? Last color I would pick for a Camaro, but then again people have different taste even on things so clear to others :)
          FriskyDingo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @ZOZ
          I don't why, but I've always loved white sports cars. Something about the pure, purposeful look I suppose. The Camaro especially I love in white. It and the Corvette both I think look better in white than any other color. Also, white Porsches, mmm. But I wouldn't be opposed to Ashen Gray or Inferno Orange.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        LUSTSTANG S-197
        • 3 Years Ago
        You people complain about the interior, but never have any solutions on how to fix it. By your comments it sounds to me like you haven't been inside of something from the 80s, 90s, or even early 2000s.
          Matt Mossberg
          • 3 Years Ago
          @LUSTSTANG S-197
          i am a person who complains about the interior of american cars that being said i like the suede in this camaro as well as the corvette. i do offer solutions to american car makers for the interior such as putting money into the interior rather than fords mysync crapware, also kia and other companies like kia have found a way to make the interior look a whole of a lot nicer while still keeping in price point. make the interiors more simple yet elegant w/0 all the cheap looking fake aluminum trimmings. make steering wheels that are in sports cars look like they belong in one, i know that this camaro and corvette have done it finally (good job) bit other cars do not. i can go on and on about it. all i am sayig is that they could if they really wanted to make the interior of american cars look good while not spending that much money over what they are doing right now. that being said at the end of the day for me its about the ride and i loved my c5 corvette while i had it and was the funnest car i have ever driven. end rant
      Jai302
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ugly
      Junkyard Willie
      • 3 Years Ago
      Only thing is if you flip this thing, since it doesn't have rollover protection you're going to die.
        LUSTSTANG S-197
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Junkyard Willie
        If you're so worried about rolling over, don't buy a convertible. Being as safety obsessed as we have become, it's a wonder we still have the option of a convertible. That said, people need to learn to enjoy life, and stop being so uptight.
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Junkyard Willie
        What 4-seat convertible comes with rollover protection? Because I don't remember any unless it's in the form of a Roush Mustang.
          Brett
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          BMW 3 series. Its integrated into the seat headrests.
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          Those are attached to the seats, which would not provide strong enough protection in a violent rollover. There needs to be a proper roll hoop in order to prevent something bad happening. But, I digress. Willie's in the wrong for even pointing out that it doesn't have any type of protection. He could always just buy the ZL-1 hard top, resulting in better rollover protection AND spending less on the coupe.
          mrpinto
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          Doesn't the 911 have something behind the rear seats that's supposed to deploy when rolling over? I seem to recall Volvos having a similar feature also...
      Junkyard Willie
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Germans pay close attention to details convertibles need rollover protection, reason why Californian's buy more imports then any other state period!
        LUSTSTANG S-197
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Junkyard Willie
        It's not a Jeep, it's a large car with a low center of gravity. I don't care what Californians do, if what you say is indeed true.
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