Vital Stats

Engine:
7.0L V8
Power:
505 HP / 481 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Manual
Drivetrain:
Rear-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,837 LBS
Seating:
2+2
Cargo:
11.3 CU-FT
To hear Al Oppenheiser, chief engineer for the Chevrolet Camaro, tell it, the brand-new 2014 Z/28 is "the car everyone expects." The modern Camaro concept first debuted at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show, and in early 2014 – over eight years later – the Z/28 will finally be available for public consumption. It is perhaps the most highly anticipated Camaro model to spawn from the modern interpretation of General Motors' 'Murican muscle car. After all, when we first spied the track-focused 1LE, we assumed it would be called Z/28. And then when Chevy surprised us with the ZL1 at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show, we were sort of shocked that it wasn't called Z/28, either.

As you would expect, the questions surrounding a Z/28 model have been flooding in since we first heard the Camaro nameplate would be making a comeback. But Oppenheiser was saving the best for last, saying this actually is the car "no one expects." Through all these years, he had been telling owners, fan-boys and the media that the Z/28 name – "a haloed moniker" – would be reserved for the most hardcore Camaro available.

So, to show us exactly how serious this new Z/28 package is, Chevy invited us out to GM's Milford Proving Grounds for a proper deep dive. And instead of just telling us what the new top-dog Camaro can do, we buckled into the passenger seat of the very car that recently set a 7:37.47 Nürburgring lap time – with the very driver that set the time as our pilot – and stormed the 2.9-mile Milford Road Course.

We've waited a long time to finally greet the Z/28. And boy, has the wait been worth it.
2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/282014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

This isn't just another crosstown rival for the Ford Mustang.

The key thing to keep in mind about the 2014 Camaro Z/28 is that it isn't just another crosstown rival for the Ford Mustang. Sure, the 1LE and Boss 302 are perfectly matched for a fight, and heavyweights ZL1 and Shelby GT500 equally so, but really, there isn't a clear competitor from Ford or even Chrysler for this even more extreme Z/28. (At least, not yet.) Chevy is dead set on venturing off into the land of the Nissan GT-R and Porsche 911 GT3 with its track-focused Z/28, and firmly states that this car is not to be treated as a daily driver. To that end, Chevy is extending the factory warranty on the Z/28 to include track use – the company stands behind the full performance capabilities of this car.

Z/28 models are based off of the refreshed 2014 Camaro, using the slightly redesigned front and rear fascias. But even though this is a higher-end model, the base headlamps and taillamps have been fitted to save weight and reduce cost. In fact, massive weight savings have been applied to the Z/28. Chevy has taken out everything that wasn't a legal necessity or didn't improve performance. Of course, the larger V8 engine adds some heft, as do added bits of aero and the higher caliber chassis, suspension, braking and wheel/tire components. The end result, however, is a Camaro that weighs 3,837 pounds – some 300 pounds less than a ZL1 coupe – and has enough added aero to produce 440 pounds of downforce at 150 miles per hour. The functional aerodynamic enhancements include a front splitter, large rear spoiler, hood vent, reshaped rockers and Gurney lip fender flares.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Compared again to the ZL1, the Z/28 is less powerful, but as we've learned before, engine output isn't everything. Surely, no one will complain about the Z/28's naturally aspirated 7.0-liter V8, officially rated at 505 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 481 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. Yes, you could argue that that using GM's supercharged 6.2-liter LSA V8 from the ZL1 and Cadillac's V models would have been a good choice, but simply put, the Bowling Green-assembled LS7, which was also used by the last-generation Corvette Z06, weighs less and still absolutely rocks.

The Z/28's 7.0-liter V8 is officially rated at 505 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque.

A few tweaks were made to the LS7 during Z/28 development. Pankl titanium connecting rods were added, as well as Mahle pistons, and a revised air intake with K&N cold-air induction and exhaust headers. The 505-hp rating may be the same as the LS7-powered Corvette Z06, but the extra massaging here in the Camaro is what yielded the 481 lb-ft number – 11 more torques than in the 'Vette. The only transmission available is a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual, with close-ratio gearing and a 3.91 final drive ratio – up from 3.45 in the Camaro SS.

More than 190 of the Z/28's parts are unique, with each one focused on solely making this thing the most capable track car in the Camaro lineup. In addition to the LS7 tweaks, the Z/28 marks the first application of a dry sump lubrication system in a Camaro, designed to better handle frequent high revving and the higher g-forces of the Z/28's improved cornering ability. Of course, things get super hot under extreme driving conditions, so to keep it all in check, there's a liquid-to-liquid cooling system for the engine oil (identical to the system used in the Corvette ZR1), and the transmission and differential are kept cool with a high-capacity liquid-to-air system that's similar to what Chevy uses in the Camaro ZL1.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/282014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/282014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

To keep everything steady, Chevy has fitted a beefier Torsen helical limited-slip differential, which we're told cuts lap times on the Milford Road Course by 0.7 seconds. This improved setup is specifically designed to optimize track performance, with built-in programming for corner entry, mid-point and exit. Naturally, higher-quality stoppers were fitted: lightweight, carbon ceramic brakes at all four corners. Up front, the big rotors measure 15.5 inches with fixed, six-piston calipers (in an asymmetric layout for improved clamp-force distribution), and at the back, large 15.4-inch rotors are used with four-piston fixed calipers.

The Camaro Z/28 marks the first mainstream application of the DSSV dampers.

Those brakes are nestled behind lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels all around, wrapped in ultra-sticky (and ultra-meaty) 305/30ZR19 Pirelli Trofeo R tires. Yes, larger 20-inch wheels are available throughout the Camaro line, but not here on the Z/28 – the 19s save 50 pounds of weight and lower the car's center of gravity by 33 millimeters, which improves overall handling.

Perhaps most importantly, the suspension has been heavily reworked, with springs that are 85-percent stiffer up front and 65-percent stiffer in the rear, optimized for the new Multimatic DSSV (Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve) dampers. These state-of-the-art dampers were first pioneered in the Champ Car series in 2002, and to this day are used in Formula One by Red Bull Racing. DSSV dampers are also found in DTM, Formula 3 and the Ferrari 458 Challenge, and were installed as factory equipment on the Aston Martin One-77. The Camaro Z/28 marks the first mainstream application of the DSSV dampers.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/282014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Beyond that, a whole host of suspension components have been stiffened, including the lower trailing-link bushings at the rear, the lower-arm link bushings up front (to improve steering feel), and rear upper control arm bushings that are a full 400-percent stiffer. Chevy says this last part is so the car can cope with maximum lateral cornering forces of 1.08 Gs.

Around the MRC, Chevy's engineers have recorded a time of 1:53.71 in the Z/28.

Simply put, the Z/28 is the most muscular modern Camaro yet, and the Milford Road Course was designed to flex every last component that makes up this crazy coupe. Around the MRC, Chevy's engineers have recorded a time of 1:53.71 in the new Z/28, compared to 1:56.58 in the more powerful ZL1. That seriously quick lap time even bests both the Camaro 1LE and Mustang Boss 302 by more than five seconds, and beats the Shelby GT500 by over six seconds.

Our experience in the passenger seat of the silver Z/28 was brief – just two quick laps around the MRC – but we can already tell that this car is capable of some absolutely wonderful things. First of all, it makes a fantastic noise – a deep, throaty burble that you can hear long after the car is out of sight. But even with our own tame racing driver manhandling the Z/28 at ten-tenths around the road course, the Camaro never seemed to be a handful. It remained flat during corners, absolutely hugged the tarmac, and pulled off mind-rattling cornering forces. Have a look at our hot lap in the video below.

Chevy Camaro Z/28 Lap Video

The key takeaway from the Milford drive was seeing just how late the driver could brake before entering each corner, and the speed at which we would enter the turns. On full attack, we were doing over 130 miles per hour entering the high-speed esses and were just a kiss away from 150 mph coming into the very tricky Turn 1 with its decreasing-radius, downhill slope.

On full attack, we were doing just over 130 mph entering the high-speed esses and were just a kiss away from 150 mph coming into Turn 1.

We don't have performance data like a 0-60 time or top speed just yet, only because Chevy is still in the development process of the car. Tweaks are still being made, and final numbers are forthcoming. Who knows, maybe a quicker 'Ring time will yet be achieved.

As we mentioned, the Camaro's interior was largely left alone for the Z/28. Standard Recaro chairs are found up front and nicely hug the driver and passenger to keep them stable during hard turning. Of course, this is still a Camaro, so our normal complaints about poor visibility and not-so-great quality remain intact. Chevy will no doubt have a tough time competing with Porsche in this regard, and the Z/28's cabin isn't exactly worlds better than what Nissan offers in the GT-R, either.

Inside, a lot of components have been removed, including the air conditioning, all of the audio system speakers (except for one), and the gauges affixed to the center console normally found in front of the gearbox – again, to save weight. That said, engineers did confirm that buyers will have the option to leave the A/C and full set of speakers intact. Furthermore, some of the material has been removed from the rear seats, even though Chevy still kept the four-passenger seating configuration intact. (Nissan, for example, removes the GT-R's rear seats on the Track Edition model.)

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Production of the Z/28 starts in the first quarter of 2014, with sales anticipated to start sometime before Q2. Pricing has not been announced, and executives wouldn't even hint at possible starting MSRPs. That said, Chevy is fully expecting the Z/28 to be a low-volume car, only selling at about half the rate of the ZL1. The company would like to sell maybe 3,000 to 4,000 Z/28 models over the next two years.

Chevy is fully expecting the Z/28 to be a low-volume car, only selling at about half the rate of the ZL1.

So, who's the target customer? It can't really be driven every day (again, Chevy flat out told us that it shouldn't be), and a more powerful ZL1 offers better refinement and more creature comforts. Ideally, private track users will be the folks stepping up to the Z/28 plate, and we'll be curious to see if would-be 911 or GT-R owners give the American bad boy a try. No doubt, Camaro enthusiasts will surely pick up a few on their own, and we'll be watching the sales numbers closely.

Regardless, we're just thrilled to finally see the Z/28 back on the street. It's been a long-time coming, and it looks to be a truly remarkable feat of engineering for the Chevy performance team. This is a bona fide track weapon, and we can't wait to get our first drive of this vicious Camaro. We'll be waiting...


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 194 Comments
      BryanGx
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Chevy is extending the factory warranty on the Z/28 to include track use" That's huge.
        EXP Jawa
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BryanGx
        Indeed. I'll be curious how long that lasts after they start seeing the first track driven cars come back in after X-number of hours of track time...
      telm12345
      • 1 Year Ago
      You can argue all you want - this is a triumph for all automobile lovers.
      ramairjer
      • 1 Year Ago
      Haters gonna hate. Not bad for a car based on a 4 door platform from down under that is past its prime.
      JayP
      • 1 Year Ago
      I just checked the Pirelli Trofeo R and that is just this side of a track tire. Makes the 302LS P Zero Corsa look like a snow tire. Still, the Z/28 makes no concessions and that is terrific. I wondered how the designers would get around those "need 20 inch wheels to fill the wheel well gap" arches we see on the race cars.
        legacy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JayP
        Looks like the added fender flares make the wheel wells smaller, so the gap doesnt look that bad on the z/28
      Cory Stansbury
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Of course, the larger V8 engine adds some heft" uhhhhhh
      miketim1
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is a sweet mofo ride. I would take one all black please..
      bK
      • 1 Year Ago
      This newer camaro is definitely more refined than the last one, which looked like a hotwheel. Now if they can get rid of that faux side vent or at least make it look like a vent. Make it look real than looking like its been stamped like a hotwheel.
      406z
      • 1 Year Ago
      I like this car, it's the first Z/28 since the original to not be built around compromise. It reminds me more of cars built in the 60's when you could order big cube muscle cars without stereos and AC. Those cars weren't for grocery getting and pleasure cruises, and this is the first time since 69 that GM has built a Camaro in that mindset. The coolest part about this car, is the other camaros don't seem to fit their retro styling with the ideas of the age they were inspired by. With this one it's clear where this car would be in 1969, it would be winning the Trans Am series.
        SirUno
        • 1 Year Ago
        @406z
        Except http://www.autoblog.com/2013/03/07/2013-chevy-copo-camaro-announced-with-two-new-engines-and-manual/
      David S.
      • 1 Year Ago
      What the hell are "Gurney lip fender flares"?
      Seal Rchin
      • 1 Year Ago
      No automatic, no sale. If you want my money give me something that allows me to have BOTH hands on the steering wheel all the time. Last thing i need is to try and to control 505HP with one hand. GM fail yet again.
        John Ward
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        Not having an automatic is a selling point for this car. You're not in the target demo.
          Matt
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John Ward
          Try a manual, you may like the more involved experience. Track cars aren't always about being the fastest, this isn't Formula 1, races aren't coming down to hundredths of a second. People who go to track days, go for the experience at least in my experiences. The club racers in the SCCA or NASA just about all use manuals, if autos gave that much of an advantage don't you think they would have all swapped in a slushbox or DCT by now?
          EXP Jawa
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John Ward
          Paddle shifters do the same thing to a point - in that they change gears without a torque converter. But they do not offer nearly the same degree of control over a car in a dynamic situation that a fully manual transmission - with a clutch pedal - does. They simply offer an easier way into a car that people with less ability would otherwise not be able to operate.
          Seal Rchin
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John Ward
          Target demo is people with money, plus paddle shifters do exactly the same thing manual does........only better and quicker. That's the difference between GM and other companies, everyone tries to make a product that will appeal to people.................GM that turns people away. I want my money back.
        sowman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        The Z/28 is clearly not for you.
        Brandon Kozubski
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        Sounds like someone needs to go to a driving school
        Lemon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        Surely you are kidding
        superchan7
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        For you and your friends, the base V6 Camaro with the automatic is the order of the day.
        v6sonoma
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        This is a track car for people that know how to and intend to drive on a track. You clearly do not so this isn't for you. Fortunately they make a very nice ZL1 with a wonderful automatic so it's not all bad. The Zl1 is also a better dual purpose car playing on the track and cruising the streets with little compromise in either place. =)
        Dean Hammond
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        not up to the challenge?....ANYONE can drive an auto, driving a stick in anger demands a tad more skill.....grow some stones.
          EXP Jawa
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          This car isn't for the 99%. That should be obvious.
          Seal Rchin
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          You still do not get it, it's not about skills it's about money. Only 1% of all cars sold are manuals, so you actively avoiding a target audience of 99%. We are the 99%.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        [blocked]
          Seal Rchin
          • 1 Year Ago
          Only due to the economy, most of those manuals are base Accords and Camrys for people who lack money.
        OptimusPrimeRib
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        If you don't mind I'm just gonna revoke your car enthusiast credit from you.
          Seal Rchin
          • 1 Year Ago
          @OptimusPrimeRib
          Well that is a bizarre comment, so if you own a manual Versa you are more of a car lover than dude with a Lambo....................come on now. Manuals are old tech.
          stonehunte
          • 1 Year Ago
          @OptimusPrimeRib
          New technology is not necessarily better technology. A manual transmission is simply more fun to drive than any automatic.
        jtav2002
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        Sounds like more of a driver fail. Really the last thing we need you doing is trying to control 505hp regardless of how many hands you have on the wheel. Better stick with your Huffy.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        [blocked]
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        [blocked]
        Willie
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        you no seal your right a paddle might of save you a 10th of a second on lap. but it would also drive the price up 5k and add more weight and in all honestly take away from the fun.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        LLL
        • 1 Year Ago
        hey Laser? its not Chevy's fault, that your mother doesn't love you..
        mbukukanyau
        • 1 Year Ago
        Ford lover
          SirUno
          • 1 Year Ago
          @mbukukanyau
          No, no, no. This is obviously a Honda Odyssey or Toyota Camry lover. I'm 100% Ford lover, and I think this thing is sick. Ford NEEDS this car to push it to make better Mustangs. They need each other.
        surfacetwoaire
        • 1 Year Ago
        Ok this is about the "not smartest' comment I read . Do you actually think the people who buy this car gives a rats arse about it's weight? 99.99999% of camaro owners are not looking to take there car to track and race it ,nor is any serious race car driver gonna drag a factory stock product. . Overweight to what? ... a mustang? ..SO!
      cfyung85
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Chevy is dead set on venturing off into the land of the Nissan GT-R and Porsche 911 GT3 with its track-focused Z/28, and firmly states that this car is not to be treated as a daily driver." First, GM tries to compare the ridiculously priced ELR to the Tesla Model S Now, they are trying to compare this to a GTR or GT3 (or does the above statement comes from autoblog)? Even with weight saving it is still heavier than a GTR. There is no chance that this Z28 come even close to the GT3. It'll be interesting to see how much GM will price this car.
        juststudent
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cfyung85
        in my opinion, if you want to talk about performance alone. I think it's a good comparison. Previously Z/28 is touted as being equal/faster than 991 CS which itself is much more of a DD car than track focused sports car. GT-R or GT3 on the other hand have "born on track" philoshopy just like Z/28 and within Z/28 power range too. Fair right? What's not fair is Chevy sounds like downplaying Z/28 as 'a mere muscle car' when the Z/28 is designed from ground up as track focused car. but as a whole, Z/28 isn't porsche CS or GT3 challenger at all (depends on price though, but I don't think it will be $100k+ car). Porsche is sold as more upmarket/luxurious sports car than simply fast cars like Z/28 or GT-R.
    • Load More Comments