It's a given that when an automaker introduces a new performance model, it's only a matter of time before an even hotter variant arrives. The Ford Mustang begets the Shelby GT350 and the Dodge Challenger R/T spawns the SRT 392 and Hellcat. And for Chevrolet, that progression sees the Camaro SS evolve into the ZL1.

That's probably what our spies have captured here. The convertible variant of GM's most powerful Camaro is betrayed not by its big, black wheels or quad exhaust tips – both of those items have been fitted to the far tamer 1LE in the past – but by its brakes. To put it simply, they're enormous.

The old ZL1 had 14.6-inch rotors in front and 14.4-inchers in the back, with Brembo-branded six-piston calipers up front and four-piston binders at the rear. While the overall size of the calipers doesn't appear to have changed much, it looks like the rotors – especially in front – seem to take up a larger space inside the front wheels than in last year's model. Perhaps Chevy moved to a straight 15-inch rotor?

It's difficult to discern any more from these images, though. Chevy did a fine job with the camouflage, making it difficult to pick out ZL1-specific body parts. From the rear spoiler to the front fascia to the side sills, each body piece looks like it's the same as the standard Camaro or is just completely obscured. If this is a Camaro ZL1, it seems like Chevy may have just stuffed the vital organs inside the body of more pedestrian droptop.

According to our spies, it's unlikely that Chevy will mix things up under the hood. Expect the 6.2-liter, supercharged V8 from the Corvette Z06 and Cadillac CTS-V to move the ZL1 from 550 horsepower to around 640 ponies when it debuts for model year 2017. A six-speed manual transmission will be standard, while the Camaro's big brother will probably donate its eight-speed automatic.

Related Video:

2016 Chevy Camaro Convertible Reveal | Autoblog Short Cuts


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