Redesigning the sports coupe was a heady task, especially as its archrivals, the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger, drive better and are more powerful than ever. But the new Camaro is aiming to be the best combination of handling and raw performance, with quick acceleration and competitive fuel economy. "Redesigning the Camaro is thrilling and challenging all at once, but the secret is to offer something more," Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of product development, said in a statement.
It all began with a weight-loss plan. The new Camaro shed more than 200 pounds compared with the outgoing car, with 133 pounds coming from a lighter body-in-white. Then engineers culled weight nearly everywhere, using aluminum for the instrumental panel frame and some suspension components to trim as much fat as possible.
The slimmer body rests on new bones. The Camaro's rear-wheel-drive platform is lighter and stiffer in a bid to improve handling. It's a modified version of the underpinnings used by the Cadillac ATS, though about 70 percent of the architecture is unique to the Camaro. Chevy said structural rigidity is improved by 28 percent. As you'll see, healthy doses of Cadillac and Corvette technologies have been used to bolster the Camaro's drive character and performance. The new car is also expected to handle better thanks to a slightly smaller footprint. It is about two inches shorter in length, with most of that due to the more compact wheelbase. It's also an inch shorter in height and an inch slimmer in width.
So yes, the Camaro will be leaner, but it will still be plenty mean. The Camaro SS tops the range (for now) with the Corvette's 6.2-liter V8 pushing put 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. Known as the LT1, is has a cast aluminum block and cast aluminum cylinder heads, and it's fortified with direct injection, variable valve timing, and cylinder deactivation. About 20 percent of the engine's parts are said to be unique to the Camaro, including the exhaust manifolds.
Like the Mustang, the Camaro also gets a four-cylinder engine that promises to maintain performance and offer improved fuel economy. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is rated 275 hp and 295 lb-ft, with maximum torque available at 3,000 rpm. It also has direct injection, variable valve timing, and uses aluminum components. Chevy says it will hit 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds and return more than 30 miles per gallon on the highway. It's expected to be the most fuel-efficient Camaro ever, and Chevy is billing this as the standard engine for the lineup. The naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6, which is rated at 335 hp and 284 lb-ft, has direct injection, variable valve timing, and cylinder deactivation. It is slotted in between the four-cylinder and the V8.
All of the engines can be had with a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The four-cylinder and the V6 use General Motors Hydra-Matic 8L45 (tuned for small engines), while the SS has the 8L90. The V8's manual (a different version of the Tremec unit than the one used by the smaller engines) also has active rev matching technology – like the Corvette – that blips the throttle during downshifts.
On the road, the new car will be mistaken for nothing other than a Camaro. The changes are subtle, but meant to call out the car's renewed attention to weight and handling. We see a tauter appearance with new proportions. The front gets a grille/head lamp aperture, which Chevy says is reminiscent of the first-generation Camaro. The roofline in the rear has a more dramatic, fastback appearance, and the SS variant gets a spoiler. The roof panel, which we saw called out in some strange spy shots, is lighter and more rigid. Loyalists will also note lightly refreshed red, white, and blue Camaro insignias on the front fenders. Though the car looks similar, it's more aerodynamic thanks to 350 hours of wind tunnel testing, and Chevy says only two pieces, the rear bow-tie emblem and the SS badge are carryover.
Inside the cabin, the Camaro gets a new instrument panel. It blends analogue elements with an available eight-inch center screen that shows performance, entertainment, and navigation information. Another eight-inch screen is in the center with the Chevy MyLink system. Designers also integrated the heating and cooling controls into the vents, and dressed things up with an available LED ambient lighting system, which can cue 24 different colors. Drivers can tailor the shifting, steering, and chassis settings via a new driver mode selector, which is mounted in the center console.
While the Camaro is different inside and out, the more significant changes continue under the skin. The car rides on a new multi-link MacPherson strut front suspension with a double-pivot design that makes the electric power steering more linear than the current car's setup. In back is a new five-link independent setup. Brembo brakes are available throughout the line and are standard on the SS. The SS also gets Magnetic Ride Control for the first time, which adjusts the damper settings to improve the car's ride.
"The driving experience is significantly different," Aaron Link, lead development engineer, said in a statement. "Immediately, you will notice how much lighter and more nimble the Camaro feels. That feeling increases when you drive the Camaro harder – it brakes more powerfully, dives into corners quicker, and accelerates faster than ever."
For now, we'll have to take Link's word on that. While the Camaro was revealed on Saturday, we are among the lucky few who will get a short drive in a prototype on Sunday. Come back to Autoblog for our impressions, and to see if the Chevy delivers on the promise of a better Camaro.
Five-year segment leader is lighter, more powerful, with more advanced technology
DETROIT – The sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro revealed today offers higher levels of performance, technology and refinement and is designed to maintain the sporty car segment leadership earned over the past five years.
The Gen Six Camaro provides a faster, more nimble driving experience, enabled by an all-new, lighter architecture and a broader powertrain range. Six all-new powertrain combinations are offered, including a 2.0L Turbo, an all-new 3.6L V-6 and the LT1 6.2L V-8, which is SAE-certified at 455 horsepower (339 kW) and 455 lb-ft of torque (617 Nm) – for the most powerful Camaro SS ever. Each engine is available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.
Camaro's leaner, stiffer platform and slightly smaller dimensions are accentuated by a dramatic, sculpted exterior. Meticulously tuned in the wind tunnel, the exterior contributes to performance through reduced aerodynamic lift for better handling while enhancing efficiency.
A driver-focused interior integrates class-leading control technologies, including a new Driver Mode Selector, configurable instrument cluster and a customizable ambient lighting feature.
"Redesigning the Camaro is thrilling and challenging all at once, but the secret is to offer something more," said Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of Product Development. "For Camaro enthusiasts, it retains iconic design cues and offers even more performance. For a new generation of buyers, the 2016 Camaro incorporates our most innovative engineering ideas with finely honed performance and leading design."
Only two parts carry over from the fifth-generation Camaro to the new Gen Six: the rear bowtie emblem and the SS badge.
To make it not only the best Camaro ever, but one of the best performance cars available, Chevrolet focused on three pillars of development:
• Vehicle mass has been reduced by 200 pounds or more, depending on the model, creating a more nimble, responsive driving experience
• Most efficient Camaro ever, with a new 2.0L turbo SAE-certified at 275 hp (205 kW) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) – and delivers more than 30 mpg on the highway (GM-estimated), and 0-60 mph acceleration well under 6 seconds
• Efficient performance in a new 3.6L V-6 featuring direct injection, continuously variable valve timing and – for the first time – Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), offering an SAE-certified 335 hp (250 kW) and 284 lb-ft of torque (385 Nm), for the most powerful naturally aspirated V-6 in the segment
• The most powerful Camaro SS ever, with a new 6.2L LT1 direct-injected Small Block V-8 rated at 455 hp (339 kW) and 455 lb-ft of torque (617 Nm)
• Magnetic Ride Control active suspension available on Camaro SS for the first time
• With improved handling and performance, the Camaro SS delivers better lap times than the fifth-generation's track-focused Camaro 1LE package.
• All-new Drive Mode Selector, which tailors up to eight vehicle attributes for four modes: Snow/Ice, Tour, Sport and – on SS models – Track settings
• Segment-exclusive, Interior Spectrum Lighting that offers 24 different ambient lighting effects on the dash, door panels, and center console
• High-definition, configurable color displays – including available dual, 8-inch-diagonal screens.
• More athletic-looking, sculptured exterior that complements the tighter, leaner architecture – and offers all-new, modern lighting signatures, including light-emitting diode (LED) technology
• Greater emphasis on customer personalization with wider range of choices, including 10 exterior colors, five interior color combinations, lighting options and a full complement of dealer-available accessories available at launch – including wheels, stripe packages and additional accessories
• Aerodynamically optimized design that is the result of 350 hours of wind tunnel testing, reducing drag on LT models and improving downforce on SS
• All-new, interior with shifter-focused center console, intuitive controls, flat-bottom steering wheel, and higher quality materials throughout
• Unique control rings around the air vents used for temperature and fan speed adjustments, eliminating the need for conventional buttons
"We have had the incredible opportunity to meet literally thousands of Gen 5 Camaro owners who provided direct feedback on what they loved about their car and what they wanted for the next-gen Camaro," said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. "As a result, the 2016 Camaro builds on what made the current Camaro such a success with more power, more agile handling and more technology.
"We expect it will set the new benchmark in the segment – and give a new generation of enthusiasts a reason to fall in love with Camaro."
The Gen Six Camaro goes on sale later this year, offered in LT and SS models.
Lightweight architecture and chassis systems
Approximately 70 percent of the architectural components are unique to Camaro. Through extensive computer-aided engineering, structural rigidity was increased by 28 percent, while the body-in-white mass was reduced by 133 pounds (60.5 kg).
In their quest to make the 2016 Camaro as lean as possible, engineers and designers evaluated every aspect of its architecture – already the most mass-efficient ever created by GM – and supporting elements, saving grams here and pounds there that contributes to the car's lower curb weight. As a result, the total curb weight for Camaro has been reduced by more than 200 pounds (90 kg).
Significant weight savings came from using an aluminum instrument panel frame instead of steel, which saved 9.2 pounds (4.2 kg). The use of lightweight components, including aluminum front suspension links and steel rear suspension links with lightening holes, in the new five-link rear suspension system contributed to a 26-pound (12 kg) reduction in the overall suspension weight. With the lighter, stiffer architecture and more powerful engines, the Gen Six Camaro SS delivers better lap times than the fifth-generation's track-focused Camaro 1LE package.
"The driving experience is significantly different," said Aaron Link, lead development engineer. "Immediately, you will notice how much lighter and more nimble the Camaro feels. That feeling increases when you drive the Camaro harder – it brakes more powerfully, dives into corners quicker, and accelerates faster than ever."
The Camaro features a new, multi-link MacPherson strut front suspension with Camaro-specific geometry. The double-pivot design provides a more precise feeling of control, including more linear and communicative feel from the quick-ratio electric power steering system. At the rear, a new five-link independent suspension yields outstanding wheel control and reduces "squat" during acceleration.
In addition, the Magnetic Ride Control is available on the Camaro SS for the first time. Previously limited to the Camaro ZL1, the active suspension reads road and driving conditions 1,000 times per second, and automatically adjusts the damper settings to optimize ride comfort and control.
All Camaro models offer Brembo brakes – they're standard on SS – that are optimized for the car's mass and performance capability. On Camaro LT, the available brakes include 12.6-inch (320 mm) front rotors with four-piston calipers and 12.4-inch (315 mm) rear rotors with single-piston sliding calipers. Camaro SS employs 13.6-inch (345 mm) front rotors with four-piston fixed calipers and 13.3-inch (338 mm) rear rotors with four-piston fixed calipers.
Goodyear tires are used on all models: The LT features standard 18-inch wheels wrapped with Goodyear Eagle Sport all-season tires and available 20-inch wheels matched with Eagle F1 Asymmetric all-season run-flat tires. Camaro SS features standard 20-inch aluminum wheels with Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 run-flat tires.
More powerful and efficient
The new Camaro will be offered with six different powertrain combinations, each designed to deliver improved performance and efficiency.
The Camaro LT's standard engine is a new 2.0L Turbo, rated at an SAE-certified 275 horsepower (205 kW) and 295 lb-ft of torque (400 Nm). For power on demand, it offers a wide torque band with 90 percent of peak torque available from 2,100 rpm to 3,000 rpm, and maximum torque from 3,000 to 4,500 rpm. The 2.0L turbo will deliver 0-60 mph acceleration in less than six seconds and offer more than 30 mpg on the highway (GM-estimated), making it the most fuel-efficient Camaro ever.
An all-new 3.6L V-6 is available in the Camaro LT, producing and SAE-certified 335 horsepower (250 kW) and 284 lb-ft of torque (385 Nm), making it the most powerful naturally aspirated V-6 in the segment. The engine incorporates a trio of technologies for uncompromised efficiency and performance, including direct injection, variable valve timing and, for the first time, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), which disables two cylinders under light throttle applications to enhance efficiency.
The 2.0L turbo and 3.6L V-6 engines are offered with a six-speed manual transmission or the all-new Hydra-Matic 8L45 paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission. It's based on the Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed, but scaled for the performance envelope of the smaller engines and offering an estimated 5-percent efficiency improvement over a comparable six-speed automatic.
Camaro SS is powered by the 6.2L LT1 V-8 engine introduced on the Corvette Stingray. About 20 percent of the components are specific for the Camaro's architecture, including new, tubular "tri-Y"-type exhaust manifolds. It also offers advanced technologies such as variable valve timing, direct injection and Active Fuel Management (on automatic-equipped models) to help balance efficiency and performance. Output is SAE-certified at 455 horsepower (339 kW) and 455 lb-ft of torque (617 Nm), making it the most-powerful Camaro SS ever.
The LT1 engine is available with a standard six-speed manual transmission – with new Active Rev Match technology that "blips" the throttle for perfectly timed downshifts – or the Hydra-Matic 8L90 paddle-shift eight-speed automatic.
Each engine has been carefully tuned for a distinctive performance sound. All 2.0L turbo models feature active noise cancellation, which uses sound waves to cancel unwanted cabin noise. Models equipped with the available Bose audio system also feature engine sound enhancement, which amplifies the native sounds of the 2.0L turbo engine – and can be disabled based on the driver's preference.
Both the 3.6L V-6 and 6.2L V-8 feature mechanical sound enhancers – resonators that direct induction noise from the engine bay into the cabin. Both engines are available with a dual-mode exhaust, which features electronically controlled valves that bypass the mufflers under acceleration, delivering improved performance and greater sound levels. With the dual-mode exhaust, drivers can personalize the exhaust sound, from a "stealth" mode to the most aggressive "track" mode.
Compact, athletic design
The exterior of the Camaro is more sculpted and more muscular effect that makes the new car look significantly lower and wider than before, even though it is within two inches of the exterior dimensions of the current Camaro.
"From every angle, you'll never mistake this for anything but a Camaro," said Tom Peters, design director. "We've taken that iconic design and amplified its proportions to reflect a more dynamic driving experience – like the T-shirt on a muscular physique."
The front of the Camaro is defined by a cross-car grille/headlamp aperture, a signature cue that dates to the first generation. The new, expressive execution gives the Camaro a stronger, more determined face. It also displays a new, nearly fastback profile that flows into the pronounced haunches of the rear fenders, enhancing the wider, more aggressive stance.
A more expressive take on the taillamps blends the horizontal aesthetic of the first generation with a dual-element theme and aggressive tapers for a contemporary appearance. Additionally, SS models have a unique rear spoiler.
Standard lighting includes halogen projector beam headlamps and taillamps. RS and SS models add high-intensity discharge, or HID, projector-beam headlamps and LED "signature lighting" daytime running lights – including a sweeping LED lightpipe integrated in the headlamp and an LED light pipe integrated into the front fascia. RS and SS models also feature LED lighting for the rear taillamps, including auxiliary LED light guides that mirror the shape of the front signature lighting.
In many cases, the exterior design not only communicates the performance capabilities of the new Camaro, but contributes to them. For example, the teams spent more than 350 hours testing the Camaro in the wind tunnel, meticulously tailoring the exterior to improve cooling and reduce aerodynamic lift and drag.
Aerodynamic details include a subtle "air curtain" on the front fascia, which guides air around the wheels rather than into the wheelhouses, reducing drag. Also, the Camaro SS has a unique front fascia with integrated brake cooling ducts and a unique hood with functional air vents, which improve engine cooling and reduce front lift.
All models share a more pronounced, sculpted roof panel that improves the structural rigidity of the roof for greater refinement. The roof is assembled using laser brazing, eliminating the need for "ditch channel" seams and cover trim, giving the car a sleeker appearance while saving half a kilogram compared to traditional spot welding.
There's also a new interpretation of the Camaro's iconic red, white and blue "banner" insignia, displayed on the front fenders.
Driver-focused interior and technologies
Like the exterior, the interior is completely new yet instantly recognizable. The instrument panel, for example, is a departure from the previous model, but retains the Camaro's familiar dual-binnacle-style instrument cluster hood.
"Given the level of technology and performance, the interior had to be modern and driver focused." said Ryan Vaughan, interior design manager. "But although the interior is an all new design, it is still instinctively recognizable as a Camaro."
The instrument cluster features analog instruments to provide the driver with essential performance information, as well as an available eight-inch-diagonal high-definition center screen that can be configured to provide additional information including navigation, performance, and infotainment features.
Another eight-inch screen, integrated in the center of the instrument panel, serves as the interface for the enhanced, next-generation MyLink system.
The new center console and center stack are designed with high performance driving in mind. For example, the heating and cooling controls are integrated into rings surrounding the air ducts. Eliminating the associated buttons makes the cabin feel more spacious, and makes adjusting the temperature easy while keeping your eyes on the road.
An electronic parking brake replaces the previous mechanical parking brake handle. This enabled the cup holders to be repositioned for improved range of motion when shifting in manual-transmission models.
An available, segment-first LED ambient lighting system, integrated in the dash, door panels and center console, offers 24 different colors, as well as fade and transition effects that spread across the interior. There's even a theatrical "car show" mode that cycles randomly through the entire color spectrum when the Camaro is parked.
The ambient lighting is one of eight attributes the driver can adjust using the Camaro's new Driver Mode Selector– accessed via a switch on the center console. The system enables the driver to tailor the look, sound and feel of 2016 Camaro to their preferences and driving conditions:
The 2016 Camaro will be produced at GM's Lansing Grand River assembly plant in Lansing, Mich.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 115 countries and selling around 4.8 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.