• Image Credit: Autoblog

I'm a green guy. I'll admit it. I like hybrids, EVs, CNGs and everything in between. Fuel economy will greatly impact my next car buying decision and environmental policies will factor into whom I vote for next month.

But I have to admit, I absolutely love muscle cars. I love the roar of the engine, the squeal of the tires, their stance on the road and, of course, getting to use all of that glorious, unabashedly fuel-guzzling power. There's something about mashing on that accelerator that gets the blood going in a way that no EV will ever be able to do, no matter how much torque they employ.

Hence my excitement when I learned I would be spending a week behind the wheel of a Camaro ZL1. Though it goes against several fundamental beliefs, I couldn't wait to drive it.

The 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is the most powerful Camaro that GM has ever made and it comes with a stat sheet that could get even the most ecocentric individual salivating: 580 hp, 556 lb-ft of torque, 0-60 MPH in 3.9 seconds, top speed of 184 MPH. This Camaro was designed to compete with the Ford Shelby GT500, which is generally considered the acme of Motor City Muscle.

Although I knew I was going to filling up the gas tank a lot, I was ready to get on the road to see if this behemoth could really rev my inner motor the way I hoped it could.

So does the driving experience of the Camaro ZL1 live up to the hype? Does it offer up a real challenge to the Ford Shelby GT500? Read on to see what I discovered.

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  • Image Credit: Autoblog

How Much?

MSRP: $59,545
Invoice: $57,163

As Tested: $62,245

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The Competition

Ford Shelby GT500

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What We Don't Like

Michael: The interior of the ZL1 could stand a little TLC. Too many hard plastics, mediocre seats and an infotainment system that is a little short on features makes this car feel cheaper than it actually is. For $60,000, buyers expect a certain level of refinement in the cabin – no matter how incredible the engine and driving dynamics are – and the ZL1 doesn't quite deliver. I love having the HUD (heads up display) and visibility is better than I expected, but interior comfort is not this car's strength. To be honest, I like the Mustang interior better.

Autoblog: As you might expect, fuel economy is bad. Like, really bad. The EPA estimates you'll get 14 miles per gallon city and 19 mpg highway driving a ZL1, which means it's also subject to the federal government's Gas Guzzler tax. If its similarly tuned corporate cousin, the Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, is anything to go by, that should add an extra $1,300 to your tab for a manual-equipped model and $2,600 for an automatic. Ford fans will freak if we don't also mention that the more powerful 2013 GT500 is efficient enough to earn exemption from the GG tax. And naturally, the ZL1 only drinks premium.

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