There are no other cars more unabashedly American than the Chevrolet Camaro. Still, with the latest generation, the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro looks to be cornering a global market. It’s been through six generations of updates yet still retains the looks that made us all fall in love with it when it debuted in 1966. Over 50 years later and it’s the performance vehicle to beat on the road and on the track, though just how much performance you get out of it depends on how much you’re willing to spend.
The Camaro lineup in 2017 has two different body styles, four choices of engines, multiple suspension setups, and a great raft of options that stack like a Christmas wish list for those who love muscle cars. You can choose between four-, six-, and eight-cylinder variants that start at 275 horsepower and rise to 650 horsepower on the Camaro ZL1.
You can get a car that looks great driving around your neighborhood, or you can opt for the 1LE package that turns the Camaro into a track-ready titan, with Brembo brakes, performance exhaust, electronically controlled limited slip diff. This setup has been shown to be faster around the track than much more expensive sports cars like the Audi R8 V10 Plus, so you’re really getting a bargain from Chevrolet even at the highest Camaro price point.
New for 2017
If the ZL1 and 1LE models weren’t enough to keep the focus on the Camaro in 2017, there’s also a 50th anniversary edition of the original Camaro. This special edition package is available on both the coupe and the convertible and includes 20-inch wheels, special badging, black and grey leather seats, a stripe on the exterior and orange brake calipers.
Goodbye Muscle Car, Hello Sports Car
People will keep calling the Chevy Camaro a muscle car, but since its 6th generation it’s been so much more than that. Its handling is now fantastic, with advanced suspension choices and a powertrain that just won’t lose out to anything. It’s a performance sports car, and should be treated as such.
Even at stock, the tracking and stability is excellent, and you can modify the car’s demeanor with the Drive Mode Selector. Everything from the throttle to the steering weight can be adjusted with just the flick of a switch. The Sport mode is one of the most pronounced, at it feels like the car instantly begins hugging the road when you engage the Sport mode.
You’ll start out with four-piston Brembo brakes on 18-inch wheels, but you can upgrade to 20-inchers with the LT or SS trims.
Engine Choices Galore
Choose the base engine and you’ll already be getting a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 with 275 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. This will take you from zero to sixty in 5.4 seconds. It can be paired with a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic. The shifts on the 8-speed are smooth as silk, so consider choosing it unless you love the old-school feel of a 6-speed stick.
Head on up a level and you’ll get a direct injection 3.5-liter V6 with automatic cylinder deactivation. It’ll beat the base model on the line, going zero to sixty in 5.0 seconds. It also sounds much better, a little like an F1 car until you reach the redline and the V6 note cuts through.
Your next option is the V8 6.2L LT1 that offers 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque. It’s incredible, taking you to sixty in 4.0 seconds flat. Were it not for the ZL1 it would be the king on the road.
Finally, there’s the Camaro ZL1 supercharged V8 engine that’s a ridiculous 650 horsepower and will go from zero to sixty in as short as 3.5 seconds. It’s an incredible feat of engineering, and the pinnacle of Chevrolet innovation.
The last thing you want to do with your new 2017 Chevrolet Camaro is get a scratch on it. That’s why in addition to the eight standard airbags there is driver assistance technology in the form of a rearview camera. Other available options include a blind zone alert, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert and rear parking assistance.
The 5th generation Chevrolet Camaro was great, but the latest generation takes performance to a new stratosphere. It’s light, insanely powerful, yet handles perfectly thanks to the new suspension and chassis. There really isn’t anything else like it on the planet today.