Chevrolet debuted the newest Camaro this past weekend on Belle Isle using the Indycar track on the island in the Detroit River to demonstrate the capabilities of the lighter, more powerful pony car.
In addition to a press event, the launch was also a celebration for Camaro owners and enthusiasts as hundreds came from all over in their vintage cars.
But the star of the event was the all-new Gen6 Camaro.
The new car features three engines. The base engine is a 275 hp 2.0L Turbo that delivers 30 mpg. You can step up to an all-new 335 hp 3.6L V-6 with cylinder deactivation for added efficiency. And the Camaro SS comes equipped with a 6.2L V-8, which delivers 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque. Each engine is available with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Or for those of us who prefer to row their own gears, Chevy has answered our prayers with a six-speed manual.
The engineering team’s goal was to outdo the fifth generation car along every performance metric and based on the numbers it looks like they achieved their goal. Said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “The 2016 Camaro builds on what made the current Camaro such a success with more power, more agile handling and more technology.”
In a shift from how most cars seem to grow from generation to generation, this Camaro is actually shorter, narrower, lower and lighter than the previous generation car making it more nimble on the track and more capable on the street. It’s built on the same platform as the excellent Cadillac ATS – which I’ll be writing about soon having recently spent a week with one – so you can expect terrific driving dynamics in this new car.
The new Camaro also features drive mode selector which tailors up to eight vehicle attributes for four modes: Snow/Ice, Tour, Sport and – on SS models – Track settings. And the SS is available with GM’s magnetic ride control, making a track capable car comfortable to drive on the street.
Visually, subtle changes make a huge difference in the car’s look. Overall, the design is sleeker, more athletic and much improved over the previous generation. And the driver-focused interior is both more purposeful and comfortable, with higher quality materials. Another first for Camaro is an LED ambient lighting system, integrated in the dash, door panels and center console, that lights up in 24 different colors and transition effects that spread across the interior. When it’s in “car show” mode that cycles randomly through the entire color spectrum when the Camaro is parked.
Having driven the previous generation on the track and felt like they’d made great progress with that car, I’m looking forward to getting significant serious seat time in the new Camaro to see if it lives up to the world-class standard that Chevrolet is promising.