The pony car wars are about to heat up again. Last year, Ford’s Mustang got a much-hyped complete redesign, bringing with it a new turbo-charged four-cylinder engine option, a revised 5.0-liter V8, all-new styling, and a fully independent rear suspension. This time around, it’s General Motors’ turn, with the unveiling of an all-new, sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro.
For starters, GM has put the vehicle on a massive diet, trimming 200 pounds from its curb weight. GM says that the weight savings allows for a “more nimble, responsive driving experience” and allows the new Camaro SS to turn in lower lap times (it must be some mythical track because the company didn’t take the time to state which track they’re talking about) than the previous generation, track-focused Camaro 1LE.
“The driving experience is significantly different,” said Camaro lead development engineer Aaron Link. “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.”
Powering this newly lightened Camaro are three new (or significantly revised) engines. The first is a new turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 275hp and 295 ft-lb of torque. GM says that this engine will accelerate the Camaro to 60 mph in less than six seconds while still delivering more than 30 mpg on the highway. The next step up is a revised 3.6-liter V6 that produces 335hp and 285 ft-pound of torque. And for that want no compromises in performance, there’s the 6.2-liter LT1 V8 which generates an impressive 455hp and 455 ft-lb of torque.
All engines can be paired with either a six-speed manual or the all-new Hydra-Matic 8L45 eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
While there have been plenty of changes made to trim weight and enhance the performance of the Camaro, diehards will be glad to know that the formula has not changed much when it comes to styling for the Corvette’s younger brother. If you were a fan of the previous generation Camaro’s styling, chances are that you’ll be just as thrilled with the redesign. If you didn’t like the looks of the old Camaro, well… too bad. This is clearly an evolutionary design, and GM’s designers have done absolutely nothing to change the “sitting in a bathtub” feeling that you got with the old vehicle. The tiny side windows and raked back glass doesn’t help matters either, so GM is at least throwing in standard backup camera and optional rear sonar.
You’ll also find an evolutionary look when you step inside the cockpit as well. An eight-inch display is integrated into the center console which serves as the launching point for the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system. A second, optional eight-inch display can also be ordered up for the main instrument cluster. Inside, you’ll also find an available LED ambient lighting system (24 different colors are offered). One thing that is missing, however, is a traditional mechanical handbrake — that has been tossed in favor or a electronic parking brake (E-Brake).
GM looks to have a winner on its hands with the new 2016 Camaro. It has managed to knock a few hundred pounds off the portly vehicle while at the same time increasing power across the board. Combine that with a more refined and technology-laden interior and Ford definitely has something to be worried about. We just can’t wait to see the first comparison tests that pit these two battle worn enemies against each other.