As Chevrolet braces to celebrate their centennial in October, the history of American performance car will be a big part of the bowtie brand’s party. Returning several years ago through a wise decision by top automotive brass, the refreshed Chevrolet Camaro insures the 100th year for one of the world’s most recognized automobile companies will consist of more than cake and balloons. In preparations for the 2012 model year, news of the Chevrolet Camaro has revealed a more powerful V-6 engine, a commemorative edition and finally yet importantly the Camaro ZL1 super pony car.
The designated hitter against the Ford Shelby GT500 and Dodge Challenger SRT8 392, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 drastically elevates General Motor’s performance game. Revisiting of the muscle era horsepower race that made the late 1960s auto industry one of the most exciting eras on four wheels, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1’s return was announced at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show.
Chevrolet initially pegged the supercharged 6.2 liter V-8 engine under the hood of the Camaro ZL1 at 550 horsepower. Even before the first Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 lands on showroom floors, the performance of this super pony car receives an extra gallop.
Revising their estimated benchmark which would have equalled itself to the Shelby GT500, General Motor announced the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will produce a total of 580 horsepower. There was also a gentle adjustment to the supercharged 6.2 liter engine’s torque production over estimates. The increase in torque equates to 6 foot-pounds at 556 total under the new SAE Certified Power criteria.
While a surprise to the competition, it was reasonable to believe the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 could unleash some momentum from the Cadillac CTS-V engine. Powered by a roots-style supercharger unit provided by Eaton, the all-aluminum LSA engine of the Camaro ZL1 is fed by 9.0 PSIs of forced-air into the eight combustion chambers. An oil cooler, forged steel crankshaft and a low restriction air filter allows the GM LSA engine to sustain 580 horsepower. The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1’s engine power will come to life through either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission.
The SAE Certified Power measurement for engine performance is a relatively new but growing trend by auto manufacturers. SAE certification provides customers with an outside, independent test of engine performance. General Motors have been one of the early champions for the SAE Certified Power test becoming the first automaker to submit an engine under the guidelines. Starting with the Chevrolet Corvette Zo6’s 7-liter powerplant in 2006, the SAE Certified Power stamp has become a welcoming addition to some modern performance cars. With the presentation of higher than forecasted horsepower becoming a common theme with General Motors vehicles, the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is just the latest vehicle perking up the SAE Certified Power program.
Offering greater in-depth details other than horsepower, General Motors revealed the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1’s Performance Traction Management system. Working in conjunction with the magnetic ride control, traction control and electronic stability control, the Performance Traction Management is a five-mode adjustment for achieving a desired ride. Catered for tour, sport and drag strip driving, the electronically-control handling on the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 provides some electric performance.
Said to still be under development as of mid-September, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is targeted for release in the early part of the 2012 calendar year.