The ZL1 is the latest and most powerful addition to the dynamic and fun-to-drive sixth-generation Camaro line.
Like all sixth-gen Camaros, the ZL1 is based on GM’s Alpha platform, which it shares with the Cadillac ATS and CTS.
Chevrolet claims that when compared to the old ZL1, the new model is 200 pounds lighter, meaning a better power-to-weight ratio and more dynamic driving experience, both on and off the racetrack. When compared to the previous generation (580 horsepower 6.2L LSA V8), the new motor produces an additional 60 horsepower and 84 lb.ft. torque.
Performance & Handling
The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is powered by General Motor’s 6.2L LT4 supercharged V8, which generates an eye-popping 640 horsepower and 640 lb.ft. torque (yes, this is the same engine found in the mighty Corvette Z06 where it produces 10 more horsepower and lb.ft. torque).
The 2017 Camaro ZL1 comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission with an active rev-matching function. The Optional transmission is GM’s first-ever 10-speed automatic unit. The transmission, which was developed in conjunction with Ford, has a 7.89 overall ratio spread. Chevy claims that smaller ratio gaps between gears helps optimize gear selection. This provides maximum acceleration in both in straight lines and while exiting corners.
Steering wheel mounted paddle-shifters are standard.
To enhance its on track capabilities, the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 uses nearly all of the Corvette Z06’s best handling components like the magnetorheological dampers, electronically controlled limited-slip differential, and GM’s Performance Traction Management System.
The monster Camaro is fitted with a set of 20 inch alloy wheels which are wrapped with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires measuring 285/30 up front and 305/30 at the rear.
Front brakes are massive 2-piece, 15.4 inch non carbon-ceramic rotors from Brembo. As of this writing, Chevrolet has not unveiled the specifics of the rear brake components on the ZL1. To withstand the excessive heat at the racetrack, the Camaro ZL1 is fitted with 11 heat exchangers for proper powertrain cooling.
Active Aerodynamics and Visual Enhancements
Visually, the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is the most aggressive looking model in the sixth-gen family. The front splitter, rocker-panel extensions, and rear wing are all designed to improve the car’s aerodynamics and high-speed stability.
To further maximize engine cooling, the hollowed-out Chevy “flowtie” badge is now carried over to the ZL1 after first appearing on the previous generation Camaro Z/28. A new hood with a power bulge incorporates a heat extractor and the reworked lower grille maximizes airflow into the engine.
Inside, the Camaro ZL1 is fitted with standard Recaro seats, which are embroidered with ZL1 badges and contrasting red stitching. The seat belts are also red, and the flat-bottom steering wheel and shift knob are covered in micro suede. GM’s optional Performance Data Recorder, which comes with a built-in camera and GPS receiver, allows for location-based track maps – that will definitely grab the attention of weekend racers!
When the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 goes on sale later this year, expect it to carry a starting price upwards of $60,000. That’s worth the price of admission in our book.
*Rahul Raman is the Founder of CARS 360 Mke, an automotive news outlet. He is a regular contributor to Automoblog and the author of our First Look series.