Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible Is a Testament to American Muscle

  • Paul Meyers

It seems that the horsepower wars are far from over. On the same day that GM unveiled the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford pulled the wraps off its 650 hp 2013 Shelby GT500—out-showing the Camaro ZL1 by a whopping 70 hp. While this may appear to be nothing more than a dog and pony show between two American manufacturers, Chevrolet has really pulled out all the stops to make its new muscle car happen.

The all-new Camaro model line from Chevy is less than three years old and yet the ZL1 already holds the title for the most powerful production car ever produced by the American automaker. Equipped with the same 6.2-liter V-8 engine found in the ZL1 coupe, the convertible puts out 580 hp, which (while pale in comparison to the Shelby GT500) is more potent than the 470 hp Aston Martin DB9 Volante, the 518 hp Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG, and even the 560 hp Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. So it comes as no surprise that the Camaro ZL1 is just as quick “off the line” as the Spyder from Italy; both cars reach 60 mph in less than four seconds. The convertible’s Performance Traction Management—first introduced on the Corvette ZR1—acts as a launch control to ensure that every start is a good one.

But for the first time in the brand’s history, this range-topping Camaro’s performance is more than just speed in a straight line and wind-in-the-face motoring. This fifth-generation Camaro was designed to accommodate a convertible model since day one, so Chevy set up four strategic reinforcements throughout the car to enhance the Camaro’s already-stiff body structure: a brace under the hood, a support for the transmission, an underbody tunnel brace, and additional braces under the front and rear of the car.

Only time will tell if the Camaro ZL1 will outsell the more powerful Ford Shelby GT500, but if the stats from 2010 are anything to go by—the Camaro outsold the Mustang for the first time since 1985—then we think this new Chevy has a fighting chance. The Camaro ZL1 convertible likely will be priced just below $60,000—the coupe starts at $54,995—when it reaches showrooms early this year. (800.950.2438, www.chevrolet.com)

From Around the Web...
 Photo by Darin Schnabel ©RM Sotheby's
A 1939 Alfa Romeo Touring Spider and a 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta are priced in the millions…
Jaguar joins the luxury crossover frenzy with the all-new 2017 F-Pace, and we take it for a spin…
Independent designer Paul Breshke reveals his vision for the marque’s next star vehicle…
A 600 hp river monster, the latest themed SUV from Bentley is no fish story…
Photo by Jun Song
The luxury marque and hotel brand team up to offer exclusive driving experiences around the world…
The $244,500 SUV displays design elements inspired by the British gun maker's bespoke firearms...
Collectively, these cars comprise the legacy and legend of the master marque…
Able to travel 19 mph, the cutting-edge cart features touchscreen controls and a refrigerator…
The meticulously maintained roadster is one of only 25 released that year...
One of only four examples built, it was the first to hit 186.4 mph at Le Mans’ Mulsanne Straight…