Written by: Calvin Chan
Photography by: Don Cheng
Since the Camaro’s reintroduction and name revival in 2009, they’ve sold nearly 400,000 copies and have become one of America’s best selling performance cars. With all the bees swarming the newly revealed sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro, the current-gen model is hitting the chopping block. But before it does, Chevy wants to give it one last hurrah in a final special edition, aptly named the Commemorative Edition.
There have been quite a handful of special editions in the past, each uniquely equipped with custom exterior and interior appointments. There were nine in total – my personal favourite was the Synergy Series, but this Commemorative Edition ($2,195) will be the final one. It’s the swan song to celebrate a muscle car legend, and Chevy has saved the best bits for last.
Available for the 2LT (V6) and 2SS (V8) coupes and convertibles, you get a choice of five new exterior colours including this Red Hot paint you see here, unique 20-inch wheels with high performance Pirelli P Zero Nero summer tires, a chunky spoiler taken straight from a ZL1, a body coloured front splitter, and a meshed hood scoop. Inside you’ll find an exclusive Adrenaline Red interior, red stitching on the seats, wheel, shift knob, armrest, and center console lid, a new flat-bottom steering wheel, and special badging on the sills and fenders that will make you look like an avid Transformers fan.
We’ve driven a fair amount of V8 muscle cars here at Canadian Auto Review, but Chevrolet’s small-block 6.2-litre V8 powering the Camaro SS has got to be the quietest out of the bunch. Versus the Mustang GT and the Challenger R/T, the Camaro feels underpowered and unenthusiastic. Though it has more displacement than it’s rivals, the 6.2-litre only delivers 400 horsepower and 410 lb-ft when paired with the 6-speed automatic transmission ($1,765) as our tester did. When you opt for the standard 6-speed manual, power jumps to 426 hp and 420 lb-ft, and I’m sure you know which one we’d prefer. Despite it’s smooth delivery and tall gearing, the automatic feels heavy and lurchy. It also likes to take its time downshifting when power is instantly demanded.
Despite lacking noise and refinement, the Camaro shines in straight-line acceleration. It gets up to speed with authority and leaves little behind but dust and headlights. This Camaro SS Convertible weighs 1,903 kg, about the same as a mid-size SUV, and consequently reacts like a squirrel around corners. It’s fairly easy to control but the weight transfer can get frisky - you can feel all the weight fumble around like a chubby kid trying to ride a skateboard. Luckily, the steering is light and responsive, making it easy to quickly develop a relationship with the car. Learn how it responds, and the friendlier it will become. In addition, the Camaro’s four-piston Brembos adorning each wheel feels more reactive and engaging than its size suggests. Stopping distance is short and sweet.
However, one of the best parts of the Camaro’s V8 is the start up noise. Twist the key in the ignition (no push-start button here) and listen as the aging Camaro gives a couple of phlegmy coughs followed by entertaining burbles and explosive exhaust farts before it settles into a quiet and serene idle. It sounds good but the theatrics don’t last under the gas pedal’s command. Even at wide open throttle, the SS feels tame and V6-like.
Comparing it to our time behind the wheel of the equivalent Ford and Dodge, we were quite disappointed in this regard. Putting your foot down just doesn’t amount to the same enthusiasm. The Camaro feels a bit lazy on the noise and heavy on the power – it’s like a bulldog attacking its prey but doing so without barking. I wouldn’t say the Camaro SS is loud - the characteristic V8 howl is present but it always feels an octave or two lower than the Mustang’s 5.0-litre V8 and the Challenger’s 5.7-litre HEMI. Simply put, it needs an aftermarket exhaust right away.
On the bright side, the Camaro SS is the quietest and most comfortable of the American muscle car trio. Sporting a multi-link suspension setup at the front and an independent one at the back, this enormous muscle car delivers a serene ride on highways and will easy absorb nooks and crannies on uneven roads. Even with the roof cut off, the Camaro’s structure feels rigid and lacks any shakes or rattles.
Black stripes adorn the exterior panels but we must admit, this is one striking Camaro. Heads keep turning wherever I go – and I can’t narrow it down if it’s the bright red paint or the fact that an Asian dude is driving a topless muscle car. Whatever the reason, I’d be staring too. Who doesn’t love that Red Hot paint? And get a load of those halo-looking HID headlights out front!
Inside follows a retro-themed cockpit. The interior is nothing short of welcoming with huge engulfing seats and a fair-sized flat-bottom steering wheel. Red and black is the memo here with a variety of circular knobs and a set of real-time gauges flanking the center gear shifter. They display the oil pressure, oil temperature, volts and the transmission fluid temperature, but are placed a little awkwardly and subsequently out of view if you’re one of the taller folks. The Head-up Display is pretty neat though, and is a feature that isn’t offered on the rivaling Mustangs or Challengers. It brightly displays a rev counter and digital speedometer so you don’t have to constantly strain your eyes from peering into the recessed retro gauges. You can also customize it to display the radio channels or the navigation prompts.
The one thing you’ll need to adjust to, especially if you’re not used to driving muscle cars, is the long hood and short windows. Visibility out the front, sides, and rear is quite restricted, but fortunately the open-top roof remedies much of your worries. The fabric top is electronically assisted: crank the roof lever to unlock it and hit the button to let the machines retract it back. The mechanism isn’t the fastest kid on the block, nor is it the slowest, but you’ll be holding your head down longer than usual when the rain starts falling. Like the Ford Mustang GT Convertible, you can’t fold the roof up when you’re driving. The car needs to be at a 0 km/h standstill for the mechanism to work. The new sixth-gen Camaro promises to remedy this by allowing the roof to operate up to 50 km/h.
How would we spec our Camaro? Well we would ditch the automatic transmission altogether and go for the manual. We’d save $1,765 and get more power out of the V8 engine too. I would also recommend getting the 1LE package if you’re willing to throw your Camaro around a track, and a pair of aftermarket Recaro seats wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Our top-end 2SS model comes with a rear view camera which I would strongly suggest opting for, but sadly blind spot monitoring and safety systems that would easily rectify the Camaro’s poor visibility are not available here.
Why should you be excited for the sixth-gen Camaro? Well it’s promised to be lighter, more powerful, and boast more technology than ever before. We also think it’s much better looking. With three new engines and a lighter platform, the Camaro isn’t going anywhere but up. And while this leaves the current-generation Camaros left out of the spotlight, there is still much to be had and enjoyed. Our Commemorative Edition comes with an as-tested price of $55,630, which isn’t cheap as far as cars go. But this is a one-of-a-kind vehicle that should be celebrated before the new breed of muscle cars arrive.
型号 Model: 2015 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS Convertible Commemorative Edition
顏色 Paint Type: Red Hot
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $50,225
試車售價 Price as Tested: $55,630 (before $1,650 destination charge, and tax)
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,852
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,841 / 1,918 / 1,389
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,903
引擎 Engine: 6.2L SFI V8 (L99)
最大馬力 Horsepower: 400 hp @ 5,900 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 410 lb-ft @ 4,300 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, RWD
前懸 Suspension-Front: Multi-link strut, stabilizer bar, coil springs
後懸 Suspension-Rear: Independent, coil springs over shocks, stabilizer bar
煞制-前後 Brakes: Four-piston fixed Brembo aluminum front and rear calipers
油耗 Fuel Consumption (City/Highway)- L/100 km: 15.3 / 9.8
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Pirelli P-Zero Front: 245/45ZR20 - Rear: 275/40ZR20