Words: Stephen Spyropoulos
Photography: Stephen Spyropoulos
Published: August 8, 2016
What is proudly American, obnoxiously loud, and sinisterly powerful? If you guessed presidential hopeful Donald Trump, you would be right. But if you thought the new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS was the answer, you're not far off either. With the attitude of a supersized Hot Wheels car, the new and improved sixth generation Camaro aims to harmonize its loud bark with a ferocious bite. It is a completely different beast, aided by a personal trainer and a fashion expert.
The new styling is about as much of a departure from its predecessor as the new Mustang’s, but here you can tell that it has been redrawn and reworked to bring out the best features and keep the ‘Murica!’ feel. And it looks good – so freaking good that it draws stares wherever you park it – I’ve never received so many thumbs up in my life. None of this is exactly a revelation; we knew it would be an eye-catcher when it stunned audiences at the launch event last year.
The interior has been completely hauled over as well, and the interior designers have made the most out of the space they’ve been given. The layout remains simple, but neat and modern features creep into the fold. The temperature gauges are integrated into the two main vents allowing the user to spin them counter-clockwise for cold and clockwise for heat - they just look like onion rings to me. The 8-inch colour touch screen system is new and very intuitive to use but it is angled quite awkwardly in the dash - it points downwards to reduce the glare from the sun.
Strip away the familiar muscle car bodywork however and you will find a new platform lurking beneath. Saying adios to the heavy Holden-developed Zeta platform, the Camaro is now underpinned by the same Alpha platform that is found in the Cadillac ATS. This amounts to substantial weight savings (The last 2015 Camaro SS Coupe we tested weighed around 1,772 kg; this one is just 1,671 kg), an interior redesign, and better quality materials.
Now, when I drove a rear-drive turbocharged 4-cylinder Cadillac ATS last year, I remember telling myself that the handling alone justified the near-$60,000 price tag. It just needed one thing, a hearty V-8. Now, that's not to say that the V6-equipped Camaro we recently tested was unimpressive. On the contrary, that was one of the most wonderfully balanced muscle cars we've ever driven. But when you propose putting a 6.2-litre V8 from a Corvette Stingray onto a chassis borrowed from the fantastic ATS, well, let's just say this Camaro is perfect.
I had ideal driving conditions throughout my test week, which allowed me to get a feel for just how much grip (and lack thereof during WOT) the Goodyear Eagle F1 tires had in store for me. Feeling incredibly agile compared to the outgoing model, I began developing a soft spot for the car, even though I am not your typical muscle car buff.
The Camaro feels much more like a fine European sport coupe than anything else the typical muscle car fanatic might be trading in. For anyone that is immature enough to say Camaros are only good in a straight line, feel free to slap them in the face with your Camaro keys, and then proceed to reference how the new Camaro SS is just as fast around a track as the BMW M4 and the SRT Viper (cars that can cost significantly more than the Camaro).
Here is a car that loves curvy roads, rewarding the driver as soon as you switch into Sport Mode and hold down that traction off button. The thunderous applause from the $940 Performance Exhaust keeps your heart racing as the tachometer climbs and climbs towards peak power at 6,000 rpm. But by the time you reached max output you will likely be travelling at speeds that would land you in the slammer.
The Camaro SS comes standard with a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission with an available auto-rev match downshift feature. There is an eight-speed automatic available but seriously, why would you? This Tremec is similar to the one used in the Challenger SRT 392 that we recently tested - the clutch is just as heavy but the Camaro's engine revs quicker allowing gear changes to be done in a cinch. The catch point is easy to find and with this much torque at your disposal, stalling is a worry of the past.
You might be wondering if there is a way to trim some cash off the $48,100 price tag from the Camaro 2SS, which directly competes with the $46,822 Ford Mustang GT Premium Fastback. If you’re willing to let go of some of the niceties like a sunroof, and if you live in a place where they actually pave the roads, you could ditch the fancy MagneRide suspension. But if you actually get a chance to drive this beast and experience its combination of C7-like confidence and old-school American brawn wrapped up in a modern V8 package, then it doesn’t seem unreasonable at all to spend some hard earned cash on this summer thriller.
Surprisingly, the Camaro's poor fuel consumption and horrendous outward visibility wasn’t enough to deter me away from its muscle car charm. It's minor shortcomings only add to its character and appeal. The Camaro's V6 is a wonderfully balanced engine that punches above its paygrade and is nothing short of impressive, but it is the V8 that will tug at your heartstrings and seduce you with its unmistakeable exhaust, nimble handling, and rebel looks.
型号 Model: 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS
顏色 Paint Type: Red Hot
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $48,100
試車售價 Price as Tested: $53,395
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,811
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,782 / 1,897 / 1,348
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,671
引擎 Engine: 6.2-litre V8 (LT1)
最大馬力 Horsepower: 455 hp @ 6,000 rpm (465 hp with performance exhaust)
最高扭力 Torque: 455 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm (465 lb-ft. with performance exhaust)
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed manual
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, RWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 14.3 / 9.4 / 12.1
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 16.2