The most powerful Camaro yet.
General Motors has finally let one of its biggest cats out of its bag: The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will be officially rated at 580 horsepower and 556 pound-feet of torque.
Al Oppenheiser, chief engineer of the Camaro, is justifiably proud of his creation, saying, "The Camaro ZL1 delivers supercar performance and technology in the sports-car segment. For sheer power, the ZL1 delivers more horsepower than a Ferrari 458, more torque than an Aston Martin DB9 V12, and a better power-to-weight ratio than a Porsche 911 Carrera GTS."
The supercharged engine is the most powerful mill ever put in the engine bay of a Camaro – besting the rated output of the 1969 Camaro ZL1's 427-cubic-inch V8 by 150 horses – and it can be mated up with either a six-speed manual gearbox or, importantly for mass appeal, a six-speed automatic fitted with Drive, Sport and Manual modes for increased driver involvement.
You may be wondering how Chevrolet expects all that power to reach the ground in any meaningful fashion that doesn't involve incinerating a fresh pair of tires. And the answer would be with Performance Traction Management and third-generation Magnetic Ride Control. Magnetic Ride control uses Magneto-Rheological fluid in the shocks and is computer controlled with readings that adjust damping a staggering 1,000 times per second, and has Tour, Sport and Track settings.
Performance Traction Management, not surprisingly, is a traction control system with five distinct modes appropriate for everything from rain to race, which is calibrated for use at drag strips conditioned with VHT (a traction compound sprayed on asphalt).