Of course, the Camaro SS is powered by the 6.2L LT1 V-8 engine introduced on the Corvette Stingray. About 20 percent of the components are specific for the Camaro’s architecture, including new, tubular “tri-Y”-type exhaust manifolds. And yes, it also employs variable valve timing, direct injection, and Active Fuel Management (on automatic-equipped models). Output is 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque, making it the most-powerful standard V-8 ever in a Camaro.
Importantly, about 70 percent of the architectural components are unique to Camaro; and compared to the Gen 5 architecture, structural rigidity has increased 28 percent. The new structure also represents the bulk of the Camaro’s weight loss, in everything from the switch from a steel to aluminum instrument panel frame, to lighter suspension components. They even designed honeycomb-style lightening “holes” in a number of components to save fractions of pounds here and there.
Despite having enough power to bury the speedometer quickly, the Shelby GT feels very refined and composed. You could easily daily drive it or take a road trip in one without going deaf from a loud exhaust drone. The Borla exhaust gives the supercharged 5.0L Coyote an aggressive tone that harks back to the early days of the Shelby Mustangs that just simply can’t be beat.
We were impressed with the Scat Pack’s acceleration, turning, and braking—all of it happening with relative ease. It’s a comfortable car with a generously proportioned interior. You never feel cramped, sightlines are good, and there’s plenty of headroom. And unlike other competitors in the ponycar segment, there’s room for passengers and stuff, since the Challenger is based off a slightly shorter version of the same platform as the Charger and 300C.
We noticed a slight amount of wheelhop when doing a burnout in the 2015 Mustang. This seems to be common, but it can be reduced with stiffer rear bushing. In the name of proper reporting, we tried doing burnouts both ways and found both methods to be effective.
The LT1 engine is available with a standard Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission that borrows the Active Rev Match technology from the Corvette’s seven-speed manual. It “blips” the throttle automatically on downshifts. It’s very effective, but a little disconcerting the first time you use it. The Hydra-Matic 8L90 paddle-shift eight-speed automatic is optional.
Production of the 2016 Camaro begins later in the year at GM’s Lansing Grand River facility, in Michigan. It’s the home of the Cadillac ATS and CTS, which is appropriate, because that’s the architecture on which the new car is built. Those Caddies have been hailed as dynamic equals or better than German competitors such as the BMW 3-Series, so having that structure as the Camaro’s foundation is as good as it gets.
Goodyear tires are used on all models: The LT features standard 18-inch wheels wrapped with Goodyear Eagle Sport all-season tires with available 20-inch wheels matched with Eagle F1 Asymmetric all-season run-flat tires as an option. Camaro SS features standard 20-inch aluminum wheels with Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 run-flat tires.