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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The full review won't be published until next week, AutoGuide wants first crack at it unfortunately, but as a little holiday gift to you guys here's a little sneak peek...



Those of us gathered at the foot of the San Gabriel mountains just north of Los Angeles know our time here will be exquisite, eviscerating and excessive all at once — we are children of the liberated cortex and it is our duty to inform you of the haunting pleasures baked into the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

Almost everyone makes fast metal these days – from 500-horsepower grocery getters to felony-prone family sedans – but this is different, this is a serious soundtrack punctuated with full-bodied fury; this, is immaculate sanity.

If you think about it, no one needs $63,453 ($69,200 CAD) worth of supercharged spitfire, nor a 10-speed transmission calibrated by a mad scientist who knows what you want before you need it. But hey, we don’t usually want what we need, but we definitely, always, need what we want.

The new ZL1 tips in with 200 lb (90 kg) less weight to lug around, plus an extra 70 more horsepower and 94 more lb-ft of twist compared to the fifth-gen car. Pilfered from the Corvette Z06 – minus its dry sump oiling system – is the ZL1’s 650 horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter V8. The LT4 is a literal loudmouth that barks atavistically whenever your right shoe solicits, but it’s the car’s 650 pound-feet of torque that will swallow whole you without chewing.

How do you tame such a savage beast?

With savagely smart electronic wizardry. Camaro Chief Al Oppenheiser and crew threw every trick they could at the 2017 ZL1, including an all-new 10-speed transmission ($1,595), a new electronic limited-slip differential, and a suite of track and performance applications to help you harass the trembling tarmac.

It’s easy to think of the Camaro ZL1 as a 1LE that sniffed too much speed on a Saturday, but that would be a gross oversimplification of the overwrought engineering that went into the ZL1 program.

More to come next week...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
For that kind of money, I want more than just bespoke fenders and hood. I want a unique engine.
What about a unique transmission? 10R90 is specific to Camaro, well for now...

Even so, I don't see sharing with Z06 and CTS-V as a bad thing.

The LT4 actually has a few more new bits to it, Camaro team got new heads, pistons, and exhaust manifolds. They also reworked the top mounted intercoolers. I was told off hand that Team Camaro helped solve the Z06's cooling issues.

This team has it's game dialed in, on a side note it's honestly a pleasure to hang around with these guys, they're just such big car geeks ready to discuss just about anything car related, short of classified information naturally.
 

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To clarify my position on the 6-speed ZL1: the manual transmission throws too much of the car's capability away, that's what makes it irrelevant in my eyes.

I like manual cars, and I did really like the TR6060--but as I wrote, it's just another high hp RWD car--the 10-speed adds a totally new dynamic to this car's already incredible athleticism.

A car like the ZL1 delvers so much enjoyment from the raw pace it offers all over the place, and with the 6-shot you become the bottle neck in it's performance. Contrast with something like the Cruze, better in manual because it's performance can be elevated with shifting. Sorry, but I like FAST more than I like clutching and gearing, and if I have to sacrifice the pedal dance for speed I most certainly will, everyday. BUT YOU MIGHT BE DIFFERENT.

Please understand the nuance.
 

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How could you possibly drive this car without an ear to ear grin even if just cruising. Sensational all around package. Well done GM!!

To clarify my position on the 6-speed ZL1: the manual transmission throws too much of the car's capability away, that's what makes it irrelevant in my eyes.

I like manual cars, and I did really like the TR6060--but as I wrote, it's just another high hp RWD car--the 10-speed adds a totally new dynamic to this car's already incredible athleticism.

A car like the ZL1 delvers so much enjoyment from the raw pace it offers all over the place, and with the 6-shot you become the bottle neck in it's performance. Contrast with something like the Cruze, better in manual because it's performance can be elevated with shifting. Sorry, but I like FAST more than I like clutching and gearing, and if I have to sacrifice the pedal dance for speed I most certainly will, everyday. BUT YOU MIGHT BE DIFFERENT.

Please understand the nuance.
I'm a manual transmission fan but I totally agree with you and until someone drives a car like this in both manual and automatic you just can't imagine how big of a bottle neck you really are. Cars with this level of performance are the few that are actually more fun in automatic because you get to use so much more of the available performance on a daily basis.
 

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As someone who daily drove a 6-speed, 500 RWHP, 4th-gen F-body for several years, I can tell you that there's no substitute for the connection a manual trans brings to a car like that. Are modern automatics quicker? Sure. Do they allow the driver to go faster more easily? Yes. But for me, the bottom line is the enjoyment derived from controlling the car, and working a clutch while rowing the gears is a huge part of this.

I'm not going to fault anyone for choosing the auto box, but I will always get the manual in a car like this, so long as it's available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
As someone who daily drove a 6-speed, 500 RWHP, 4th-gen F-body for several years, I can tell you that there's no substitute for the connection a manual trans brings to a car like that. Are modern automatics quicker? Sure. Do they allow the driver to go faster more easily? Yes. But for me, the bottom line is the enjoyment derived from controlling the car, and working a clutch while towing the gears is a huge part of this.

I'm not going to fault anyone for choosing the auto box, but I will always get the manual in a car like this, so long as it's available.
And if you're going to spend nearly $70 grand you better get the one you want.
 

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Great review!

That last picture is beautiful!!! Love it, wish I could drive it! Looks incredible, drives incredible, it is incredible!
 

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Nice article!

I am glad to hear a very positive review of the new trans.

That thing is gonna be flogged by the very best in US performance horsepower, and it's great to hear it please at introduction.
 

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Taking nothing away from what's under the skin but speaking of the skin.
The tail lights look like they took them off of a Corvette and the head lights look like they took them off a Cruze.

Chevy is quickly making everything look the same.
The Corvette, Camaro and sedans from Chevy used to look quite different from each other.
 

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Chevy did say a year ago that they wanted to put a little piece of Corvette styling into everything. I think it is a great idea, Chevy has one of the most recognizable sports cars in the USA, they should tie the rest of the domestic lineup in with it.
 

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How could you possibly drive this car without an ear to ear grin even if just cruising. Sensational all around package. Well done GM!!



I'm a manual transmission fan but I totally agree with you and until someone drives a car like this in both manual and automatic you just can't imagine how big of a bottle neck you really are. Cars with this level of performance are the few that are actually more fun in automatic because you get to use so much more of the available performance on a daily basis.
As someone who daily drove a 6-speed, 500 RWHP, 4th-gen F-body for several years, I can tell you that there's no substitute for the connection a manual trans brings to a car like that. Are modern automatics quicker? Sure. Do they allow the driver to go faster more easily? Yes. But for me, the bottom line is the enjoyment derived from controlling the car, and working a clutch while rowing the gears is a huge part of this.

I'm not going to fault anyone for choosing the auto box, but I will always get the manual in a car like this, so long as it's available.
I will just add my thoughts as well. If the ZL-1 came with an available autonomous mode and got you to your destination or around the track faster, would you choose and enjoy not using the steering wheel, accelerator and brake?

I'm glad both trans are available and that the auto is a good one, but they are definitely not substitutes for each other.
 

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