The never-ending measuring contest between the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang has just reached new, heights, with the introduction of the new ZL1, which goes on sale later this year.
“The ZL1 is designed to excel at everything,” says GM product development chief Mark Reuss. “It stacks up against any sports coupe at any price point.”
The basic ingredients of the ZL1 have already been served in the Cadillac CTS-V. It uses the same supercharged 6.2-liter V-8, tuned for 640 hp and 640 lb-ft of torque, and rides on the same lightweight Alpha platform, which reduces curb weight some 200 pounds from the previous ZL1. The Camaro also has a 10-speed automatic. The transmission is a joint development of GM and Ford, which is introducing it in the new SVT Raptor. However don’t worry, you can still get a six-speed manual.
Larger front fenders, a larger front splitter and rear spoiler, and unique rocker panels improve high-speed stability. The cooling tweaks are even wilder as air enters a wide lower grille, and a hollowed out Chevrolet bowtie, and vents through the hood. Under the skin, no fewer than eleven heat exchangers work to keep the big V8 nice and cool.
By riding on the same platform as the Cadillac ATS and CTS, the new ZL1 inherits all of the goodies we love on both those cars. The active MR damping, the massive rigidity, Performance
Traction Management, launch control, etc. But it ups the game to a much more serious level now by inserting the 640bhp/640lb ft 6.2-litre supercharged LT4 motor from the Corvette Z06 into the engine bay. That gives it 60bhp more than the outgoing car, in a package that weighs a full 200lb less.
The 20-inch wheels ride on Goodyear Eagle F1 tires – 285/30s at the front and 305/30s at the rear. Brakes are Brembo 15.35 inch steel rotors with six piston calipers and the rears are surprisingly large 14.37-inch four piston units.
Inside there are Recaro seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and plenty of interior space. We just can’t wait to get in the driver’s seat.