2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible: details, photos and specs

Article by Christian A., on October 10, 2011

Chevrolet revealed today its most powerful convertible ever: behold the 2013 Camaro ZL1. Set to make its debut at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show next month, the new car will go on sale in late 2012 and will carry the same supercharged 6.2L “LSA” engine found on the coupe version.

This means that the engine will deliver 580 horsepower (432 kW) and 556 lb.-ft. of torque (754 Nm)., enough to exceed the output of 2+2 convertibles of many performance icons such as the 2012 Aston Martin DB9 Volante (470 hp) or the 2011 Porsche 911 Turbo S (530 hp) or even the 2011 Ford Shelby GT500 (550 hp).

As expected, the convertible features new reinforcements which enhance the already-stiff body structure such as a tower-to-tower brace under the hood, transmission support reinforcement brace, underbody tunnel brace or the front “X” brace and stiffer cradle as well as rear underbody “V” braces.

Additional structural reinforcements include: hydrofoamed tube in the A-pillars, an inner reinforcement bracket in the windshield header, a reinforced front hinge pillar and reinforcements inside the rockers. Regarding the suspension, the ZL1 Convertible features the third-generation of Magnetic Ride. Moreover, the Camaro ZL1 Convertible offers the Performance Traction Management as standard.

As a complete high-performance car, the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is not just about having more power. It represents an evolution of the Camaro into one that features a number of technological wonders in the areas of transmission, suspension, drivetrain, and exhaust, as well as brakes and steering. The LSA engine of the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is mated to a high-performance Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual gearbox, which is the "MG9" version with a higher torque capacity. To enhance easiness and smoothness of shifting operations, this transmission comes with a dual-mass flywheel and twin-disc clutch as well as a new shorter-throw shifter.

The completely re-tuned suspension used in the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 now features Magnetic Ride Control that offers new driver selectable modes -- Tour and Sport – that allow drivers to suit the car to their driving style. Magnetic Ride Control employs advanced magneto-rheological science to deliver highly precise shock damping, which allows for a body control optimized for superb performance in any situation.

Of course, Chevrolet specified the Camaro ZL1 with a number of chassis elements that have been redesigned to complement its high-performance nature. For instance, the drop links on the rear stabilizer bars are now located outboard of the control arms, which makes it more effective in controlling body roll during turns. Meanwhile, the drivetrain of the new Camaro ZL1 features a revised drivetrain with a stronger driveshaft and rear axle system. Moreover, this drivetrain now has a larger and stronger cast iron differential housing and stronger axles, as well as heavy-duty limited-slip differential.

This system – which has pending patent – could help ensure a smooth power deliver from the ZL1's engine to the ground. On the other hand, the new Camaro ZL1 is fitted with an advanced track-capable braking system that was developed in collaboration with Brembo. This system features large 14.6-inch (370 mm) two-piece rotors on the front with six-piston caliper as well as 14.4-inch (365 mm) rotors on the rear with four-piston calipers. In terms of steering, the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is specified with a new electric power steering system that allows precise control and feedback.

Press Release

Camaro ZL1: Most Powerful Chevrolet Convertible Ever

Chevrolet announced today the brand’s most-powerful convertible ever – the 2013 Camaro ZL1 – will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month. When it goes on sale in late 2012, it will deliver more performance and technology than many exotic cars and ultra-luxury convertibles.

“The Camaro ZL1 convertible will be one of the most powerful and most capable, convertibles available at any price,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “This is a car that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you drop the top – or hit the gas.”

Like the coupe, the Camaro ZL1 convertible features a supercharged 6.2L “LSA” engine, SAE-rated at 580 horsepower (432 kW) and 556 lb.-ft. of torque (754 Nm). That’s enough to exceed the output of 2+2 convertibles of many performance icons, including:

  • 2012 Aston Martin DB9 Volante – 470 hp / 443 lb.-ft.
  • 2012 Mercedes SL63 AMG – 518 hp / 465 lb.-ft.
  • 2011 Porsche 911 Turbo S – 530 hp / 516 lb.-ft.
  • 2011 Ford Shelby GT500 – 550 hp / 510 lb.-ft.

The Camaro ZL1 convertible’s power is complemented by advanced powertrain and chassis technologies designed to deliver exceptional performance on the road or track. In fact, it’s the same balance of acceleration, handling and ride quality that enabled a Camaro ZL1 coupe recently to lap the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife course in 7:41.27 minutes.

From Day One, the architecture for the fifth-generation Camaro was designed to accommodate a convertible model, which gives the ZL1 convertible coupe-like driving dynamics. Four strategic reinforcements enhance the already-stiff body structure to quell the cowl and steering wheel shake common in convertibles. They include:

  • A tower-to-tower brace under the hood
  • A transmission support reinforcement brace
  • Underbody tunnel brace
  • Front “X” brace and stiffer cradle as well as rear underbody “V” braces.

Additional structural reinforcements in the ZL1 convertible are designed to improve noise and vibration characteristics, while also reducing unwanted ride and body motions. They include a hydroformed tube in the A-pillars, an inner reinforcement bracket in the windshield header, a reinforced front hinge pillar and reinforcements inside the rockers.

The suspension of the ZL1 convertible uses the third-generation of Magnetic Ride. New, twin-wire/dual-coil dampers at all four corners enable faster response, with damping levels now adjusted up to 1,000 times per second – about one adjustment per inch of vehicle travel at 60 mph – making the system exceptionally responsive to changing driving and road conditions.

The Camaro ZL1 convertible will also offer Performance Traction Management as standard equipment, which is exclusive to General Motors. First introduced on the Corvette ZR1, it is an advanced system that integrates magnetic ride control, launch control, traction control and electronic stability control, to enhance both launch-acceleration performance and corning.

The result is a convertible designed to preserve nearly all the acceleration, road-holding and performance capabilities of the Camaro ZL1 coupe, which goes on sale in early 2012.

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