2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 ready to challenge sports coupes

Article by Christian A., on March 18, 2016

The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is entering the market and is more than ready to challenge even the most advanced of sports coupes. This can be in terms of straight-line acceleration, refinement, track capability, and even technology. Global Product Development executive vice president Mark Reuss shared that the Camaro ZL1 was designed to be the best at everything.

Powering the Camaro ZL1 is the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine that can deliver 640 hp or 477 kW. Transmitting the amazing power of the engine is the six-speed manual transmission with its active rev matching or the 10-speed automatic.

Handling capability is made possible with the use of the stiffer and lightweight structure of the sixth-generation Camaro which is combined with the electronic limited-slip differential and the Magnetic Ride suspension.

Offered as standard technologies are the dual-mode exhaust, advanced connectivity features, and Driver Mode Selector. The Camaro ZL1 however is not just about the form but the functionality as well.

This 2+2 coupe delivers excellent performance when it comes to acceleration, braking, and handling, he continued. It offers the highest levels of technology and with its perfect chassis damping, Reuss added, it is fit even for daily driving. It can match a number of sports coupes, be it the price or the setting. Sales for the Camaro ZL1 start late this year.

The ZL1 offers a wide-range of performance technologies for both track and street. These include the electronic limited-slip differential, Driver Mode Selector, Custom Launch Control, Performance Traction Management, and the Magnetic Ride suspension that has been updated. Its power-to-weight ratio is better than the previous model and is even lighter by 200 pounds.

Even then, it still offers an extra 60 horsepower and 80 pound-feet more of torque. Overall, it provides a one-of-a-kind driving experience. Reuss said that the phrase that best describes the ZL1 would be ‘fast with finesse.’ He added that the ZL1 is not just balanced but has perfect damping and isolation.

This results in optimal performance and gives the driver the confidence regardless of what the situation is, like traveling from Pomono to Willow Springs and then to Pacific Coast Highway.

Exterior Design

The exterior for example was shaped using more than 100 hours of testing in the wind tunnel. To improve the aerodynamics and cooling, on-track validation was used. In addition, the different exterior elements help control the airflow through the ZL1 and even above and beneath it.

According to Camaro exterior design manager John Mack, the design of the ZL1 does not only help with the performance but do so with a convincing style. When looking at all the angles, he added, the different parts seem to merge and give the car that aggressive yet purposeful attitude.

Take for instance the opening of the lower grille. Unlike that of the Camaro SS, it manages to offer a greater amount of airflow. Its upper grille meanwhile has the new version of the “flow-tie” open bowtie insignia. Even the hood is new with the carbon fiber insert.

It even has a heat extractor that can draw hot air from its engine compartment. Other changes involve the distinct rockers, front fenders that are now wider, wing-style rear spoiler, and front splitter made larger. All of these have been modified not just to improve the aerodynamics but also to offer stability at high-speeds.

Interior Design

The interior meanwhile has the shift knob, suede flat-bottom steering wheel, and the Recaro front seats. Also made available is Chevrolet’s Performance Data Recorder.


Going to its chassis, it has the forged aluminum 20-inch wheels with the 285/30ZR20 tires for the front and 305/30ZR20 for the rear. The tires, which are Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires, have been made specifically for the Camaro and with its construction and compound deliver exceptional grip especially on the track. The Brembo brakes have the six-piston monobloc front calipers which has the two-piece 15.35-inch (390 mm) front rotors and ZL1 logo.

Powering the ZL1 is the supercharged Small Block LT4 6.2-liter V-8 engine. It even has the intake and the exhaust system that has been customized for the Camaro. The engine can deliver 640 horsepower (477 kW0 of output with a maximum torque of 640 lb.-ft. (868 Nm).

The power of the LT4 engine is transmitted with the standard six-speed manual transmission or the new paddle-shift 10-speed automatic. The 10-speed automatic in particular offers a 7.39 overall ratio in order to ensure smaller steps in between its gears. As a result, the engine can maintain optimal rpm levels even when accelerating.

This is very important especially when the car is exiting corners and doing quicker laps. It also helps with lightning-quick responses whether on up-shifts or down-shifts. In addition, it will also be the first ever Chevrolet application of the 10-speed automatic with its distinct calibrations and the hardware that was made specifically for the ZL1.

GM reveals that it will have the 10-speed automatic on eight of its vehicle models towards the end of 2018. Compared to some of its competitors, the ZL1 is track ready and as such there is no more need to buy any optional package. Track capability is standard in the ZL1 and it offers 11 heat exchangers in order to deliver optimal powertrain cooling.

Press Release


The 2017 Camaro ZL1 is poised to challenge the most advanced sports coupes in the world in any measure – with unprecedented levels of technology, refinement, track capability and straight-line acceleration.

“The Camaro ZL1 is designed to excel at everything,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president of Global Product Development. “It’s a 2+2 coupe offering incredible performance – acceleration, handling and braking – with the highest levels of technology and perfect chassis damping, making it suitable for everyday driving. It will compare well to any sports coupe, at any price and in any setting.”

Acceleration for the ZL1 is delivered with a new supercharged 6.2L V-8 engine estimated at 640 hp (477 kW), and either a six-speed manual transmission with active rev matching or an all-new 10-speed automatic. Handling capability starts with the lightweight, stiffer structure of the all-new sixth-Gen Camaro, married with Magnetic Ride suspension and an electronic limited-slip differential. Standard technologies include Driver Mode Selector, dual-mode exhaust and advanced connectivity features.

The Camaro ZL1 goes on sale late this year.

Designed for Performance

Functionality defines the Camaro ZL1’s form, with the exterior shaped during more than 100 hours of wind-tunnel testing and on-track validation to improve aerodynamics and cooling for track use. Accordingly, its exterior elements all play a part in managing airflow over, under and through the ZL1.

“The design supports the Camaro ZL1’s exceptional performance and does so with compelling style,” said John Mack, Camaro exterior design manager. “From every angle, the elements coalesce to give the car a purposeful, super aggressive attitude.”

The lower grille opening, for example, offers greater airflow compared to the Camaro SS, and the upper grille incorporates a new version of the “flow-tie” open bowtie insignia. There’s also a new hood, with a carbon fiber insert and heat extractor that pulls hot air from the engine compartment. Additional changes include a larger front splitter, unique rockers, a wing-style rear spoiler and wider front fenders – all tuned to improve aerodynamics for greater high-speed stability.

Inside, there are standard Recaro front seats, along with a sueded flat-bottom steering wheel and shift knob. Chevrolet’s Performance Data Recorder is available.

Fast with finesse

A cohesive suite of performance technologies tailors ZL1’s performance for street and track. Features include an updated Magnetic Ride suspension, Performance Traction Management, electronic limited-slip differential, Custom Launch Control and Driver Mode Selector. It also has a stronger power-to-weight ratio than its predecessor, weighing 200 pounds less, while offering approximately 60 more horsepower and 80 more pound-feet of torque.

The result is a one-of-a-kind driving experience.

“Driving the Camaro ZL1 is best described as ‘fast with finesse,’” said Reuss. “It is beautifully balanced, with perfect damping and isolation for optimal performance and driver confidence in virtually any situation – from the Pacific Coast Highway to Willow Springs to Pomona.”

Additional chassis features include:

Unique 20-inch forged aluminum wheels with 285/30ZR20 front and 305/30ZR20 rear tires
Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires with a compound and construction developed exclusively for the Camaro to offer exceptional grip on the track
Brembo brakes with six-piston monobloc front calipers – featuring the ZL1 logo – and massive, 15.35-inch (390 mm) two-piece front rotors.
Supercharged performance and new 10-speed automatic

Underhood, the ZL1 features a supercharged LT4 6.2L V-8 Small Block engine, with intake and exhaust systems tailored for Camaro. It is rated at an estimated 640 horsepower (477 kW) and 640 lb-ft of torque (868 Nm).

The LT4 is backed by a standard six-speed manual transmission or all-new, available paddle-shift 10-speed automatic. The 10-speed automatic has 7.39 overall ratio for smaller steps between gears. It enables the LT4 engine to remain at optimal rpm levels during acceleration, particularly when exiting corners, for quicker laps and lightning-quick responses on both up- and down-shifts.

This is the first Chevrolet application of the new quick-shift 10-speed, with unique calibrations and hardware developed exclusively for the ZL1. By the end of 2018, GM will introduce the new 10-speed automatic in eight vehicle models.

Finally – and unlike some competitors – there’s no need to purchase an optional package to make the ZL1 track ready. Track capability comes standard, with features including an impressive 11 heat exchangers for optimal powertrain cooling.

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