Chevrolet Camaro muscles in on the Mustang's turf

  • AFP
  • Updated: May 19, 2015 13:47 IST

The new Camaro is lighter, smaller, faster and built around the needs of dedicated drivers, and could easily be mistaken for a European rather than an American sportscar.

Chevrolet claims that in order to deliver something special, it focused on three pillars -- performance, technology and design, plus feedback from current Camaro owners.

"[They] provided direct feedback on what they loved about their car and what they wanted for the next-gen Camaro," said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. "As a result, the 2016 Camaro builds on what made the current Camaro such a success with more power, more agile handling and more technology."

However, there was also another aspect at play dictating how the new Camaro would look and feel -- the new Ford Mustang which itself has been redefining benchmarks.

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And on paper, each new Camaro model trumps its Mustang equivalent. "We expect it will set the new benchmark in the segment -- and give a new generation of enthusiasts a reason to fall in love with Camaro," said Oppenheiser.

The new SS model boasts a body honed by 350 hours in the wind tunnel, a 455hp, 6.2-liter V8 from a Corvette Stingray, a six-speed manual transmission, Brembo brakes and optional magnetic ride control. The most powerful SS ever built, all it shares with the outgoing model are its badges.

Still, plump for any of the new engines on offer, from the 2-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder unit to the new 3.6-liter V6, and the resulting car will offer economy (via cylinder deactivation technology), performance and agility in equal measure.

In terms of technology, the new car can be configured and customized to suit an individual owner's tastes, from throttle response to suspension set-up. However, the company has resisted the temptation to go totally digital. The dials are still analogue but are augmented by two 8-inch screens, one in the main binnacle and a second in the dashboard's center.

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"Given the level of technology and performance, the interior had to be modern and driver focused," said Ryan Vaughan, interior design manager. "But although the interior is an all new design, it is still instinctively recognizable as a Camaro."

The sixth-generation Camaro will go on sale in the US later this year and will be coming to European shores next year.

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