Chevrolet Camaro review: ZL1 1LE challenges Porsche’s finest
What Chevy Camaro is this?
We’ve already covered the Chevrolet Camaro, the ZL1, and the 1LE package separately. But never in the same space.
Chevy fans will already be drooling at the mere mention of these three elements coming together for the first time. They know what kind of sound and fury that means. But for those of you who don’t know, we need a brief introduction before we get into the details.
Well, since this is a sixth-generation Camaro, it already has the handling and response of a sports car, not a muscle car.
Because it says ZL1 on the trunk, it means it contains the supercharged LT4 V8 engine with 650 hp / 650 lb ft, as well as wider tires and matching bodywork. It also jumps into a super rarefied space occupied by Camaros that are just as comfortable on the track as they are on the road.
What are the main differences between the normal ZL1 and the ZL1 1LE?
Mainly based on the chassis and aerodynamics. The engine stays as is, the gearbox, a rev-matched six-speed manual, gets a shorter sixth gear to make it quicker. And you can’t have a car.
But there are plenty of modifications above and below the surface elsewhere. It has a larger grille and the daytime running lights are removed to save weight and further improve airflow.
The divider grows and also gets a pair of dive planes. At the rear, the ZL1’s spoiler transforms into a wing capable of generating 136kg of downforce at 150mph.
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What are the chassis changes?
These are the culmination of the Since there had been no ZL1 1LE before, Chevy had to invent new equipment. And he didn’t do it alone. Building on its growing relationship with Multimatic, which created DSSV shocks for the previous generation Camaro Z28 track monster, Chevy outfitted this 1LE with some of the best shocks this side of a race car.
Not only do these significantly reduce weight at each corner, over 2.5kg per pop, but they also have a nifty and super simple camber adjustment system at the top of the towers.
With just one key, you can go from road to track, adding an extra 1.5 degrees of negative camber – doubling the 1.5 degrees of street mode – in just minutes.
Combined with 10mm of two-way front ride height adjustment and a three-way adjustable rear stabilizer bar, you should be able to tailor it to your preferences quickly and, for once, relatively simply.
And those tires?
They are new too. Chevy and Goodyear worked for the past three years to develop these Eagle F1 SuperCar 3Rs because Michelin, which builds Corvettes in front of the company, apparently didn’t want any additional business. The brief was simple: create a tire better than the Michelin Cup 2s performance standard.
Yes and no. While the 19-inch front 305s and 325 rears took nearly a full turn to heat up and cool down very quickly, they never quite reached the Cup 2’s maximum level of feel and grip on the road or track.
Although it seems like a failure, it is not. Although they lack the last five percent of grip and feel, once they warm up they are predictable and stable, allowing you to keep going.
For five laps, Chevy says the Cup 2s will post a faster finish time but go faster. So his average time, if he can keep the car between the curbs, he’ll be better off in the Goodyears.
What is it like to drive?
Monstrous. Brutal. Fabulous. I don’t recall having to beat a car as much as the 1LE to get the most out of it. He loves getting into a wrestling match with you and getting roughed up on the ring.
Forget fingers and wrists, this one is all about arms and shoulders. He loves safe, strong tackles and amazes with his ability to take a full lap of the tricky, grueling and absorbing private track in Zone 27 in Canada.
Even weighing over 1700kg, with so much mechanical grip and power, you can carve your way to a fast lap surprisingly quickly. They come in different dimensions, but the 1LE would probably show off a GT3 RS like a neat pair of heels. And some other noble models besides.
Yes, you read it right. If you need further proof, consider the ZL1 1LE’s recent lap time at the old Nürburgring. The official time of 7m16s (see the lap here) is fast enough to put him ahead of the latest Porsche 911 GT2 RS.
But that’s not the whole story. The way these times are recorded is plagued by changing weather conditions and other traffic. One last-minute lap after official time expired, the brutish Chevy ran another three seconds faster…
How is it on the road?
It’s not as bad as you might think. While the old Z28 was a track hero and a road nightmare (thanks to its complete lack of soundproofing and extreme negative camber), the ZL1 1LE manages to be perfectly acceptable on mixed roads. It’s louder and rougher than the standard ZL1, which you’d expect to have solid shocks, no rubber mount. But it’s not terrible.
So should you buy one?
If you want a Camaro for the road and the track, and want to show off to your friends in more exotic machines, yes. Just get those tires up to temperature and you’ll be running them around the track in a matter of laps.
But if you want a purer experience, I think the non-supercharged Camaro SS 1LE is the most balanced and ultimately rewarding car to drive. However, if you must have the ZL1 and you’re not going to be using it regularly on the trail, I’d suggest getting the regular ZL1.
It’s still hugely capable, more comfortable, cheaper, and can be had with a very good 10-speed transmission. auto. Just be honest with yourself about what you’re looking for and you’ll have fun anyway.
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Source : topgear.com