Saturday, April 5, 2014

The New Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

The Camaro has been one of the most iconic muscle cars created by Chevrolet and while it fail to impress against the Ford Mustang and the Dodge Charger during the days of the Cold War up to post-9/11, but when it was return in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, not to mention General Motors' bankruptcy, the modern-day Camaro is all about being a new dog with old tricks and it won our hearts...just. It even landed a role on being Bumblebee from the Transformers movies ranging from the first one, Revenge of the Fallen, Dark of the Moon and the upcoming Age of Extinction.

Over the years, Chevrolet's iconic muscle car continues to grow and in 2012, they had their flagship ZL1 model which is the most powerful Camaro ever made but outmuscled by the 2013 Shelby GT500 by a hundred-horsepower gap but despite the power gap, the Camaro ZL1 still relies on multi-link suspension and magnetic ride control unlike the antique suspension setup from its Shelby rival. The ZL1 did won our hearts just as the normal Camaro do.

In 2013, the fifth-generation gained a minor change and judging by the looks of it, our Bumblebee's not quite looking well. The facelift made it less of a Bumblebee, more of like the fictitious Evolver from the Ridge Racer games, if you know what I mean.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Despite the disproportionate minor change, looks like the new Camaro is getting something and it's now worth promising than ever because for its minor change, time to hark the trumpets because a familiar name has finally risen from the dead! I'm talking about the Z/28.

The Z/28 is the most iconic model in the Camaro bloodline since the first generation and for the first time in this new generation, it's back in the form of...um...think of it like a GT3 RS of the muscle car craze because this is by no means the track-focused and hardcore version of the hit muscle icon. Although it can't be described as the "ultimate Camaro" because the ZL1 took credit for it, it almost feels like it is because by the numbers, it went round the Nurburgring faster than the ZL1 despite being less powerful.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 speedometer

So, how did they do it? Well, despite being less powerful than the ultimate Camaro, the ZL1, experts showed that even with the biggest engine, the 7.0L V8 engine, fitted to this Camaro, power is not the sole focus here and instead, they try to make it more track-capable for the Z/28. Tracing its roots back to the 60's, the Z/28 is made to dominate the world of Trans-Am racing and for its remake, they want to make sure it's capable of being corner-friendly much like what Ford did to the Boss 302 three years ago, well now that the Boss 302 is dead and the new generation muscle car is still waiting to be unleashed until the end of this year.

First, they've focused on the chassis development and with the help of the sleek aerodynamic styling and the exclusive Pirelli PZero Trofeo tires, not to mention it lost almost 300lbs of weight, the cornering grip is now 1.08G and for stopping power, the Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes are worth emotional, giving deceleration up to 1.5G.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

With almost 300lbs of weight had lost for the Z/28, it seems that the interior is more driver-focused than the normal Camaro because most of its concessions of comfort have been thrown away while some can be offered as an optional extra. For starters, it has only one speaker reserved for that bong sound when I open the door, there is no air-conditioning meaning that when summer's arrived, I'm going to be too sweaty while driving this car, and no radio meaning you can't listen to the music or the traffic report but who cares about it? This is how harkening back to the "good ol' days" feels like because with stripping away unnecessary stuff much like getting rid of stuff you don't need and save it for donations at the thrift store, you can almost feel its sportscar-like characteristics in it, noting that while it can't be used as a daily driver if you are on the city streets or in the highway, it's worth fun to drive in the open roads or in the track days.

Simplify and add lightness, hmmm? This is what Chevrolet managed to snatch that idea from Lotus in order to create such a lightweight Camaro but what's more enjoyable is how this engine performs. Yes, it's the 7.0L V8 engine from the old Z06 Corvette and having a big engine in the Camaro is no joke because while this engine is co-developed with Corvette Racing, it utilizes lightweight components to ensure high performance and durability, even when you rev it up to 7000rpm. It develops 505HP of power and 481lb-ft of torque and even though it's less than the supercharged ZL1, it's the most powerful natural aspiration engine ever made by General Motors. In the spirit of being a hardcore Camaro, the only transmission you can avail is a 6-speed Tremec TR6060 Aluminum 6-speed manual gearbox along with a limited-slip diff and a cooling system.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Pricing starts for the hardcore Z/28 is an extremely high $72,705, that's almost 10,000 more than the ZL1 and if you have further explanations why this is the most expensive Camaro offered in the lineup is simple; Chevrolet took the idea from Porsche about charging more for less; the same thing that supercars do; less stuff equals more price and that Z/28 is no exception to that rule but despite the high pricing, you can afford one than the Nissan GT-R or any other lightweight sportscars above its pricing.

Don't forget that despite its high price, the Z/28 lapped round the Nurburgring faster than the latest 911 Carrera S or the deceased Lexus LFA or even the Ferrari 458 Italia!

You know what, I'm starting to like the new Z/28 as much as I did with the ZL1 because being a Camaro with some track-day essentials, I think both of them can do a 1-2 combo on the road and on the track. If you want power, go for the ZL1 but if you are a track-day boy, best with the Z/28.

Available colors; Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White, Black, Ashen Gray Metallic, and Red Hot

Photo: General Motors

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