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Chevrolet Camaro: American Muscle Car

Motoring Channel Staff - 22/July/2008

Chevrolet Camaro
Chevrolet Camaro

Chevrolet Camaro
Three engine types will be offered in the
2010 Chevrolet Camaro: a V6 and two V8s

Chevrolet Camaro
Tested and engineered by some of Holden's best
chassis technicians, the Camaro has an Aussie link

Chevrolet Camaro
The Camaro's designers have been brave in
crafting an original and highly presentable
cabin, using classic elements to great effect

Chevrolet Camaro
Powered by both V6 and V8 GM powerplants,
the Chevrolet Camaro has plenty of muscle

Chevrolet Camaro
The attention to detail seen on the cockpit heralds
a new era in interior design for GM and Chevrolet

Detroit, America — Though it won't be rolling down the manufacturing lines until mid February in 2009, the new Chevrolet Camaro has finally broken cover.

As one of the most anticipated cars in America for the past decade, we give you the Chevy Camaro.

"Camaro delivers all of the things that make Chevrolet such a revered, global brand," said Ed Peper, GM North America vice president at the launch.

"It competes with the world’s best sports cars and does so with styling, fuel economy and value our competitors simply can’t match."

The new model will rival vehicles such as the Ford Mustang, but because the new Camaro has independent suspension front and rear it is expected to be a better handling car.

The rear-wheel drive vehicle has been engineered by Holden in Australia, and its 1700kg (3747 lbs) is split fairly evenly over the front and rear axles 52:48.

The brawny sports car has strong connections with Australia and even had its own private launch party at GM Holden's HQ at Fisherman's Bend in Melbourne.

The Camaro's exterior design manager, Australian Peter Hughes, said he wanted the vehicle to be distinctly Camaro: "We're incredibly proud of how faithful the production version is to the original concept. 

"This is a 21st century sports car that acknowledges its iconic heritage, while at the same time is smoothly integrated into a very contemporary exterior," Hughes said.

What you see on the right side of this web page is how the new model will appear when it finally goes on sale in 2009, melding modern and classic design cues into a distinctly sporty shape.

"The new Camaro is just that – new," said Ed Welburn, who is the vice president of GM Global Design. 

"We acknowledge the nameplate's strong heritage in the design," continued Welburn, "but recognise that keeping this modern sports car relevant meant more than simply honoring a classic car. 

"The line forms, stance and overall execution are consistent with other new Chevrolets," stated Welburn.

With its bold muscle car look, General Motors will initially offer 3.6-litre V6 models (featuring engines similar to those used in the Holden Commodore) and 6.2-litre V8 models, the latter featuring cylinder deactivation for improved fuel efficiency.

Both 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions are available on V6 and V8 models and transfer engine power to the rear wheels.

There will be LS, LT, SS Chevrolet Camaro models, along with an RS 'sports' package that includes HID headlights, 20-inch wheels and a rear spoiler.

The LS and LT Camaro models get FE2 sport suspension and the SS models come with FE3 performance suspension that also lowers the car's ride height.

The high performance Camaro SS model will come with improved equipment, such as a 4-pot Brembo brakes, a more aggressive look and feel, and an upgraded interior.

Outputs for the engines are as follows:

3.6-litre V6: 224kW (300hp) & 370Nm
6.2-litre V8:  315kW (422hp) & 553Nm

The new 3.6-litre V6 engine features direct injection which hikes power and torque levels significantly, while also reducing fuel consumption and is expected to be fitted to high grade VE Commodores in the near future, such as the SV6 model.

Chevrolet estimates that the 3.6-litre V6 models will use 9.0L/100km (26 MPG).

While the V8 Camaro with the 6-speed manual uses the LS3 V8 engine and gets a tasty launch control feature, V8 Camaros with the 6-speed automatic gearboxes get the new L99 engine, which features cylinder deactivation. 

This system shuts down four cylinders under light engine loads, during highway cruising for instance, and uses 10.2L/100km (23 MPG) which is pretty good for a 6.2-litre 8-cylinder engine.

However the new L99 engine, which will also be making its debut in a Holden Commodore later in the year, produces slightly less power:299kW (400hp) and 535Nm of torque.

When Chevrolet's new Camaro hits American streets in 2009, it will do battle with vehicles such as the Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang, which also offer V6 and V8 powerplants.

There has however been talk that General Motors would offer a low emission, low consumption 4-cylinder turbo engine in the new Camaro in a couple of years time.

While the idea of a 4-cylinder muscle car may be at odds with its heritage, such a vehicle would make it more popular among the growing group of car buyers who are feeling the pinch of high petrol prices. 

Using a 4-cylinder engine would also make it more appealing to export markets outside of America.

The interior in particular will be one of the talking points of the Chevrolet Camaro, showing off a number of retro design cues such as the bold instrument cluster and concave steering wheel.

Stylised rectangular ancillary gauges above the gear shifter add a special custom car air to the cabin, juxtaposed by the thoroughly modern-looking HVAC and stereo controls.

Drivers looking for high tech functionality won't be disappointed either, as things like Bluetooth phone connectivity, remote vehicle starting system, a premium Boston Acoustics audio system, USB connectivity, ultrasonic rear parking assist plus OnStar and XM Satellite Radio will be offered.

Safety systems include six airbags and electronic stability control.

Alongside the Chevrolet Camaro 2-door coupe, the American car maker will also sell a Camaro convertible, which will be released shortly after its hard-top cousin in early 2009.

Related articles:
Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 (2009)
Chevrolet Corvette C6 (2008)
Chevrolet Camaro Convertible (concept)
- Chevrolet WTCC Ultra (concept)
Chevrolet Captiva (2006)
Chevrolet Camaro (concept)
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (2006)
Chevrolet C6 Corvette (2005)
Chevrolet Z06 Corvette (2003)

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