The very strong Total Car Score earned by the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is largely due to the scores earned by its parent Camaro model. Look beyond the numbers, though, and you’ll see enthusiastic reviews from the automotive media, as the ZL1 sets a new -- and very high -- performance bar for Chevrolet’s pony car.
With 580 horsepower coming from a supercharged V8, a sophisticated traction control system, magnetic-ride suspension system, and one of the smoothest-shifting six-speed manual transmissions on the market, the ZL1 has acceleration and handling capabilities approaching high-performance cars costing far more. It’s an ideal track-day car that can easily be driven to and from the race track without compromise.
The ZL1 is not without its downsides, though, many of which are shared with its Camaro parent. Visibility and headroom are compromised due to the car’s low roof, the back seat is really more of a parcel shelf than passenger accommodations, and some critics felt the interior’s materials were sub-par for the category.
Since the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is an all-new Camaro variant, it will be a few years before it receives any substantial changes. A convertible version will be released in late 2012 as a 2013 model.
The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is a high-performance variant of the Camaro line offered in a four-seat coupe body style and a single trim level. (A convertible model is due late in 2012 as a 2013 model.)
The standard ZL1 powertrain joins a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 making 580 horsepower and 556 pound-feet of torque with a six-speed manual transmission to drive the rear wheels. A six-speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters is available as an option.
Standard equipment aboard the ZL1 includes 20-inch alloy wheels and summer performance tires, four-wheel disc brakes with Brembo calipers, Magnetic Ride Control suspension, Performance Traction Management, ZL1-specific aerodynamic bodywork, powered front seats with leather upholstery, a premium 9-speaker audio system, a rearview camera, head-up display and console-mounted auxiliary gauges.
In addition to the automatic transmission, other options for the ZL1 include bright aluminum wheels, a power sunroof, stripe package, suede package and an exposed-weave finish on the carbon-fiber hood insert.
The EPA rated the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1’s fuel economy at 14 mpg city, 19 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined when equipped with the manual transmission; 12/18/14 with the automatic.
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