So much time has elapsed from the inception of the fifth-generation Camaro to now that it seems many GM faithful have boiled over, like a pot of water, in anticipation. In our current culture of high-speed Internet, digital cable TV, fast food, etc., patience is a virtue no longer coveted. But if you intend to buy a 2010 Camaro that is exactly what you will need. Between the current instability in the dealer network to the limited allocation of new Camaros being dolled out, it may take some perseverance in acquiring one. However, GM's precise ordering process will at least ensure that you will get exactly what you want. GM has already taken some lumps on the message boards because of the continued wait, but it's apparent how much is at stake (given GM's financial situation) and the implications of a major recall or mechanical flaw. Furthermore, few owners have given a less than glowing review of their new hot rod. These are two small, but very important, steps in the right direction. Now this begs the question, is the new Camaro worth the wait?
We think so. Between the outstanding build quality, use of materials, and performance potential-the 2010 Camaro SS is a formidable competitor. One of the few negatives, besides its lack of availability, is that despite its technological advancements it seems GM has still left some horsepower and ET on the table-in other words, there is room for improvement. To us hot rodders, obviously, that just gives us an excuse to open our tool chests and get to work. Upon track testing both the automatic version at Bradenton Motorsports Park and the manual version at Englishtown Raceway Park, it was immediately apparent that, though stylish and well-performing on the street, the factory 20-inch wheels and thin-sidewall tires could do little to harness the 6.2L mill's power-despite adequate track prep. In addition, the height of the tire (over 28.5 inches) was no doubt killing the stock 3.45 (manual) and 3.27 (auto) ratio gear. With the manual, there was little room for error when slipping the clutch off the line as the margin between bogging the motor and spinning the tires was minimal-and unfortunately wheelhop seemed inevitable once you found the sweet spot. A 17- or 18-inch drag wheel, such as those used on the C5 and C6s, with a sticky tire would be a wise first investment for the serious drag racer.
With the stock converter and tires, it just didn't seem possible to go faster than a 2.01 short time with the six-speed automatic. The manual, on the other hand, seemed to have more to give coming out of the hole, but was difficult to coax. I think with more seat time and better weather, it would have been easy to surpass the 2.14 short time the manual limped to. Later testing showed that the stick will get the 3,880-pound coupe to the same mark in under 2-seconds. Had we placed the two cars in a virtual drag race, though, our sub-par launch in the manual mattered not as it caught the automatic somewhere between the 330-foot and the 1/8-mile marker. Just beyond the rpm limit of Third gear the manual eclipsed the traps in 13.09 at 110.3 mph, power-shifting through a noticeable wheelhop. The automatic, hampered by torque management and other safety devices as well as (typical Florida) sweltering humid heat, was sucking wind by mid-track and finishing with a 13.38 at 105.2 mph.