The next chapter in the Camaro's renaissance begins with the unveiling of the convertible model at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. Available in base V-6 and V-8 SS models, it should build upon Camaro's stature as the best-selling ponycar on the planet.
According to Chevrolet, the new convertible begins production in January and goes on sale in February. It includes an enhanced body structure and well-tailored top mechanism-a combination designed to deliver sports coupe-like driving fun and precise quality, according to GM.
"The launch of the new convertible opens Camaro design and performance to a new set of potential customers," said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. "The 21st century revival of Camaro is tremendously popular, so it's a natural to now expand and elevate the product range in new directions."
The convertible will be offered in similar model configurations as the Camaro coupe. The standard model will have a 312-horsepower direct injection V-6. The SS model will feature the same 6.2L V-8 engine choices as the coupe. A six-speed manual transmission will be standard, with an optional six-speed automatic.
As bold as the Camaro coupe is, the convertible looks much sleeker with the top down. It doesn't suffer from the chopped-top look of the hardtop. Like the Corvette, only one latch holds the top to the windshield header, which will make dropping the top a quick, one-handed operation.
Once the latch is turned to the open position, the push of a single button lowers the windows and activates the top. The car doesn't have to be parked for the top to be activated, allowing for spur-of-the-moment lowering while stopped at a stoplight.
The top is made of thick, durable canvas and it features acoustical headliner material that provides a quiet, coupe-like ride when the top is up. It also incorporates a glass rear window and rear window defogger.
The Camaro convertible's structure has been fortified to provide uncompromising, coupe-like driving dynamics, according to the Chevrolet press release that's been issued. Its enhanced body structure helps prevent cowl or steering wheel shake, for a strong, confident feel in all driving conditions. The top has a smooth, tailored fit, with acoustical foam in the headliner that helps deliver a quiet ride with the top up.
Camaro convertible is offered in 1LT/2LT (V-6) and 1SS/2SS (V-8) trim packages and priced from $30,000 MSRP (including $850 destination). Nine production exterior colors are available, with tops offered in black or tan. Rear parking assist is standard on all convertible models.
The Camaro's architecture was designed to accommodate a convertible model, which means customers enjoy the fun of top-down cruising with coupe-like driving dynamics. Four strategic reinforcements enhance the already-stiff body structure to eliminate common convertible maladies of cowl and steering wheel shake. They include:
- A tower-to-tower brace under the hood
- A transmission support reinforcement brace
- Underbody tunnel brace
- Front and rear underbody "V" braces.
"Our goal in development was to make the convertible match the coupe as closely as possible in ride quality, handling and overall performance," said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer.
A telling example of the Camaro convertible's strength is evidenced in its suspension tuning-specifically, the lack of changes between the convertible and coupe models.
"To compensate for the reduced structure of an open car, engineers often will make the suspension softer, making the convertible a boulevard cruiser," said Oppenheiser. "Instead, we took the more difficult, but better path of bolstering structure rather than softening the suspension. We didn't change a strut, bushing or spring rate from the Camaro coupe."
The result is a convertible that preserves nearly all the acceleration, road-holding and performance capabilities of the Camaro coupe.