It's official: The Camaro ZL1 will be offered as a convertible. It will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month as a 2013 model and go on sale late in 2012. Shockingly, it's the most powerful convertible ever offered by General Motors. Its 580 horsepower and 556 lb-ft of torque eclipse anything GM's ever offered--more than any of the fabled Corvettes of the past.
Perhaps more importantly to the faithful, it's more powerful than the Shelby GT500 Mustang convertible, too.
"The Camaro ZL1 convertible will be one of the most powerful and most capable, convertibles available at any price," said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer and a devout Camaro enthusiast. "This is a car that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you drop the top--or hit the gas."
The ZL1 coupe is expected to go on sale early in 2012, meaning there will be a lull between its introduction and that of the ragtop.
Like the coupe, the Camaro ZL1 convertible features a supercharged 6.2L "LSA" engine, SAE-rated at 580 horsepower (432 kW) and 556 lb.-ft. of torque (754 Nm). There's no dialing back the power because it's in the convertible. That's enough to exceed the output of 2+2 convertibles of many performance icons, including:
- 2012 Aston Martin DB9 Volante - 470 hp / 443 lb.-ft.
- 2012 Mercedes SL63 AMG - 518 hp / 465 lb.-ft.
- 2011 Porsche 911 Turbo S - 530 hp / 516 lb.-ft.
- 2011 Ford Shelby GT500 - 550 hp / 510 lb.-ft.
The Camaro ZL1 convertible's power is complemented by advanced powertrain and chassis technologies designed to deliver exceptional performance on the road or track. In fact, it's the same balance of acceleration, handling and ride quality that enabled a Camaro ZL1 coupe recently to lap the Nuerburgring's Nordschleife course in 7:41.27 minutes.
Four strategic reinforcements enhance the already-stiff body structure to quell the cowl and steering wheel shake common in convertibles. They include:
- A tower-to-tower brace under the hood
- A transmission support reinforcement brace
- Underbody tunnel brace
- Front "X" brace and stiffer cradle as well as rear underbody "V" braces.
Additional structural reinforcements in the ZL1 convertible are designed to improve noise and vibration characteristics, while also reducing unwanted ride and body motions. They include a hydrofoamed tube in the A-pillars, an inner reinforcement bracket in the windshield header, a reinforced front hinge pillar and reinforcements inside the rockers.
The suspension of the ZL1 convertible uses the third-generation of Magnetic Ride. New, twin-wire/dual-coil dampers at all four corners enable faster response, with damping levels now adjusted up to 1,000 times per second - about one adjustment per inch of vehicle travel at 60 mph - making the system exceptionally responsive to changing driving and road conditions.
The Camaro ZL1 convertible will also offer Performance Traction Management as standard equipment, which is exclusive to General Motors. First introduced on the Corvette ZR1, it is an advanced system that integrates magnetic ride control, launch control, traction control and electronic stability control, to enhance both launch-acceleration performance and corning.
The result is a convertible designed to preserve nearly all the acceleration, road-holding and performance capabilities of the Camaro ZL1 coupe.