2013 Chevy Camaro 1LE - What's In A Name?

The name may sound boring, but the new Camaro 1LE is designed to spank the Boss 302

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1LE Specs & Features

  • 426hp LS3 6.2L V-8, with 420 lb-ft of torque
  • Tremec 6060-MM6 transmission with unique ratios and standard air-to-liquid cooler
  • IRS with higher-capacity half-shafts and 3.91 gears.
  • Larger, 27mm solid front stabilizer bar, and 28mm solid rear stabilizer bar
  • Strut tower brace for improved steering feel and response
  • ZL1-based 20x10-inch front and 20x11-inch aluminum wheels
  • 285/35ZR20 Goodyear Eagle Supercar G:2 tires front and rear (identical to the front tires for ZL1)
  • ZL1 wheel bearings, toe links and rear shock mounts for improved on-track performance
  • ZL1 high-capacity fuel pump and additional fuel pickups for improved fuel delivery during high-cornering
  • Matte-black hood, front splitter and rear spoiler--as well as the 10-spoke ZL1-based wheels, which are finished in black.
  • Functional front splitter and rear spoiler to reduce aerodynamic lift at high speeds.
  • Flat-bottom steering wheel finished in suede-like microfiber

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Topless ZL1 Fun

As big fans of the new Camaro convertible, we couldn't wait to get our mitts on the ZL1 version. The base and SS ragtops are tremendous fun, but if something is good with 426 hp, it is a lot better with 580.

Of course, a lot of not-so-good things can happen when you lop the roof off a car. Yes, the base and SS models feel stiff when you drop the top, but on a car with as much power as the ZL1, well, it could go bad in a hurry.

We're happy to report than the ZL1 convertible, while a heavier than its coupe brother, makes for a delightful open-air experience. Cowl shake is virtually non-existent, nor does the steering column move or vibrate over rough surfaces, as is the norm in many open-top vehicles.

We drove the ZL1 convertible over some pretty interesting roads in and around Grand Rapids, but it was when we took a wrong turn and deviated from the prescribed drive route that we found a delightfully demented thoroughfare where we could truly find out how good the new droptop actually was. This particular stretch had wicked switchbacks, plus nasty dips and roller-coaster-like up-and-down sections. There were some pretty rough stretches with bumps, grooves--you name it--and we were really expecting the ZL1 to bottom out or worse at some points.

Nope. The open-air ZL1 ate this road up with aplomb. The MR shocks, electric power steering, and suspension tuning gave me the confidence to go back again and again for more and more fun.

On an unrelated note, the new color touch radio with 7-inch My Link “infotainment” system and borderless rear view mirror (the latter standard on all '13 Camaros) further enhance the fifth-gen drivng experience.

While motoring the hour from Grand Rapids to Gingerman Raceway, we were reminded of how peaceful the new F-body is with the top down. Conversations can be had while speaking in normal tones and wind buffeting is never an issue (at least under 85 mph). Our only complaint is the top is a little sluggish going up and down. This is a ride that makes you impatient to hit the road.

As for the price, it's got a base of $59,545, plus a $1,300 gas guzzler penalty. With the $500 microfiber faux suede package, you're staring down the barrel of $62,245 (including destination). That's a tough pill to swallow, but think of what an L78 Camaro convertible is worth today, not to mention L88 Corvette roadsters or LS6 Chevelle convertibles. They weren't cheap new, and they command a premium today.

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