Camaro ZL1 Coupe Priced at $54,995 for 2012 Model

For $54,995, the ZL1 compares favorably to much more expensive cars.

The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Coupe will start at $54,995, including a $900 delivery fee when it goes on sale in the spring of 2012, as a 2012 model. The Camaro ZL1 Convertible will go on sale in the summer of 2012, as a 2013 model and is as yet unpriced but assume another several thousand.

The Camaro ZL1 is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine is SAE-rated at 580 horsepower (432 kW) and 556 lb.-ft. of torque (754 Nm). This makes it the most-powerful production Camaro ever. As a result, this Camaro pony car is capable of speeds up to 184 mph and can traverse the pavement from a rolling start to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds, according to Chevrolet.The Camaro ZL1 coupe presents strong competition not only for the performance versions of the Shelby Mustang GT 500 (starting at $50,000 now but with a new one coming next fall), but also the Cadillac CTS-V  coupe or sedan (rated at 556 horsepower or  415 kW), which makes the Cadillacs just as fast, arguably roomier and they  start at $64,090. For the record, Camaro has consistently outsold the Mustang since its introduction, reversing decades of Ford Mustang pony car dominance.

Since Camaro ZL1 borrows heavily from the advanced technology used by Cadillac CTS  and the more expensive performance versions of the Chevrolet Corvette, this will likely spur some lengthy discussions among enthusiasts debating which car is the better value. GM is betting there are three different buyers here and enough of them to keep all the super car lines profitable – a not unreasonable wager.

A Camaro ZL1 recently ran a 7:41.27 lap at the Nürburgring, almost 40 seconds quicker than a Camaro SS tested at the German track in 2009.  The Camaro ZL1 used for the lap was a production-intent model, with no performance modifications, driven by Camaro Performance Engineer Aaron Link. The Camaro ZL1 recorded its time of 7:41.27 from a flying start.

The Camaro joins a production Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR (American Club Racer) that posted a 7:12.13 lap time on the12.9-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife last month, that was faster than a  2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, which  posted a lap time of 7:19.63  back in June.

The Camaro Coupe, Cadillac CTS-V and Corvette all share versions of GM’s Performance Traction Management and Magnetic Ride suspension.

 Camaro ZL1 Coupe – 2012 Manual Automatic
0 – 60 mph ( rolling start) 4.0 seconds 3.9 seconds
1/4-mile ( rolling start) 12.1 sec at 119 mph 12.0 sec at 119 mph
Top speed 180 mph 184 mph
Max lateral grip 1.0 g 1.0 g

Performance Traction Management in GM speak integrates magnetic ride control, launch control, traction control, electronic stability control and electric power steering response to enhance performance.

This advanced technology package was first introduced on the Corvette ZR1. With Performance Traction Management, the launch control feature – manual transmission only – automatically modulates engine torque for the best-possible acceleration without excessive wheel spin. When the driver pushes the throttle to the floor, the system holds a predetermined engine speed until the driver releases the clutch. Then, the system modulates engine torque 1,000 times per second to maximize the available traction. When cornering, the driver can apply full throttle when exiting a corner and Performance Traction Management will automatically manage acceleration dynamics to maximize exit speed based on available traction.

The Camaro ZL1 is available with six options:

  • Six-speed automatic transmission with TapShift controls is $1,185
  • 20-inch, bright aluminum wheel package is $470
  • Power sunroof is $900
  • Stripe package is $470
  • Exposed-weave carbon fiber hood insert is $600
  • The suede package, including suede microfiber accents on the steering wheel, shift knob, and shift boot is $500

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About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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