Camaro was welcomed back onto the highways, boulevards and cruise nights of America last year with enthusiasm. In a still-recovering market, it outsold its primary pony car rival 11 months straight, with sales of more than 90,000 (through April 2010).
Customers continue to turn their new Camaros into personal statements, outfitting them with the wide array of appearance, convenience and performance options and accessories offered through Chevrolet dealers. The RS appearance package, with its High-Intensity Discharge headlamps accented by LED-illuminated “halo” rings, is the most popular option.
For 2011, the Camaro rolls on with evolutionary changes. They include:
– An increased horsepower rating for the 3.6L V-6 VVT – 312 (232 kW) vs. 2010’s 304 horsepower / 227 kW rating – while still offering an EPA-rated 29 mpg on the highway.
– The Synergy Green Metallic exterior color will be offered on all Camaro models for a limited time; also, the Synergy Green instrument panel and door trim panels on 2LT and 2SS models will be available.
– Head-Up Display is now standard on 2LT and 2SS equipment packages. – The system projects vehicle speed and other data onto the windshield for easy, at-a-glance viewing that doesn’t require the driver to take his or her eyes off the road.
– OnStar with a six-month Directions and Connections subscription is standard on all models.
Camaro’s 3.6L direct injection (DI) V-6 delivers more power through increased efficiency, while maintaining fuel economy and lowering emissions – including a 25-percent drop in cold-start hydrocarbon emissions. It is standard on LS and LT models, producing 312 horsepower (232 kW) and 278 lb.-ft. of torque (370 Nm). Despite a compression ratio of 11.3:1, the 3.6L DI engine is designed to run on regular unleaded fuel. It is EPA-rated at 29 mpg on the highway.
No changes were made to the Camaro powertrain to achieve the higher horsepower ratings for 2011. They are based on additional testing that demonstrated the Camaro’s air intake and exhaust systems are less restrictive than the similar 3.6L DI engine on which the original rating was based.
Two 6.2L V-8 engines are offered in the Camaro SS, including the L99 on automatic-equipped vehicles and the LS3 on manual-equipped models. Both engines are derived from the LS3 that debuted on the 2008 Corvette, with an aluminum block (with cast iron cylinder liners) and aluminum cylinder heads. Horsepower for the L99 is 400 (298 kW) at 5,900 rpm and torque is 410 lb.-ft. (556 Nm) at 4,300 rpm. The LS3 develops 426 horsepower (318 kW) and 420 lb.-ft. (569 Nm). Output on the L99 is lower than the LS3 because of a slightly lower compression ratio (10.4:1 vs. 10.7:1) and design features of the Active Fuel Management System. The L99 is paired exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission.
All Camaro models can be equipped with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The Aisin AY6 six-speed manual is standard with the 3.6L engine, and a Hydra-Matic 6L50 six-speed automatic is optional. A Tremec TR 6060 six-speed manual is standard on the SS, and the Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic is optional.
Both automatic transmissions feature aggressive first gear ratios that deliver strong launches, but also provide tall overdrive ratios that decrease engine rpm and provide better fuel efficiency. Each also includes driver shift control, allowing the driver to take control via controls located on the steering wheel after selecting the “M” mode on the console-mounted shifter. Performance Algorithm Shifting (PAS) is included with the 6L50 and 6L80. It lets the electronic transmission controller override the automatic gear selection during high lateral acceleration maneuvers.
The SS model’s Tremec TR 6060 six-speed manual is designed to handle the high torque characteristics of the LS3 engine, while providing shorter throws, smoother gear synchronization and greater overall shift feel with little or no vibration. Its specs include a solid, 290-mm flywheel and single-plate clutch. The final drive ratio for LS3 vehicles is 3.45:1.
Chassis and suspension
Camaro features fully independent front and rear suspensions, with the standard independent using a 4.5-link system that includes a unique, L-shaped upper control arm that attaches to the knuckle at one end and incorporates a ride bushing in the rear.
Two suspension packages are offered: FE2 sport on V-6 models and FE3 performance with the V-8. The front suspension has a dual ball strut system, with a direct-acting stabilizer bar that measures 22.2 x 4 mm on FE2 and 23 x 4.2 mm on FE3. Hollow bars are used for mass savings. Rear suspension features include high lateral stiffness for handling via three lateral ball joints per side. A sub-frame at the rear is double-isolated to minimize vehicle body motions and dampen road imperfections. Coil-over shock absorbers are used in the rear with a decoupled, hollow stabilizer bar. FE2 includes a 21.7 x 3 mm rear bar, while the FE3’s large bar measures 23 x 3 mm.
The front track is a wide 63.7 inches (1,618 mm) for all models, while the rear track on LS and LT models is 64.1 inches (1,628 mm) and 63.7 inches (1,618 mm) on SS models. The axle halfshafts on all V-8 models and manual transmission-equipped V-6 models are 30 mm in diameter on the left side and 40 mm on the right side. This design feature helps reduce the oscillation of torque from side to side and reduces axle hop.
Additional chassis and suspension details include:
– Four-wheel disc brakes on all models – including Brembo four-piston calipers on SS – with hydraulic brake assist
– Precise rack-and-pinion steering system, with a 16.1:1 ratio on all models
– Standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control on all models
– Competitive/sport mode on SS models enhances on-track performance
– Performance Launch Control on SS models with the manual transmission optimizes hard-acceleration launches for quicker, more consistent performance
– LS and LT models equipped with standard 18-inch wheels or optional 19-inch wheels; SS comes with standard 20-inch wheels or optional 20-inch wheels; 21-inch wheels are available as a dealer-installed accessory.
Camaro’s design drapes classic proportions over a 112.3-inch (2,852 mm) wheelbase. A long hood and short deck are pushed to the far corners of the muscular fender forms and a fast, 67-degree rake windshield contributes to aerodynamic performance that includes a 0.37 coefficient of drag (Cd) on V-6 models and a slightly sleeker 0.35 Cd on the V-8-powered SS model. On SS models, a simulated air intake is located in the upper front fascia and the lower air intake is larger.
Ten exterior colors are available and include Black, Victory Red, Rally Yellow and Silver Ice Metallic. Red Jewel Tintcoat is optional. The color palette also includes Cyber Gray Metallic, Inferno Orange Metallic, Summit White, Imperial Blue Metallic and Synergy Green Metallic (for a limited time). Red Jewel Tintcoat, Rally Yellow, Inferno Orange Metallic and Synergy Green Metallic are extra-cost colors.
An RS appearance package is available on LT and SS. It includes HID headlamps with integrated LED halo rings, a rear spoiler on LT, specific taillamps and 20-inch wheels with a Midnight Silver painted finish.
Camaro’s four-passenger cabin is a well-executed balance of heritage, modern design and attention to detail. An available ambient light package, for example, offers advanced LED light pipe technology, giving the cabin a distinctive glow.
Deep, recessed gauges, located in square housings, give a nod to the classic Camaro interior. The instrument panel gauges include both speedometer and engine rpm, with a driver information center located between the large gauges – its readouts and features controlled via a stalk on the steering column. An optional, console-mounted gauge package includes oil pressure, oil temperature, volts and transmission fluid temperature. The gauge package is included on 2LT and 2SS models, and it’s available as an accessory through Chevrolet dealers.
Cloth upholstery is standard and leather-appointed seats are included on 2LT and 2SS models. Four-way manual adjustment including fore/aft and up/down on the driver seat and two-way adjustment on the passenger seat is standard. Heated, leather-trimmed seats with driver six-way power adjustment are standard on 2LT and 2SS models.
All models include a three-spoke steering wheel with manual tilt/telescope adjustment. Cruise control and a rear defogger also are standard, while a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, redundant steering wheel controls, Bluetooth, rear park assist and USB port are part of the available Driver Convenience and Connectivity package. This package also includes remote start on automatic transmission-equipped vehicles, as well as a personal device interface module for iPods.
Camaro’s entertainment systems include a single-CD radio with six speakers that is standard on LS, LT and SS models. A premium, 245-watt Boston Acoustics nine-speaker audio system is standard on 2LT and 2SS; and it can be ordered on 1LT and 1SS models. XM Satellite Radio is standard on all models, with three months of service. All models also include power door locks and an express up and down feature on the driver and passenger windows.