From the 1961 ZL-1 Camaro to the Z24 Cavalier, Chevrolet has always reserved the Z for its most special cars; the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is no exception.
In looks alone, the car deserves its Z. It has a new hood with carbon-fiber insert and massive heat extractor. And most striking is the huge lower grille opening. Add to this the red color and you have an intimidating-looking car certain to turn heads. Inside, the Camaro uses generous amounts of suede, from the steering wheel wrapping to the seats and the shifter.
The ZL1 is more than looks, though. It’s powered by a 6.2L supercharged V8 engine that cranks out 640 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque. The ZL1 receives a custom-made version of the supercharged, direct-injected LT4, with intake routing and exhaust tailored to the Camaro. Thanks to this, the ZL1 is now the most powerful production Camaro ever.
This car also marks the first time a production car has used GM’s brand-new paddle-shift 10-speed automatic. According to Chevrolet, the car has faster acceleration and quicker lap times because of the extra gears; the LT4 engine can maintain its rpm when power is optimal, making corner exits faster. If you prefer the tested and sure option, the ZL1 also comes with the option of the TR6060 six-speed manual shifter.
The ZL1’s other features include unique 20-inch forged aluminum wheels with Brembo brakes that have huge 15.35 inch brake rotors, electronic limited-slip differential, Performance Traction Management, Custom Launch Control, an updated Magnetic Ride suspension and Driver Mode Selector.
The car was also built to maximize aerodynamics and cooling; the hood, rockers, front splitter, wing and fascia all facilitate and maximize airflow over, under and through the muscle car.
Whether the ZL1 will become an all-time classic remains to be seen. For now, though, it’s undeniable that the ZL1 is the best Camaro Chevrolet have made in some years.