2017 Camaro ZL1 boasts a 0-to-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds.
When the all-new 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 takes a bow this fall, it will be the most powerful production Camaro ever. Chevrolet says in a press release that the Camaro ZL1 will be priced from $62,135 and $69,135 for coupe and convertible models, respectively.
The all-new ZL1 will be joined by a track-cultivated 1LE package, available as a $4,500 option on Camaro V6 LT coupe models and as a $6,500 upgrade on the V8 1SS coupe.
This means LT coupes will benefit from the Camaro SS’ heralded FE3 suspension system that includes aggressive suspension tuning, standard Brembo brakes and Goodyear Eagle F1 tires. As for the 1SS, this package brings in the ZL1’s electronic limited-slip differential and FE4 suspension with Magnetic Ride dampers.
Faster Than Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger?
The performance numbers on the 2017 Camaro ZL1 should have enthusiasts stand up and take notice. Chevrolet says the ZL1 has a 0-to-60 mph time of just 3.5 seconds. That puts this model squarely in the neighborhood of the Ford Mustang Shelby 350R and the Dodge Challenger Hellcat, two coupes bound to be compared with the Camaro ZL1.
Another area where the 2017 Camaro ZL1 is poised to shine is in the quarter mile, which Chevrolet says it completes in just 11.4 seconds and at a speed of 127 mph. That’s just a half-second off the pace of the McLaren MP4-12C, a sports car costing nearly four times as much as this potent Chevy.
Other standout features of the 2017 Camaro ZL1 include 1.02 g max cornering and 60-0 mph braking distance of just 107 feet. It also comes in 220 pounds lighter than the 2015 ZL1.
The ZL1 is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine making 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. Its lighter weight may very well prove a competitive advantage.
Buyers will choose between a six-speed manual and a new 10-speed automatic transmission.
Camaro LT and SS shoppers who choose the 1LE package will enjoy performance enhancements too, with the LT’s 0-to-60 mph time coming in at 5.2 seconds and the SS shaving a full second off that number.
ZL1: An Unlikely Start
The original Camaro ZL1 made its debut in 1969 as a lightweight powerhouse designed for the Can-Am road racing series. The car was never destined for consumer purchase until an Illinois Chevrolet dealer, Fred Gibbs, convinced Chevrolet to make it available. Only 69 copies of the 1969 Camaro ZL1 with the all-aluminum 427-cubic-inch (7-liter) engine were built, with Gibbs taking 50 of them. Gibbs pulled off this feat by working with his connections at Chevrolet’s Central Office Production Order system, a move that assured other high-performance Camaro models would eventually follow.
It wasn’t until 2012 when Chevrolet released a ZL1 again, at least not officially. Yes, a 1993 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was built, but it was a one-off model outfitted with a 572-cubic-inch (9.4-liter) engine never meant for production.
Modern Camaro ZL1 Models
The 2012 through 2015 Camaro ZL1 set the table for the latest model, powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine making 580 horsepower and 556 pound-feet of torque. It features a high-performance fuel system along with coolers for the engine, transmission, and differential. Performance traction management and the third-generation Magnetic Ride Control suspension system round out its key features.
In 2013, a ZL1 convertible was released. The upgraded performance numbers enabled the Camaro ZL1 to move past such models as the Aston Martin DB9 Volante, Mercedes SL63 AMG and Porsche 911 Turbo S, as well as its chief nemesis, the Ford Shelby GT500.
No 2016 ZL1 was built during the first model year for the sixth-generation Camaro.
Chevy Camaro Bragging Rights
The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is better positioned to take on such traditional rivals as the Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang as well as to battle Europe’s finest and far pricier sports cars. Along with the Corvette, Chevrolet offers a pair of attainable high-performance sports cars designed to elevate the bow-tie brand to greater heights.