Camaro 5 vs. Camaro 6
Nearly 50 years have passed since Chevrolet launched the first-gen Camaro (1967MY) in September ’66. Three different platforms and six generations later, the original mission – to compete squarely against the venerable Ford Mustang – has not changed.
But while the Mustang’s Canadian sales were up by nearly 24 per cent in 2015 (6,933 total units) compared to 2014, the Camaro had slipped by some seven per cent over the same period (with 2,668 units sold). The fact that Ford’s current, sixth-gen ’Stang is newer – already into its second year of sales – is a big reason for that, but don’t expect the Chevy to roll over.
In fact, GM is optimistic it will see a big surge in Camaro sales following the release of the all-new, gen-six that was unveiled to a large gathering of enthusiasts in Detroit ahead of last summer’s Belle Isle Grand Prix.
This new version is a real tour de force, too. Only two parts carry over from the fifth gen (Zeta) to the sixth generation (Alpha) Camaro – the Chevy bowtie on the taillamp panel and the SS badge. Moreover, according to Mark Reuss, GM Executive Vice President, Global Product Development, “…more than 70 per cent of the components are unique to the gen-six Camaro, including exterior and interior dimensions, an all-new interior, front and rear suspension, and powertrain components.”
Less weight and more power is the combination for performance success, and engineers of the 2016 models have been able to save up to 177 kg. Chevrolet’s own testing shows the all-new, 455hp Camaro SS coupe – the most powerful Camaro SS ever – sprints from 0-97 km/h in four seconds and covers the quartermile in 12.3 seconds, when equipped with the all-new eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission. The SS features Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 run-flat summeronly tires, enabling 0.97 g in cornering and 97-0 braking in 35.6 metres.
The other new Camaro coupe models are commensurately quick, with the 275-hp 2.0L Turbo delivering 5.4-second 0-97 km/h performance and a 14-second quarter-mile with the six-speed manual. With the available 335-hp 3.6L V6 and eight-speed automatic, the Camaro zips to 97 km/h in 5.1 seconds and down the quarter-mile in only 13.5 seconds.
“The performance of the Camaro 2.0L Turbo will challenge many of the iconic muscle cars from the 1960s, while the Camaro SS’S performance makes it one of the most capable 2+2 coupes on the market,” says Al Oppenheiser, Camaro Chief Engineer. “The performance numbers only tell half of the story, because the lighter curb weight also makes the new Camaro feel more responsive and agile behind the wheel. It brakes more powerfully, dives into corners quicker, accelerates faster and is more fun to drive than ever.”
Much of the Camaro’s performance can be attributed to the development team’s focus on reducing vehicle mass and improving structural stiffness. They invested 9 million hours of computational time looking for opportunities to make the chassis lighter and stiffer. That computer-aided engineering led to a modular architecture strategy that tailored the chassis to each model.
“Every Camaro model offers exceptional chassis strength and rigidity, but the modular design made the architecture more adaptable and massefficient, because we didn’t have to compensate for the unique demands of, say, the SS convertible when building a 2.0L Turbo coupe,” says Oppenheiser. “The result was an elegant engineering solution: 12 chassis components that could be combined to meet the structural requirements of each specific model, without adding unnecessary mass to other models.”
Consequently, the base curb weight for the 2016 Camaro is 167 kg lighter than the previous model. The 1SS model is 102 kg lighter, while offering 29 more horsepower, for a 14 per cent improvement in its power-to-weight ratio.