Skip to main content

6th Generation 2016 Chevy Camaro




This surprises a lot of people, considering that I have a Mustang and a Boss 302 at that, but I'm a Camaro fan. For one, I've always been a Chevy small block fan. They're compact and light (for the displacement), powerful, efficient and reliable. Secondly, without Camaro rivalry, I don't think the Mustang would be as good. Finally, I'm a domestic kind of guy so I like seeing good products from all domestics. As a result, I was looking forward to the highly anticipated 6th generation Camaro and I must say, it doesn't look like it will disappoint.

The first and most important piece of information is that the Camaro is all new. It shares nothing with the previous generation. People will no longer be able to say this is an old bloated chassis or it's just a rebadged Holden. This one is based on the Alpha chassis Cadillac developed for the Cadillac ATS. It's lightweight, compact and strong where as the previous Zeta chassis was intended for a full size sedan and heavy. This has been known for a while though, what's new is just how little this car will share with the current Camaro and the answer is just two parts: the rear bowtie and the SS badge. That's it. Chevy was serious when it said an all new Camaro.




Performance

As with the new Mustang, Chevy added a turbocharged engine to the Camaro lineup. Unlike Ford, though, Chevy made the engine the base, entry level engine which I think is great. Firstly, it would be the cheapest model so it should prove more popular in the tuner market. Secondly, naturally aspirated engines are becoming rarer and rarer in favour of turbocharging so it's always nice to see another one improving and living to see a new model. As a result, the lineup (for now) has three engine options:

  • 2.0 litre 4 cyl turbo making 275 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque
  • 3.6 litre V6 making 335 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque
  • 6.2 litre LT1 Small Block V8 making 455 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque
In true GM fashion, all numbers are SAE certified. The 2.0 turbo provides a wide torque band, with 90 percent of peak torque available from 2,100 rpm to 4,500 rpm and peak torque from as low as 3,000 and all the way to 4,500 rpm. The 3.6 litre V6 is new and still features direct injection and continuously variable valve timing (CVVT) but now brings cylinder deactivation that disables two cylinders under light load. Helping the newfound hp in the V6 and V8 engines will be a drop of weight of at least 200 lbs. Savings will be higher, depending on the model, so lightly optioned cars will probably come in the 3,500's lbs. range and the SS will be in the 3,600's lbs. Maybe an option free turbo model could be in the 3,400 range? One can hope! GM estimates 0-60 mph time in "well under 6 seconds" so the weakest engine will still be quick.

As for the V8, about 20% of the components will be unique to the Camaro SS, including new, tubular “tri-Y”-type exhaust manifolds. It will also feature the same technologies first introduced on the Corvette Stingray such as variable valve timing, direct injection and Active Fuel Management (on automatic-equipped models) to help fuel economy. 

All engines will be offered with either an 8-speed auto and or a 6-speed manual. An all new Hydra-Matic 8L45 paddle-shift 8-speed automatic transmission will be offered with the 4 cylinder and 6 cylinder engines. The transmission is based on the Hydra-Matic 8L90 8-speed, but scaled for the performance envelope of the smaller engines. The LT1 engine will be paired with the Hydra-Matic 8L90 8 speed auto with paddle shifts if you want an automatic or a 6-speed manual with Active Rev Match to "blip" the throttle for downshifts.

As is now the norm, all engines will feature sound enhancers. The 2.0L turbo models will feature engine noise enhancement if equipped with the available Bose audio system. It will amplify actual (presumably prerecorded) sounds of the 2.0L turbo engine but can be disabled based on the driver’s preference.




The 3.6L V-6 and 6.2L V-8, on the other hand, will feature mechanical sound enhancers instead of electronic. Resonators that direct induction noise from the engine bay into the cabin will be used as well as dual-mode exhausts, which feature electronically controlled valves that bypass the mufflers under acceleration, delivering improved performance and greater sound levels. The bypass valves will have different modes that are adjustable that can be changed from a “stealth” quiet mode to the most aggressive “track” mode.

Suspension

For the first time, Magnetic Ride Control will be available on the Camaro SS instead of being reserved for the ZL1. I think this will be great value as I suspect you'll be able to get a Camaro SS with all the performance options and magnetic shocks for under $40,000 USD. Chevy says the new Camaro SS will be quicker than the outgoing SS 1LE which would be put it in very good company.

When designing the suspension, Chevy didn't rely too much on Cadillac's work. Instead, they made changes to suit the Camaro's purpose with approximately 70% of the architectural components being unique to Camaro. Chevy says structural rigidity was increased by 28 percent, while the body-in-white mass was reduced by 133 lbs, presumably compared to the last Camaro not the Cadillac ATS.

An aluminum instrument panel frame was used instead of steel to drop 9.2 lbs. More weight savings were achieved using lightweight components, including aluminum front suspension links and optimized steel rear suspension links in the new five-link rear suspension system which took out another 26 lbs.

Up front, a new multi-link MacPherson strut front suspension with Camaro-specific geometry and double-pivot design provide a more precise feeling of control. The electric power steering system will provide more linear and communicative feel. At the rear, a new five-link independent suspension provides better wheel control during articulation and reduces “squat” during acceleration.

For the first time, Brembo brakes will be available on all models. On the LT models, the Brembo brakes option will bring 12.6 in. front rotors with four piston callipers and 12.4 in. rear rotors with single piston callipers. The SS models will come standard with Brembo brakes which means 13.6 in. front rotors with four piston callipers and 13.3 in rear rotors with four-piston callipers.




Aerodynamics

To round up the upgrades, Chevy spent more than 350 hours testing the Camaro in the wind tunnel to improve cooling and reduce aero lift and drag. I have no idea if 350 hours is a lot for a wind tunnel testing but it must be if Chevy is bragging about it! The front fascia is designed to guide the air around the wheels rather than into the wheelhouses which should reduce drag. The Camaro SS will also get a unique front fascia with integrated brake cooling ducts and a unique hood with functional air vents which improve cooling and reduce front end lift. The roof is sculpted to improve the structural rigidity for greater refinement, according to Chevy. It is also assembled using a process called laser brazing which eliminates traditional spot welding saving a little over 2 lbs and eliminating unsightly "ditch channel" seams and cover trim. The entire car shrinks slightly in every direction, which should help aerodynamics by reducing frontal area:

2016 Camaro
2015 Camaro
Length (in /mm):
188.3/ 4784
190.6 / 4841
Width (in / mm):
74.7 / 1897
75.5 / 1917
Height (in / mm):
53.1 / 1348
54.2 / 1376
Wheelbase (in / mm):
110.7/ 2811
112.3 / 2852
Front track (in/mm):
63 / 1601 (SS)
63.6 / 1616 (SS)
Rear track (in/mm):
62.9 / 1598 (SS)
63.9 / 1622 (SS)




More Corvette Tech

Once again, the Camaro will get Corvette hand-me-downs in the form of an all-new Drive Mode Selector, which tailors up to eight vehicle attributes for four modes: Snow/Ice, Tour, Sport and – on SS models – Track settings. I assume that the system is based on the Corvette's excellent Performance Traction Management (PTM), although it may be less sophisticated to preserve the status of the Corvette at the top of the foodchain. The different modes will adjust many settings as follows:
DRIVER MODE SELECTOR SETTINGS
Snow/Ice
Tour
Sport
Track 
(SS only)
Electronic throttle progression
SNOW/ICE
NORMAL
NORMAL
TRACK
Automatic trans.shift map
NORMAL
NORMAL
SPORT
TRACK
Automatic trans. Performance Algorithm Shift
N/A
N/A
AVAIL.
AVAIL.
Engine sound management (if equipped with dual-mode exhaust)
STEALTH
TOUR
SPORT
TRACK
Electric power steering calibration
TOUR
TOUR
SPORT
TRACK
StabiliTrak – Competitive Driving and Launch Control
N/A
N/A
AVAIL.
AVAIL.
Magnetic Ride Control calibration (if equipped)
TOUR
TOUR
SPORT
TRACK
Ambient lighting (if equipped)
ICE BLUE
BLUE
RED
ORANGE

I think this Camaro will prove a very tough competitor for the Mustang. I'm a sucker for big displacement, naturally aspirated, high revving V8's so I don't think Chevy will have something that would steal the GT350's thunder for me. However, I think the Camaro has a better looking front end and a much better base, V6 and entry V8 models. I do believe that they will be more different than ever, with the Mustang feeling more comfortable and mature and the Camaro more agile and fun to drive. I hope I get a chance to drive one once it goes on sale! For more information on technology and interior, visit GM's press release: 2016 Chevrolet Camaro

Comments