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Old 03-20-2009, 07:21 PM   #1
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Default 2010 Chevy Camaro: First Drives

its a long but very well put together read. heres the cliff note version

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Look at the value-for-money and the performance numbers of the Camaro combined with its Dragon-tastic looks and you can't help but feel GM has a winner on its hands. It'll beat its competitors hands down, not only in a numbers-based pissing contest, but also in the public's imaginations: an advantage presented by its futuristic-yet-retro styling. It's exactly the car GM should be making, a car that will sell; it's just not the unprecedented new experience that we were hoping for, it's not a real driver's car. With the Camaro, GM has chosen to stick with the muscle car archetype rather than push the limits of what's possible, it's not likely to win many conquests from more adept sportscars like the 370Z, Audi TT and BMW 3-series as Chevy hopes it will. The result, like the new Star Wars films, is a product that will undoubtedly be a commercial success, just perhaps not a timeless classic like the original, a product that will blend in with, rather than stand out from, its rivals.
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:25 PM   #2
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Times Have Changed...but Not That Much
By Daniel Pund, Senior Editor



The last thing General Motors needs right now is to appear as if it's stuck in the past, creating gas-guzzling cars that are out of step with what the federal government thinks is the future.

So even when Chevrolet steps into the way-back machine to unveil the 426-horsepower retro-inflected 2010 Chevy Camaro SS, it's careful to mention that this muscle/pony car is the "sports car for the 21st century" and emphasizes the Camaro's fuel economy ratings more than its 0-60-mph performance.

So we did what had to be done. We dropped an asphalt-melting burnout in the parking lot of a former seminary that was of such destructive length that the guys hired by Chevy to prep and clean the Camaros had time to wander over and say, "Stop. You're done."

Had a Dairy Queen been available we would have laid a patch in front of that, too. Look, man. We've been waiting for years for the arrival of this car; there will be time to talk about balance and the quality of the interior materials later.

No Smoking
That rite of Camaro passage accomplished, we strapped on our Racelogic VBOX III GPS-based testing equipment to get the measure of the new Camaro's less juvenile performance characteristics.

Our test vehicle is the hottest available setup for the 2010 Chevy Camaro, an SS manual. When you choose the Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual as your gearbox of choice you get an LS3 6.2-liter V8 in the deal. That's the same motor that powers the base Corvette.

In the Camaro it makes 426 hp at 5,900 rpm and 420 pound-feet of torque at 4,600 rpm. Order the six-speed automatic and Chevy will fill your engine bay with a 400-hp, lower-revving, lower-compression L99 6.2-liter V8 that comes with cylinder deactivation. It'll deliver 25 mpg on the highway. But the manual will do 24 mpg highway and costs $995 less than the automatic model, so we'll take the extra power, thank you very much.

The SS manual also comes with a 3.45 rear end (compared to the 3.27 in all other Camaros). The combination is good for drama-free 0-60-mph sprints of 5 seconds (or 4.7 seconds with a 1-foot rollout like on a drag strip). Easy. Get the 275/40ZR20 Pirelli P Zero summer tires slipping a little at launch, modulate the throttle, and off the Camaro goes, pouring its bass-heavy exhaust note down the road. It reaches the quarter-mile mark in 13 seconds at 110.9 mph.

Predictably, one of the Camaro's obvious rivals, the big-'n-brawny Dodge Challenger R/T can't keep pace. It takes 5.5 seconds for the Mopar to reach 60 mph (5.3 with 1 foot of rollout) and 13.9 seconds to reach the quarter-mile, at which point it's steaming along at 103.2 mph. In fact, the Camaro SS is slightly quicker in both measures than the similarly powered Challenger SRT8. The 2010 Mustang makes up for much of its 111-hp power deficit with about a 500-pound weight advantage on the hefty Camaro. The Mustang with a Track Pack will do zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds (4.9 with rollout) and get through the quarter-mile in 13.5 seconds at 102.9 mph. The Camaro is quicker through the quarter by half-a-second than the Nissan 370Z, which Chevy also considers a Camaro competitor.

The 2010 Chevy Camaro SS manual is the one Camaro that comes with a launch control system. It's foolproof and easy to initiate (punch Competition mode on the traction/stability control system, mat the accelerator and sidestep the clutch) but we found that we were quicker just shutting off all traction and stability control systems and doing it ourselves.

21st-Century Brute
For all the company's insistence that the Camaro is a fully modern sport coupe, the Camaro SS feels remarkably like, well, a Camaro. This isn't some Honda S2000 hardtop, pal.

Mash the throttle and the Camaro's peaked nose rises and the exhaust goes full-volume WAAAAUUUGH simultaneously in a way any muscle/pony car fan will recognize. To call it punchy is an understatement. The Tremec transmission (a version of which is bolted into virtually every rear-wheel-drive American performance car) doesn't respond to wrist flicks. Hell no. You employ a full-power yank or shove that requires the use of your entire right arm.

The only thing tempering the hell-raising fun is the Camaro's weight, both perceived and actual. The car feels dense and a little larger than it is. This is, in part, because of the car's styling. Short side glass, a small, high-mounted backlight and a steeply raked windshield give the Camaro the chunk-of-badass look from the outside. Sitting inside the thing, though, is like walking around with your shoulders shrugged and a baseball cap slammed down low on your head. This has the effect of diminishing the sensation of speed, even as it climbs quickly to extralegal levels.

That Other 21st-Century Stuff
Possibly you expected that a V8 Camaro would accelerate hard. Thanks to a shortened and reworked version of the Pontiac G8's Australian-bed platform and independent rear suspension, the 2010 Camaro can also go around turns.

First, some numbers. The 2010 Chevy Camaro SS rides on summer performance tires measuring 245/45ZR20 up front and 275/40ZR20 out back. Live where it snows? Factor a set of winter tires into your budget. And all SS versions come with what Chevy calls the FE3 suspension tuning, which has stiffer springs and fatter antiroll bars than the FE2 setup of the V6 Camaros.

At the track, all that hardware translates to a maximum 68.6-mph speed through our slalom and 0.88g on the skid pad. Here the lack of visibility was a hindrance through the slalom as well. It's difficult to see where the corners of this car are while you're driving. For most sane people, this sensation makes one overestimate the size of the car in order to ensure a safe distance from other cars or objects.

The Challenger isn't much through the slalom. That broad-of-beam brute feels composed through the cones but can muster only 64.7 mph (standard all-season tires hurt the Dodge here). The lighter and narrower Mustang is in a virtual dead heat with the Camaro at 68.4 mph and offers more outright grip on the skid pad at 0.91g. The small, nimble 370Z whoops all comers with a 72-mph run through the cones.

Thanks to the SS-standard summer-only Pirellis and 14-inch brake discs grabbed by four-piston Brembo calipers, the Camaro halts from 60 mph in 109 feet, nearly matching the impressive performance of the 2010 Mustang GT of 107 feet and embarrassing the Challenger R/T (128 feet). The Nissan 370Z splits the difference between the Mustang and Camaro at 108 feet.

Squirt, Halt and Flow
The 2010 Chevy Camaro SS has forced us to modify our driving technique on back roads. It used to be that we'd employ the ol' squirt-and-halt method with muscle cars. You know, punch the throttle at the exit of a turn, slam a couple of gears and then slow way down for an upcoming turn and wait through the turn until we could lay on the power again.

Now, we still do the squirt portion just because it feels so righteous. But despite its weight, the Camaro SS can be made to flow smoothly from one corner to the next in the manner of a proper sports car.

It takes some faith, though. The steering wheel, which is so overly styled as to be terribly uncomfortable, is a little bigger than we'd like — another attribute that makes the Camaro seem larger than it is. And the heftiness of the package gave us pause entering corners with any real speed. But trust in the force, young man, and you'll discover that the steering, with a quick 16:1 ratio and 2.5 turns lock-to-lock, is a hell of a lot trustier than the big, dumb wheel would suggest.

And — will wonders never cease? — the front end takes one helluva bite into the pavement. The Camaro tracks faithfully through without the squirreliness (yes, we made that up) of the stick-axle Mustang or the floppiness of the Challenger. All SS Camaros come standard with a limited-slip differential that helps at the corner's exit when you inevitably unleash the torque again.

The combination of short-sidewall 20-inch tires and stiff damping can make for a busy ride on Michigan's lumpy, undulating roads. It's not harsh, but the Camaro can get to bobbling over choppy pavement.

You can go ahead and forget about heel-toe downshifting, though. The brake and throttle pedals are way too far apart for that.

Inside the Turret
The pedal spacing is one of a few ergonomic missteps inside the car. The other truly bothersome one is that the dead pedal, which should be mounted on the same plane as the gas pedal, is set way too far forward.

We'd probably swap out the shift knob, too, which is in the shape of a fat Star Brite mint set on its edge. Swapping out the gauges would be a little more difficult. We like the look of the retro-style squared binnacles, but the gauge faces are crowded with candy-colored numbers, making them difficult to read at a quick glance. Other quibbles? Sure, we've got some. Like sun visors that are so small as to be utterly useless at blocking the sun. And the fabric dash trim that looks exactly like the material used on countless office cubicle walls and pushpin boards.

Maybe the "Driving Enthusiasts" that Chevy says it's targeting with the SS don't obsess over interior material quality or that the opening for the trunk is laughably small. "Driving Enthusiast" is Chevy-speak for traditional Camaro guys. But the so-called "Life Enthusiasts" (?) that Chevy wants to check out the V6 models might be a bit more finicky. But then, scads of people bought Mustangs even when that car's interior was made of synthetic cheese, so....

Value
From a performance-for-the-dollar perspective, the Camaro SS rates right up there with the best. It starts at $30,995 for the 1SS version that has cloth seats. Add the RS package with its dark-finish wheels and HID headlamps for $1,200 and you're still sitting at just $32,195. Add a sunroof (but only if you're of average height or less) and the Boston Acoustics upgraded stereo and you're still at only $33,590.

We might forgo the leather-covered heated seats that came with our 2SS test car. Step up to the 2SS model, which starts at $34,180, and you also get other upgrades such as a four-pack of console-mounted auxiliary gauges (which are cool), a USB port for the audio system, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, Bluetooth connectivity and OnStar with turn-by-turn navigation. That's in line with the 2010 Mustang GT we tested most recently. Loaded up with comfort and convenience items as well as the Track Pack performance package, the Mustang totaled $34,775. Well-equipped Challenger R/Ts and 370Zs will cost closer to $40,000.

The 2010 Chevy Camaro SS might be a throwback. It might not be the future of GM or the automotive landscape in general. But this thoroughly updated and relatively efficient Camaro will be in our short-term future. We're going to buy one just as soon as we can find one with the right specifications at a local dealer.

Then we will blaze the tires with total impunity.

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Old 03-20-2009, 07:31 PM   #3
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:31 PM   #4
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yea id imagine more can be squeezed out of it
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:35 PM   #5
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I guarantee it. Doubtful they had an actual dragstrip for the test.
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:35 PM   #6
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its rather interesting to read jalop, autoblog, and edmunds style or writing
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:55 PM   #7
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And to think I was close to buying a G8 that costs the same! I think Chevy did something right with this car.
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Old 03-20-2009, 09:32 PM   #8
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helll ya
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Old 03-21-2009, 12:29 AM   #9
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this car is stacking up VERY well.. it looks better and better as time goes on and more info is available.
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
A Michigan tuner shop got its hands on a Camaro SS press car and put it on a dyno. The results were 364-horsepower and 371 pound-feet of torque at the wheels for the manual transmission car with around 1,000 miles on it.
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:46 AM   #11
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Damn, that is some nice power. What does this thing weigh again?
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:47 AM   #12
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noice! pretty impressive for stock #s!
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Old 03-23-2009, 10:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnailblazerSS View Post
Damn, that is some nice power. What does this thing weigh again?
3769 – LS w/ automatic
3780 – LS w/ manual
3719 – LT w/ automatic
3728 – LT w/ manual
3902 – SS w/ automatic
3849 – SS w/ manual
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Old 03-23-2009, 10:03 AM   #14
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Livernois makes some sick shit too, theyll have that in the 400's for both shortly enough
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Old 03-23-2009, 05:46 PM   #15
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shit full exhaust and a tune would probably put it right around 400. I like it and i'll have to see what it drops to after it actually starts hitting the streets.
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Old 03-23-2009, 11:16 PM   #16
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Just a tune one of the autos will make them scream. Can't wait to catch one on the street
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