The new Chevrolet Camaro convertible has been revealed, just one day after leaked images of the new model appeared online.
Joining the sixth-generation Camaro range, the convertible features a folding soft-top roof which can be opened and closed at speeds of up to 30mph.
Rivalling the Ford Mustang in both coupé and convertible forms, the new Camaro is 57mm shorter, 20mm narrower and 28mm lower than the outgoing fifth-generation car.
The new Camaro is based on GM’s Alpha platform, with more than 60kg saved from the car’s structure compared to the previous car. The Camaro’s kerb weight has also been reduced by 90kg in both coupé and convertible forms, a significant saving on the fifth-generation model’s 1687kg.
Chevrolet says the most significant weight savings have come from replacing the instrument panel frame with an aluminium unit and introducing a new five-link rear suspension system. A MacPherson suspension set-up features at the front.
As a result, the US firm says the new Camaro “delivers better lap times than the fifth-generation’s track-focused Camaro 1LE package”.
The new Camaro’s engine line-up includes a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol unit that produces 271bhp and 295lb ft, with maximum torque arriving between 3000 and 4500rpm. It’s capable of propelling the Camaro to 60mph in under six seconds and can return more than 30mpg, which makes this the most efficient Camaro ever.
Camaros with this engine also get the option of a sound enhancement system, which “amplifies the native sounds” of the powertrain.
Also available is a new 3.6-litre V6 petrol, which produces 330bhp and 284lb ft and includes cylinder deactivation technology for the first time.
Both engines are available with a six-speed manual transmission and also with a new eight-speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The most powerful Camaro at launch is the new SS, which features a 6.2-litre small block V8 with 449bhp and 455lb ft. That’s more than the 5.0-litre V8 engine which features in the new Ford Mustang and produces 415bhp and 391b ft. The SS also gets cylinder deactivation along with direct injection and variable valve timing.
That same V8 engine already features on the Corvette Stingray.
Both V6 and V8-engined Camaros can be ordered with a dual-mode exhaust, allowing drivers to switch between a quieter Stealth mode and louder Track mode as needed.
The high-performance SS also gets the option of Magnetic Ride Control for the first time, with the car’s damper settings automatically adjusted for maximum comfort. The system was previously a package limited to the Camaro ZL1.
Brembo brakes are also standard on the SS, although they are optional on other Camaros in the range. The standard car sits on 18in wheels, while the Camaro SS comes with 20in items and also gets a unique rear spoiler.
Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser said the sixth-generation model was always designed with a convertible option in mind: "Customers will appreciate what they don’t feel: quivers, cowl shake or an under-damped chassis typically found in a four-seat convertible.”
Chevrolet design director Tom Peters said the new car would never be mistaken for anything but a Camaro. "We’ve taken that iconic design and amplified its proportions to reflect a more dynamic driving experience," he added.
The car keeps its signature cross-shaped grille but takes on more of a fastback profile towards the rear, which features wider wheel arches for a more aggressive appearance.
The company says it has spent more than 350 hours testing the shape of the new Camaro in a wind tunnel to optimise its aerodynamic performance. A new ‘air curtain’ on the front fascia is designed to guide air around the wheels to reduce drag. New air vents also feature on the bonnet.
Inside, the Camaro gets a redesigned centre console but keeps the Camaro’s signature instrument cluster, which features analogue dials along with an 8in information screen. Another 8in screen displays infotainment functions in the centre console and serves as an interface for GM’s MyLink system.
As well as featuring fewer buttons inside, the Camaro has an electronic parking brake for the first time. An LED ambient lighting system is also fitted, allowing drivers to choose from 24 different colours.
Drivers can calibrate many of the Camaro’s settings, including its throttle control, launch control activation, steering effort and engine sound, via a new Driver Mode Control switch on the centre console.
Oppenheiser said: “The 2016 Camaro builds on what made the current Camaro such a success with more power, more agile handling and more technology. We expect it to set a new benchmark in the segment.”
The sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro goes on sale in the US later this year, but it won’t reach Europe until the first half of 2016. Exactly which Camaro models and engine options will be available in Europe is still being decided, as is pricing, though the company has confirmed the new Camaro won't be sold in right-hand drive form.
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