First DriveNew Camaro is lighter and more powerful than ever before and has set its sights firmly on the new Ford Mustang
First DriveFast, loud and brash, the race-inspired 1LE option package transforms the standard Chevrolet Camaro into a track-ready pony car
What is it?
This is the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, the long-awaited revival of General Motors’ classic American muscle car.
First seen in 1967, the iconic design became a production car two years later, and that’s the look that Chevy has chosen to build on with the 2010 version.
The SS is the most powerful version of the new Camaro. Its V8 turns out a solid 422bhp and 420lb ft of torque with the manual transmission, and 394bhp and 410lb ft with the new six-speed automatic.
What’s it like?
At first glance it’s almost like stepping back in time, to a more innocent era when fuel was cheap and a fast enough car could outrun the local traffic cop.
Yet the 2010 Camaro SS is more than just a retro-mobile.
Sure, it’s got the bones of the most popular Camaro in the brand’s long history, with its egg crate grille, Coke bottle silhouette, and the muscular kick-up of its rear shoulders. But this is a decidedly modern interpretation, taking advantage of modern engineering and technology.
The long side aperture, for example, is stamped from a single piece of steel, a task impossible during the classic muscle car era. The 'halo rings' around the headlights add a distinctly modern touch to the design as well.
The classic muscle car was designed to burn rubber, and even with a modern driveline and today’s bigger, better tyres you can generate plenty of smoke when you pop the clutch on the new Camaro's six-speed manual gearbox.
But unlike earlier 'pony cars', the new coupe is more than just a one-shot wonder. Its multi-link independent rear suspension is arguably the best Detroit has ever used in this breed, and it transforms Camaro into a much more nimble and responsive machine than you might expect from a muscle car.
Should I buy one?
The new Camaro SS is reasonably affordable, especially when pitched against its competitors. It's a bit more expensive than its classic rival, the Ford Mustang GT, but the extra horsepower and independent rear suspension more than justify that premium.
If you don’t mind paying for petrol, it’s the real deal. If you like the look but want a bit more fuel efficiency, consider the V6-powered Camaro LS or RS models, which will give you a surprising 36mpg on the motorway.