While sub-5.0sec 0-62mph times are available at the driver’s whim, the 1LE is at its best while carving corners, either on the open road or race circuit.
The six-speed transmission is topped with the short-throw gearstick from the ZL1. The gates are well defined – misshifts are close to impossible – and the Alcantara-covered shift knob feels perfect in your hand.
The shorter gears and the feeling that the small-block comes alive after 3500rpm makes you want to carry revs all the way to the 6600rpm redline.
Refreshingly, the cockpit is very effective and the Camaro’s seating position is near ideal. The Alcantara steering wheel is a welcome upgrade and pedals are placed for easy heel-and-toe footwork.
A common theme here is the use of ZL1-derived components, which help keep the cost of the 1LE package at a very reasonable $3500 (around £2100).
Among them, the 1LE takes the ZL1’s variable-ratio, variable-assist electric power steering, which gives remarkable precision and feel for an electric system.
Turn-in response is as immediate as anything this side of a Porsche Cayman, belying the Camaro’s 1769kg kerb weight, though you do feel the mass in transitions.
The heart of the 1LE’s upgrades, however, is entirely within its chassis tuning. Only spring rates remain the same as the SS, but that’s where the similarities end. Retuned monotube dampers, larger-diameter anti-roll bars and ZL1-spec wheel bearings add a level of control that’s nearly as good as that of the Z/28.
Brembo calipers do the stopping and brake feel is superb, but track day drivers might want to upgrade pads at minimum.
As pleasing as the 1LE is on smooth surfaces, it still possesses those American dimensions that make negotiating narrow roads a real challenge.
As well, all of that mass causes it to move around on rough roads, enough that steering is occasionally a firm, two-handed affair.
Those familiar with the Camaro can identify a 1LE by its unique front splitter and rear spoiler and matt black bonnet, as well as the ZL1’s 20in, 10-spoke black wheels. They are wrapped in 285/35 ZR20 Goodyear Eagle Supercar G:2 tyres on all four corners, even though the 11-inch rear rims are an inch wider than the fronts.
Grip levels are high and you’ll have to be exceptionally aggressive to break traction. No surprise, then, that the 1LE can hit 62mph from rest in around 4.5sec.