From £33,9407
A serious track weapon with a glorious 7.0-litre V8 engine, but it’s let down by a bit of a weight problem

Our Verdict

Chevrolet Camaro muscle car

It’s now on sale officially in the UK, so would you want to buy one?

What is it?

The Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. It’s an iconic badge in the American muscle car world, tracing its roots back to late 1966. Chevrolet needed a homologation special to battle the Ford Mustang on the race tracks of North America. Behind the wheel of Camaro Z/28, the great Mark Donahue helped Chevrolet win the SCCA Trans-Am championship in 1968 and 1969. He stood on the top step of the podium ten times in 1968. 

The Z/28 carried on in various forms until 2002, when the Camaro was shelved. Then, in 2009, Chevy revived the legendary Camaro. Five years later, the Z/28 finally returns to North American roads. 

As was the focus at inception, the latest Z/28 is very much a track oriented car. Think along the same lines as Porsche’s 911 GT3 RS. Chevrolet pulled the standard air conditioning system, removing 13kg. Thinner rear glass saves 400g. The 19-inch wheel and tyre package is 22kg lighter, despite massive 305mm Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R track tyres fitted at all four corners.

The giant carbon ceramic brakes save nearly 10kg and are shared with the upcoming C7 Corvette Z06. A glorious (and thirsty) 7.0-litre V8 engine from the C6 Corvette Z06 is found under the bonnet. The LS7 engine features a dry-sump oil system and puts out 505bhp. Helping put the power down is a Torsen limited-slip differential. 

Elsewhere Chevrolet’s engineers have added extras, including a 'Fly Car Mode', which came about as the car kept getting airborne airborne at the Nürburgring, and was programmed using data from the ride-height sensors. As a result, engine power isn’t trimmed when the Z/28 leaves the ground.

What's it like?

A seriously quick car, and on the circuit all those modifications and tweaks come together. The big Z/28 coupé kept pace with a well-driven Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 around Grattan Raceway, a challenging 2.0-mile track in western Michigan. The naturally aspirated V8 engine sounds amazing and has excellent torque, yet still screams to the 7000rpm redline like an engine half its size. Specal trick Multimatic dampers are very impressive at controlling the Z/28’s ride, but there is only so much you can do to hide 1732kg. 

And therein lies the fundamental flaw in the Z/28; it’s just too damn heavy. In low-speed corners and quick transitions, the Z/28 isn’t remotely slow but the bulk can be frustrating. The precise but rather lifeless steering, heavy transmission, less-than-brilliant brake feel, and poor pedal placement only add to this. It’s a very fast car around a circuit and it does exactly what Chevy designed to do, but it’s a bit of a bull in a china shop. It ultimately lacks the precision and tactile feel of lighter track-focused cars. 

The Z/28 reminds us that GM’s Zeta platform is starting to show its age. Sure, the updated Zeta underpinnings in the Vauxhall VXR8 saloon are impressive on the road but it’s not a proper track car.

Should I buy one?

Despite the negatives, the Z/28 carries a welcomed and honest muscle car feel. Plus, it still offers the increasingly endangered manual gearbox. But so does the 25 per cent cheaper, 15 per cent more powerful and far more street-friendly supercharged Camaro ZL1. Sure, the Z/28 is faster at the track but it’s tough to pay Porsche Cayman GTS money for the second-best Camaro in Chevy’s lineup, even with the rich history of the badge.

Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Price $75,000 (£44,770) 0-62mph 4.2 sec (est) Top speed 175 mph (est) Economy N/A CO2 N/A Kerbweight 1732kg Engine V8, 7008cc, petrol Installation front, longitudinal, RWD Power 505bhp at 6100rpm Torque 481lb ft at 4800rpm Gearbox 6-speed manual 

Join the debate

Comments
22

2 June 2014
Worth remembering that in the USA, the Z/28 retails for about half what a Porsche 911 GT3 costs. So something of a bargain in comparison, although obviously not the most track-capable of cars available.

Think I'd stick with the ZL1; more power and $20,000 cheaper!

2 June 2014
I know it's not just about the numbers but this 'over heavy' camaro is still 75 kg less than the f-type v8s you tested. In that car the weight of over 1.8 tonnes was felt to be ok because the jag had a v8 and a slippy diff. Clearly Jag Kilograms are somehow better than Chevy ones in autocars eyes.

2 June 2014
TeutonicDiesel wrote:

I know it's not just about the numbers but this 'over heavy' camaro is still 75 kg less than the f-type v8s you tested. In that car the weight of over 1.8 tonnes was felt to be ok because the jag had a v8 and a slippy diff. Clearly Jag Kilograms are somehow better than Chevy ones in autocars eyes.

The Jag F-Type R, the biggest engined model weighs in at 1650kg if I am not mistaken. Correct me if I am wrong in any way. Michael Bay will be using one of these in the next Transformers instalment

2 June 2014
averageman wrote:
TeutonicDiesel wrote:

I know it's not just about the numbers but this 'over heavy' camaro is still 75 kg less than the f-type v8s you tested. In that car the weight of over 1.8 tonnes was felt to be ok because the jag had a v8 and a slippy diff. Clearly Jag Kilograms are somehow better than Chevy ones in autocars eyes.

The Jag F-Type R, the biggest engined model weighs in at 1650kg if I am not mistaken. Correct me if I am wrong in any way. Michael Bay will be using one of these in the next Transformers instalment

1650KG for the Jag is quoted in the first drive report on this very website.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

2 June 2014
TeutonicDiesel wrote:

I know it's not just about the numbers but this 'over heavy' camaro is still 75 kg less than the f-type v8s you tested. In that car the weight of over 1.8 tonnes was felt to be ok because the jag had a v8 and a slippy diff. Clearly Jag Kilograms are somehow better than Chevy ones in autocars eyes.

These guys are complaining about weight, this Camaro weighs 3,837 lbs, a black series C63 AMG weighs 3700 lbs, and it stands no chance in heaven of keeping up with the Z/28 on any track and costs almost 3 times as much..

I hope people in UK are able to see through this sort of bias.

2 June 2014
Isn't it odd that the US, the place where cars wallowed in corners and sometimes went fast in a straight line, has become the only bastion of global support for the tactile pleasures of working a stick and a clutch?

It is also odd how the journalists only fleeting make reference to this, and always in a resigned way, as if they had done nothing to encourage it.

2 June 2014
eseaton wrote:

Isn't it odd that the US, the place where cars wallowed in corners and sometimes went fast in a straight line, has become the only bastion of global support for the tactile pleasures of working a stick and a clutch?

It is also odd how the journalists only fleeting make reference to this, and always in a resigned way, as if they had done nothing to encourage it.

Too true. Only recently Steve Sutcliffe appeared shocked at the pleasure from driving a manual Cayman.

If only the Americans would realise not everyone drives on the other (wrong) side of the road

2 June 2014
eseaton wrote:

Isn't it odd that the US, the place where cars wallowed in corners and sometimes went fast in a straight line, has become the only bastion of global support for the tactile pleasures of working a stick and a clutch?

It is also odd how the journalists only fleeting make reference to this, and always in a resigned way, as if they had done nothing to encourage it.

Exactly! In the US car fans love manuals, so it is the sports car necessity. Whereas we are used to it and do not care (like you say journalists do nothing but praise autos). If the market demands manuals, America shows you get one.

Hell you can even buy a Manual BMW M5, as you could also with the V10 version. Nevermind the Domestic top cars ala ZR1, Viper, GT500KR etc.

If journalists and buyers did their part and sacrificed 0.2s to 60 for a more engaging experience, they might make these cars in RHD. Autos should be standard for everyday cars, not sports cars.

--------------------

 

 

2 June 2014
Perhaps he was referring to the XFR-S Sportbrake? If so that's hardly the same kind of car.

2 June 2014
Autocars first drive of v8s. Weighed at MIRA - 1810 kg. manufacturers quoted kerb weights often slightly optimistic.

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