Same brash look, new smarter package
The 2010 Camaro made its mark with a version of the rear-wheel-drive chassis developed for the Australian-built Holden sedan, and just as you’d expect from something created in the Land Down Under, it was a real bruiser on the track, making its statement with a big motor and big tires.
Dialing it in with track mode
When you dial the SS’s four-mode chassis setting to the Track calibration, you get firmer damping and a higher effort level from the electric-assist steering, and this is certainly a good start to creating a worthwhile weapon on the track. Track mode also quickens the LT1 V-8’s throttle response and lets the optional dual-mode exhaust system bark louder.
Since we think a ponycar is really about simple, pure fun, we fully disabled the stability control system during most of our time at Gingerman Raceway. You would too, especially after seeing our accompanying video. As always, the latest examples of stability control are far more permissive than such systems were a decade ago, plus the intervention is far from abrupt, but we appreciate that the Chevy engineers are willing to let us make our own decisions on the track.
Roaring around the track, and the parking lot
Though it’s a club-style track, Gingerman mixes the fiddly low-speed corners that you’d expect with some legitimate high-speed corners. MagnaRide dampers or not, the Camaro SS struggles for traction in low-speed corners, and we battled some understeer in higher-speed corners. Even so, the shortage of cornering stick from the five-link, independent rear suspension means you use a gentle prod of the throttle can counter the car’s tendency to run wide in high-speed corners, initiating a little oversteer to better balance the car. We were able get the Camaro SS to do this pretty predictably in third gear for 100-mph corners.
The direct-injection V-8 makes gobs of power. It’s a great fit for the character of the SS, even if the Chevy engine is missing the last burst of power at the top of the rpm range that’s delivered by the Mustang GT’s 435-hp Ford V-8 with its 7,000-rpm redline. The 6.2-liter OHV V-8 in the Camaro doesn’t pull very hard past 6,000 rpm, yet it does carry a substantial advantage of 55 lb-ft of torque more than the 5.0-liter DOHC Ford. The added low-end grunt will surely be even more useful on the street, where most Camaro SS owners drive their cars.
Finding money in the cabin
When you add up the cost of the direct-injection V-8, dedicated coolers for the transmission and differential, optional MagnaRide dampers, standard 13.6-inch front, 13.3-inch rear Brembo four-piston brakes, as well as 245/40R-20 front and 275/35R-20 rear Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 run-flat tires, it’s clear that Chevy spent a lot of money on the 2016 Camaro SS. But we also discovered that Chevy clearly spent some money inside the new Camaro as well.
The design architecture and the quality of the execution is a welcome step up from the previous Camaro, not to mention much nicer than the new-generation Ford Mustang. The 2016 Camaro doesn’t feel like it’s trying so hard to be retro, and you don’t see contrived details like the Mustang’s speedometer. It’s simply a more mature experience inside the Chevy. We also like the clever, Audi-inspired way in which the climate control’s temperature adjustments for both driver and front passenger are integrated into the outer rings of the Camaro’s central air vents.
The only real negatives inside the Camaro are the seats. You’re stuck with seats that not only offer little support from the side bolsters but also don’t have even lumbar adjustment. At least the Mustang offers buyers the opportunity to plunk down a little extra for a pair of Recaro chairs.
Track driving in a street car
As you’d expect, the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS is more of a street car than a track car, and it’s easy to obsess about the little things that might help it get around Gingerman Raceway a little bit better. But when you take a step back, you realize that the 2016 Camaro SS is a bigger step forward than you realize, and it has serious track-ready hardware that includes responsive power, a manual transmission made for fast driving, special coolers for the powertrain elements, fast-acting multi-mode dampers, big brakes, and wide tires. The 2016 Camaro SS practically begs to be driven at the track.
2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS Specifications
|On Sale:||Fall 2016|
|Engine:||6.2L OHV 16-valve V-8/455 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 455 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm|
|Layout:||2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe|
|EPA Mileage:||N/A mpg (city/hwy)|
|Suspension F/R:||Struts, coil springs/multilink, coil springs|
|Brakes F/R:||Vented discs|
|Tires F/R:||245/40R-20 / 275/35R-20 Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3|
|L x W x H:||188.3 x 74.7 x 53.1 in|
|Headroom:||36.6/N/A in (front/second row)|
|Legroom:||42.6/N/A in (front/second row)|
|Weight Dist. F/R:||N/A|