2016 Chevrolet Camaro

Slimmer but nastier sports car

"No longer a pony car, but a real contender against the BMW M4!" said Issam.

"Thinner in size, bigger in power and offers high-tech features."

"Based on the Alpha platform that underpins the Cadillac ATS."

"Having the Cadillac bones brought to it a level of refinement that denies the Camaro's adolescent appearance."

"What I also liked is the sound of the exhaust with its revvy and raspy singing!" said Issam

It's surely one of my most exciting first drives, and one that I have been waiting for since its official launch back in May 2015. I promise you I'll be straightforward and honest, and will try my best to give you an objective opinion. I might get off-track in my subjectivity, but at the end of the day it's my opinion. It's our job to review and assess all vehicles (almost 100+) we drive during the 365-day calendar. This car has been my daily driver for the past four years, and likely if I mention its pros, some people will say, "oh boy he's driving one so he's not going to say anything bad about it," and if I mention the cons, some people will probably be pissed off! If I do mention any cons, it is meant in favor of the carmaker to help enhance their vehicle.

Let's get to the main story now: the first drive of the all-new sixth generation of the Chevy Camaro from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

As many of you know, Chevy sells about as many Camaros as Ford does Mustangs: a competition that dates back nearly fifty years. But what many of you may not know, is that the Camaro profits from massively superior research, development and engineering proficiency.

I acquired my 2012 MY Camaro and have been fine-tuning it throughout the years. You must have seen it during the rides I attend with Camaro Club Lebanon, and surely when I won the ATCL Camaro Speed Test three years ago at Fouad Chehab Stadium in Jounieh, Lebanon. The fifth-generation Camaro was a solid comeback for Chevrolet and General Motors. Why is that? Because it brought the concept-car into production with little differences - that's without failing to mention that Chevrolet was the main sponsor of the Transformers movie. Bumblebee was a Camaro and transformed into the fifth-generation. So, the car somehow gained huge popularity among people - mainly children. I remember one day when I was going to the office earlier than usual, I saw a school bus on the highway with most of the kids gathered at the back of the bus to check out my car. Suddenly one of the naughty boys had his mobile phone out and started taking some shots!

Apart from the styling, big power, and exceptional track-monster editions like the ZL1 and the Z28, the weak point on the fifth-generation Camaro was basically its heavy weight. Even the Z28, with its no-carpet trunk and one-speaker radio weighed in at around 1,724 kilos: which seems heavy compared with other European performance vehicles.

The all-new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, in its sixth generation, is based on the Alpha platform that underpins the Cadillac ATS. In V6 models the Camaro loses so much weight (fifth gen: 1,773 kg, sixth gen: 1,671kg) and gains power in parallel and chassis cleverness.

Chassis
Approximately 70 percent of the architectural components are unique to Camaro. Through extensive computer-aided engineering, structural rigidity was increased by 28 percent, while the body-in-white mass was reduced by 60.5 kilograms.

In their quest to make the 2016 Camaro as lean as possible, engineers and designers evaluated every aspect of its architecture - already the most mass-efficient vehicle ever created by GM - and supporting elements, saving grams here and pounds there, which contributed to the car's lower curb weight. As a result, the total curb weight for the Camaro has been reduced by more than 90 kilograms.

Significant weight savings came from using an aluminum instrument panel frame instead of steel, which saved 4.2 kilograms. The use of lightweight components, including aluminum front suspension links and steel rear suspension links with lightening holes in the new five-link rear suspension system contributed to a 12 kilogram reduction in the overall suspension weight. With the lighter, stiffer architecture and more powerful engines, the sixth-gen Camaro SS delivers better lap times than the fifth-generation's track-focused Camaro 1LE package.

The Camaro features a new multi-link MacPherson strut front suspension with Camaro-specific geometry. The double-pivot design provides a more precise feeling of control, including a more linear and communicative feel from the quick-ratio electric power steering system. At the rear, a new five-link independent suspension yields outstanding wheel control and reduces squat during acceleration.
In addition, Magnetic Ride Control is available on the Camaro SS for the first time. Previously limited to the Camaro ZL1, the active suspension reads road and driving conditions 1,000 times per second, and automatically adjusts the damper settings to optimize ride comfort and control.

Goodyear tires are used on all models: the LT features standard 20-inch wheels wrapped with Goodyear Eagle Sport all-season tires and available 20-inch wheels matched with Eagle F1 Asymmetric all-season run-flat tires. The Camaro SS features standard 20-inch aluminum wheels with Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 run-flat tires.

Exterior
The exterior of the Camaro is more sculpted and has a more muscular effect that makes the new car look significantly lower and wider than before, even though it is within two inches of the exterior dimensions of the current Camaro:

 

2016 Camaro

2015 Camaro

Length (in/mm):

188.3/ 4784

190.6/ 4841

Width (in/mm):

74.7/ 1897

75.5/ 1917

Height (in/mm):

53.1/ 1348

54.2/ 1376

Wheelbase (in/mm):

110.7/ 2811

112.3/ 2852

Front track (in/mm):

63/ 1601 (SS)

63.6/ 1616 (SS)

Rear track (in/mm):

62.9/ 1598 (SS)

63.9/ 1622 (SS)

 
The front of the Camaro is defined by a cross-car grille/headlamp aperture; a signature cue that dates back to the first generation. The new expressive execution gives the Camaro a stronger, more determined face. It also displays a new, nearly fastback profile that flows into the pronounced haunches of the rear fenders: enhancing the wider, more aggressive stance.

A more expressive take on the tail lamps blends the horizontal aesthetic of the first-generation with a dual-element theme and aggressive tapers for a contemporary appearance.

Standard lighting includes halogen projector beam headlamps and tail lamps. RS and SS models add high-intensity discharge, or HID, projector-beam headlamps and LED "signature lighting" daytime running lights - including a sweeping LED light pipe integrated into the headlamp and an LED light pipe integrated into the front fascia. RS and SS models also feature LED lighting for the rear tail lamps, including auxiliary LED light guides that mirror the shape of the front signature lighting.

In many cases, the exterior design not only communicates the performance capabilities of the new Camaro, but also contributes to them. For example, the teams spent more than 350 hours testing the Camaro in the wind tunnel: meticulously tailoring the exterior to improve cooling and reduce aerodynamic lift and drag.

Aerodynamic details include a subtle air curtain on the front fascia, which guides air around the wheels rather than into the wheelhouses, reducing drag. Also, the Camaro SS has a unique front fascia with integrated brake cooling ducts and a unique hood with functional air vents, which improve engine cooling and reduce front lift.

All models share a more pronounced, sculpted roof panel that improves the structural rigidity of the roof for greater refinement. The roof is assembled using laser brazing, eliminating the need for "ditch channel" seams and cover trim; giving the car a sleeker appearance while saving half a kilogram compared to traditional spot welding.

There's also a new interpretation of the Camaro's iconic red, white and blue ‘banner' insignia, displayed on the front fenders.

Interior
Like the exterior, the interior is completely new, yet instantly recognizable. The instrument panel, for example, is a departure from the previous model, but retains the Camaro's familiar dual binnacle-style instrument cluster hood.

The instrument cluster features analog instruments to provide the driver with essential performance information, as well as an available eight-inch diagonal high-definition center screen that can be configured to provide additional information including navigation, performance, and infotainment features.
Another eight-inch screen integrated into the center of the instrument panel serves as the interface for the enhanced, next-generation MyLink system.

The new center console and center stack are designed with high performance driving in mind. For example, the heating and cooling controls are integrated into rings surrounding the air ducts. Eliminating the associated buttons makes the cabin feel more spacious and makes adjusting the temperature easy while keeping your eyes on the road.

An electronic parking brake replaces the previous mechanical parking brake handle. An available segment-first LED ambient lighting system which is integrated into the dash, door panels and center console offers 24 different selectable colors, as well as fade and transition effects that spread across the interior. There's even a theatrical ‘light show' mode that cycles randomly through the entire color spectrum when the Camaro is parked.

The ambient lighting is one of eight attributes the driver can adjust using the Camaro's new Driver Mode Selector - accessed via a switch on the center console. The system enables the driver to tailor the look, sound and feel of the 2016 Camaro to their preferences and driving conditions

Driving impressions
How did it drive? Well, frankly speaking, it is still a Camaro from the inside, on the outside, the engine's sound and its character. But, I can faithfully admit that it's a true driver's car now! You're going to think: why I am using the BMW's widespread quote? Pretty simple. It drives like a BMW from the early 2000s (which I personally loved to drive). It drives more like a European vehicle. It is not a pony car anymore. It is - with all respect to other carmakers - a true sports car.

A true driver's car. Yes. I admired the quick responses and the unbiased posture through curves that can easily be turned into a drift with a confident application of power. If I did what I did on the track with the previous generation, I would have gone sideways and been unable to control it. What I liked also is the sound of the exhaust with its revvy and raspy singing!

What about driving on public roads and open highways? It does drive way better than the previous generation. I didn't feel any discomfort in the seats; to the contrary, the seats were super comfy. It does cruise better than ever. Visibility is still the same, it's a Camaro. But the good part is that when I was in reverse, my mind automatically knew the dimensions of my car; but yeah, it shrinks. The cockpit is still agreeable and more pleasant to sit in due to the high-tech infotainment system, MyLink. Not to mention the gorgeous new interior with those chrome vents.

Verdict
The all-new 2016 Camaro is now a real contender in the sports car segment. Having the Cadillac bones brought to it a level of refinement that denies the Camaro's adolescent appearance. Every Camaro fan: get a test drive at your nearest dealer so you can really understand what I'm talking about. The car is already available beginning May 2016. Respect General Motors. Salutations to Chevy's engineers.

Rivals: BMW M4, Ford Mustang GT, Dodge Challenger SRT
Pros: Bigger engine power on both RS and SS, exterior look, enhanced interior, MyLink infotainment, handling, stability, drives like European vehicles, comfortable seats
Cons: Rear trunk is still small, back seats are useless now and visibility is still poor
4 stars

Specs

V6
3.6 L V6 335 hp @ 6800 rpm, 385 Nm @ 5300 rpm
8-speed automatic/ 6-speed manual, RWD
0-100 km/h: 5.3 seconds, top speed: 243 km/h, fuel consumption: 13 L/100 km
Weight: 1,573 kg

V8
6.2 L V8 455 hp @ 6000 rpm, 617 Nm @ 4400 rpm
8-speed automatic/ 6-speed manual, RWD
0-100 km/h: 4.4 seconds, top speed: 260 km/h, fuel consumption: 11.2 L/100 Km
Weight: 1,671 kg

  • 2016_chevrolet_camaro_1
  • 2016_chevrolet_camaro_10
  • 2016_chevrolet_camaro_11
  • 2016_chevrolet_camaro_2
  • 2016_chevrolet_camaro_3
  • 2016_chevrolet_camaro_4
  • 2016_chevrolet_camaro_5
  • 2016_chevrolet_camaro_6
  • 2016_chevrolet_camaro_7
  • 2016_chevrolet_camaro_8
  • 2016_chevrolet_camaro_9

Subscriptions

Raed

Autoshows Calendar

Upcoming Articles

  • Global Drive: 2018 Rolls Royce Phantom
  • Global Drive: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
  • Global Drive: 2018 Jaguar XJR575
  • Editors' Choice: Range Rover Velar
  • Editors' Choice: Lexus LC500h
  • Editors' Choice: Peugeot 3008
  • Editors' Choice: Cadillac CT6
  • Special Feature: Renault Zoe Electric