When a car gets a starring role in a Hollywood blockbuster, its future is pretty much secure; but when it becomes ‘Bumblebee’ in Michael Bay’s Transformers, you’re then assured that your attempt at an iconic 21st century variant of the old muscle car has worked out just fine. It doesn’t always work, though.
There’s been a recent trend from manufacturers to create up-to-date versions of ’60s classics in hope of recapturing the sales boom that the muscle car scene saw during the days of the hippies and drugs. There’s been Ford’s attempt with the Mustang, Dodge got in on the act with the Charger and Challenger and now Chevrolet has had a dig with the Camaro.
Did they manage to pull it off, though? Well, in short, yes. Chevrolet may have secured the spot on the aforementioned film, but it only got that because the fifth generation Camaro looks about as sexual as Jennifer Garner rubbing J Lo’s back with oil and fruit… lots of fruit. So, yeah, the looks were crucial. The Camaro looked snorty, well-proportioned and almost European; which helped the little powerhouse to cause enough buzz to ensure it was a sales success for Chevrolet in the U.S.
More good news was to come, as the Camaro was granted a ships passage to the UK, meaning the Brits could get their hands on the 6.2-litre V8 SS version and experience over 400bhp wrapped in an all-American shell.
Now, though, Chevrolet has tweaked the original idea and, like so many manufacturers, amended certain elements of the Camaro – but have they ruined it in doing so? Well, the 2012 Camaro has been gifted with a new ‘class-leading’ 3.6-litre V6 engine that should keep the environmental lovers happy. The new V6 boasts a power output of over 300bhp and improved economy. And that isn’t it; along with the greener, smaller unit, Chevrolet has announced a ZL1 variant that will put the Camaro into a whole new weight class. The ZL1 badge means that the little coupe has been blessed with more power and racing technology to put that power on the road. “The Camaro ZL1 is a complete high performance car, not just a Camaro with more power,” claimed a representative from GM. So, what does that actually mean? Well, it gets a 6.2-litre V8 engine like the SS, but this time it’s fitted with a supercharger, which means a Zonda-rivalling 550hp.
To accommodate the power hike, Chevrolet has changed the exhaust system, aerodynamics and suspension set-up. The ZL1 variant has undoubtedly been made to battle it out with the Shelby GT500 Mustang, and with such an impressive headline power figure, it seems hard to think how the Shelby will compete. So, has Chevrolet created the perfect muscle car? Not quite.
The problem is the standard Camaro SS just doesn’t use its power properly. Unlike most European cars that can use 90% of their power whenever and the rest with throttle control and precision driving, the Camaro understeers and leans so much that you can’t utilise even 75% of its power – except on straights. So it’s a typical muscle car then, but will this new ZL1 model finally turn the Camaro into a proper drivers’ car? Time will tell on that, but we all hope so.
There’s no doubting that the 2012 Camaro is the best of the breed; with improved interior materials, technology and innovations, and typical exterior updates that keep it looking as fresh as Jay-Z’s trainer collection, the Camaro is destined to sell well for the foreseeable future. Let’s just hope the ZL1 doesn’t disappoint.
Forget Cadillac! Does GM Needs A $100K Corvette SUV?
If Lamborghini, Porsche and, soon, Ferrari can have an SUV, why should Corvette?
Bob Lutz, the iconic automotive curmudgeon who helped shape BMW, Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors, believes General Motors has a great opportunity to take the Corvette nameplate upmarket with a Porsche Cayenne-like Corvette SUV that starts at $100,000.
Speaking to Automotive News, the former GM executive argued that Corvette is facing the same problem as Harley Davidson in that its baby boomer client base is dying out, meaning the brand is going to need a lot more than a traditional sports car like the new C8 Corvette to remain viable.
“The owner body is getting older and older and older, and there are no young people coming in,” Lutz said, adding that while he doesn’t believe Cadillac has any space to go upmarket, the Corvette brand does.
As for specifics about the Corvette SUV, he suggested that General Motors develop a dedicated architecture that’s super lightweight and powerful, envision something “Porsche Cayenne-like, only much better and a little bigger.” It will be a medium volume model with a starting price of $100,000, and it should never be offered with a V6 or as a low-cost offering.
The thought of a Corvette SUV might be offensive to some hardcore fans, but the times have changed and SUVs and crossovers are what make or break virtually every aspiring automaker.
The marketplace has also proven that there’s space for powerful, performance-oriented SUVs. From the Lamborghini Urus to the under-development Ferrari SUV and Lotus SUV, everyone’s getting in on the high-margin, sporty SUV game.
Lutz is not the first to make such an argument, and he likely won’t be the last. It will be interesting to see what will follow the C8 Corvette.
How do you envision a Corvette SUV? Share your ideas in the comments below.
Is The Chevrolet Camaro Going To Die Again?
Was Chevy’s muscle car revived only to die again?
The sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro may be the last Camaro, at least for the foreseeable future.
According to Muscle Cars and Trucks, General Motors has stopped work on the seventh generation Camaro and has no plan to take the Camaro nameplate beyond the 2023 model year.
The sixth-gen Camaro is based on the same Alpha platform that underpins the Cadillac ATS sedan and coupe. However, while the ATS’ successor (the new CT4) uses the next generation Alpha platform, there are no plans for the Camaro to make the same transition.
Sales of the Camaro have declined significantly over the past few years, which is unfortunate considering how good of a sports car it is. The fifth generation Camaro took off after debuting in 2009, selling over 80,000 Camaros every year. But despite getting rave reviews from critics, the sixth-gen saw its sales drop to 51,000 units in 2018, which was a whopping 25 percent decline from the prior year.
Supposing the report is true, this won’t be the first time the Camaro has gone on hiatus. There was a seven-year gap between the fourth- and fifth-generation models.
You Can Order Domino’s Pizza Using Your Chevrolet
Don’t have 60 seconds to phone in a pizza order? This is for you.
General Motors has updated the infotainment systems on Chevrolet vehicles with a new Domino’s pizza ordering tool.
As part of the American automaker’s growing in-car Marketplace ecosystem, the app lets drivers place orders for carryout or home delivery using the in-vehicle touchscreen interface and Chevrolet Marketplace portal.
It would be too distracting and downright unsafe if the system let you configure an entire pizza from scratch, so you are limited to just saved and recent orders.
General Motors has been steadily growing Marketplace since its launch in 2017. In April 2018, Chevrolet partnered with Shell to allow in-car gas purchases, sparing you the trouble of using the gas pump’s magnetic reader and being the victim of credit card skimming. In November of the same year, Buick added Yelp compatibility to its infotainment system, allowing you to make restaurant reservations on the go.
The new Domino’s app works with any 2017 model year or newer Chevrolet vehicle that runs Marketplace.