2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 First Look
SHOW FLOOR UPDATE: I should’ve known something special was up when Chevrolet started to hand out ear plugs before the start of its press conference, but with just a new C7 Corvette sitting up on stage, I figured how loud could it be? Loud. Real loud. After driving out the new 2014 SS and Corvette Convertible, Chevy released the updated 2014 Camaro SS to the crowd. If that wasn’t enough, moments later GM chief Mark Reuss unleashed the raucous 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 onto the stage. Called the “defining point of the gen five Camaro” by Reuss, the long-rumored Z/28 pack’s the out-going Corvette Z06′s LS7 V-8 under its hood, making 500 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. Realizing that power isn’t necessarily the Camaro’s Achilles heel, the bowtie boys cut a ton of weight out of the car by removing the car’s sound deadening, ditching the trunk carpet, using thinner rear glass, and making air conditioning option. Chevy also ripped out all of the car’s speakers, save for one, which they had to keep in order for the seatbelt chime to be heard. The result is a truly killer looking car that I can’t wait to see on the track during our Best Driver’s Car competition. The other major change for the new Camaro is its facelift. The revised front end visually shrinks the car, to my eye, making it more attractive than before. The new grille also bears a passing resemblance to the new Impala’s, visually linking the Camaro to the rest of the Chevy lineup. In back the new lines shrink the car’s formerly big butt, and the new taillights link the 2014 Camaro to the 1967 original. The Camaro Z/28 will hit dealers in the spring of 2014. – Christian Seabaugh
One of the trims glaringly absent from the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro lineup has been the famous Z/28. That absence ended decisively and forcefully at the 2013 New York Auto Show with the launch of the 2014 Camaro Z/28, which may be the greatest Z/28 ever. You may think we’re just drinking Chevy’s PR Kool Aid with the term “greatest” but once you see the extent of the engineering and content of the new Z/28, we think you’ll be inclined to agree.
While the street/track ZL1 utilizes a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 to provide its 580 hp and 556 lb-ft of torque, the Z/28 utilizes the outgoing Corvette Z06′s 7.0-liter naturally aspirated LS7 V-8. Final power figures have not been announced, but Chevrolet promises at least 500 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. The LS7 was selected over the supercharged LSA for its broad torque curve and high 7000-rpm redline, which makes it well-suited for high-speed track driving. Both the engine and Tremec TR606 six-speed manual transmission, the only available, have dedicated high-capacity cooling systems.
Beyond the monster naturally-aspirated engine, the Z/28 features unique shocks, tires, brakes, suspension tuning, and a comprehensive and strategic lightening that ditches many of the niceties found on “consumer-grade” Camaros in pursuit of maximum performance. Even air conditioning, which most of us now take for granted as standard equipment even in the lowliest econoboxes, is offered only as a stand-alone option in concession to the Z/28′s limited dual purpose as a street car. As Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser put it, this is “the fastest road-racing Camaro possible that’s still street-legal.”
To keep the Z/28 stable on the track, it features a full aerodynamic package consisting of a front splitter, underbody panel, fender flares, extended rocker panels, and a rear spoiler and functional diffuser. The 20-inch wheels used on the SS and ZL1 were swapped for 19-inch wheels, which reduce total unsprung weight by a total of 42 lb and lower the car’s center of gravity 33 millimeters. Rather than utilizing different-sized wheels and tires front to rear, all four corners of the Z/28 are shod with 305/30ZR-19 Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tires — the ultra-high-performance tire’s production debut — that are believed to be the widest front tires on any production car. Shocks feature spool-valve technology allowing for individual adjustment of bumper and rebound settings for both high and low-speed wheel motions. This allowed for an increase in the maximum damper stiffness while not adversely affecting on-road ride quality. Chevrolet claims the suspension tuning and tires facilitate a face-distorting maximum lateral acceleration of 1.05 g.
Behind the purposeful rolling stock are massive 15.5-inch front Brembo carbon ceramic matrix brakes clamped by six-piston calipers in the front; 15.3-inch rotors with four-piston calipers sit in the back. In addition to the rotor material’s superior heat and fade-resistance capacity, the composite rotors save a total of 28 lb per car.
The lightening didn’t stop with the suspension and brakes. The rear seat design and material was optimized and the trunk pass-through was eliminated in the quest to save nine pounds. Other non-essential kit such as fog lights, trunk carpeting, a tire inflator kit (except in states required by law), sound deadening and HID headlights were left in the spare parts pile. Even the rear window glass is 0.3 mm thinner. In all, the Z/28 is 100 lb lighter than a comparable SS coupe and 300 lb lighter than the ZL1 coupe.
To keep the driver focused, yet comfortable, the front seats are aggressively-bolstered Recaro units with microfiber suede inserts for high-speed grip, with the obligatory seat cut-outs to facilitate the installation of five-point harnesses. The seats are strictly manually-adjustable.
The Z/28 may not have the eye-popping horsepower figures of the Shelby GT500, or the gentleman’s GT demeanor of capable ZL1, but we have to appreciate the Camaro team’s dedication to doing this legendary designation proud. Drive-in poseurs need not apply.
In addition to the Z/28, Chevrolet also showed the facelifted 2014 Camaro SS. Though it gets all of the same visual updates as the new Z/28, the 2014 SS (and the rest of the Camaro lineup) continues with the same powertrains that were offered in 2013.
|2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28|
|BASE PRICE||$60,000 (est)|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe|
|ENGINE||7.0L/500-hp (est)/470-lb-ft (est) OHV 16-valve V-8|
|CURB WEIGHT||3800 lb (est)|
|LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT||192.3 x 76.9 x 52.4 in|
|EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON||Not yet rated|
|ON SALE IN U.S.||Spring 2014|