2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1: Most powerful Chevrolet convertible ever

Chevrolet announced recently the brand’s most-powerful convertible ever—the ’13 Camaro ZL1—will go on sale in late 2012. It will deliver more performance and technology than many exotic cars and ultra-luxury convertibles.

“The Camaro ZL1 convertible will be one of the most powerful and most capable, convertibles available at any price,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “This is a car that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you drop the top—or hit the gas.”

Like the coupe, the Camaro ZL1 convertible features a supercharged 6.2L “LSA” engine, SAE-rated at 580 hp (432 kW) and 556 lb-ft of torque (754 Nm). That’s enough to exceed the output of 2+2 convertibles of many performance icons, including:

  • ’12 Aston Martin DB9 Volante 470 hp/443 lb-ft.
  • ’12 Mercedes SL63 AMG 518 hp/465 lb-ft.
  • ’11 Porsche 911 Turbo S 530 hp/516 lb-ft.
  • ’11 Ford Shelby GT500 550 hp/510 lb-ft.

The Camaro ZL1 convertible’s power is complemented by advanced powertrain and chassis technologies designed to deliver exceptional performance on the road or track. In fact, it’s the same balance of acceleration, handling and ride quality that enabled a Camaro ZL1 coupe recently to lap the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife course in 7:41.27minutes.

From day one, the architecture for the fifth-generation Camaro was designed to accommodate a convertible model, which gives the ZL1 convertible coupe-like driving dynamics. Four strategic reinforcements enhance the already stiff body structure to quell the cowl and steering wheel shake common in convertibles. They include:

  • A tower-to-tower brace underhood
  • A transmission support reinforcement brace
  • Underbody tunnel brace
  • Front “X” brace and stiffer cradle as well as rear underbody “V” braces.

The suspension of the ZL1 convertible uses the third-generation of Magnetic Ride. New, twin-wire/dual-coil dampers at all four corners enable faster response, with damping levels now adjusted up to 1,000 times per second—about one adjustment per inch of vehicle travel at 60 mph—making the system exceptionally responsive to changing driving and road conditions.

The Camaro ZL1 convertible will also offer Performance Traction Management as standard equipment, which is exclusive to General Motors. First introduced on the Corvette ZR1, it is an advanced system that integrates magnetic ride control, launch control, traction control and electronic stability control, to enhance both launch-acceleration performance and corning.

The result is a convertible designed to preserve nearly all the acceleration, road-holding and performance capabilities of the Camaro ZL1 coupe.

YMCA benefits first 2012 ZL1 sold!

The first ’12 Camaro ZL1 offered to the public sold for $250,000 at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Las Vegas.

The car was offered by Fairway Chevrolet-Buick-GMC in Las Vegas, with 100 percent of the auction proceeds benefitting the YMCA of Southern Nevada.

Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, placed the winning bid and is expected to take delivery of his new Camaro in the first quarter of 2012. His will be the only ’12 Camaro ZL1 coupe produced with a Carbon Flash Metallic exterior. It will be the 69th ZL1 produced at the Oshawa Assembly Plant, in tribute of the legendary ’69 Camaro ZL1, of which only 69 were produced.

“Our family has been involved with the YMCA for more than 25 years,” said Greg Heinrich, president of Fairway Chevrolet. “In that time, I have seen firsthand how the ‘Y’ helps young people, families, and seniors in our community. Today, the community’s dependence on the YMCA of Southern Nevada is greater than ever, with the Y sponsoring one out of four members.

Hendrick’s generosity will allow the YMCA of Southern Nevada to open its doors many more people who need a helping hand.

“Like the original, the ’12 Camaro ZL1 introduces a performance benchmark for the street and the track,” said Russ Clark, marketing director for Chevrolet performance cars. “Offering the 69th Camaro ZL1 at auction was a fitting tribute to the ’69 model, and a great way to benefit such a worthy cause as the YMCA.”

The ’69 is the most exclusive and elite Camaro in history. That year, “ZL1” was the code name for the 427ci, all-aluminum big-block engine developed for Corvette race cars in the late 1960s, but found its way into 69 Camaros in 1969.

1969 Camaro Voted Best Chevy Ever

Centennial celebration fans were asked to vote for their favorite vehicle from Chevrolet’s 100-year history. During the four-round, elimination bracket, the ’69 Camaro garnered 25,058 of the 124,368 votes cast, edging out the ’70 Chevelle SS in the final round.

Tom Peters, Chevrolet Design director, believes the ’69 Camaro is not only one of the best vehicles in Chevrolet’s history but one of the best vehicles ever. He is a little biased, however, having owned the same ’69 Camaro for nearly 20 years.

“I can vividly remember seeing one for the first time as a kid,” Peters said. “The intent of the Camaro was instantly understood, even to a 14-year-old like me, because it possessed a very powerful personality and an elegant, simple design. The Camaro was so cool because it offered this great style, high performance, and yet was attainable for someone just getting out of school.

“Today, the ’69 Camaro has become one of the best examples of timeless design in the industry,” Peters said. “Like the very best designs, the Camaro is much more than just a machine because it evokes powerful emotions in people of all ages. That’s why we looked to the ’69 for inspiration when designing the fifth-generation Camaro, and why the ’69 Camaro is an example of the timeless vehicles Chevrolet will strive to deliver for the next 100 years.”