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Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 debuts at 2016 NYIAS

The new Chevrolet Camaro is taking the American car world by storm as of late, with it winning Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award among others. People seem to be loving the new Camaro for its excellent handling ability, power, performance and relatively low cost. It even improved on its looks and interior quality from the previous generation’s, which were that car’s biggest complaints. Well at the recent 2016 New York International Auto Show, Chevy debuted its latest version of the Camaro, the tire-scorching ZL1.

Typically, Chevys and Audis aren’t really mentioned in the same breathe, as they don’t necessarily compete. But a car like the Camaro ZL1 sort of throws a monkey wrench into every performance car maker’s plans. Audi will be debuting the new A5 next year and with it will come an RS5 performance model that should compete with cars like the BMW M4, Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe and Cadillac ATS-V Coupe. However, no one would have ever thought to mention a Camaro in that segment until now.

The Camaro ZL1 will us a supercharged V8, the same 6.2 liter unit found in the Corvette Z06, and it will deliver a massive 640 hp and 640 lb-ft of torque. That should make the Camaro ZL1 an absolute terror for cars like the Audi RS5 and BMW M4, both of which will make considerably less power than that. Expect the ZL1 to run the 0-60 mph sprint in the low 3 second range, which will be tough to beat.

Chevy Camaro ZL1

The current Audi RS5 will run the 0-60 mph spring in the high 3 seconds range, similar to the current BMW M4, Porsche Cayman GTS and Mercedes-AMG C64 Coupe. But this Camaro ZL1 should obliterate them, even the upcoming Audi RS5, in a straight line. Now the typical counter argument for European car enthusiasts is that the Camaro handles like a pig, but that isn’t necessarily the case with this new car. Built on GM’s Alpha platform, the same one that underpins the excellent Cadillac ATS-V, the Camaro actually handles quite well and should keep up with the Germans in the twisty bits.

Thins get even worse when you factor in price. All of those aforementioned Germans cost more than the Camaro ZL1 to start, making the Chevy the deal of the century. It’s going to be hard to compete with the Camaro in general, but factor price in and it’s a damn near impossibility. Now, granted, cars like the Audi RS5 are much nicer, higher quality items than the Camaro and the RS5 will come with better technology and more luxury, so it’s worth the higher price tag. But for someone looking only for performance, the Camaro will be a tough car to pass up.

While we can’t say for sure that the upcoming Audi RS5 won’t be able to take this Camaro ZL1 on, in terms of performance, it’s going to have to pack some pretty big guns if it wants to. It’s likely that the RS5 gets the same twin-turbocharged 3.0 liter V6 that the Audi RS4 will be getting, which likely won’t have the firepower to match the Camaro ZL1. We’re going to have to wait to find out, but this ZL1 looks like it could pose a serious problem to the Germans.

CategoriesAuto Show RS5
Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.