2012 Chevrolet Camaro

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2012 chevrolet camaro Reviews and News

2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Vs 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Parked
Editor's note: This is the final installment of a three-part comparison test between the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and the 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. We've already discovered which car was quickest around Gingerman Raceway with professional driver Alex Lloyd behind the wheel and spent a day at Milan Dragway laying down quarter-mile times. Read on to find out which car is our overall favorite after a day of road driving.
The results are in: the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is quicker around Gingerman Raceway than the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500, yet the GT500 outmuscles the ZL1 when blasting through a quarter-mile. But are those two performance metrics enough to proclaim one a winner? Not in the least.
Insane horsepower figures, ludicrous top speeds, and seven-minute Nuerburgring lap times are enough to win friends and influence headlines, but they don't provide a full portrait of any car. While the ZL1 and GT500 are built to go fast, speed is not their sole objective. Concoctions like the COPO Camaro, the Mustang FR500, and the Mustang Cobra Jet sacrifice civility and street legality in the name of performance. The ZL1 and GT500 have to cater to more rational buyers. These two cars are also expected to function as usable daily drivers when not being flogged at open track days or test-and-tune nights at the strip.
So, how do these mega muscle machines fare while driving in the real world? We put them to the test on some of the most entertaining (and, at times, bumpiest) roads we could find in Southeastern Michigan.

The King of Horsepower: Ford Shelby GT500

We're first tossed keys to the outright king of horsepower: the 2013 Shelby GT500. If looks could kill, this car would be locked on death row, convicted of triple homicide, and in select states, ordering its last meal. Strip away the retina-searing Grabber Blue hue and white stripes, and this latest iteration of Shelby Mustang still has a wild, menacing visual presence thanks to flared fenders, a raked stance, a large chin spoiler, and a new grille insert. Actually, perhaps we should say a lack of a grille insert: save for a couple small pieces tucked into the corners, the grille opens directly to the radiator. Ford says this helps increase cooling, but darned if the GT500 doesn't look even more deranged as a result.
Inside, the Shelby's revisions aren't as noticeable. Apart from new illuminated door sills that celebrate SVT's 20th anniversary, little has changed from the 2011 GT500. Much of the interior is standard Mustang, but Shelby-spec models do gain a faux engine-turned finish on the dash trim, rolled-and-tucked leather door panel inserts, and white striping applied over black leather seating surfaces. Spend another $1595, and the stock front buckets are replaced with an excellent pair of Recaro-sourced seats, which provide incredible lateral grip while remaining supportive and comfortable over long stints behind the wheel. We still wish Ford would bless Mustangs - all Mustangs -- with a telescoping steering column. A heavy clutch with lots of travel may tempt you to scoot the driver's seat forward, but doing so places tall drivers uncomfortably close to the dashboard.
These gripes are literally and figuratively silenced as soon as the supercharged 5.8-liter V-8 fires up. The aluminum-block erupts with a ferocious bark that turns heads and sets off car alarms before it settles into an intoxicating baritone rumble. Just rolling away from a stop triggers flashbacks of the golden era of muscle cars: the ultra-heavy clutch is best described as binary, while the six-speed transmission's short-throw shifter requires a firm hand and a hefty throw. These are minor concerns once up and moving, but around town, they'll certainly strengthen and tone your left calf and right forearm. In thick bumper-to-bumper traffic, they'll likely drive you mad.
There's no changing the gearbox's persona, but the driver can adjust some of the GT500's mannerisms from behind the wheel. The GT500's electric power steering rack isn't the most communicative right off the bat, but you can dial in a little extra weight by selecting sport mode. Opt for the $3495 SVT Performance Package, and you can also play with two-stage adjustable Bilstein dampers, selecting between a normal mode and an incredibly firm sport mode that's probably best relegated to track use.
Sadly, those trick Bilsteins don't hide the fact that the Mustang continues to use a live rear axle. Ford has done a commendable job in making the most of this arcane setup, but on broken back-county roads, the GT500's tail hops and skitters over road imperfections, resulting in a car that feels busier than it feels composed.

The Muscle-Car Sophisticate: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

If the GT500 is the warrior in warpaint, the ZL1 is a covert agent. It doesn't look anywhere as maniacal as the GT500, but it does look subtly aggressive. The car is no lower, no wider, no longer than a standard Camaro SS, but the rising hood bulge, the gaping front air intakes, and blacked-out wheels infuse it with a pinch of sinister flavor.
Stepping inside the cabin feels as if you're sliding into a small bank vault - a feeling amplified by the heavy door thumping shut. Narrow windows and a high beltline may trigger some claustrophobia, but on paper, the Camaro doesn't lose much interior space to the GT500. Front headroom is about an inch less than the Ford, but other interior dimensions - notably front and rear legroom, along with rear headroom -- are almost identical to the Mustang.
Pity the front seats don't follow that trend. These buckets, which are the same as those in the Camaro SS save for embroidered logos and grippier Alcantara inserts, don't match the lateral grip and comfort of the Shelby's optional Recaros. The Shelby also bests the Camaro in terms of visibility. Objects flanking the passenger-side rear fender are particularly well hidden. One redeeming factor: it's far easier to find a comfortable driving position here than in the Ford, thanks in part to a shorter clutch throw and a telescoping steering column.
Firing up the ZL1's supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 - the same engine used in the Cadillac CTS-V and a distant cousin of the LS9 found in the Corvette ZR1 - is surprisingly anticlimactic. Compared to the Shelby, its exhaust note isn't quite as stirring, and it doesn't permeate the cabin as freely. The Camaro is far easier to launch and coax through city traffic than the GT500, as its clutch is firm but not overwhelming, and its shifter requires less muscle to move from gate to gate. Remarkable, considering the power at hand - and, for that matter, that both cars make use of the same basic Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual.
We have a chance to open the Camaro ZL1 up once we escape the city and work our way into rural lands. The ZL1 doesn't feel as raw and visceral as the Mustang, but it does feel incredibly sophisticated - as if someone wrapped the skin of a Camaro around the framework of a Corvette ZR1. This car handles in an agile fashion that belies its 4120 pounds; as we noted at Gingerman, turn in is quick and body roll is minimal. We're most surprised by the tour mode offered by the ZL1's magnetorheological dampers - yes, it softens the ride, but it's far from floaty, and vertical travel is kept in control. Our only dynamic complaint lies with the steering. Yes, we know electric assist has its limitations, but the ZL1's wheel doesn't have the same weight as the GT500's does at speed.

Hail To Which Victor?

Both the 2013 Camaro ZL1 and 2013 Shelby GT500 may boast similar powertrains, target similar customers, and carry similar price tags - but that's about where the similarities end. Each car has its own unique strengths and personalities, which will polarize buyers shopping in this class.
The GT500 will likely still win buyers over looking for the meanest, most brutal muscle car available from the factory. The power is insane, the look is intoxicating, and as we've found, the 662 hp on tap (along with launch control) makes it one of the quickest factory-built muscle cars. If quarter-mile times, a 200-mph top speed, horsepower bragging rights, and a raw, muscle-bound feel are what you seek in a muscle car, the GT500 is far and away your dream machine.
That said, the Camaro ZL1 objectively feels like the all-around victor. Despite its 82-hp and 268-pound disadvantage, it managed to set outstanding times on a road course, impressive times at the strip, and feels far more genteel and tractable on a daily basis. It may aim at the same customer demographic as the GT500, and share a similar powertrain configuration and price tag, but drive the two back to back, and they hardly feel as if they're direct competitors. The ZL1's well-rounded behavior, both on and off the track, and respectable performance numbers earn it a victory - though it may well be short lived. Ford is hard at work on a new Mustang that finally gains independent rear suspension. We know little about that car, but it should be obvious to all that the pony car wars are far from reaching a cease-fire.

2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 coupe

MSRP (with destination): $54,995
PRICE AS TESTED: $58,335
ENGINE:
6.2-liter OHV supercharged V-8
Horsepower: 580 @ 6100 rpm
Torque: 556 lb-ft @ 3800 rpm
TRANSMISSION:
6-speed manual
DRIVE:
Rear-wheel
WHEELS AND TIRES:
20-inch aluminum wheels
285/35YR-20 Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G:2 front tires
305/35YR-20 Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G:2 rear tires
FUEL ECONOMY (city/highway/combined):
14/19/16 mpg
CURB WEIGHT:
4120 lb
CAPACITIES:
Doors/Passengers: 2/4
Cargo: 11.3 cu ft
Legroom (front/rear): 42.4/29.9 in
Headroom (front/rear): 37.4/35.3 in
Towing: N/A
EXTERIOR/INTERIOR COLOR:
Victory Red/Black
STANDARD FEATURES:
HID headlights
Aluminum hood w/painted carbon-fiber hood insert
Magnetic ride control
Limited-slip differential
Dual-mode performance exhaust
Brembo disc brakes
Stability and traction control
OnStar w/six-month trial subscription
Rear parking assist
Rearview camera w/rearview mirror monitor
6-way power adjustable front seats
Heated front passenger seats
Folding rear seats w/pass-through
Auxiliary gauges w/boost read-out
Tilt-and-telescopic steering column
Head-up display
USB port
Bluetooth
SiriusXM satellite radio w/one-year subscription
Rear spoiler
Fog lights
OPTIONS ON THIS VEHICLE:
Suede microfiber package- $500
Exposed carbon-fiber weave hood insert- $600
Solid dark gray stripe- $470
20-inch bright aluminum wheels- $470
GGT- $1300
KEY OPTIONS NOT ON THIS VEHICLE:
6-speed automatic transmission- $1185
Power sunroof- $900
Audio system subwoofer- $1065


2013 Ford Shelby GT500 coupe

MSRP (with destination): $54,995
PRICE AS TESTED: $63,080
ENGINE:
5.8-liter DOHC supercharged V-8
Horsepower: 662 @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 631 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
TRANSMISSION:
6-speed manual
DRIVE:
Rear-wheel
WHEELS AND TIRES:
19-inch aluminum front wheels
20-inch aluminum rear wheels
265/40YR-19 Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G:2 front tires
285/35YR-20 Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G:2 rear tires
FUEL ECONOMY (city/highway/combined):
15/24/18 mpg
CURB WEIGHT:
3852 lb
CAPACITIES:
Doors/Passengers: 2/4
Cargo: 13.4 cu ft
Legroom (front/rear): 42.4/29.8 in
Headroom (front/rear): 38.5/34.7 in
Towing: N/A
EXTERIOR/INTERIOR COLOR:
Grabber Blue/Black
STANDARD FEATURES:
3.31:1 final drive ratio
Aluminum hood w/air extractor
Automatic HID projector headlights
Quad rear-exit exhaust system
Shaker audio system
Sport bucket seats
Sync
Air conditioning
SiriusXM satellite radio w/trial subscription
Electrically assisted steering
Capless fuel filler
Brembo disc brakes
Carbon-fiber driveshaft
Stability and traction control
Launch control system
Manual four-way driver’s seat
OPTIONS ON THIS VEHICLE:
Performance package- $3495
Torsen differential
Painted forged-aluminum wheels
Bilstein adjustable dampers
Unique rear springs, instrument cluster, and shift knob
SVT Track package- $2995
Engine oil cooler
Differential and transmission coolers w/pumps
Leather Recaro seats- $1595
KEY OPTIONS NOT ON THIS VEHICLE:
Glass roof- $1995 Electronics package- $2340 Heated front seats- $295
2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Vs 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1 Front View
Editor's note: This is the second installment of a three-part comparison test between the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and the 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Yesterday, the Camaro upset the GT500 around Gingerman Raceway. Tomorrow, we will explore on-road behavior and render our final verdict.
Ford and Chevy have always strained to outdo each other when it comes to developing pony cars, and their devoted enthusiasts have long built up that tension by trying to settle which car company is king at the drag strip. This mix of dedication and animosity led Ford to birth a 662-hp Shelby GT500 and prompted Chevy to resurrect the ZL1 moniker for their most powerful production Camaro ever, and we spent a day at Milan Dragway in Michigan running them against each other. And, yes, one was quicker than the other.
Before revealing which car went the length in less time, let's set three things straight. One, drag racing isn't all about quarter-mile times. It's as much about car control as it is your time slip. Going faster isn't worth much if a car can't do it safely. Two, "your results may vary," due to track conditions or temperature, or your driving skill that enhances or dulls them. Three, manufacturer loyalties be damned: you're looking at a five-figure, 200-mph Mustang and its Mega Camaro nemesis. Love only one if you must, but respect them both. With that said, let's see what these cars can do once they're staged, starting with the Camaro.

The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 coupe

The original 1969 Camaro ZL1 would run low-13s on stock rubber when other pony cars of the same generation wouldn't get close to that even on a pair of slicks. More than four decades later, the new ZL1 has a lot to live up to. The fact that this is the most potent production Camaro ever, powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 with 580 hp and 556 lb-ft of torque, is a good start, but you need more than grunt to move a car down the strip. Not relying solely on displacement, Chevy enhanced its Camaro with go-fast electronics including a launch control system.
Chevy created five modes that enhance launch control, the highest mode tuned specifically for the VHT-prepped surfaces at the strip. Hit the ZL1's stability control button twice and toggle through the gauge cluster menu to traction management "mode five," which shuts off stability control, and sets traction control to "race," and the magnetorheological dampers to "track." Then all you have to do is stage, put the clutch and accelerator pedals to the floor, and slot the gear lever into first. The system modulates launch rpm to maximize available traction. When the green light comes on, lift your left foot and the ZL1 goes from predicting perfect launch rpm to managing how much assistance is needed to stop the rear 305-section tires from smoking and start moving the Camaro out of the hole. Launch control isn't available on cars equipped with the automatic transmission, but that's OK because we think the manual is a must in any ZL1.
The six-speed Tremec TR6060 feels meaty and well built, and there's never a moment's doubt that the trans can handle engine output. For the ZL1, Chevy designed the shifter in-house, and it feels just as good on the strip as the available Hurst short-throw unit in the SS does, but much more fluid in street driving. The best feature of this gearbox, however, is no-lift shift, which means you can keep the accelerator pinned down while changing ratios. The key to perfecting the no-lift shift, according to Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser, is short-shifting. Not way before redline but just enough that the 1.9-liter supercharger has time to produce boost between gears.
Taking the ZL1 the length isn't very dramatic. The exhaust isn't earsplitting, and the front tires stay true and straight. The car's head-up display is unneeded, because there's plenty of time to glance down at the standard tachometer between shifts. The car is extremely predictable, easy to control, and it doesn't try to put you into the outside wall every time you lift off the throttle. It's not a frightening experience at all, which isn't what you'd expect from something packing 580 hp. We loved hot-lapping the Chevy. After each pass, we'd roll the windows down and crank the air conditioning, forcing the car's electric fan to come on, helping lower temperatures in both the engine and the supercharger's intercooler. Then we would drive through the staging lanes, back to the tree, roll up the windows, and turn off the air conditioning, ready for another run. The car never hiccupped or showed any signs of fatigue, which made us do even more consecutive passes. We weren't once let down by the ZL1's performance.
The car is both a lion and a pussycat. It's extremely powerful and very satisfying to drive in a straight line. That said there's not a lot of theater in doing so. There are no heroic saves or mid-strip slides. For that stunning spectacle, we turn to the car we ran against the Chevy.

The 2013 Ford Shelby GT5000

Sorry, Ford, but your precious 200 mph boast couldn't matter less when the GT500 has only 1320 feet to make a statement. Which is not to say that it can't.
The scene begins in the water box. Turn off stability and traction control, and roll the car over recently hosed-down pavement until the rear tires are sitting in a shallow puddle of water. Right foot revving the engine, left foot comes off the clutch and touches the brakes. The rear tires break loose, spin and smoke, but the GT500 sits still, like a dragster with a front-brake line lock. There's only billowing white smoke and a perfectly poised, immobile car.
The scene continues, rear tires roasted, when the car creeps forward so quietly you'd think you were driving a hybrid. Pre-staged, it's time to enable the Shelby's launch control system, which is extremely simple. Turn stability and traction control back on, then press the little button to the left of the steering wheel marked "LC", and presto. Then just choose launch rpm and crawl forward to stage. Both feet are flat to the floor until you're ready to take off.
Up to this point, the GT500 has been as easy and as uneventful to drive as its tame competitor. The mise en scene is quite similar, but something feels much different. The green light pops on, the GT500 has a sudden mood change and is no longer as sane as it first seemed, and the scene completely morphs.
The 662-hp, 5.8-liter V-8 with a 2.3-liter supercharger on top screams and whines like a demonic toddler having a meltdown. The rear end starts to kick out, quelled by slight steering adjustments to keep the car's nose pointed dead ahead. The needle on the tach climbs as the car claws against the strip and begins its charge towards the finish line. And just when you've stopped worrying about getting the 3852-lb behemoth under control, you start worrying about shifting to second.
Unlike the ZL1, the GT500 can be had only with a six-speed manual transmission. It's a Tremec TR6060 as well, but the transmission in the Ford couldn't feel more different from the Chevy's. Shift action is shorter and tighter, and the gates are so close they feel like they're sitting on top of each other. Then there are the gear ratios. You can run an all-out quarter-mile in the GT500 using only three gears, but it takes four in the ZL1. The less shifting you have to do in the Ford, the better. The clutch pedal is very heavy, has a lot of travel, and is difficult to push all the way to the firewall. And if you tried the ZL1's "no-lift shift" technique in the Ford, you'd rip the body-mounted linkage right out of the transmission tunnel.
Quickly and successfully choose second gear with an old-fashioned yank, though, and the GT500 rewards you with terrifying straight-line speed. It's so fast that you start thinking the six-piston front brake calipers won't slow the car enough for it to exit the strip. Then comes third gear, which feels like it's in the same position as first, and you stay in it for the rest of the run. You cross the finish line -- in less time than it takes to tie your shoes -- and immediately get on the brakes. If you're brave, you can look down at the speedometer to see the needle start its descent from well over 100 mph.
The car slows down in plenty of time to avoid powersliding through the strip's exit, and it's a calm drive back to the staging lanes. And all the way back, you can't help but wonder how a driving experience so visceral and entertaining could come from this car, now as poised and sane as it was before the run. The scene ends. The Shelby has made its statement.

Hoods up, back in the pits

The ZL1 did its best pass in 12.38 seconds at 114.5 mph, while the GT500 turned the quarter-mile in 11.78 seconds at 125 mph. So there you have it, Ford beats Chevy. But like we said, drag racing is about more than time slips.
Chevrolet made a modern-in-every-way pony car, and Ford built something with the character of an old-school muscle car, overlaid with track-focused technology. The two have very distinct, individual ways of making it down the strip, but the common thread between the two is gratification. Every single pass in the GT500 and ZL1 was a ball, and was so involving that we couldn't care less about our time slips. Sure, we were happy to be turning times less than a second off those that require a full roll cage, but we cared more about soaking up every second we could with these two.
Everyone at Milan Dragway felt the attraction as well. Ford guys loved the look of the ZL1, the GT500's sub-12 second runs blew Chevy guys away, and everyone agreed that both cars are sensational. And since both cars have a base price of $54,995, there was much debate over which car was more of a steal. What surprised us was the ease with which Chevy and Ford guys admitted that. Warring factions of people finally fessing up to the fact that the other side can do something right -- that's pretty cool.

2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 coupe

MSRP (with destination): $54,995
PRICE AS TESTED: $58,335
ENGINE:
6.2-liter OHV supercharged V-8
Horsepower: 580 @ 6100 rpm
Torque: 556 lb-ft @ 3800 rpm
TRANSMISSION:
6-speed manual
DRIVE:
Rear-wheel
WHEELS AND TIRES:
20-inch aluminum wheels
285/35YR-20 Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G:2 front tires
305/35YR-20 Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G:2 rear tires
FUEL ECONOMY (city/highway/combined):
14/19/16 mpg
CURB WEIGHT:
4120 lb
CAPACITIES:
Doors/Passengers: 2/4
Cargo: 11.3 cu ft
Legroom (front/rear): 42.4/29.9 in
Headroom (front/rear): 37.4/35.3 in
Towing: N/A
EXTERIOR/INTERIOR COLOR:
Victory Red/Black
STANDARD FEATURES:
HID headlights
Aluminum hood w/painted carbon-fiber hood insert
Magnetic ride control
Limited-slip differential
Dual-mode performance exhaust
Brembo disc brakes
Stability and traction control
OnStar w/six-month trial subscription
Rear parking assist
Rearview camera w/rearview mirror monitor
6-way power adjustable front seats
Heated front passenger seats
Folding rear seats w/pass-through
Auxiliary gauges w/boost read-out
Tilt-and-telescopic steering column
Head-up display
USB port
Bluetooth
SiriusXM satellite radio w/one-year subscription
Rear spoiler
Fog lights
OPTIONS ON THIS VEHICLE:
Suede microfiber package- $500
Exposed carbon-fiber weave hood insert- $600
Solid dark gray stripe- $470
20-inch bright aluminum wheels- $470
GGT- $1300
KEY OPTIONS NOT ON THIS VEHICLE:
6-speed automatic transmission- $1185
Power sunroof- $900
Audio system subwoofer- $1065


2013 Ford Shelby GT500 coupe

MSRP (with destination): $54,995
PRICE AS TESTED: $63,080
ENGINE:
5.8-liter DOHC supercharged V-8
Horsepower: 662 @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 631 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
TRANSMISSION:
6-speed manual
DRIVE:
Rear-wheel
WHEELS AND TIRES:
19-inch aluminum front wheels
20-inch aluminum rear wheels
265/40YR-19 Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G:2 front tires
285/35YR-20 Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G:2 rear tires
FUEL ECONOMY (city/highway/combined):
15/24/18 mpg
CURB WEIGHT:
3852 lb
CAPACITIES:
Doors/Passengers: 2/4
Cargo: 13.4 cu ft
Legroom (front/rear): 42.4/29.8 in
Headroom (front/rear): 38.5/34.7 in
Towing: N/A
EXTERIOR/INTERIOR COLOR:
Grabber Blue/Black
STANDARD FEATURES:
3.31:1 final drive ratio
Aluminum hood w/air extractor
Automatic HID projector headlights
Quad rear-exit exhaust system
Shaker audio system
Sport bucket seats
Sync
Air conditioning
SiriusXM satellite radio w/trial subscription
Electrically assisted steering
Capless fuel filler
Brembo disc brakes
Carbon-fiber driveshaft
Stability and traction control
Launch control system
Manual four-way driver’s seat
OPTIONS ON THIS VEHICLE:
Performance package- $3495
Torsen differential
Painted forged-aluminum wheels
Bilstein adjustable dampers
Unique rear springs, instrument cluster, and shift knob
SVT Track package- $2995
Engine oil cooler
Differential and transmission coolers w/pumps
Leather Recaro seats- $1595
KEY OPTIONS NOT ON THIS VEHICLE:
Glass roof- $1995 Electronics package- $2340 Heated front seats- $295
2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1 Vs 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Front View 2
Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a three-part comparison test between the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500. Tomorrow, we’ll run the two cars at the drag strip to record quarter-mile times and consistency. The third installment will explore on-road behavior and render our final verdict.
The fight for pony-car supremacy has been raging for decades. Chevrolet Camaro versus Ford Mustang is a duel without a definitive ending. Battles are fought and won with every new variant and each model year change, yet there's never enough momentum in any one direction to decide the war.
While this feud won't end anytime soon, the stakes are higher than ever in the latest Mustang-Camaro skirmish. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 and the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 are the heavy guns in the pony-car arms race, representing the pinnacle of performance and technology. A win here is as close as it gets to declaring victory.
2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Vs 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Track Map
On paper, this round should be a no-brainer. The GT500 has been granted 112 additional ponies for 2013, now totaling a barbarian-like 662 hp and 631 lb-ft of torque delivered from its bored-out, supercharged V-8 motor. By comparison, the most powerful Camaro yet brings a mere 580 hp and 556 lb-ft of torque with its 6.2-liter supercharged V-8. The GT500 has a 0-60 time of 3.8 seconds besting the ZL1's 4.3. The top speed of the Camaro is impressive at 180 mph, but it is consummately thrashed by the Shelby, which will do a staggering 200 mph.
If this was a battle of numbers, clearly we had a winner. If this was a matter of subjective opinion -- well, the diehard fans have already picked sides. So this part of the test isn't about who has the burliest bicep or whose chiseled abs can undress a Victoria's Secret supermodel. To settle this bout, we brought in a neutral third party: a racetrack. This test is about which car can turn a lap fastest. To find out who would be victorious, we visited Gingerman Raceway in Michigan, a 2.14-mile venue capable of unearthing any unsavory habits hiding behind those impressive horsepower figures.
As I wheeled the Shelby GT500 around Gingerman, the first thing to strike me was how long the gear ratios are. A full lap needs only second and third gear, a preposterous fact when you realize I was maxing out at about 130 mph on the back straight. Having just two usable gears really limited my choices and I often felt either over- or undergeared for each bend. Additionally, the Tremec six-speed transmission's shifter isn't the crispest; its throws are long, causing slow but at least consistent shifting.
Entering the turns, the Shelby displays a boatload of body roll. That's not completely surprising given the GT500's humble origins, but I expected more from the Bilstein two-mode adjustable shocks, which are part of the $3495 Performance Package. The car wallows like a stuck pig and I desperately attempted to load up the outside wheels on corner entry. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't calm the Shelby to precisely attack a corner. To make matters worse, the understeer in the fast turns was significant, meaning I was unable to carry the speed through the important fast sections of the lap. Power down, however, was solid and when the rear did break loose, the car was easily manageable.
Even with the long gear ratios, power is always underfoot in the Shelby. The GT500 charged down the straights with unrelenting acceleration and unquestionable authority. Shortcomings in the handling seemed of little concern to a car that could make such quick work of the space between corners. The Ford logged a best lap time of a 1:45.21.
Clearly, for the Camaro to come out on top, it had a small mountain to climb. There is no hiding the 80-hp deficit in the ZL1 and despite the Shelby's hoggish handling, I initially thought its power advantage was too great. The Camaro is further hobbled by a curb weight of 4120 pounds compared to the relatively svelte Shelby at 3850 pounds. The differences were clear on the track. At the end of the back straight, the ZL1 was down more than 6 mph to the brutish GT500.
It looked like the chubbier ZL1 was fighting a losing battle, but as I entered the first few turns, I noticed something significant. I felt like I was driving a sports car. The steering was sharp and responsive and the car reacted instantaneously to my actions. The body roll is a fraction of the GT500's, which is simply titanic. I began smiling. The ZL1 was magnificent to drive and already I was blown away. The car rotates effortlessly mid-corner and power down is predictable and with poise. It oozed with confidence, daring me to push even harder. Chevrolet's Performance Traction Management has five distinct settings and frankly it's overkill. I switched it off entirely.
The Camaro's secret weapon is the Magnetic Ride Control that comes standard on the ZL1. This clever system varies damper firmness to match road and driving conditions. It has three settings: tour, sport, and track, the latter of which can only be selected when Performance Traction Managment is set to its highest mode. Within each setting, the magnetorheological dampers allow for a greater range of control than conventional dampers, leading to a tailor-made ride for every eventuality, including our Gingerman Raceway.
This battle was shaping up to be closer than expected. Could the ZL1 undermine the GT500's monstrous power by beating it through the corners?
There was one more weakness working against the Chevy. While the shifter's throws are shorter and sharper in the ZL1, the gate is clumsy and difficult to engage from second to third gear. At least once a lap I miss a shift, flailing to get the car into third. I found myself cursing at its inability to shift smoothly -- a nasty trait that could cost the ZL1 victory. More frustrating is the fact that both cars use essentially the same six-speed manual transmission, albeit with different ratios.
I pulled into the pit, unable to pull off a lap of seamless shifts. My gut told me that without the ZL1's annoying shifting issues I would have been close to overcoming the mighty Shelby. With the botched shifts, I likely fell short.
I wanted the ZL1 to win, because from an on-track handling perspective the car is simply leagues ahead of the clumsy GT500. Going into this, I never expected the difference to be so dramatic and yet I had no problem picking a favorite having driven both. I could barely stand still, hopping from leg to leg like a man in desperate need of relieving himself, waiting to receive the results.
The time was in: 1:44.53. A significant seven-tenths of a second faster than the GT500. And I estimate the missed shifts cost upwards of half a second per lap. With an 80-hp deficit, the underdog came through by a monumental amount. That's a staggering achievement against a car that, by all measures, is fantastic in its own right. What Chevy has done is combine a fully-fledged sports car into a muscle car's body. Although I wish the shifter was smoother, the Camaro ZL1 is a fantastic piece of engineering.
From an on-track perspective there is no contest. For this year, at least, the victory well and truly belongs to the ZL1. Its handling capabilities far exceed the straight-line advantage owned by the Shelby. But remember, this victory may only be short-lived. After all, we are less than two years away from the birth of the redesigned Mustang, which will likely ditch the ancient live rear axle in favor of the superior independent rear suspension. And this could mean we rewrite the rulebook yet again. Then again, as we found out today, the rulebook doesn't mean much anyway.
Alex Lloyd is a race car driver hailing from Manchester, England. He moved to America in 2006, winning the Indy Lights championship the following year. Alex has raced in two Daytona 24-hour races, earning a best finish of fifth overall, and has competed in four Indianapolis 500s. In 2010, he placed fourth in that race and won the IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Championship. Follow him on Twitter @Alex_Lloyd.

2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 coupe

MSRP (with destination): $54,995
PRICE AS TESTED: $58,335
ENGINE:
6.2-liter OHV supercharged V-8
Horsepower: 580 @ 6100 rpm
Torque: 556 lb-ft @ 3800 rpm
TRANSMISSION:
6-speed manual
DRIVE:
Rear-wheel
WHEELS AND TIRES:
20-inch aluminum wheels
285/35YR-20 Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G:2 front tires
305/35YR-20 Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G:2 rear tires
FUEL ECONOMY (city/highway/combined):
14/19/16 mpg
CURB WEIGHT:
4120 lb
CAPACITIES:
Doors/Passengers: 2/4
Cargo: 11.3 cu ft
Legroom (front/rear): 42.4/29.9 in
Headroom (front/rear): 37.4/35.3 in
Towing: N/A
EXTERIOR/INTERIOR COLOR:
Victory Red/Black
STANDARD FEATURES:
HID headlights
Aluminum hood w/painted carbon-fiber hood insert
Magnetic ride control
Limited-slip differential
Dual-mode performance exhaust
Brembo disc brakes
Stability and traction control
OnStar w/six-month trial subscription
Rear parking assist
Rearview camera w/rearview mirror monitor
6-way power adjustable front seats
Heated front passenger seats
Folding rear seats w/pass-through
Auxiliary gauges w/boost read-out
Tilt-and-telescopic steering column
Head-up display
USB port
Bluetooth
SiriusXM satellite radio w/one-year subscription
Rear spoiler
Fog lights
OPTIONS ON THIS VEHICLE:
Suede microfiber package- $500
Exposed carbon-fiber weave hood insert- $600
Solid dark gray stripe- $470
20-inch bright aluminum wheels- $470
GGT- $1300
KEY OPTIONS NOT ON THIS VEHICLE:
6-speed automatic transmission- $1185
Power sunroof- $900
Audio system subwoofer- $1065

2013 Ford Shelby GT500 coupe

MSRP (with destination): $54,995
PRICE AS TESTED: $63,080
ENGINE:
5.8-liter DOHC supercharged V-8
Horsepower: 662 @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 631 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
TRANSMISSION:
6-speed manual
DRIVE:
Rear-wheel
WHEELS AND TIRES:
19-inch aluminum front wheels
20-inch aluminum rear wheels
265/40YR-19 Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G:2 front tires
285/35YR-20 Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar G:2 rear tires
FUEL ECONOMY (city/highway/combined):
15/24/18 mpg
CURB WEIGHT:
3852 lb
CAPACITIES:
Doors/Passengers: 2/4
Cargo: 13.4 cu ft
Legroom (front/rear): 42.4/29.8 in
Headroom (front/rear): 38.5/34.7 in
Towing: N/A
EXTERIOR/INTERIOR COLOR:
Grabber Blue/Black
STANDARD FEATURES:
3.31:1 final drive ratio
Aluminum hood w/air extractor
Automatic HID projector headlights
Quad rear-exit exhaust system
Shaker audio system
Sport bucket seats
Sync
Air conditioning
SiriusXM satellite radio w/trial subscription
Electrically assisted steering
Capless fuel filler
Brembo disc brakes
Carbon-fiber driveshaft
Stability and traction control
Launch control system
Manual four-way driver’s seat
OPTIONS ON THIS VEHICLE:
Performance package- $3495
Torsen differential
Painted forged-aluminum wheels
Bilstein adjustable dampers
Unique rear springs, instrument cluster, and shift knob
SVT Track package- $2995
Engine oil cooler
Differential and transmission coolers w/pumps
Leather Recaro seats- $1595
KEY OPTIONS NOT ON THIS VEHICLE:
Glass roof- $1995 Electronics package- $2340 Heated front seats- $295
2012 Chevrolet Camaro
2012 Chevrolet Camaro
Now in its third year, the redesigned Camaro is one of the most attractive vehicles to come out of the retro design craze that swept through the automotive industry in the last decade. Its taut, sleek body and muscular stance manage to evoke forty years of Camaro history yet look thoroughly modern. Unfortunately, it looks better than it performs; numb steering and a hefty curb weight mean that the Camaro is more of a Sunday cruiser than a corner carver, especially in convertible form. But Chevy hopes to put those criticisms to rest with the Camaro ZL1, which is motivated by the same supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that powers the Cadillac CTS-V but here produces 580 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque. The big V-8 is mated to a six-speed manual short-throw shifter or an optional six-speed automatic. Chevy added other features that could finally make the Camaro a true performance car, such as magnetorheological dampers, the Performance Traction Management system borrowed from the Corvette ZR1, electric power steering in place of the standard hydraulic setup, and twenty-inch Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar G:2 tires developed specifically for the ZL1. Chevy made extensive revisions to the base engine, which is now lighter and more powerful. Inside, the retro bent continues but with mixed results. The cabin has a fairly convincing look overall, but inconsistent fit and finish and somewhat clumsy ergonomics lag behind what is offered in the competition. But if you are looking for style with heritage and tons of street presence, nothing in this class does it better than the Camaro.
2014 Chevrolet SS Badge1
Chevrolet's SS badge has a long and storied history -- many cars have been worthy of the legendary "Super Sport," while others (remember the Malibu Maxx SS?) were certainly not. In honor of the revival of the SS badge for the 2014 Chevrolet SS rear-wheel drive sedan, which debuts this weekend, we have rounded up our favorite 10 SS-badged Chevys from over the years. Check them out below.
1967 Chevrolet Camaro Hot Wheels Concept Rear View1
The muscle-bound 2012 COPO Camaro Convertible isn’t the only performance vehicle Chevrolet’s bringing to the 2012 SEMA show in Las Vegas. Here’s a quick look at a few other one-off Corvettes and Camaros heading to this year’s SEMA show.
2012 Chevrolet COPO Camaro Convertible Front View
Although we expected most of the drag-prepped 2012 Chevrolet COPO Camaros to be more or less identical, Chevrolet threw a bow tie-shaped wrench into that assumption this morning at the 2012 SEMA Show: the last two 2012 COPO Camaros will be convertibles, and one will be auctioned off for charity.
2013 Chevrolet Camaro NASCAR Nationwide Car Front Three Quarters View 2
Chevrolet is modeling its 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup car after the forthcoming 2014 SS sedan, but it’s taking a little different tact for its 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series car, and modeling it after a 2013 Camaro.
2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 And 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Front View On Track
As we noted in our comparison test between the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500, the muscle car wars never end. Heck, neither does our test, for that matter, as we now have some visceral footage of us putting the two through their paces on the road, strip, and track – albeit not necessarily in that order.

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Certified Pre-Owned 2012 Chevrolet Camaro Pricing

Certified Pre Owned Price
$19,500

Used 2012 Chevrolet Camaro Values / Pricing

Suggested Retail Price
$23,280

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2012 Chevrolet Camaro
2012 Chevrolet Camaro
LS RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6
17 MPG City | 28 MPG Hwy
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Base RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6
19 MPG City | 29 MPG Hwy
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2012 Chevrolet Camaro
2012 Chevrolet Camaro
LS RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6
17 MPG City | 28 MPG Hwy
rank
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2012 Nissan Altima
SR FWD 2-Dr Coupe V6
20 MPG City | 27 MPG Hwy
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2012 Chevrolet Camaro
2012 Chevrolet Camaro
LS RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6
$23,280
Top Ranking Vehicles - Price
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2012 Chevrolet Camaro
2012 Chevrolet Camaro
LS RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6
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2012 Chevrolet Camaro
2012 Chevrolet Camaro
LS RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6
323hp
Top Ranking Vehicles - Horsepower
rank
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2012 Chevrolet Camaro
2012 Chevrolet Camaro
LS RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6
323hp

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Specifications

Quick Glance:
Engine
3.6L V6Engine
Fuel economy City:
17 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
28 MPG
Horsepower:
323 hp @ 6800rpm
Torque:
278 ft lb of torque @ 4800rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation
Vehicle
36,000 miles / 36 months
Powertrain
100,000 miles / 60 months
Corrosion
100,000 miles / 72 months
Roadside
100,000 miles / 60 months
Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:30
Component
AIR BAGS
Summary
General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain model year 2012 Chevrolet Camaro, Cruze and Sonic, and model year 2012 Buick Verano vehicles. The driver side frontal air bag has a shorting bar which may intermittently contact the air bag terminals.
Consequences
If the bar and terminals are contacting each other at the time of a crash necessitating deployment of the driver's frontal air bag, that air bag will not deploy, increasing the driver's risk of injury.
Remedy
GM will notify owners, and dealers will replace the steering wheel air bag coil, free of charge. The safety recall began on February 13, 2013. Owners may contact General Motors at 1-800-521-7300.
Potential Units Affected
4,167
Notes
General Motors LLC


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:40
Component
AIR BAGS
Summary
General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain model year 2012 Buick Verano vehicles manufactured December 2, 2011 to July, 16, 2012, Chevrolet Cruze vehicles manufactured December 7, 2011 to July 25, 2012, Chevrolet Sonic vehicles manufactured December 5, 2011 to August 2, 2012, and Chevrolet Camaro vehicles manufactured December 1, 2011 to June 11, 2012. The driver side frontal air bag has a shorting bar which may intermittently contact the air bag terminals.
Consequences
If the bar and terminals are contacting each other at the time of a crash necessitating deployment of the driver's frontal air bag, that air bag will not deploy, increasing the driver's risk of injury.
Remedy
GM will notify owners, and dealers will replace the steering wheel air bag coil, free of charge. The recall began on July 25, 2014. Chevrolet owners may contact GM at 1-800-222-1020. Buick owners may contact GM at 1-800-521-7300. Note: This is an expansion of recalls 12V-522 and 13V-023.
Potential Units Affected
31,520
Notes
General Motors LLC


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:40
Component
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM:IGNITION
Summary
General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling all 2010-2014 Chevrolet Camaro vehicles manufactured December 3, 2008 to May 23, 2014. In the affected vehicles, the driver may accidentally hit the ignition key with their knee, unintentionally knocking the key out of the run position, turning off the engine.
Consequences
If the key is not in the run position, the air bags may not deploy if the vehicle is involved in a crash, increasing the risk of injury. Additionally, a key knocked out of the run position could cause loss of engine power, power steering, and power braking, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash.
Remedy
GM will notify owners, and dealers will remove the key blade from the original flip key/RKE transmitter assemblies, and provide two new keys and two key rings per key. The recall began August 25, 2014. Owners may contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020. GM's number for this recall is 14294. Note: Until the recall has been performed, it is very important that drivers adjust their seat and steering column to allow clearance between their knee and the ignition key.
Potential Units Affected
464,712
Notes
General Motors LLC


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:40
Component
SEATS:FRONT ASSEMBLY:POWER ADJUST
Summary
General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain model year 2011-2012 Buick LaCrosse, Regal and Chevrolet Camaro, as well as certain 2010-2012 Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain vehicles, equipped with power height adjustable driver and passenger seats. In the affected vehicles, the bolt that secures the driver's and passenger's power front seat height adjuster may fall out causing the seat to drop suddenly to the lowest vertical position.
Consequences
If the driver's seat unexpectedly drops, the distraction and altered seat position may affect the drivers' control of the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.
Remedy
GM will notify owners, and dealers will replace the height adjuster shoulder bolts, free of charge. The manufacturer distributed interim letters to owners on September 11, 2014. The recall began on December 26, 2014. Owners may contact GM customer service at 1-800-521-7300 (Buick), 1-800-458-8006 (Cadillac), 1-800-222-1020 (Chevrolet), or 1-800-462-8782 (GMC). GM's number for this recall is 14271.
Potential Units Affected
414,333
Notes
General Motors LLC


NHTSA Rating Front Driver
5
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
5
NHTSA Rating Front Side
5
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
5
NHTSA Rating Overall
5
NHTSA Rating Rollover
5
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
N/R
IIHS Overall Side Crash
N/R
IIHS Best Pick
N/R
IIHS Rear Crash
N/R
IIHS Roof Strength
N/R

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5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro

Depreciation
19.7%
Loss in Value + Expenses
= 5 Year Cost to Own
Depreciation
$6,768
19.7%
Insurance
$6,760
19.7%
Fuel Cost
$11,730
34.2%
Financing
$2,046
6%
Maintenance
$4,790
14%
Repair Costs
$1,801
5.3%
State Fees
$382
1.1%
Five Year Cost of Ownership: $34,277 What's This?
Value Rating: Below Average