To fight against Ford, count on more Camaro variants

As soon as it became clear that the top-dog Camaro would bear the name ZL1, enthusiasts began connecting the dots between the unused Z28 badge and Ford's Mustang Boss 302. Chevrolet appears to be connecting those dots, too, albeit more slowly than we might like -- a Z28 won't arrive before sometime next year at the soonest. Although it's always possible that GM could pull a special engine from its portfolio -- the Corvette Z06's 7.0-liter LS7 is especially tantalizing -- the Z28 would most likely mimic the Boss, combining mild improvements to the base V-8 with major suspension upgrades. In the meantime, Camaro buyers in search of better handling can opt for a new "FE4" handling package. Available only on SS models, the aggressive new setup attempts to address the understeering tendencies we've complained about from day one with retuned antiroll bars and firmer dampers. Six-cylinder cars get a bump in power to nearly 325 hp -- as much as the last-generation SS -- thanks to better-flowing cylinder heads that feature integrated exhaust manifolds. All models receive an interior update that bids adieu to the good-looking but hard-to-grip deep-dish steering wheel. Buyers have responded well to special appearance packages, so expect plenty more of them, including a unique trim level celebrating the Camaro's forty-fifth anniversary.

Camaro ZL1
WHAT A 550-hp, supercharged Shelby GT500-fighter.
WHEN Early 2012
GO FAST FOR LESS With magnetically controlled dampers, Brembo brakes, and a blown 6.2-liter, the Camaro ZL1 spec sheet reads just like that of the Cadillac CTS-V, which is a very good thing. But the ZL1 also has its own reasons to exist. Along with the menacing looks, there's an intoxicating dual-mode exhaust and a $15,000 discount.

C'mon VW, drop the Audi five cylinder in the GTI or Golf R.

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