Los Angeles 2010: Chevy Drops the Top on the 2011 Camaro Convertible

What better place to launch a new convertible than Los Angeles, where it's nearly 70 degrees in mid-November. That's just what Chevrolet did today at the LA Auto Show, rolling out the new Camaro Convertible.

Set to go on-sale in February, the 2011 Camaro Convertible features a folding soft-top rather than the metal units that are all the rage these days. The roof comes in black or tan and is lined with acoustic foam to keep the interior quiet when the roof is up. All the better, since you'll be treated to a new seven-speaker sound system with a factory sub woofer. Like the Corvette Convertible, the Camaro's roof will be a one-hand operation that takes about 20 seconds to raise or lower.

According to GM, a Camaro Convertible was never an afterthought -- the car's structure was reportedly designed from day one to accommodate a topless model, and engineers worked to strengthen the body -- not soften the suspension -- to compensate for the lack of a fixed roof. Camaro Convertible models receive additional structural bracing, including an underhood strut tower brace, a transmission support reinforcement, an underbody tunnel brace, and front-and-rear underbody V-braces. To help curtail cowl shake, the A-pillars are reinforced with hydroformed tubing, an inner bracket in the header, strengthened front hinge pillars, and reinforced rockers. All this work pays off -- according to GM, the Camaro Convertible offers torsional rigidity eclipsing that of a BMW 3 Series convertible.

Available with either the V-6 or V-8 engine and manual or automatic transmissions, the new drop-top will add just 276 pounds to the curb weight and about $5300 to the base price, with base models starting at $30,000. At their press conference, Chevrolet also announced another Camaro variant for the Detroit show in January, and while they weren't specific, it's expected to be the long-awaited Z-28 high-performance model.

Stay tuned to Automobile for all your 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show coverage.

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