2009 Chevrolet Camaro - Sneak Preview 2008

2009 Chevrolet Camaro - Sneak Preview 2008

Browse through any Camaro forum on the Internet, and the common cry is hard to miss: "What's taking so long?" Potential buyers are frustrated by the tedious wait for a Ford Mustang/Dodge Challenger-fighter, and GM hasn't officially given word as to when the Camaro will reach showrooms (production is rumored to commence next February). But here's a simple question for those starving for their baby Vette: would you rather cry now, or later?

As the General spends more time readying the Camaro, Ford gobbles up three years of leaked information and uses it to tweak the next-generation Mustang. Giving GM's biggest competitor a head start to design a Camaro-beater only hurts Chevrolet's long-term success. Yes, more time spent in R&D theoretically equals a better car, but perhaps GM has waited too long.

So, we know there are benefits and drawbacks to the lengthy Camaro wait. But what else have we learned since the concept Camaro debuted in January 2006? Well, oil can sell for roughly $110 per barrel, and economists predict that Americans will soon pay $4.00 for a gallon of gasoline. This, in addition to the new 35-mpg CAFE standards, gives some footing to rumors that GM intends to work its two-mode hybrid technology into the Camaro lineup. While the General hasn't revealed final Camaro engine choices - a 6.2-liter V-8 and a 3.6-liter V-6 are expected - GM vice chairman Bob Lutz also confirmed that a 2.0-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged four-cylinder is on the table.

If either hybrid technology or a four-cylinder engine finds its way into the Camaro, GM might feel more inclined to produce a Pontiac version of its pony car, which would help amortize development and production costs. In other news, spy shots have confirmed that the production Camaro will indeed have a B-pillar (unlike the concept), and hood striping suggests an SS model is in the works.

BITCHIN' CAMARO - THERE, WE SAID IT: GM's gill-fendered retro muscle car is possibly the most anticipated launch of the decade. It's good-looking, likely to drive well (if its platform mates are any indication), and just plain cool.

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