2016 Chevy Camaro Sneak Preview
Why? Because the muscle-ponycar rivalry is in full-swing
We've known for four years that the 2016 Chevy Camaro will switch from GM's heavy, aging, Australian-based Zeta platform to the new, all-singing, all-dancing Alpha platform. It will not be on the Cadillac ATS's short-wheelbase version of Alpha but on the long-wheelbase version used for the 2014 Cadillac CTS. As with the CTS, the new Camaro will lose several hundred pounds of weight in its next iteration.
Why the long wheelbase? At 114.6 inches, it's just 2.3 inches longer than the current Camaro's wheelbase and shorter than the Dodge Challenger's, although it is a full 7.5 inches longer than the Mustang's. The Alpha platform is narrower than the Zeta platform, at least in CTS form, so the effect on the Camaro's all-important footprint as factored into its Corporate Average Fuel Economy target may be negligible.
Engine choices will remain the SS and high-performance variants of the small-block V-8, as well as the 3.6-liter V-6. To go toe-to-toe with the Mustang EcoBoost, the '16 Camaro will be offered with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine for the first time; in this case, it's a version of Cadillac's 272-hp, 295 lb-ft 2.0-liter.
Keeping the 2016 Chevy Camaro on the larger side also leaves room in the Chevrolet lineup for a Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ competitor, as previewed by the Code 130R concept from 2012. That rear-wheel-drive project may have been sidelined, however. At least one source believes the small sporty coupe, set also for the '16 model year, will instead be based on the front-wheel-drive Tru 140S concept that was unveiled alongside the Code 130R.
Although we have no spy shots to dissect, we've long heard that the 2016 Chevy Camaro will have heritage cues from the second-generation Camaro, which premiered as a 1970½ model. We think it might look something like this, with the two-window daylight opening and a thick, semi-fastback C-pillar with no B-pillar. Our illustrator emphasized the waterline bodyside to separate the upper and lower segments, like the gen-two Camaro, and separated the headlamps from the center grille.
The modern variation of the '70½ Camaro RS grille also ties it in with the squared-off eggcrate grilles making their way into most Chevy sedans, but with a center scoop to line up the grille with a powerdome that accentuates the Camaro's muscle-car image. Our illustrator extended the black powerdome accent onto the roof to visually lower the car, and this is repeated again on the rear spoiler's edge, rendered as an aerodynamic aide in carbon fiber. The coke bottle fender flares are more exaggerated than with the 2010-15 model. Front LED turn signals intersect with the LED headlamps.
Despite having the CTS's wheelbase, we expect the new Camaro to be at least five inches shorter overall than the luxury sedan and about the same overall length as the current car.
Some recent reports say the 2016 Chevy Camaro will be an evolutionary design and nothing as radical as this rendering indicates. If so, Chevy design has retrenched in light of the conservative 2015 Ford Mustang. But while the new Mustang also is on a new platform with independent rear suspension, most of its dimensions other than height are either close to, or exactly the same (wheelbase, for instance) as the outgoing model. The current Camaro outsold the Mustang from 2010 to 2013 largely on its daring design, and it's hard to believe that Chevrolet would suddenly get cautious after shifting its fashion-forward halo onto a new platform.