Sure, the 1LE Extreme Track Performance package bumps up the price of the Camaro ZL1 by 12 percent, but we’re still talking about a 650-horsepower giant killer for less than half the price of a Porsche 911 GT3.
“Superb handling, monster motor, and fantastic value,” pro racer and contributor Andy Pilgrim said.
But certain compromises come along with that impressive pace. Stone tires made by a caveman would offer more grip than the bespoke track-focused Goodyear rubber when cold, and the stiff springs paired with the Multimatic DSSV dampers turn the ZL1 1LE into a pogo stick on the road. Additionally, the throttle connected to the supercharged V-8 is ultra-aggressive, and the steering, though adjustable, is weighted for the arms of a Spandex-garnished pro wrestler.
Outside, the extroverted Camaro carries styling details and aero add-ons that battle closely with the Honda Civic Type R in the mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-who’s-the-silliest-of-them-all battle. It’s very much a function-over-form type of car, but we’re sure the wicked-fast Camaro doesn’t give a rat’s ass if you find it unappealing to the eye.
There’s a pure muscle-car-clocking-fast-laps attraction here. Chevrolet, thankfully, still offers a six-speed manual (there’s also a 10-speed automatic), and the whole experience makes you smile in an I-don’t-want-cars-like-this-to-disappear way. If it’s the type of automobile you like, the styling doesn’t make you want to hide in a paper bag, and you regularly play at the racetrack, it certainly won’t disappoint.
“It’s a blissful driving experience,” raved contributor Chris Nelson. “Supercar performance, muscle car charm, an evocative and brash package with a great value proposition.”
Will the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE run away with an All-Star trophy amid ample tire smoke, or did its compromised livability make our judges think twice? Find out on Saturday, March 10, when we announce the winners at the 2018 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance—and right here on automobilemag.com.
2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Specifications
|PRICE||$62,495/$73,485 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||6.2L OHV 16-valve supercharged V-8/650 hp @ 6,400 rpm, 650 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm|
|LAYOUT||2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe|
|EPA MILEAGE||14/20 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||188.3 x 74.7 x 52.4 in|
|0-60 MPH||3.5 sec|
|TOP SPEED||190 mph|