Lighter and more powerful 2016 Camaro positioned to deliver knockout blow

Ronda Rousey Fast and Furious 7From the first time you see them, you know that a fight is inevitable.

We saw it in September 1966, at the debut of the 1967 Camaro into a market already dominated by  the Ford Mustang. We knew it was coming in August 2006, when the 2010 Camaro was announced for production and the Mustang was already aged. And we saw it again earlier this year when the 2016 Camaro was first shown to the press in Detroit, over a year after the new Mustang had been announced. Each time, with each release, strike and counter-stroke, it was a fight, and it hurt, and one victor stood over the other.

Now the biggest battle in their history is shaping up. On the one side we have the latest Mustang, built on a heavily reworked version of a chassis that dates back to 2005 (and earlier). On the other side we have the Camaro, built on an innovative platform designed by and shared with Cadillac. The top-of-the-line street model of each, meaning not the track models, are an odd pair:

  • Mustang: state-of-the-art 4-cam engine: 435 HP, 420 torque
  • Camaro: perfection of ye olde school pushrod V-8: 455 HP and 455 torque.

In preceding years, the Mustang was guaranteed the win due to its much lighter weight. But not any more: the Camaro has slimmed down from its former porky self by 223 pounds land is also 29 HP more powerful.Here are the weights in pounds:

  • V-8 Camaro SS @ 3,685
  • V-8 Mustang GT @ 3705
  • Mustang GT350 base + track pack: 3791
  • Mustang GT350R base : 3655.

The battle will also extend to track models: Ford has shown its hand first here with the brilliant GT350 with an all-new 5.2 liter 526 HP flat-crank engine (which as shown in the Continental series against the “old” Camaro Z/28, is perhaps just one short step ahead). But the new Camaro is coming up fast: a new 1LE or Z/28 is already circling the Nurburgring as is a ZL1 model that will have between 640 and 650 HP. And from Ford we know that if there is a GT350 there will inevitably be a GT500… although there is no sign of one yet. And where Chevrolet has a rich uncle in Cadillac, ready to hand down engines, transmissions, and chassis features that are abundant between the ATS and CTS, the Mustang is an orphan and has nothing to share costs with. So perhaps it’s “score one” for the underdog?

So do we have a KO from Chevrolet? Or, given the more modern and intelligent combatants (Ford with its 21st century engines, Chevrolet with its 21st century chassis), and the tactics of swarmer versus out-boxer, should we perhaps switch to chess terms instead?  Perhaps this is castling, there might be a back rank mate, or perhaps the game will just end in a draw again – until the next generation.

Chevrolet Press Release follows:

Lighter 2016 Camaro Delivers Benchmark Performance

2016 Camaro SS delivers 0-60 acceleration in 4.0 seconds; 0.97 g cornering grip

DETROIT – 2015-09-14 Less weight and more power is the combination for performance success and engineers of the 2016 Camaro have the numbers to prove it. With weight savings of up to 390 pounds (177 kg), the all-new Camaro delivers performance numbers that reset the benchmark for the segment.

Chevrolet testing shows the all-new, 455-hp (336 kW) Camaro SS coupe – the most powerful Camaro SS ever – sprints from 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds and covers the quarter-mile in 12.3 seconds, when equipped with the all-new eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission.

The other Gen Six Camaro coupe models are commensurately quick, with the 275-hp (205) 2.0L Turbo delivering 5.4-second 0-60 performance and a 14.0-second quarter-mile, with the six-speed manual. With the available, 335-hp (250 kW) 3.6L V-6 and eight-speed automatic, the Camaro zips to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and down the quarter-mile in only 13.5 seconds.

“The performance of the Camaro 2.0L Turbo will challenge many of the iconic muscle cars from the 1960s, while the Camaro SS’s performance – including 0.97 g cornering – makes it one of the most capable 2+2 coupes on the market,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “The performance numbers only tell half of the story, because the lighter curb weight also makes the new Camaro feel more responsive and agile behind the wheel. It brakes more powerfully, dives into corners quicker, accelerates faster and is more fun to drive than ever.”

With standard 18-inch wheels and Goodyear Eagle Sport all-season tires, the 2.0L Turbo delivers 0.85 g in cornering grip and 60-0-mph braking in 129 feet. With the RS package, which includes 20-inch wheels and Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric all-season run-flat tires, the 3.6L V-6 delivers 0.89 g in cornering and 60-0 mph braking in 124 feet. The Camaro SS features Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 run-flat summer-only tires, enabling 0.97 g in cornering and 60-0 braking in 117 feet.

2016 Camaro
 coupe
0-60 mph
(sec.)
Quarter-Mile
(sec. @ mph)
Grip (max. lateral) 60-0 mph braking (feet)
2.0L turbo
w/18-in. tires
5.4 (man.)
5.5 (auto.)
14.0 @ 100 (man.)
14.0 @ 99 (auto.)
0.85 g 129
3.6L V-6
w/20-in. RF3 tires
5.2 (man.)
5.1 (auto.)
13.7 @ 102 (man.)
13.5 @ 103 (auto.)
0.89 g 124
6.2L V-8
w/20-in. RF4 tires
4.3 (man.)
4.0 (auto.)
12.5 @ 115 (man.)
12.3 @ 116 (auto.)
0.97 g 117

 

Lighter, stronger architecture
Much of the Camaro’s performance can be attributed to the development team’s focus on reducing vehicle mass and improving structural stiffness. They invested 9 million hours of computational time looking for opportunities to make the chassis lighter and stiffer. That computer-aided engineering led to a modular architecture strategy that tailored the chassis to each model (see accompanying infographic).

“Every Camaro model offers exceptional chassis strength and rigidity, but the modular design made the architecture more adaptable and mass-efficient, because we didn’t have to compensate for the unique demands of, say, the SS convertible when building a 2.0L Turbo coupe,” said Oppenheiser. “The result was an elegant engineering solution: 12 chassis components that could be combined to meet the structural requirements of each specific model, without adding unnecessary mass to other models.”

Consequently, the base curb weight for the 2016 Camaro is 368 pounds (167 kg) lighter than the previous model. The 1SS model is 223 pounds (101 kg) lighter, while offering 29 more horsepower, for a 14-percent improvement in its power-to-weight ratio.

  2.0L Turbo 3.6L V-6 6.2L V-8
2016 Camaro 275 hp / 295 lb-ft
3,339 lbs (auto)
12.1 lbs/hp
335 hp / 284 lb-ft
3,435 lbs (auto)
10.3 lbs/hp
455 hp / 455 lb-ft
3,685 lbs (man)
8.1 lbs/hp
2015 Camaro N/A 323 hp / 278 lb-ft
3,729 lbs (auto)
11.5 lbs/hp
426 hp / 420 lb-ft
3908 (man)
9.2 lbs/hp
Change 390 pounds lighter than 2015 V-6 294 pounds lighter
12% lbs/hp improvement
223 pounds lighter
14% lbs/hp improvement

The 2016 Camaro goes on sale this fall, with a suggested retail price of $26,695 for the Camaro 1LT and $37,295 for the 1SS.

FAST FACT: The 2016 Camaro 2.0L Turbo’s 275 horsepower rating matches the output of the 1993-1995 Camaro Z28’s 5.7L V-8 – and offers comparable acceleration performance. 

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 115 countries and selling around 4.8 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

IMAGES

Less weight and more power combines for performance success. With weight savings of up to 390 pounds (177 kg), the all-new Camaro resets performance benchmarks for the segment. The all-new, 455-hp (336 kW) Camaro SS coupe – the most powerful Camaro SS ever – sprints from 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds and covers the quarter-mile in 12.3 seconds, when equipped with the all-new eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS

2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS

2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS

Much of the Camaro’s performance can be attributed to reduced vehicle mass and improved structural stiffness. The development team invested 9 million hours of computational time looking for opportunities to make the chassis lighter and stiffer. That computer-aided engineering led to a modular architecture strategy that tailored the chassis to each model.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro structure

2016 Chevrolet Camaro structure