2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 – breaking the stereotypes
When talking muscle cars, a lot of things pop into mind. Traffic light drag racing, blistering fast straight line acceleration, growling V8’s, Dukes of hazard and many others. However, racing track and handling characteristics are most likely to be absent from the list. Muscle cars are big, heavy and generally just as nimble as an elephant on narcotics.
Well, things are about to change. The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 promises to be a full-on driver’s car, more than capable of handling the race track. And not only by muscle car standards. Just looking at the specs sheet, you can tell that this bad boy means business! Powered by a 505HP and 481 lb-ft of torque, 7.0 liter LS7 V8 and mated to a 6 speed manual gearbox, this thing launches from 0 to 60MPH in under 4 seconds and hits the 1/4 mile finish line in 12 seconds.
However, this car is not about straight line acceleration and you get the hint as soon as you notice the massive carbon-ceramic brakes and the 19″ forged aluminum wheels, wrapped in Pirelli’s Trofeo R’s. The combination of these high performance tires and and the gargantuan brakes was that efficient, that Chevy engineers had to come up with a solution for tire slipping on the rim under very hard braking – and this should be enough of clue as to how fast this Z28 stops! The wheels had to be media-blasted to increase friction at the mating surface, a common practice in racing. According to GM’s engineers, this wheels/brakes combo will generate up to a face ripping, eyes popping, 1.5G under braking.
As for the suspension, just like with almost everything else on the car, Chevy has really gone to town with it and fitted a very special suspension configuration. The front springs got 85 percent stiffer, the rear springs got 65 percent stiffer and the Canadian company Multimatic Inc., which builds special dampers for Formula 1 racing, created the DSSV dampening system for the Z/28. “What in the name of all that’s geeky is that?!”, I hear you say. Well, I’m glad you asked. DSSV stands for dynamic suspension spool valve and it’s a system that has been mostly reserved for professional Motorsport focused vehicles. As a matter of fact, the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 is the second ever production car that has been fitted with such a system, the first one being the ultra exclusive, rare and expensive Aston Martin One-77. The advantages of DSSV dampers are many, but the one you will notice the most is their ability to instantly recover from quick transitions between compression and rebound. Should you wish to push the limits, this setup will help you experience more then 1G on the bends.
The car has also been put under a strict diet, in true racing spirit. The standard seats have been replaced by lighter, manually adjusted Recaro’s. The windows got thinner, unnecessary bits like the A/C, trunk trim, speakers and sound insulation got removed, bringing the weight down to (a still hefty) 3,800 pounds. No effort was spared to make this car as fast as possible and the attention to details is mind blowing! For example, the bow-tie on the frontal grill got replaced with just the contour of it when the engineers realized that this will provide some extra air flow for the engine. I mean, this is the sort of trickery you’d expect from a Ferrari, is it not?
Racing technology doesn’t come cheap though and customers on the look for this sort of performance will have to pay around $75,000 for a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28. This might look a bit steep for a Camaro, but considering that performance wise, this is in Porsche 911 and Nissan GT-R35 territory, I’d say it’s a bargain. Add this to the fact that, according to GM, only three or four thousand examples are to be produced and this might actually prove to be a good investment. Or at least, a fun one. And fast. Very fast.