The February 2015 issue of Motor Trend has an interview with General Motors President Mark Reuss that covers a variety of hot topics, most notably offering some vague insight into the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro. Reuss really didn’t reveal anything groundbreaking on the next gen Chevy muscle car, but his brief comments allude to great things for the 2016 Camaro.
The interview is lengthy and it touches on quite a few topics, but the very end is what caught my attention, as Reuss offered some interesting opinions on the Camaro based on his time driving the 2016 model. Reuss told Motor Trend to “think about that satisfaction that a ZL1 offers” and he went on to talk about that satisfaction being offered on other, lower cost models.
ZL1 Qualities in the 2016 Camaro SS
In dissecting Mark Reuss’ comments about the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro to Motor Trend, we have to first look at the current Camaro ZL1. Prior to the arrival of the track-ready Camaro Z/28, the Camaro ZL1 was the best overall performing GM muscle car ever, with a high tech adjustable suspension setup, a big brake package and a high horsepower, supercharged engine.
I do not expect to see a supercharged engine option for the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS, but we can expect to see slight improvements in the brake setup compared to the current SS and I fully expect to see the magnetic suspension system from the ZL1 to be offered in the next gen Camaro SS – even if only as an option. As for the engine, I expect that the 2016 Camaro SS will pack the new LT1 V8 from the Corvette Stingray, which will offer a fair increase over the current LS3 engine.
In the interview with Motor Trend, Reuss also stated that the next generation Camaro would not get heavier. He didn’t actually say that it would be lighter than the current Camaro, but with the move to the new platform, it has been expected that the 2016 Camaro would be lighter than the comparable 5th generation model. When you factor in a slightly smaller stature with a lower curb weight, the 2016 Camaro SS with a higher performance suspension system, a Brembo braking package and the Corvette’s LT1 could conceivably compete with the current Camaro ZL1.
Even if the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS cannot outgun the current Camaro ZL1, the changes mentioned above should make good on Reuss’ promise of ZL1 satisfaction from a less expensive Camaro SS.
Camaro SS as the Muscle Car Standard
Provided that Mark Reuss’s comments about the excitement of the Camaro ZL1 coming to the next generation Camaro SS are true – and I fully expect that they will be – the 2016 Camaro SS will set the new standard for the muscle car segment. Shy of the Camaro Z/28 and perhaps the new Hellcat Challenger, the 5th gen Camaro ZL1 was really the total package for a muscle car. It didn’t pack the raw power of the Shelby GT500 Mustang, but it offered plenty of power to make it a handling beast. While the next Camaro SS wont pack 580 horsepower, the quick revving LT1 with 450-460 horsepower in the lighter 6th gen Camaro could go toe to toe with the current ZL1 in every race shy of a quarter mile drag race.
If General Motors can make the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS as impressive as the ZL1 in terms of handling and braking, the 450 horsepower LT1 should be enough to set the new expectations for the affordable muscle car segment. The 2016 Camaro SS wont compete with the likes of the Shelby GT350 or the Hellcat Challenger (I expect a new super-Camaro to handle those models), but the 6th gen SS package could become the crème of the crop in terms of the high volume muscle cars.
Most importantly, a 2016 Camaro SS that is even almost as good as the current Camaro ZL1 should be enough to hand a serious beating to the 2015 Ford Mustang GT.
The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro is rumored to debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January, so hopefully we will only be waiting and speculating for another model or so.
Source: Motor Trend