What once seemed sacrilegious is becoming a reality. This fall, Chevrolet will introduce the 2016 Camaro with a twist: the base model will be powered by General Motors’ LTG 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
Entry level power for one of America’s longest standing muscle car nameplates will be coming from a displacement the size of your local cola bottle. Who thought we’d see the day.
While many will scoff, joke and poke fun at the idea, the proof is in the power. Or, in this case, the torque.
The 2.0-liter turbo-four will be packing a 275 hp, 295 lb-ft of torque punch when it debuts this fall in the 2016 Camaro. By comparison, the LGX 3.6-liter V6 produces substantially more horsepower, 60 more ponies, but is down on torque with only 284 lb-ft.
What are we doing comparing these two engines when the traditional choice for a Camaro is a big, burly V8 engine? Well, the sixth-generation Camaro isn’t about tradition.
The move to offer a turbocharged four-cylinder in the 2016 Camaro is a bold, but brilliant branding move, on Chevrolet’s part. Allow us to elaborate.
Chevrolet currently lacks a nimble, sporty coupe or hatchback to fill the Internet Generation’s driveways with. These are the guys and gals who grew up in the heyday of sport infused imports, not the generation who listened to The Beach Boys sing about Chevrolet’s 409.
Those not-so little guys and gals are driving now, and they’re scooping up hot offerings from Ford, Volkswagen Subaru and Scion, a brand crafted specifically for the youngins’, while those searching within the General Motors portfolio will have to move right along.
Now, Chevrolet has crafted the perfect concoction to win back those buyers on the tactile Alpha platform with a turbo-four Camaro. And, Chevrolet gets to do it without any new model introduction, leaving the Tru 140S and Code 130R concepts stillborn with good reason.
Not only has the Camaro’s relevance been extended tremendously, allowing the LT1 6.2-liter V8 to become a halo on top of the car’s lineup, but they’ve read the market intelligently, and answered a niche with a swift-turbocharged kick.
We’ve watched the sport coupe market wither away over the past 15 years, with a turn to hot hatches as the spiritual successor of the long-gone, but not forgotten, sport coupes of yesteryear. Therefore, maybe it’s not a bad thing Chevrolet lacks a performance oriented hatchback. They’ve reached back into what their market research tells them young car buyers still want: affordable, sporty cars.
And they’ve made a smart move.