Of anything General Motors brands revealed at the 2016 New York International Auto Show, nothing provided as much buzz as the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The latest Camaro variant was revealed during drives of the 2016 Camaro Turbo, where we even got to ride along for a hot lap of Spring Mountain.
But, we also had time to spend with the Camaro ZL1 during our time in New York, and we’ve compiled our hot-off-the-presses impressions for you right down below.
Not your average Camaro
It’s apparent as soon as you approach the 2017 Camaro ZL1 that this is not some regular Camaro. The design team has clearly made an effort to bulk up the exterior in all the right places, with aggressive cues found throughout the design. Up front, the lower grille is massive and ready to swallow all the air it can have, while the flowtie arrives to also suck down extra oxygen. Out back, the massive tailpipes liken themselves to an orchestra ready to play small-block sounds for all to hear, complete with subtle ZL1 badging to remind those in the rear this car is business.
Finally, the wheels. Everyone loves the wheels. The multi-spoked wheels look gorgeous on the 2017 Camaro ZL1, and Al Oppenheiser, lead Camaro engineer, actually stated Ed Welburn, vice president of global design, approved them immediately upon seeing them. No revisions. Yeah, they’re hot.
Finally, it feels special inside
Plopping down in the 2017 Camaro ZL1’s Recaro seats, it’s evident the interior design team also realizes the Camaro isn’t just a pony car anymore. This is a car designed to be a world beater. The Recaros are snug, hugging you in all the right places, but providing support for the inevitable track days to come. There’s thoughtful color-contrast stitching all over the interior, which really helps break up the sea of grays and blacks inside. ZL1 badges seats and around the interior cockpit also provide subtle reminders for passengers that the 6.2-liter LT4 supercharged V8 is here to get to work.
Alcantara is present on the steering wheel, with splashes around the entire interior cabin as well, again, bringing in a premium feel. Finally, the red seatbelts. More of the please, GM. It’s the little things.
Ready for the track, or drag strip
It was immediately apparent the 2017 Camaro ZL1 was designed not only for the track, but also the drag strip. Oppenheiser made it clear the ZL1 will go like a bat out of hell in either situation, and understands Camaro needs to hold a place at the drag strip, especially with those Hellcats taking names. In fact, we’d be awfully curious to see how the ZL1 holds out against its Hellcat rival. The Camaro ZL1 may be down around 60 ponies, but the Camaro is by far the lighter of both machines.
Anyway, we digress. The Camaro is already becoming the multi-purpose tool for enthusiasts. Want a four-cylinder turbo to tune your heart away? Check. An exotic, quick V6? You got it. Everyday usability with a naturally-aspirated V8? Done. Now, we’re getting to the hardcore stuff, including the all-new 10-speed automatic. With this kind of equipment, the Camaro shouldn’t have any problem holding its own.