General Motors more or less owned the 2013 New York Auto Show by unveiling the updated 2014 Buick LaCrosse and Regal, all-new Cadillac CTS, and refreshed 2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS. But it absolutely put it away when the growl of a 500-horsepower LS7 engine fired up back stage, and the reborn Camaro Z/28 rolled onto display, surprising just about everyone (except for us).
The new Z/28 Camaro is impressive, by anybody’s standards: its powertrain is track proven, fortified by purposeful aerodynamics, gargantuan Brembo carbon ceramic brakes, and a unique suspension system. Speaking of which, the Z/28 Camaro’s suspension isn’t Magnetic Ride Control, like that in the mighty ZL1. Nor is it what’s found on the Camaro 1LE, or just about any street car from the factory for that matter.
According to those involved in the Z/28’s development, the unique suspension configuration features what’s called a dynamic suspension spool valve (DSSV) dampening system. The setup allows compression and rebound of the shocks to be dialed in at the factory for optimal performance. For the most part, such a system has been reserved for motor sports vehicles (“real” race cars), but considering the hard-core nature of the new Z/28, it might as well be one.
Compared to a conventional damper that offers only two-way tuning for compression and rebound, a spool-valve damper allows four-way adjustment to precisely tune both compression and rebound settings for high speeds and low speeds. The wider tuning range allowed engineers to dramatically increase the damper stiffness on the Camaro Z/28 without a significant change in ride quality. There’s also significant weight savings seen with the use of DSSV over GM’s proven Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) setup.
All the engineering bits aside, the 2014 Camaro Z/28 gains an undeniable cool-factor by using DSSV: that’s because it is the second-ever production car to feature such a setup. The first? The ultra-rare, ultra-exclusive, ultra-expensive Aston Martin One-77 hypercar, which carries an MSRP of $1,700,000.
The aggressive suspension system apparently yields impressive results on the track. For instance, Chevrolet claims that the Z/28 is an average of three seconds faster than the more powerful, magnetic-ride-control-equipped Camaro ZL1 around GM’s Milford Road Course. Three seconds!