NEW YORK—If General Motors’ Oshawa, Ont., assembly plant is losing the feather in the cap that is production of the Chevrolet Camaro after the upcoming generation, the iconic coupe is certainly going out with a bang.
In the lead up to the New York International Auto Show, GM pulled the covers off the restyled 2014 Camaro and the relaunch of its iconic Z/28 package.
“We set out to make the fastest road-racing Camaro possible that was still street-legal,” Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser said in a statement.
The first major overhaul since the coupe’s relaunch in 2006, the 2014 Camaro has retained much of the old-meets-new styling that has made it so popular over the last seven years.
Subtle differences can be found in the new aggressive styling cues that surround the Camaro, right down to its Clint Eastwood-like stare from the beneath the hood.
The race-inspired Z/28 model promises to be the most track-capable offering in Camaro history, according to the automaker, a tall order for a model with a motorsports heritage dating back to 1967.
If the new Z/28 is going to live up to the hype, its powerplant certainly gave it a good head start.
Under the hood of the Oshawa-built Z/28 lies a 427-cubic inch V8 engine that GM claims to produce 500-horsepower and 470 lb./ft. of torque, a slight dip in numbers compared to the current incarnation’s supercharged 6.2L engine that dishes out 580-horsepower to the rear wheels.
Borrowed from older brother Corvette, the hand-built 7.0L LS7 engine features a number of high-performance components, including titanium intake valves and connecting rods, sodium-filled exhaust valves, a high-lift camshaft, hydroformed exhaust headers and a dry-sump oiling system, to name a few.
The lightweight LS7 redlines at 7,000 rpm, according to GM.
Available only with a Tremec TR6060 manual transmission, the Z/28 puts power to the rear wheels through a limited-slip differential featuring a helical gear set, rather than traditional clutch packs.
According to the automaker, this allows the Camaro to get through corners faster by continuously adjusting torque bias to maximize traction.
While maximizing power while cornering is one thing, maintaining a line is another.
The Z/28 gets help carving corners through spool-valve dampers—one of the first production cars to be fitted with the race-proven setup—and an aerodynamics package built to produce downforce at track speeds.
GM said the Z/28 is capable of 1.05 g in cornering acceleration, and 1.5 g of deceleration with the help of Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes and standard front brake cooling ducts.
Combined with lightweighting—GM said the Z/28 shed a modest 300 lbs. through sounds deadening removal, a smaller battery, thinner rear window glass and more—the Z/28 was three seconds faster per lap than the supercharged Camaro ZL1 in initial testing.
“The team was so fanatical about saving weight, we even stripped the unused wiring out of the harness when we eliminated the fog lights, speakers and air conditioning,” Oppenheiser said.
“Every ounce saved contributed to making this the most track-capable Camaro we have ever built, and a worthy successor to the Z/28 name.”
The 2014 Camaro line will be arriving at Chevrolet dealers later in 2013.