High-performance Camaros have always been enlivening, raucous and fast. That's just the nature of the best. However, they've never really been techie machines. More often than not, they've supplanted modernity and creature comforts with a Big Gulp-size of American muscle performance.
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The 2017 Camaro ZL1 changes all of that. Not only does it have 640 horsepower from supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine (borrowed from the Corvette Z06), it has a new 10-speed automatic transmission, onboard 4G LTE Wi-Fi and — you guessed it — Apple CarPlay. Need I say more?
Yes, yes I do. That's because the all-new Camaro ZL1 is giving me all sorts of feelings. Let me explain why.
First off, the sound. The exhaust notes heard in that video above makes me weak in the knees. However, Camaros have always sounded sweet. So let's move on. Because the attention to detail paid to this ZL1 is astonishing.
For example, that new grille up front hasn't just been restyled for visual distinction; it's also more efficient at cooling that mighty V8 engine. In fact, Chevy designers went so far that they reshaped the classic bowtie emblem to allow for better airflow. And they've renamed it the "flowtie" — clever, right?
This car is more than just a big V8 wedged into a compact coupe. It has one of the most high-tech suspension systems on the planet, called Magnetic Ride — also used in the Cadillac ATS-V. The Magnetic Ride suspension is so complex that — at 60 mph — it can make adjustments to stiffness and ride quality every inch that the car is traveling.
Then there's the new optional 10-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the 6-speed automatic offered in the 2015 Camaro ZL1. Although more gears is neat, the real benefit of it is to efficiency. With a 10er bolted the that V8, you'll theoretically be able to achieve moderately good fuel economy figures when you're not driving the ZL1 like you stole it.
Although the 10-speed debuts on the ZL1, GM said it will be rolled into eight models by the end of 2018. Intriguingly, it's the same transmission that Ford is putting in the 2017 F-150 Raptor.
Lastly, we circle back to the interior tech. To me, the Wi-Fi, wireless smartphone charging and CarPlay is what really separates the ZL1 from not only its predecessors but also the competition. You'd be hard-pressed to find that level of tech integration in BMWs and Mercedes let alone a comparable Mustang.
So, to me, that's what's coolest about the ZL1. Not only do you get the sharp lines, shout-y exhaust and performance you've come to expect from a Camaro but also state-of-the-industry tech.