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Chevy Camaro Adding Convertible, Z28 Models for 2011
2010 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Concept
Through its first few months of sales, the Chevrolet Camaro is proving to be an extremely popular car as it continues to outsell its main rival, the Ford Mustang. General Motors seems well aware that if the Camaro is to have any shot of keeping ahead of the Mustang, it needs to broaden the car's lineup. Slated to debut for the 2011 model year, we expect the retro Chevy Camaro to offer a pair of new models that are just as timeless as the Camaro itself: the Camaro convertible and the high-performance Camaro Z28. Heading into its highly publicized bankruptcy, both models of the Camaro were said to be removed from future development, but recent spy pictures and reports seem to indicate otherwise.
Last month, a Camaro convertible prototype was seen parked outside the Oshawa Assembly Plant (where the Camaro is built), giving credence to the drop-top model that was first shown in 2007 as a concept vehicle. Adding a convertible option would definitely eat further into the Mustang's one-impenetrable stranglehold on the pony car market, and it would give consumers more of a choice besides the headroom-challenged coupe. As true as the Camaro coupe stayed true to its original concept vehicle, we expect the same to be the case with the convertible meaning that the bulging rear haunches will remain intact.
As for the Z28, recent reports indicate that GM Vice President for Global Design Ed Welburn said that this high-performance model would be going into production. Slotting in as the top performance model above the Camaro SS, the Z28 would likely sport a much more aggressive styling compared to either of the lower trim levels. While the base Camaro and Camaro SS only differ slightly in terms of overall styling, GM will likely add a much more extravagant body kit not only to aid aerodynamics and performance, but also to show off the extra money that customers will be spending on this model. Among the obvious fascia, wheel and spoiler changes, the Z28 would likely need a taller hood to fit the most likely engine choice - GM's 6.2-liter LSA V-8.
With the 2010 Camaro SS already pumping out 426 horsepower, the CTS-V's supercharged engine would be an obvious choice for a Z28 engine as it produces 556 horsepower and 551 lb-ft of torque. This engine is essentially a detuned version of the LS9 engine currently used in the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. This intercooled and supercharged V-8 power plant should be enough to give the Camaro Z28 performance numbers that rival the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Transmission choices could also be carried over from the souped-up Caddy offering either a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. The limited-slip rear differential should help improve the Z28's performance, but don't expect the CTS' Magnetic Ride Control system to make the transition.
Emerging from bankruptcy, GM looks to focus on quality-built, desirable new vehicles, and it's good to see that these derivatives of the popular Camaro coupe are likely to be in dealership showrooms within the next couple of years. Pricing for the 2011 Camaro convertible could start around $25,000, while the 2011 Z28 could reasonably get close to the 2010 GT500's $46,325 starting price. A drop-top version of the Z28 wouldn't be too far out the question either.
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