Driving Today

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1: Killer Convertible

With 580 horsepower under the hood, the all-new Camaro ZL1 can challenge just about any supercar you...

Convertibles are supposed to be for sunny days on wide-open country roads. But the just-introduced Chevy Camaro ZL1 convertible is not like any other convertible you can name. The Camaro is not only lightning-fast in a straight line (we think a four-second-flat 0-to-60 miles per hour time is possible), but also a very capable handler. One obvious example of this is the fact that the supercharged cloth-top recently had its way with the famed German Nurburgring.

Those who must have performance above all else will likely choose the ZL1 coupe, but if you’re buying a car to show off -- and if you buy a ZL1, there is no doubt you are trying to show off -- you won’t be the slightest bit disappointed by the overall performance of the drop-top version. According to Tom Peters, the vehicle’s chief designer, the ZL1’s convertible top is slightly lower -- and that much cooler -- than the Camaro coupe’s. The hard work that went into the soft-top design is one of the reasons that the convertible is not the awkward sister of the coupe, but instead a very attractive sibling.

The ZL1 convertible looks good with the top up or down, but there are some aspects of the ZL1 convertible you can’t get a good look at. Invisible to the naked eye -- but still a vital part of the ZL1 convertible story -- is the third-generation Magnetic Ride Control system that employs valve-less damping and magnetorheological fluid technology to vary the suspension firmness to match the road and driving conditions. Equally invisible -- and at least equally cool -- is the Performance Traction Management system that integrates launch control, traction control, electronic stability control and electric power-steering with the Magnetic Ride Control system to give you a complete toolbox of go-fast equipment, enabling the car to do things a non-computer-equipped car couldn’t even think of doing.

Bottom line: The performance of the Camaro ZL1 four-seat convertible can match that of the vast majority of exotic cars. That means the bang for the buck is somewhere through the roof.



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