Published March 28, 2013
It only has one speaker, but makes a whole lot of noise.
The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 marks the return of one of the most legendary model names in American muscle car history.
The high performance coupe is powered by a 500 hp 7.0-liter V8 borrowed from the Chevy Corvette Z06, and features a host of bodywork and weight trimming modifications that help turn it into what Chevy says is the best track-performing Camaro ever built.
All 2014 Camaros get new front and rear ends featuring a slimmer grill, smaller headlights, one piece LED tail lights and an air extractor in the hood to improve aerodynamics. The Z/28 adds a splitter on its chin that looks deep enough to harvest wheat with, rocker panel extensions, flared wheel arches, a redesigned rear diffuser and prominent spoiler.
Sound deadening material has been removed from the cabin, along with the trunk carpet and tire inflation kit, while thinner glass is used for the rear window -- all to save precious pounds. Even the Camaro’s signature, but heavy HID headlights have been replaced by more basic units and fog lights are not an option. Air conditioning is.
That one speaker? It’s in the driver's door and only there as required by law to provide warning chimes and alerts. To take advantage of it, Chevy threw in a simple stereo instead of the complex touch-screen MyLink infotainment system available on other Camaros. The rear seats are still there, but have been reengineered with a lighter design.
The result of all this and more is a car that’s 300 pounds lighter than the king of the hill 580 hp supercharged Camaro ZL1, and likely even a few pounds less than the standard Camaro SS.
To further bolster its performance credibility, the Z/28 only comes with a six-speed manual transmission. Fade-free carbon ceramic brakes are standard, and the suspension features stiffer springs and bushings than other Camaros, as well as racing-style spool-valve dampers.
The engine breathes through an exhaust fitted with muffler bypass valves that increase power and turn up the noise. For those planning to keep the gas pedal cranked to 11 often, all Z/28s come with a track-ready cooling system. A mechanical limited slip differential helps get the power down in concert with Chevy’s multi-mode traction management system.
Chevy says the result of all this is a car that’s three seconds a lap faster around its test track than the more powerful ZL1, a testament to both its weight and handling advantages.
Pricing has not been set and it’ll be a while before it is. The Z/28 isn’t expected to hit showrooms until early next year.
With the SS, ZL1, Z/28 and 1LE performance package, the fifth-generation Camaro lineup is chock full of heritage names. But will there be any more? A 21st Century IROC-Z perhaps?
General Motors North America President Mark Reuss says not anytime soon. According to him, the Z/28 is the last iteration of the current Camaro, and we’ll have to wait until the sixth-generation car arrives.
Lucky for fans, rumor has it that could be as soon as 2015.