REVIEW: 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Find the 455-hp 6.2-liter V-8 in the Camaro SS too boring or underpowered? Chevrolet won’t tell you to get your head checked. Instead, it slaps a supercharger on that V-8, boosts the output to 650 horsepower, and installs it in the Camaro along with a host of suspension and styling upgrades to create the ZL1. Available as either a coupe or a convertible—with your choice of a six-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic with paddle shifters—the ZL1 stands atop the Camaro pile to see eye to eye with the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 and the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. In fact, if you consider the ZL1’s breathtaking performance at our 2017 Lightning Lap competition, it looks down on those competitors.

What’s New for 2018?

One year after its redesign for the 2017 model year, the ZL1 gains a $7500 1LE package that adds extreme aerodynamic aids, wider track-ready tires, extra powertrain cooling, and special racing-style spool-valve dampers. The option doesn’t add extra power to the ZL1’s supercharged V-8 engine, but then, with 650 horsepower, it doesn’t need any more juice.

Trims and Options We’d Choose

Unlike regular Camaro models, the ZL1 has no trim levels. The 650-hp muscle machine comes one way, leaving buyers only to choose coupe or convertible, six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission, and basic options. There is also the coupe-only $7500 1LE package, which adds wild aerodynamic enhancements, semi-slick tires, and special suspension components that give it a stiff ride and greatly reduce the ZL1’s everyday drivability. Unless you plan on spending time on a racetrack, we’d suggest sticking with the basic $63,795 ZL1 with the standard six-speed manual transmission. Pick your color and revel in your decision. Standard features include:

• Heated and ventilated front seats and heated steering wheel
• 650-hp supercharged 6.2-liter V-8
• Six-speed manual transmission
• Electronic limited-slip rear differential
• Recaro performance seats
• Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension

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