Exposed: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro
Spy shots of the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro testing undercover on the track.
By Matt DeLorenzo | Photo-Illustration by Larson and photos by Glenn Paulina/KGP
2010 Chevrolet Camaro
Worried that the Camaro is being overexposed before its launch next year, Chevrolet
has gone mum with official word about the car, while going to the unusual step of testing cars without camouflage in the hopes that spy photographers and the public would tire of seeing the same cars over and over again. Fat chance.
Recently, the Camaro underwent testing at the Nürburgring and we've taken the liberty of adding some stripes and badging to the cars to give a better picture of what it will look like in production trim. Our sources tell us the sheet metal on the test cars is accurate, so what you see in terms of the car's Coke bottle-shaped body, power dome hood with a slit scoop, non-functional louvers ahead of the rear wheels and Corvette
-inspired double-bubble roof treatment is what you will get.
The Nürburgring test is significant because this is the first time Holden, which has lead responsibility for the Zeta platform and therefore the Camaro, has tested at the famed German track. As a result of that learning curve, the best unofficial lap times we've been able to obtain from observers on the scene are around the 9-minute mark — certainly well off the blistering pace set by the Corvette ZR1 at 7:40 and the Nissan GT-R
Spec V, which ran an unofficial 7:25. We expect to see the Camaro's lap time closer to the magical 8-minute mark by the time the car is ready for production.
2010 Chevrolet Camaro (illustration)
The Nürburgring tests also revealed some other Camaro nuggets, such as the use of 4-piston Brembo brakes and 20-in. wheels shod with Pirelli P245/45ZR-20 tires on the SS version. Non-SS models, which will be powered by V-6s, appear to have 18-in. wheels and higher-profile tires. Both of these wheel and tire combinations, along with suspension settings, were being tested during the session in Germany.
An insider who's driven the car says the performance of the new Camaro "will take 35 years off your life."
Spy photos also revealed that the interior will be very close to the concept car that made its debut at the 2006 North American International Auto Show. The round speedometer and tach are contained in two rectangular chrome-edged bezels behind a 3-spoke steering wheel. The center stack containing the sound system and climate controls is a rounded, organic design, while below are four retro-inspired auxiliary gauges also surrounded by rectangular bezels. While the original cluster included the fuel and coolant temperature gauges, those critical readouts have been relocated to the main instrument cluster. Now, the four console-mounted gauges are for oil temperature, oil pressure, voltage and a new readout showing engine torque output.
2010 Chevrolet Camaro
Slated to bow in the first quarter of 2009 as an early 2010 model, it's expected that the Camaro will be offered in three trim levels — LS, LT and SS. The base LS may be powered by Chevy's 3.5-liter pushrod V-6 making about 220 bhp. The LT models would use the overhead-cam direct-injected 3.6-liter V-6 developing upward of 300 bhp, while the SS will be powered by a 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 (similar to that found in the Corvette) tuned to produce around 400–405 bhp. A year after launch, Chevy will introduce a convertible version and after that a high-performance Z28 model with a super-charged 6.2-liter sibling to the Corvette ZR1's LS9 motor known as the LSA. That engine would make somewhere in the neighborhood of 480–500 bhp and is similar to the engine used in the upcoming Cadillac CTS-V.
In light of increasing gas prices, a crash program has been initiated to study the feasibility of offering the 260-bhp turbocharged 2.0-liter four (used in the HHR SS
and Cobalt SS
) as a possible base engine to replace the 3.5-liter V-6. However, that engine may not be offered until the 2011–2012 model year.
The Camaro will offer a choice of 6-speed automatic or manual transmissions. While both have beefy gearchange levers with baseball-size shift knobs, in the automatic-equipped car we didn't see any provision for a sequential-shift mode on either the shift gate or on the steering wheel or column.
Slated to go up against the Dodge Challenger
and Ford Mustang
, the Camaro offers a fully independent suspension (like the Dodge) compared with the Ford's live rear axle. Despite the added cost of the independent rear, Chevy is looking to keep base prices in the $20,000–$30,000 bracket, while the SS model could be in the mid- to upper- $30,000 range.
2010 Chevrolet Camaro