The Camaro ZL1- Best muscle car you can buy
Brute power in a refined manner
It was the Ford Mustang which started the pony car craze in the late '60s. Pony cars were smaller than traditional muscle cars like the Plymouth Fury, Chevy Chevelle, etc., Pony cars also used small block engines instead of big block engines, but were cheaper and just as fun. Seeing the success of the Mustang, Ford's archrival, Chevrolet also created their version of the pony car- the Camaro. Fast forward 40 years and the rivalry is still strong. The Camaro is currently in its 6th generation, so is the Mustang.
The ZL1 is the most powerful Camaro ever. Thankfully, the ZL1 did not receive the 2020 facelift its siblings got. And it looks as good as ever. At the front, you have a very aggressive bumper, with tons of air intakes to keep the massive engine cool. The intakes include the "flowtie" which is basically a Chevy bowtie logo which has been hollowed out to let more air in. Pretty cool, eh? The car also has 11 heat exchangers, which is 1 more than a Bugatti Veyron!
The side profile of the car is pretty muscular too, which hard creases and tough looking bodylines. You get 20 inch alloys as standard, which look pretty cool. At the rear, you have the classic square Camaro tail lights, but the best bit is the spoiler. It isn't obnoxiously large, though it still is entirely functional and looks great.
ZL1 Rear End
The interior of the Camaro is not the best, but is by no means the worst. Quality's alright, because most places you touch have alcantara or are padded. Lower down, there are quite a few plastics, which do feel cheap. You get wireless charging, and Recaro seats as standard, which are SO comfortable.
The infotainment is extremely good. It's placed at a weird angle to reduce glare, but isn't difficult to use. It's the newer GM infotainment which is found in most Chevys and GMCs these days. The infotainment has tons of geeky stuff, like a data recorder, which records your RPM, speed, and the road in front of you. It also has a recorder for teen drivers, so the next time you lend your car to a person you don't really trust, you can limit the speed and record what they're doing.
Now, let's talk about the rear seats. Not the best feature of the Camaro, no. Getting is okay, though the problems begin once you're actually INSIDE. The legroom's cramped, and the headroom is, well, it's not there. At least you get wireless charging for the rear seats, and a tiny window like in a jail cell.
But the only thing that matters about the ZL1 is the engine. It uses the same engine as in the C7 Corvette ZO6, a LT4 6.2 liter supercharged V8. The engine produces and incredible 650 hp and 650 lb-ft (880 NM). All the power is sent directly to the rear wheels. You can get two transmissions for the ZL1, a 6-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic.
The 10-speed auto shifts really quickly, and GM claims it shifts as fast as Porsche's PDK gearbox. And I believe them. The auto is also easier to drive in town and in traffic. However, if you're a car enthusiast and are looking for fun, then the 6-speed manual is the one to go for. The manual is also cheaper, lighter and easier to work on for mechanics.
Launching the ZL1 is tough. Like really tough. Because all the power goes to the rear wheels, it spins its wheels for sometime before actually pulling away. Though Chevy claims 3.5 seconds to 60 mph, though I could only get times around 3.7-4.0 seconds. The 10-speed auto is easier to launch, though if you use line lock mode (which brakes only the front tires, so you can spin and heat up the rear tires to get more grip) and have a race-prepped surface, I'm quite sure the manual can get a time of 3.5 seconds.
What's the car like to drive on normal roads? Great, actually. The suspension's not too firm and the car gets decent mpg. There is one problem, however- visibility. It's horrible, just like its been for 10 years now. Quite literally, you can't see whatever's happening behind your car. And when anyone's sitting in the rear seats (quite a rare scenario) you can forget about the rear mirror. To make us feel better, Chevy does offer a camera which projects into the rear view mirror, which means you can see things clearly at the back, but also means you get 2x glare. So, not good visibility. But that's where the problems end. It's a very comfortable cruiser, too, and you'll have absolutely no problem using it as a GT.
Mean looking thing
What about track? It's as good as it gets. The car handles extremely well, and oversteers ever so slightly. But the thing is, it's not trying to kill you. Rather, it's extremely predictable. You know what'll happen when you put your foot down, or when you go very fast into a corner. It does not have the finesse of mid-engined or rear-engined sports cars like the Porsche 911 or a McLaren 570S, but it compensates with brute power. Yep, brute power, but in an extremely refined manner.
Oh yeah, the price. How can we not mention it? The Camaro ZL1 isn't cheap. It starts at 63,995 USD. But for the performance it offers, it's an absolute bargain. For comparison, a Challenger Hellcat Redeye starts at 78,000 USD, and a Shelby GT500 starts at 107,000 USD.
So there you have it. The Camaro ZL1 is a great car. It's got the power of a muscle car, it handles like a sports car and it's as fast as a supercar. Not the best in each field, but almost the best in ALL fields. What I'm saying is not that it's an identity crisis, but the best of all worlds.
If you have the money, just go and buy it. Go. Now!