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Exclusive! We Have Performance Numbers on the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro ZL2

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 2015-04-01 Brandan Gillogly, Elana Scherr
2016 Chevy Camaro ZL2 Spy Shot © Provided by Hotrod 2016 Chevy Camaro ZL2 Spy Shot

We might just have the motherload of super-secret squirrel info on the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro that we’ve all been dying for. While the rest of you saps were lapping up the thin trickle of teaser info from Chevy, we’ve been sending spies out to every private track test we can find, bribing Michigan-based FedEx guys, and generally hanging from ceilings and peering through peepholes. Let’s just say that it only takes one disgruntled ex-employee to find out lots of Camaro info that isn’t supposed to be announced until car-show season this fall.

Let’s talk body building, shall we? You’ve heard that the 2016 model is going to be lighter, and yeah, the base Camaro will be about 3,600 pounds, thanks to already-announced aluminum and composite in the chassis and dash, but what you haven’t heard is that those exotic materials will be making their way to the panels as well, at least in the performance models. Guess all the development of cheap carbon-fiber fabrication for the Stingray is going to be shared with its little brother. There’s only so much weight we can expect the sixth-gen to drop, though—it still has to pass all the safety and crash testing. Our source wouldn’t give us an exact number, but they said to expect something in the 3,400-pound range. Lightweight!

The overall design will be similar to the outgoing model, but pinched, and squeezed, and taking some more design influence from the early 1970s, including a split-bumper option in the front. Louvers remain in vogue, as do various intakes in the front grille and fascia, all of them functional for either cooling or venting. In the rear, the Camaro is taking a page from Chaparral and will offer the first-ever automatic adjustable rear wing in an American production car. Sure, Bugatti has its air-brake wing, but can you imagine the faces of the crowd when you move the rear ducktail in a Camaro at the drags?!

It’s going to be ages before Chevrolet announces the high-performance models, but we won’t make you wait. Our little birds tell us that the Camaro is going big. Big and blown. Tired of pushing small displacements to their limits, Chevrolet decided to go with a more square bore/stroke combination and ended up with a familiar number, a big-block displacement of 396 ci. The extra inches allow for fast turbo spool-up—oh yeah, did we mention turbos? Now we have. It makes sense, with a turbo-four as a foregone conclusion for the base models, why wouldn’t they use the same tech in the top tier? With the snails and the space, the new LT6 small-block provides more torque than even the Z06 Corvette’s 650 lb-ft LT4, yet still allows for high-revving fun—as titanium rods, valves, and keepers reduce both reciprocating and valvetrain weight. We’ve heard that the LT6 uses twin Garrett GT3776 55mm inducer turbos, each good for up to 500 hp. The number we were quoted from an anonymous Pontiac, Michigan, dyno operator was 808 hp at about 8 pounds of boost. We’ve also heard from a supplier that the high-pressure, direct-injection fuel pump from the LT4 will be carried over and additional fueling at WOT comes from an extra set of injectors mounted way upstream to help cool the intake charge. Cylinder heads are the same casting as the LT4, but are CNC ported, a practice gleaned from Chevrolet Performance’s LS3 cylinder-head package for the fifth-gen Camaro.

Related Link: Research the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro

It appears that this über-Camaro will offer an automatic transmission, as Chevrolet brought in extra help from Allison Performance Research & Integration Logistics, a division that works closely with the Formula Optimization & Outright Lap Sector teams to test cars on the track and improve lap times. Initial testing at the Nürburgring is rumored to have shown a best time of 7:32.185. Stick-shift fans will have options as well, with the Corvette’s seven-speed Tremec TR-6070 a definite, although we’ve even heard rumors of an eight-speed manual. Who cares, those extra gears are just for fuel mileage anyway. We’d take this thing with a three-on-the-tree it sounds so good! Oh, speaking of sound, the Camaro rights a wrong in the Corvette in that it automatically defaults to the loudest, most raucous exhaust setting on start-up. If you want to make your neighbors happy, you’ll have to make a custom sissy setting that keeps the flapper valve closed.

What do you think? Will the Camaro knock the Hellcat from the horsepower throne and make the Mustang 350R look like a fat Shetland pony? We can’t wait to find out.

Twin-Turbo LT6 Gen V Small-Block

Bore: 4.060

Stroke: 3.825

Displacement: 396 ci

Transmission: Eight-speed auto and seven-speed manual

Rear Gears: 4.10:1

Tire Size: 305/30ZR19 front, 335/30ZR19 rear

Wheels: Carbon-fiber 19x11 front, 19x12.5 rear

Brakes: 16-inch Boron-Carbide rotors with 6-piston calipers

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