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2016 Chevrolet Camaro V-6 Manual

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 4/13/2016 DON SHERMAN
2016 Chevrolet Camaro RS

From the May 2016 issue

Six-cylinder engines are legitimately desirable in imports—BMWs, Jaguars, Porsches—yet in pony cars they’ve always been plagued by the Rodney Dangerfield syndrome. As the old Camaro/Challenger/Mustang rap goes, V-8s are for those serious about performance, V-6s are for secretarial pools and rental fleets.

While Dodge and Ford both offer V-6s with 300 or more horsepower, the home of the Hemi and the house of EcoBoost don’t have their hearts in those engines. This gives Chevy the opportunity to indulge in the joy of six with its freshly revitalized Camaro. We don’t have secretaries anymore, and during our most recent 10Best trial, we noticed that the 3.6-liter, 335-hp LGX V-6 the Camaro shares with four Cadillacs is a palatable alternative to a honking V-8. Times have indeed changed.

The Camaro LT tested here rings in at $35,150, uplifted from a base four-cylinder with a $1495 V-6, $895 dual-mode exhaust, and a $1950 RS package (20-inch wheels and tires, high-tech lighting, and a few sporty trim pieces). That’s the high end of affordability, but oh, what you get. It snarls unlike any American V-6, and the 223- pound-lighter nose relative to the V-8 version’s makes it a back-road Baryshnikov.

This V-6’s appetite for rpm shot us to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and to 103 mph in the quarter-mile in 13.7, quicker by 0.4 second in both measures than a 3.7-liter V-6 Mustang. The last Challenger V-6 we tested, equipped with an eight-speed automatic, was a full second off the Camaro’s pace.

GM’s four-cam V-6 flaunts its spunk by pulling smartly from 1800 rpm and by tickling the sound meter with rich resonance at 5000 rpm. At the 7000-rpm redline, four tailpipes spout speed metal.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro V-6 Manual© DON SHERMAN 2016 Chevrolet Camaro V-6 Manual

The chassis is nicely balanced thanks to the engineers’ weight-saving and stiffness-enhancing accomplishments. The V-6 is tucked back as far as is practical, the battery lives in the trunk, and various suspension and structural components are aluminum. We measured 0.91 g’s worth of skidpad stick running on 245/40R-20 Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All Season radials. The body is flat and nicely damped at the adhesion limit, and the understeer never goes nasty. The electrically assisted steering is perfectly weighted and provides aggressive turn-in response. Clearly, a car junkie tuned the communications channel from the road to the driver’s hands.

The bad news is the cave that the Camaro’s interior has become. While the sixth generation’s cockpit excels in functionality, the exterior designers hiked up the trousers and cocked the Camaro’s beret to leave little more than peepholes for spotting traffic. The front buckets provide excellent lateral and thigh support, though the slide into them includes a buttocks bite by the outboard seatbelt anchor. The front belts also serve as tripwires for those brave enough to attempt rear-seat entry. That’s a pity because the back perches are comfortable—except for their shortage of head, knee, and foot space.

Most of the interior is finished in hard, black plastic but executed nicely enough not to be oppressive. At least there’s no hassle using the reconfigurable instrument cluster, infotainment system, and climate controls. Twisting the oversized vent registers sets cabin temperature. A parking brake that automatically releases when you drive off is handy, and the options list includes a wireless charging pad and a head-up display.

While Mustang fans might look wistfully in the direction of the new Camaro’s numbers, Ford fan defections are unlikely. That said, this car’s gutsy V-6 should draw a few import owners to the Chevy fold.

Specifications >VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door coupe

PRICE AS TESTED: $35,150 (base price: $30,140)

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 222 cu in, 3640 cc

Power: 335 hp @ 6800 rpm

Torque: 284 lb-ft @ 5300 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual

DIMENSIONS:

Wheelbase: 110.7 in

Length: 188.3 in

Width: 74.7 in Height: 53.1 in

Passenger volume: 80 cu ft

Trunk volume: 9 cu ft

Curb weight: 3469 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS:

Zero to 60 mph: 5.1 sec

Zero to 100 mph: 13.0 sec

Zero to 140 mph: 34.1 sec

Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.0 sec

Top gear, 30–50 mph: 15.1 sec

Top gear, 50–70 mph: 12.4 sec

Standing ¼-mile: 13.7 sec @ 103 mph

Top speed (governor limited): 151 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 152 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.91 g

FUEL ECONOMY:

EPA city/highway driving: 18/27 mpg

C/D observed: 18 mpg

TEST NOTES: Launches nicely with a 4000-rpm clutch engagement and a feathered throttle. Perfectly stable at its 151-mph top speed.

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