2012 - 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Leaving the other debuts of the Chicago Auto Show in the dust is the brand-spanking new Camaro ZL1 - the most powerful Camaro ever. This beautiful beast is powered by a LSA 6.2L supercharged V-8 engine that provides enough juice to get our hearts racing and our fingers twitching to grab the wheel.

"Camaro ZL1 is about high-tech performance and design, and is a type of car no one has ever brought to this segment previously," said Rick Scheidt, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. "It’s the most technically advanced Camaro ever, so we’ve chosen a name from the most elite and exclusive Camaro in history."

The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will be distinguished by a new front fascia, hood with air extractors, and a signature center section constructed of carbon fiber rendered in satin black finish. Completing the look is a set of 20-inch wheels and exhaust tips with ZL1 badge on the grille, hood, and brake calipers.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.


Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

The new and most powerful Camaro will get a redesigned fascia and aluminum hood with a raised, carbon fiber insert, a front splitter, and new vertical fog lamps with air intakes designed for brake cooling. The hood features front-mounted air extractors with the center section made in satin black carbon fiber. Headlamps will be High-Intensity Discharge HID models in order to provide plenty of light out front. Distinguishing the rear as well as providing more downforce will be a larger spoiler and diffuser. Newly designed 20-inch forged aluminum wheels will help to complete the aggressive look of the ZL1.


Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

On the interior, the ZL1 will only be offered in black with black leather sports seats with microfiber suede inserts. ZL1 logos decorate the front headrests and microfiber suede covers the instrument panel. Other interior features include a redesigned steering wheel, alloy pedals, a Head-Up Display with unique performance readouts, and the "four-pack" auxiliary gauge system featuring a boost readout. A heads-up display will be available to display unique performance readouts straight onto the windshield allowing the driver to stay focused on the quickly approaching horizon ahead.

The Camaro ZL1 will come standard with six-way power driver and passenger seats, a unique instrument panel, door panel inserts, and ZL1-logo sill plates. New technology can be seen in the steering wheel audio controls featuring Bluetooth capability, Wireless PDIM and USB-port, a Boston Acoustics premium audio system, rear parking assist, and a rear camera system (displayed in the inside rearview mirror). The year 1969 introduced the world to a minimalist muscle machine named the ZL1 – 2012 will see the rebirth of that moniker with higher power and an interior packed with more technology than a BMW.

UPDATE: It took longer than expected but Chevrolet has finally released the official online configurator for the Camaro ZL1. Now’s your chance to build your own "virtual" ZL1 and in the event that you like your creation, you might just end up scooping one up sooner than you think. Chevrolet has also unveiled a new video of the ZL1 presenting the final testings made at the Nurburgring.


Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Previously, it was reported that the Camaro ZL1 will be packing 550 horsepower and 550 lb/ft of torque from its LSA 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine. But now the word is that it’s got more ponies under its hood than we initially thought. Instead of 550 horsepower and 550 lb/ft of torque, the Camaro ZL1 will carry 580 ponies at 6,000 rpm and 556 lb/ft of torque at 4,200 rpm. The muscle car can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds with an automatic gearbox (4.0 seconds with a manual) and can reach a top speed of 184 mph.

According to Chevrolet, the improved output comes as a result of "a unique induction system, with a lower-restriction air filter, dual ‘bell mouth’ inlet paths, and improved airflow through the supercharger housing."

Other changes made on the engine include a higher-efficiency supercharger intercooler and electric power steering system, which consume less engine power than hydraulic-steering systems.

Having said that, the engine is still mated to a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission that uses a 240-mm dual-mass flywheel matched with a 240-mm twin-disc clutch system to provide excellent shift smoothness. In order to harness all this power the new ZR1 will also have Magnetic Ride Control offering two settings depending on how quickly you want to get to work that day. Brembo brakes will be used on all four wheels with six piston calipers out front and four piston units at the back.

Chevrolet also an automatic transmission available that is equipped with newly improved TapShift technology that allows drivers to control up- and down-shifts with paddle shifters. When equipped with the automatic gearbox, the ZL1 will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds – a tenth of a second faster than the manual transmission time.

"By staging hydraulic pressure in the clutch for the next gear, the new control module algorithm reduces tap delay for the 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, and 4-5 up-shifts by 200-300 milliseconds. The system anticipates shift requests based on current gear, throttle, torque and speed. By pre-filling the clutch for the next gear, the tap up-shift response is near instantaneous."

A new video explains everything there is to know about the new TapShift technology. Check it out by clicking on the main picture above!

UPDATE 10/05/2011: Word has it that the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, considered the most powerful Camaro in the world, has posted a 7:14.27 lap time at the Nurburgring. In a tweet posted by Jason Laird, GM’s Executive Director for Product and Technology Communications, said: "Mark Reuss just confirmed ZL1 Camaro lapped Nurburgring in 7.41.27." This tweet was followed with a confirmation by GM the very next day.


Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

The new Camaro ZL1 went on sale in the spring of 2012, as a 2012 model. Prices started from $54,995, including Performance Traction Management and Magnetic Ride suspension. For the 2013 model year, the ZL1 jumped up in price, starting at $60,445, including destination charges.

The Camaro ZL1 is available with six options:

  • Six-speed automatic transmission with TapShift controls is $1,185
  • 20-inch, bright aluminum wheel package is $470
  • Power sunroof is $900
  • Stripe package is $470
  • Exposed-weave carbon fiber hood insert is $600
  • The suede package, including suede microfiber accents on the steering wheel, shift knob, and shift boot is $500
2012 Base price Horsepower Torque Magnetic Ride
Camaro ZL1$54,095580556Standard
Audi R8 GT $196,800560398Standard
Maserati GranTurismo $122,800405339Not available
Mercedes SLS AMG $185,750565479Not available


Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Any muscle car fanatic will tell us that the most important competitor for any Camaro will be its Ford Mustang counterpart. The Camaro ZL1 specifically has its sights set on the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 . The GT500 is powered by 5.4 Liter supercharged V8 that produces 550 HP and 510 lb-ft of torque which only provides the Camaro with a slight advantage off the jump. With numbers so similar, we can only imagine that the ball is now in Ford’s court to come out with a new model to blow Chevrolet Chevrolet out of the water. It has been a long time since Chevrolet has had an answer to the mighty GT500 and we look forward to the ongoing muscle car wars.

Video Montage

  • Impressive exterior and interior design
  • Powerful engine
  • Impressive list of standard equipment
  • We are at a loss for any cons as of yet!


I would still prefer the 2012 charger to this.

We will use their expertise to open the performance envelope in the Chevy. Fiat has an awesome ability to tune cars. I want the new Camaro to be a more forgiving car to drive and accessible to more people

I love that baby and the car seems pretty well done as well. Awesome stuff.

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