GM’s answer to the fast and nimble Shelby GT350R

The Z/28 nameplate was revived in 2013 for the fifth-generation Camaro. The iconic name returned after 46 years as a track-ready version of the road-going coupe, just like it was originally conceived by Vince Piggins. It also received a big, naturally aspirated V-8 and, even though it wasn’t as powerful as the ZL1, it had a 7:37-minute Nurburgring lap to brag about, being quicker than its supercharged siblings, the Porsche 911 Carerra S, and the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640.

A hit with Chevy gearheads in its first months on the market, the Z/28 sold out quickly despite its $75,000 sticker. However, things didn’t go as expected in 2015, with GM eventually offering discounts of up to $4,000 for the performance coupe. With a brand-new Camaro in dealerships since late 2015, Chevrolet is now working on a third-generation Z/28. There is no specific timeline for the redesigned model, but chances are it will be unveiled by mid-2017. Until that happens, we decided to put together a speculative review to go with the cool rendering our artist just created.

Keep reading to find out what the next Camaro Z/28 might bring to the table and stay tuned for details.

Updated 05/18/2016: Based on the recent spy shots, we decided to make some improvements to our rendering. Check it out and let us know what do you think about it, and also if you think the Z/28 will be indeed that wild.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.

  • 2018 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    525 (Est.)
  • Torque @ RPM:
    500 (Est.)
  • Displacement:
    7.0 L
  • Price:
    78000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Spy Shots

May 10, 2016 - Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 caught testing at Nurburgring

2018 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Exterior Spyshots
- image 675342

Exterior

The Camaro Z/28 will obviously be based on the standard Camaro, but will have a slew of performance parts that make it a track-ready scalpel. That includes a bunch of aerodynamic improvements. In the most recent round of spy photographs, we can see just how aggressive Chevrolet is making the Z/28. This is all in a bid to compete with track-ready specials like the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R, Porsche 911 GT3 RS, and BMW M4 GTS.

There’s no word on how much downforce the wing will create, but from the looks of it, the Z/28 should have no trouble holding corners around the Nürburgring at breakneck speeds

Up front, the large lower grille and headlights are shared with the Camaro ZL1, but the similarities end there. Outboard of the grille are two air intakes with massive aero winglets that appear to be for downforce. A large front splitter furthers the downforce action, along with side splitters along the rocker panels. The hood seems to be missing the large heat extractor of the ZL1 – most likely because the Z/28 won’t be supercharged and therefore doesn’t require the extra cooling – but it still has a heat extractor midway up the “power dome.”

Things get really crazy out back. The trunk holds a large wing with three support brackets that appear to be adjustable. There’s no word on how much downforce the wing will create, but from the looks of it, the Z/28 should have no trouble holding corners around the Nürburgring at breakneck speeds. Its top speed, however, will likely suffer when compared to the Camaro ZL1.

These spy shots also show us Chevy’s latest wheel design, though these might not make production. They are five-spoke units with a split-spoke design, essentially making each wheel a 20-spoke design. Sizes are likely staggered, with 19-inch wheels up front with 20-inch wheels out back. Expect the rear tires to measure some insane width – something in the 305- to 325-series range.

Interior

2016 - 2017 Chevrolet Camaro High Resolution Interior
- image 630509

Note: 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS pictured here.

The interior of the Z/28 is expected to be well-designed yet sparse. Taking a cue form the last generation Z/28 and other modern track-focused special editions (like the GT350R, 911 GT3RS, and M4 GTS), the 2018 Z/28 will likely come standard with Recaro racing buckets, missing rear seats, thinner glass, less sound insulation, and carbon fiber accents. Expect to see GM’s Performance Data Recorder to come standard, as well as the MyLink infotainment system. Perhaps GM will leave air conditioning as an option, just as it did with the fifth-generation Z/28. Once we know more, we’ll let you know.

Drivetrain

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 499374

Note: Previous Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 pictured here.
Speculation is running ramped on what will power the Z/28. However, Camaro forums and industry talk does point to the LT1 V-8 from the Corvette Grand Sport. You’ll recall the Grand Sport is basically a naturally aspirated version of the mighty Corvette Z06. It carries all the same suspension, brake, and aero bits as the Z06, but offers a track-ready Vette at a price between the standard C7 and the all-out Z06.

Well, that same LT1 V-8 could very well be what powers the Z/28. We suspect Chevy will up the ante with a hotter camshaft, a free-flowing exhaust, remapped ECU, and a cold air induction system designed to pump power well north of the 505-horsepower mark set by the last Z/28’s 7.0-liter V-8. One thing is for sure: the Z/28 will be a naturally aspirated car.

Behind the engine will be two transmission options: the six-speed manual transmission and the all-new 10-speed automatic, borrowed from the Camaro ZL1. Those looking for lap records will opt for the automatic thanks to its lightening fast shifts and race-tuned performance modes.

Suspension and Brakes

2018 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Exterior Spyshots
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The Camaro’s new and lighter chassis will gain further updates for the Z/28. The coupe should ride on new spool-valve dampers with four-way adjustment and a race-bred suspension system. These will be paired with a lower ride height and lightweight wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Trofeo tires. Stopping power will be provided by Brembo carbon-ceramic discs measuring 15 inches front and rear. The front rotors will be squeezed by six-piston calipers, while the rear will use four-piston units.

Prices

Just like its predecessor, the new Z/28 will be anything but cheap. With the sixth-gen Camaro a bit more expensive that last year’s model, the upcoming performance coupe should also carry a higher price tag. The outgoing model retails from $72,305, so it’s safe to assume that the Z/28 will fetch at least $78,000 before options.

Competition

Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang

2016 Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang
- image 671846

Based on the sixth-gen Mustang, the first to use an independent rear suspension, and equipped with Ford’s latest race-bred technology, the Shelby GT350R is the track-ready muscle car the new Camaro Z/28 will have to face once it arrives in showrooms. Featuring an aggressive aero kit, the GT350R is powered by a 5.2-liter, flat-plane crank, V-8 that churns 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. The mill pushes the coupe from 0 to 60 in just 3.5 seconds, which makes the GT350R the fastest, naturally aspirated two-door you can buy in the U.S.

Opting for the R model adds more downforce-creating features, including a carbon-fiber rear wing, and carbon-fiber wheels. Those wheels made Ford the first major manufacturer to offer carbon rollers as standard. Pricing for the “standard” Shelby GT350 starts at $49,995, including destination and the $1,300 gas-guzzler tax, which makes it significantly more affordable than the Camaro Z/28. For the track-focused GT350R, you’ll have to pay $63,495. Still, that is significantly less expensive than the competition.

Find out more about the Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT350R here and here.

Porsche 911 GT3 RS

2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS High Resolution Exterior
- image 620005

As 911s go, the GT3 is a track-focused beast that takes second place behind no one. However, Porsche felt it could do better, so the GT3 RS was created. It takes what the 911 GT3 had and turns it to 11. The exterior receives a slew of aerodynamic upgrades, including that tall rear wing and those heat extractors on the front fenders. Engineers then turned to the 4.0-liter flat-six, boosting its power to 500 horsepower and 338 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed PDK dual clutch transmission sends power to the rear wheels.

Of course with it being a Porsche, the price is dramatically larger. The starting price for the 2016 911 GT3 RS is $175,900.

Read our full review of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS here.

Conclusion

2018 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 High Resolution Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The previous Camaro Z/28 hit the market as the baddest modern-day muscle car available in dealerships and it kept its crown for a couple of years until Ford unleashed the Shelby GT350R. The Mustang has been trailing the Camaro as far as tech, handling, and sales go ever since Chevy revived the nameplate back in 2010. With the sixth-gen Mustang in showrooms for three years now and a high-tech GT350R to lead the high-performance segment, Chevrolet has no choice but to play catch up.

The brand-new Camaro has already proven that it has what it takes to give the Mustang a run for its money, but will the upcoming Z/28 be as fast and nimble as the GT350R? At this point it’s a waiting game, but if the previous model is any indication, the third-gen Z/28 will be one heck of track car. Our bet is Chevy will have benchmarked the GT350R and will easily outperform it in nearly every metric.

  • Leave it
    • Not yet confirmed for production
    • Likely significantly more expensive than the Shelby GT350R

Updated History

Updated 05/10/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Camaro Z/28 out for a testing session around the famous Nurburgring race track.

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