When Chevrolet revealed the redesigned sixth-generation Camaro last spring, it looks like they significantly sandbagged everyone on the weight reductions including the engineers in Dearborn. The original press release indicated that “the total curb weight for Camaro has been reduced by more than 200 pounds,” which I took as an indication that it would end up at roughly the same weight as the 2015 Mustang. In fact, Chevy’s sports car undercuts its arch-rival the Mustang by anywhere from 20 to 200 pounds and offers vastly improved weight-to-power ratios, which is directly reflected in the performance numbers.
At the entry level where Chevrolet is positioning the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that is now available in Camaro, the 3,339-pound curb weight is a massive 390-pounds less than the base 2015 V6 Camaro and 185-pounds slimmer than the EcoBoost four-cylinder Mustang. Despite the extra 35-horsepower and 30 lb.-ft of torque that the mid-range Mustang brings to the party, the Camaro’s claimed 5.4-5.5 second 0-60 times match the performance results published by most outlets for the Ford.
That power and deficit disappears when the Camaro is equipped with either the 3.6-liter V6 or the 6.2-liter V8. Combined with weight advantages for both of these configurations, the acceleration numbers just published by Chevrolet beat the corresponding Mustangs by a solid half second with the Camaro hitting 60 in a claimed 5.1-5.2 seconds with the six or 4.0-4.3 seconds with the V8. That latter number very nearly matches the speed of the much more expensive Shelby GT350 and its vaunted flat-plane-crank V8. In addition to a 20-pound weight advantage, the Camaro SS has 20-hp and 26 lb.-ft. on the Mustang’s 5.0-liter V8 as well as an automatic transmission with two extra gears to help keep the engine in its sweet spot.
What we don’t know yet is the exact equipment configuration for any of these Camaro powertrains so it’s entirely possible that equipped comparably and the way customers would actually buy the cars, the weights might actually be considerably closer. For example, the base four-cylinder and even the V6 Camaro could be using lightweight brakes that aren’t up to sustained fast driving, but both offer optional Brembo four-piston brakes with larger rotors.
At this point it looks like the only place the Mustang still holds an advantage over the Camaro is pricing with the four-cylinder Chevy starting at $26,695, a $2,800 premium over the base V6 Mustang while the V8-powered 1SS will set you back nearly $5K more than the cheapest Mustang GT with a starting MSRP of $37,295. Price isn’t everything when you are playing in this territory though as the previous Camaro was consistently more expensive than the last Mustang while also selling in higher volumes. The current Mustang is a huge leap forward over its predecessors and it looks like Team Camaro has made a similar jump. The crew in Dearborn have their work cut out for them and they will have to find a way to shave a lot of mass in the next couple of years.
Competition is good!
Full Chevrolet Press Release
Lighter 2016 Camaro Delivers Benchmark Performance
2016 Camaro SS delivers 0-60 acceleration in 4.0 seconds; 0.97 g cornering grip
DETROIT – Less weight and more power is the combination for performance success and engineers of the 2016 Camaro have the numbers to prove it. With weight savings of up to 390 pounds (177 kg), the all-new Camaro delivers performance numbers that reset the benchmark for the segment.
Chevrolet testing shows the all-new, 455-hp (336 kW) Camaro SS coupe – the most powerful Camaro SS ever – sprints from 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds and covers the quarter-mile in 12.3 seconds, when equipped with the all-new eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission.
The other Gen Six Camaro coupe models are commensurately quick, with the 275-hp (205) 2.0L Turbo delivering 5.4-second 0-60 performance and a 14.0-second quarter-mile, with the six-speed manual. With the available, 335-hp (250 kW) 3.6L V-6 and eight-speed automatic, the Camaro zips to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and down the quarter-mile in only 13.5 seconds.
“The performance of the Camaro 2.0L Turbo will challenge many of the iconic muscle cars from the 1960s, while the Camaro SS’s performance – including 0.97 g cornering – makes it one of the most capable 2+2 coupes on the market,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “The performance numbers only tell half of the story, because the lighter curb weight also makes the new Camaro feel more responsive and agile behind the wheel. It brakes more powerfully, dives into corners quicker, accelerates faster and is more fun to drive than ever.”
With standard 18-inch wheels and Goodyear Eagle Sport all-season tires, the 2.0L Turbo delivers 0.85 g in cornering grip and 60-0-mph braking in 129 feet. With the RS package, which includes 20-inch wheels and Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric all-season run-flat tires, the 3.6L V-6 delivers 0.89 g in cornering and 60-0 mph braking in 124 feet. The Camaro SS features Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 run-flat summer-only tires, enabling 0.97 g in cornering and 60-0 braking in 117 feet.
(sec. @ mph)
|Grip (max. lateral)||60-0 mph braking (feet)|
|14.0 @ 100 (man.)
14.0 @ 99 (auto.)
w/20-in. RF3 tires
|13.7 @ 102 (man.)
13.5 @ 103 (auto.)
w/20-in. RF4 tires
|12.5 @ 115 (man.)
12.3 @ 116 (auto.)
Lighter, stronger architecture
Much of the Camaro’s performance can be attributed to the development team’s focus on reducing vehicle mass and improving structural stiffness. They invested 9 million hours of computational time looking for opportunities to make the chassis lighter and stiffer. That computer-aided engineering led to a modular architecture strategy that tailored the chassis to each model (see accompanying infographic).
“Every Camaro model offers exceptional chassis strength and rigidity, but the modular design made the architecture more adaptable and mass-efficient, because we didn’t have to compensate for the unique demands of, say, the SS convertible when building a 2.0L Turbo coupe,” said Oppenheiser. “The result was an elegant engineering solution: 12 chassis components that could be combined to meet the structural requirements of each specific model, without adding unnecessary mass to other models.”
Consequently, the base curb weight for the 2016 Camaro is 368 pounds (167 kg) lighter than the previous model. The 1SS model is 223 pounds (101 kg) lighter, while offering 29 more horsepower, for a 14-percent improvement in its power-to-weight ratio.
|2.0L Turbo||3.6L V-6||6.2L V-8|
|2016 Camaro||275 hp / 295 lb-ft
3,339 lbs (auto)
|335 hp / 284 lb-ft
3,435 lbs (auto)
|455 hp / 455 lb-ft
3,685 lbs (man)
|2015 Camaro||N/A||323 hp / 278 lb-ft
3,729 lbs (auto)
|426 hp / 420 lb-ft
|Change||390 pounds lighter than 2015 V-6||294 pounds lighter
12% lbs/hp improvement
|223 pounds lighter
14% lbs/hp improvement
The 2016 Camaro goes on sale this fall, with a suggested retail price of $26,695 for the Camaro 1LT and $37,295 for the 1SS.
FAST FACT: The 2016 Camaro 2.0L Turbo’s 275 horsepower rating matches the output of the 1993-1995 Camaro Z28’s 5.7L V-8 – and offers comparable acceleration performance.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 115 countries and selling around 4.8 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.