Unsurprising thrills, surprising mileage for Camaro SS
You’ve probably noticed that the V6-powered Camaro RS and the V8-powered Camaro SS look virtually identical, except for some minor visual tweaks and a single letter of their badges. With horsepower ratings at 306 for the RS and up to 426 for the SS, the strong cosmetic similarities mean that opting for the higher-end model is almost entirely an output-motivated decision.
Performance enthusiasts know that where sound effects, thrust and nostalgia are concerned, there just isn’t a replacement for displacement-- which just happens to be the Camaro SS’s specialty.
With a Corvette-derived 6.2 litre V8 under the hood, drivers who opt for the standard six-speed manual gearbox get access to 426 horsepower whenever their right foot feels the need. Automatic models get 400 ponies, so learn to shift yourself, enjoy the extra jam, and save the $1,500 for traffic lawyers and mullet-wax. Sorry.
In first or second gear, Camaro SS will squat back and leap ahead a car-length almost as quickly as the gas pedal can be rolled to the floor. In the process, sound effects are tremendously addicting--especially when reflected off of nearby buildings, pedestrians, and tunnel walls. Listen closely at throttle lift-off, and you can even hear some subtle popping and gurgling from the tailpipes.
At full rip, the Camaro SS sounds delicious-- though not exceptionally loud. Of course, numerous owners will no doubt partake in exhaust modification via an aftermarket kit. Or a few strategically-placed sawzall cuts to the muffler and its hangers for removal.
Matching handling and braking
This machine isn’t all about snorty sound effects and head-pinning acceleration, though. The tested Camaro also got powerful Brembo brakes, high-performance Pirelli tires, performance-tuned suspension and 20-inch wheels. After all, cars that only go fast in a straight line stopped being fashionable about 30 years ago.
Camaro might be a big and heavy machine, though it handles and stops competently and should prove a rewarding and forgiving weapon for weekend motorsports enthusiasts. It’s no BMW 335i, but the beastly Camaro will hold its own in the hands of a skilled driver-- not to mention providing rocket-thruster levels of acceleration for corner exit.
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