Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Right on queue the Chevrolet Camaro Z28 has been revealed at the Chicago Auto Show – except the name for the top spec pony-car isn’t Z28 – it’s ZL1! Although billed as the “fastest Camaro ever offered by Chevrolet” the ZL1 is still undergoing development with performance specs to be released towards the end of 2011 and a market launch targeted for early 2012.

Packing an LSA 6.2-liter supercharged engine producing an estimated 550 horsepower (410 kW / 557 PS), the ZL1 uses a high-performance Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual transmission. Carrying the “MG9” designation, the transmission with its dual-mass flywheel and twin-disc clutch has a higher torque capacity.

“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.”

Exterior improvements are seen in the new front fascia (à la Transformers) and hood with air extractors. The front fascia also features a lower splitter and new vertical fog lamps. Other exterior changes include an aluminum hood with raised carbon fiber center section, new rocker panels, new-design 20-inch forged aluminum wheels, custom designed Goodyear Supercar F2 tires, dual-mode exhaust system with new tips and ZL1 badges on the grille, hood and brake calipers.

Other major features include Magnetic Ride Control, Brembo brakes and electric power steering.

The ZL1 name is derived from the all-aluminum racing engine of the same name, which was developed in the late 1960s and installed into a handful of regular-production 1969 Camaros. Only 69 were built with the engine, but they’ve achieved mythical status among enthusiasts, as they represented the pinnacle in Camaro performance — until now. The 2012 ZL1 model is designed to be a major leap forward for the Camaro, bringing a new level of performance capability to the segment.

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