For the longest time it was rumored that GM was developing a modern revival of the Camaro Z/28, a car that conquered the track during the Trans Am days of yesteryear. The car that sparked those rumors turned out to actually be the Camaro ZL1, a supercharged Shelby competitor, and most of us seemed to forget about the Z/28 rumors.
Perhaps that is why so many at the New York Auto Show were surprised when the refreshed 2014 Camaro Z/28 roared onto the stage at the Jacob Javits Center boasting a lighter weight, a 500 horsepower LS7, and a sports car heritage matched by none other.
Rumors of the Corvette Z06’s LS7 engine going into a refreshed Camaro have been floating around for a few months, though many writers (including this one) were quick to dismiss the notion as hearsay and hopeful thinking. But it turns out GM managed to shoehorn the 7.0 liter, 427 cubic-inch LS7 engine into a new, sleeker-looking Camaro. This engine will deliver 500 horsepower (down from 505 in the Corvette) and 470 pound-feet of torque… but the engine isn’t even half of the story.
Rather, GM listened to customer “suggestions” that the 5th-generation Camaro was too big and heavy, and so the General went on a weight reduction spree, shaving pounds wherever they could. This included removing the sound insulation, the trunk carpet, making air conditioning optional, and even going so far as to remove every speaker except one. Why leave one? Because law dictates that a seatbelt chime must be in every car, so GM had to keep at least one speaker – but they would have ditched it if they could.
All told, the weight savings add up to a hefty 300 pounds versus a stock Camaro ZL1, a substantial savings in any car, and much needed in the 5th gen Camaro. Along with new carbon ceramic brakes (borrowed from the outgoing Corvette ZR1, perhaps?) and Recaro racing seats, GM’s engineers claim that this car absolutely hugs the road in the corners. We can’t help but think that this car is designed specifically to crush the Boss 302 Mustang on the track, which is where GM intends this car to spend most of its time. That said, it is entirely street legal, and we expect to see plenty of them on public roads.
The 2014 Camaro Z/28 also debuts the Camaro’s refreshed new look, sporting a narrower front and rear fascia, as well as new taillights that are a complete departure from the current back end. GM went to great lengths to make the new Camaro look and feel sleeker, and the Z/28 now fills an important gap between the stock Camaro SS and the supercharged Camaro ZL1. No mention was made of price, but again, we expect it to slot between the SS and ZL1, which should put it right in the $45,000 to $50,000 range. But don’t hold us to that.
With a matte white paintjob, a killer drivetrain, and a legendary name, the 2014 Camaro Z/28 stands to be a potent competitor in the muscle car wars, and we can’t wait to see what the aftermarket can do to make it even better.