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Motortrend: Camaro Z28 May Return

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The Z-28 - the Ultimate of the Camaros May Return

If Luck, Cash, and Government Permit

112_0904_01z%202010_chevrolet_camaro_z28

Highlights:

  • LSA Engine That Breaths Life into the CTS-V
  • Reworked Front Facia
  • Fastest Chevy Modern Muscle Car Since the ZL-1

These are strange times at post-bailout GM. Having taken taxpayer money, the company is no longer master of its own destiny. It was bad enough when, late last year, new-model programs were halted to conserve dwindling cash reserves. Now, though, there's another thread running through GM's product planning process: not, should we build this vehicle, but is this a vehicle we should be seen to be building?

The Camaro Z/28 is one of those vehicles.

Sources inside GM say the new Z/28 is basically done. The image you see on these pages is very close to the final signed-off design, based on photos of a scale clay model we've seen. Key details to note are the deeper front bumper fascia, with larger front aperture under the grille and the spotlights mounted in deep vents on either side. The Z/28 also gets a different grille mesh compared with the standard Camaro's.

At the rear is a taller lip spoiler that runs the full width of the car. A new rear-bumper fascia features a deeper section with integrated exhaust outlets. The wheels are 20-inchers with an aggressive "tuning-fork" five-spoke pattern.

A new hood features a large, forward-facing scoop. Underneath is the 6.2-liter supercharged LSA V-8 that also powers the Cadillac CTS-V. As we have already confirmed, this is quite a powerplant, delivering 556 horsepower at 6100 rpm and 551 pound-feet of torque at 3800 rpm. The Z/28 will also share the CTS-Vs six speed manual and automatic transmissions.

The near-4300-pound CTS-V thunders from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and nails the quarter mile in 12.3 seconds (automatic) or 12.4 seconds (manual). Top speed is limited to 175 mph in the auto (to preserve the tranny), but the manual will storm to an autobahn-melting 193 mph. As the Z/28 will weigh 200 to 300 pounds less than the CTS-V, it may nail 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and run the quarter in the very low 12s. This Z/28 could be the fastest Chevy ponycar since the legendary ZL-1-powered COPO 9560 Camaros built 40 years ago.

Only problem is the Z/28 is on hold. First, GM ran out of money to finish and launch the car. Now, some inside the company are wondering whether selling a super-fast, super-powerful two-door Chevy coupe that will likely get no better than 13-19 mpg is the right thing to do for a company that's had to beg for money from a bunch of politicians who seem to think it really ought to be building gas-sipping Prius clones.

"In the current environment, it would be very difficult to get any traction on a large rear-drive program," says one insider. But a hard core of performance enthusiasts inside GM are hopeful they can get the Z/28 back on track. "If we leave it too long, the car will become irrelevant," frets one source. One idea reportedly under study calls for a strictly limited production run, with each car individually numbered, to attract collectors and enthusiasts, and priced to ensure a solid profit margin.

According to sources, GM product chief Bob Lutz has said that, while he would love to do the car, "We need to make the world right first." However, that could take cash-crunched GM a long, long time.

The Australian-developed Zeta platform that underpins the Camaro was the linchpin of GM's global rear-drive strategy. Although developed as a much lower-cost architecture than the Detroit-developed Sigma platform that underpins the Cadillac CTS, it was being considered as the basis for an all-new rear-drive replacement for the STS/DTS sedans. That program, like every large rear-drive program at GM, is on hold.

It's not just the fact that GM is short of cash; the other issue is the tougher CAFE standards that will mandate the automaker meet 35 mpg across its fleets by 2020. While being grilled by Congress last year, all three Detroit automakers unequivocally agreed they would meet that target. Which means large, heavy rear-drive cars don't have much of a future beyond the end of the next decade.

The Zeta platform is good through 2016, say GM sources. Engineers will work on weight reduction and efficiency improvements, such as better aero and standard six-speed transmission, on all Zeta-based vehicles to keep the platform viable through then.

Zeta's future is critically important for GM in Australia, where it underpins the volume-selling Holden Commodore and variants. But there are signs GM is prepared for a post-Zeta world Down Under.

The company has already announced a version of the Chevy Cruze will be manufactured in Australia. And now it plans to build a car based off the next-generation Epsilon architecture there, too. The new Epsilon can be stretched large enough to give the interior package Aussies want; more important, it can package all-wheel drive and even a transverse-mounted V-8 under the hood.

If Zeta goes, where would that leave Camaro? One scenario is that by 2020 it will be a smaller, lighter ponycar built on the compact rear-drive Alpha architecture being developed for Cadillac.

[source: Motortrend]

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This is all true on the Z28 info.

The car is on the shelf on hold and can be revived very quickly as it is a done package. GM only needs the money and sales to bring it to reactivate it.

Note the Z28 has been mostly in plain sight with the new Bumble Bee in the new Transformers movie show car. The Bee is about 97% Z28.

While this is a car we all want to see built Chevy and GM have more important things to do first. I would expect to see this car in the future before the end of the Zeta. With so much of the work done it is more as matter of timing and the funding to just bring it to market.

As for the Holden part I have not heard anything there.

The bottom line is the Z was never going to be a cheap high volume car. It is a Shelby like car and would not going to be seen on every corner.

The bottom line is this car is far from dead and we may not get it for many years but a short run is better than nothing.

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the transverse V8 AWD Epsilon car mentioned here sounds like a rumored possible DTS replacement for Cadillac. it will be a regretful day for luxury at Cadillac if that car becomes reality.

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I really wish we had a ballpark figure on price. If in the 45K or less range, it would immediately preempt a G8 GXP purchase... 50K or less and I'd have a tough decision... but I think the HP, coupe and color choice would sway me.

Not sure I'd go higher than 50K, as the CTS-V coupe would start looking better.

I realize it doesn't have the green light yet, but IMHO, if its another ZR1, why bother. The ZR1 is IMHO, overpriced by 20K, then the dealers are ruining it with a 40K markup.

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the transverse V8 AWD Epsilon car mentioned here sounds like a rumored possible DTS replacement for Cadillac. it will be a regretful day for luxury at Cadillac if that car becomes reality.

That made me raise an eyebrow as well...

For some reason, I'm starting to warm up to Epsilon :smilewide:

(Of course, I had heard that Epsilon II was engineered from the beginning to house the now cancelled UV8)

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A 4100 pound Z/28?

No thanks.

Look at my avatar. This is believed to be Z/28 number one. The photo was taken almost exactly 42 years ago, when this car was about 1 month old. This here is the spirit of the Z/28. A lightweight, rip snorting, road racer, with a hot, free revving, high compression, normally aspirated smallblock. Note the Porsche behind it, struggling to keep up.

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Yeah... I don't really get the mindset behind this new Z/28...

IMO, the Z/28 should be to Camaro what the Z06 is to Corvette. (A brash, high performance track car)

If they want to make a GT500 competitor (READ: ZR1 style Camaro) call it ZL1 or something and make a very limited run.

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That kind of HP would give me night-terrors.

Most likely I'd be killed driving it.

Even so...

Paul Newman continued racing well into his senior-hood.

I know my reactions have been slowed by time and I'm no Paul Newman.

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the transverse V8 AWD Epsilon car mentioned here sounds like a rumored possible DTS replacement for Cadillac. it will be a regretful day for luxury at Cadillac if that car becomes reality.

Well, it would certainly be more modern than the current DTS. And it would give Cadillac something competitive with the MKS.

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A 4100 pound Z/28?

No thanks.

Look at my avatar. This is believed to be Z/28 number one. The photo was taken almost exactly 42 years ago, when this car was about 1 month old. This here is the spirit of the Z/28. A lightweight, rip snorting, road racer, with a hot, free revving, high compression, normally aspirated smallblock. Note the Porsche behind it, struggling to keep up.

True enough, I suppose.

But,

- I like the ZL-1 moniker for this car,and...

- I'd actually rather have it than a "true" Z/28!

Not because it is "better", but just because I love cars with obscene levels of power. If I was going to go SCCA racing, it would be a "true" Z/28 without question. As a street terror or dragstrip warrior give me the above recipe. It's all in what makes you grin.

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A Z/28 w/ the CTS-v engine would be great...I can see the 3 way comparisons in the magazines now--with the Shelby G500 and Challenger SRT8. A face off of the $45k, 4000+lb pony cars!

Edited by moltar
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A Z/28 w/ the CTS-v engine would be great...I can see the 3 way comparisons in the magazines now--with the Shelby G500 and Challenger SRT8. A face off of the $45k, 4000+lb pony cars!

I'd have to say that just such a comparo is a given...

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I've had time to rethink my misgivings re:the huge HP and torque numbers for this thing.

On second thought it'd be the ultimate posers car (that'd be me in my old age). I'd take my girl over to New Hope, PA and stake-out an outside table at the Havana restaurant, have some drinks and admire people as they admired my car...

Make it Mad Max black.

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I've had time to rethink my misgivings re:the huge HP and torque numbers for this thing.

On second thought it'd be the ultimate posers car (that'd be me in my old age). I'd take my girl over to New Hope, PA and stake-out an outside table at the Havana restaurant, have some drinks and admire people as they admired my car...

Make it Mad Max black.

I don't know about posers, but I'd be interested in one... such a car (or a Challenger SRT8) would be a great midlife crisis car for me when I turn 40 in '10...

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I've had time to rethink my misgivings re:the huge HP and torque numbers for this thing.

On second thought it'd be the ultimate posers car (that'd be me in my old age). I'd take my girl over to New Hope, PA and stake-out an outside table at the Havana restaurant, have some drinks and admire people as they admired my car...

Make it Mad Max black.

A familiar recipe...

8)

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I don't know about posers, but I'd be interested in one... such a car (or a Challenger SRT8) would be a great midlife crisis car for me when I turn 40 in '10...

Oh you child. (I'm just bustin' 'em on ya)

40. Hmmm. It's the Hallmark Greeting card milestone. It can be mostly unobtrusive. I doubt that many would say that you even look 40.

It gets interesting when you reach mid-decade and begin to see how others see you.

It reaches it's zenith when you begin to try to recapture what you think it was that you were, what you aspired to be when you were a mere stripling lad of 20.

I've revealed too much of what the last decade looked like for myself.

Suffice to say, it'll be interesting.

I hope you get one. A Z28 that is. The rest sort of falls into place.

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It gets interesting when you reach mid-decade and begin to see how others see you.

Doesn't always feel so great either...

especially when the mentality is still a few years younger. Gets a touch frustrating.

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A familiar recipe...

8)

For a little while it was Harleys parked out in front of that same place.

The cast of characters might've changed over the months but it was all about styling, Zymol, idle chatter over mimosas or bloody marys or Heineken.

I can hear that old familiar siren-song luring me toward the rocks for one last look.

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Oh you child. (I'm just bustin' 'em on ya)

40. Hmmm. It's the Hallmark Greeting card milestone. It can be mostly unobtrusive. I doubt that many would say that you even look 40.

I hope you get one. A Z28 that is. The rest sort of falls into place.

Heh-heh...38 feels old some days, esp. in an industry full of punk-ass 25 yr olds that think they know everything.. :)

....I got an '87 Mustang GT for my 17th, bought a BMW M3 (2 yrs old) when I got my first really good paying job after grad school, bought a Jeep Grand Cherokee for my 30th.

I'm torn between a practical luxury model like a CTS for my next daily driver, or a fun car like a Camaro, Mustang, Challenger..

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Talk about a Z/28 and all of a sudden everybody likens back to the old days. :smilewide:

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Doesn't always feel so great either...

especially when the mentality is still a few years younger. Gets a touch frustrating.

After my wife died, I went out once more into the world propelled by my Firehawk.

I had no idea what I was looking for and I found it in abundance.

I once ran from Doylestown, PA to Levittown, PA on twisting roads (some 17 or 18 miles perhaps) in 15 minutes when 'she' called. I was 45 years old then. I felt 18. Middle-age crazy.

I must have unconsciously been trying to be f*cking Knight Rider or something.

I got hurt, they got hurt. They gave as good as they got and my renaissance 2nd and 3rd childhoods passed into history.

Now I'm restless and soon to be 53.

Maybe one last shot before I 'retire'.

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