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2016 Chevy Camaro: A Star Is Born!

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On: Mon, Jul 13, 2015 at 2:08PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

2016 Chevy Camaro: A Star Is Born!

It seems that this is the way things have been determined in the stars—a new Mustang comes out, and not long after, a new Camaro appears hot on its heels. This has been the way of things since the debut of the Mustang in April of 1964, a little less than three years later GM launched its counterattack in September of 1966.  Since then, the time gaps have gotten shorter, but the rivalry has only gotten bigger. The two sides have traded wins and losses, mostly dictated by sales, but also by track numbers and bragging rights. The 2015 Mustang was the new kid on the block, but its time is up and the 2016 Camaro is on its way to crash the party. Sporting enough changes to signify a generational change, this will be the sixth iteration of the Camaro since its inception, and it looks like it could be the baddest one yet.

Starting with the same platform the Cadillac ATS uses, the Camaro is superior to its predecessor in just about every way imaginable. Chevy has put the Camaro on a diet; it lost dropped more than 200 pounds, while its structural rigidity is up nearly 28% making for a very nice foundation for this car. While the car itself looks lower and wider than before, it is actually smaller in dimension making it easier to navigate. The perception of width comes from some cute styling tricks engineered into the exterior to give it an aggressive stance.

For 2016, there are three engine choices for the Camaro. The first is a (gasp) 2.0-liter turbo four cylinder, yes a four cylinder. But before you purists start going crazy, just know that that little four-banger is tuned to 275 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque—quite a bit more than a lot of the Camaro's previous V8 engines. Next up is the corporate motor, a 3.6-liter V6 that GM will undoubtedly be using as a base engine for as many cars as possible. Yet, while the generic feel of a V6 in a Camaro is initially inherently depressing, the idea of a V6 that puts down 335 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque and sports GM's Active Fuel Management system (deactivating two cylinders when the engine controls deem it unnecessary), suddenly things don't seem quite as bad.

The final choice of engine is the really where the conversation starts and ends. While fuel mileage is nice, not many people buy a Pony Car because it's a Prius. No, they buy a fast-looking car, presumably to go fast. The 2016 Camaro SS has got what you need, in spades. In what could be considered the greatest hand-me-down of all time, the Camaro gets the Corvette's 6.2-liter direct-injection VVT cam-in-block LT1 V8 that puts down a whopping 455 horsepower, making it the most powerful production Camaro SS ever. Like the powerhouses of the past, this new SS comes with a right and wrong choice of transmission: Either a Tremec six-speed manual (right), or a Hydra-Matic 8L90 automatic (less right).

With this rendition of the Camaro, it seems GM decided to up the ante when it came to the biggest shortcoming of previous generations—its interior. This time around, the fit and finish seem far better than the Gen 5, with things like high-def color displays and wireless phone charging, not to mention better-fitting door and dash panels. The cramped, semi-claustrophobic view the Gen 5 has become notorious for has improved somewhat, but the family resemblance is still there.

While the Gen 6 Camaro will forever be compared to Camaros of yore, the real test is how it will match up against its arch-nemesis, the Ford Mustang. From the looks of things, the new Camaro has the new Mustang outmatched in just about as many measurable ways as possible. But, we've only just begun this game of cat and mouse. Still to come are all of the power variants and one-off models that will display newer and better engines and power potentials. So while battle number six, round one, goes to GM, the war rages on and is sure to be out of this world.

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