We like celebrating things around here, though our celebrations tend to be a little different than most. Take this Chevrolet Camaro SS for instance. It recently won our drivers’ choice award for best sport coupe. How do we celebrate that? Well, we take it to our favorite race track and wring the heck out of it!
Taking the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS, our favorite sport coupe of the year; to our winter stomping grounds, Roebling Road Raceway near Savannah, is indeed about as good as it gets when it comes to putting in a couple of days of hard work.
The SS might be all new for ’16, but it’s a bit of a GM’s greatest hits collection; combining the ATS chassis and Corvette powertrain, with all of the things that come along with them, like active rev matching and even available Magnetic Ride Control.
Punching the time clock and getting to work on Roebling’s twisty asphalt, we quickly tuned into the track, and found shift points; as the SS felt well-balanced and incredibly hard to upset. There’s a very responsive throttle, and plenty of grip; so you can make good use of all the power that’s available.
And there is just about the perfect amount of power for this chassis setup. But don’t worry; just when you think steam is running out, there’s still a little more waiting for you at the high end.
Of course it’s all coming from the Corvette’s 6.2-liter LT1 V8, here with 455-horsepower and 455 lb-ft. of torque. An 8-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual are the transmission choices.
The suspension is well dialed in, with very minimal body roll. It’s a MacPherson type up front and 5-link in the rear, and you don’t really need Magnetic Ride Control to get the most out of it.
Standard Brembo brakes worked well enough to not draw too many complaints, but there was a mushy feeling pedal.
There are selectable drive modes of course, with the SS getting an additional Track mode.
Completing the list, there’s great feedback and on-center feel trough the wheel; and the car, with optional dual-mode exhaust, sounds awesomely muscular without being too loud or annoying. Rev matching was fun to play with, but not a real necessity.
It’s also more refined and track ready than a Mustang GT; if not quite as much fun to sling around; but overall the SS is very impressive considering we are talking about a stock SS. We haven’t even gotten to the 1LE and ZL1’s that will be here soon.
Keeping things on the straight and narrow, the SS pounces off the line with a fairytale escape of traction beauty and torque beast; hitting 60 in 4.0-seconds flat.
The manual shifter performed fine; direct feel, no miss shifts. Though it doesn’t have the ultra-mechanical precision of some. There’s good weight to the clutch as well; all helping us to clear the ¼ in 12.4-seconds at 115 miles-per-hour. It’s only Rock n’ Roll with shoulderbelts, but we like it.
And as much as we also like all of the changes inside the new Camaro, nicer materials… better MyLink infotainment… improved layout… and the cushy seats, that while not great for track work, were appreciated on the street; visibility from the driver’s seat is still extremely poor in just about every direction.
Many on our staff were hoping for more of a departure in the looks department for the 6th gen. Camaro, but clearly GM didn’t want to mess too much with a good thing.
HID headlamps with signature LED DRLs are about the only trendy elements to be found.
This SS flexes the most muscle of course, with a wide-mouth front, vented hood, rear spoiler, and 20-inch wheels.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 16-City, 25-Highway, and 19-Combined.
While the Camaro SS is an incredibly competent vehicle, there’s a price to pay for that competency, at least $37,295. That’s 4-grand over a Mustang GT. But of course, you can still get into a base LT turbo-4 Camaro for as little as $26,695.
By taking the less is more approach; shrinking the Camaro in both size and weight, while also cramming in plenty of power, GM has turned the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS into an all-around winner. They’ve been able to match the Mustang’s Euro sport coupe feel stride for stride; yet still retain a muscle car edge that noses it ahead at the finish, to clearly demands and get our respect.
Engine: 6.2 liter
Torque: 455 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 4.0 seconds
1/4 mile: 12.4 seconds @ 115 mph
EPA: 16 mpg city/ 25 mpg highway