Home » The Brilliant Sixth-Generation Chevrolet Camaro Deserves A Better Send-Off Than This

The Brilliant Sixth-Generation Chevrolet Camaro Deserves A Better Send-Off Than This

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It feels like we’re living in the twilight years of internal combustion and another bell has tolled. The 2024 Chevrolet Camaro Collector’s Edition has been unveiled, and it’s expected to be the last Camaro as we know it since production is expected to end in January. That’s a shame because not only could Chevrolet have gone much harder for a closeout special, the sixth-generation Camaro was one of the best coupes of a generation. Here’s why.

2016 Camaro Ss

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A truly great car typically starts from the ground up. While the fifth-generation Camaro was largely based on the Australian Holden Commodore, the sixth-generation model adopted homegrown bones of the Alpha chassis, the BMW-fighting platform underneath the Cadillac ATS. Because the soft, electric power steering-equipped F30 3-Series wasn’t out when GM was developing the ATS, the Alpha platform initially benchmarked the E46 3-Series, as ATS chief engineer Dave Masch told Motor Trend, and was later refined using the E90 3-Series as a benchmark as ATS-V engineer Tony Roma told BMW Blog. These two cars are known for driving spectacularly well, and thanks to this significant Bavarian influence, the sixth-generation Camaro became something that nobody expected – a bonafide sports coupe. Want to know how capable that platform is? Let’s compare it to GM’s halo car, the all-American sports car that is the Corvette.

Camaro Zl1

Conventional wisdom states that if you want to go predictably and confidently fast in something with a bowtie badge, buy a Corvette. The sixth-generation Camaro doesn’t just poke holes in that theory, it violently aerates it to the point where only a charred set of New Balances remain. See, the C7 Z06 was an animal of a car, a 650-horsepower supercharged menace thanks to its LT4 6.2-liter force-fed V8. It writhed and twitched in fits like the damned, threatening to break traction if you so much as breathed on the throttle. It was just a little too much motor for the tire and chassis setup, but the LT4 fit in the Camaro perfectly. The Camaro ZL1 is a sweetheart, whispering to your fingertips when grip’s about to let go, then defaulting into safe, gentle understeer should you ignore the front tires’ cries. The same 650 horsepower that feels stabby in the Corvette transforms into a confident surge in the Camaro, a testament to how good that Alpha chassis is. In Car & Driver’s annual Lightning Lap testing, the standard Camaro ZL1 proved itself quicker around Virginia International Raceway than a second-generation Acura NSX, a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4, a Mercedes-AMG GT S, and a Shelby GT350R. Quite the achievement.

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Camaro Ss 1le

However, that doesn’t mean the Alpha chassis can’t be even better. Things really get good when you add three little characters to a Camaro model designation: 1LE. This range of performance-focused packages came in various guises for four-cylinder, V6, SS, and ZL1 models, and it pumped all of them up. From Multimatic DSSV spool-valve dampers on the ZL1 1LE to Brembos on the four-cylinder 1LE, each package maximized the goodness baked into the Alpha chassis. We’re talking about laser-guided steering, supernatural grip, and a hotshot firm brake pedal that felt like it could stop the Earth’s rotation. It all added up to an epic driving experience that put the BMW 4-Series and Ford Mustang to shame.

Camaro Zl1 Interior

In fact, the only problems with the sixth-generation Camaro came from its shape. Because of the gun-slit sight out, autocross can be a bit of a guessing game. That’s annoying, but it’s not concerning like the fact that many larger helmets just don’t fit through the window aperture. That might not be a huge problem if you have a small head, but if you want to do any track driving in a sporty Chevrolet, I highly suggest bringing your helmet to check out a Camaro.

2019 Chevrolet Camaro

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Minor issues aside, this bundle of excellence wrapped up in retro-style sheetmetal is the all-American hero we needed, but sales never quite took off. Whether you want to blame the styling for looking too much like the previous-generation car, the botched facelift that made the SS trim very ugly, or the compromises in practicality made to achieve a certain look, the sixth-generation Camaro was so much better than the fifth-generation car yet it couldn’t make lightning strike twice in the sales race. Perhaps as a result, the final Collector’s Edition, shown in black in the photo below at at the top of this article, feels halfhearted.

2024 Chevrolet Camaro Zl1 Collectors Edition

The V6 and naturally-aspirated V8 Collector’s Edition cars (pictured at the top of the page) are simply trim affairs. A dash of paint here, a stripe there, some wheels, some spoilers, and presto. It’s a similar deal with the ZL1 Collector’s Edition (pictured above) which offers the aero bits of the ZL1 1LE but doesn’t seem to offer any of the extra go-fast hardware. Sure, matte paint and a tribute to the Panther codename of the original Camaro concept is neat, I guess, but the package feels lacking as a performance machine, especially when you look at how Chevrolet sent out the last Camaro.

Camaro Z28

A stripped-out equipment list, 305-section Pirelli Trofeo R tires, and the thunderous seven-liter naturally-aspirated LS7 V8 made the fifth-generation Camaro Z/28 a king-sized missile. Sure, it had a large silhouette, but Multimatic DSSV dampers and carbon ceramic brakes helped this charming moment of insanity turn and stop like you wouldn’t believe. The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 was an all-time great, and the sixth-generation car deserves a similar send-off.

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Camaro Zl1 1le Rear

While the business case for a Z/28 successor is virtually nonexistent, if GM really wanted to be heroic, it would rummage around the parts bin and see what can be made. I’ll offer a hint: The Escalade V also uses the LT4 engine found in the Camaro ZL1, but with a much bigger 2.7-liter supercharger than the 1.7-liter unit on the ZL1. Doesn’t that sound like a party?

(Photo credits: Chevrolet)

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Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
11 months ago

On paper it’s a great car, I’m sure it’s amazing on a track in several variants.

But in my eyes it was a bad car because of how damn claustrophobic it is to be inside of one.

Last edited 11 months ago by Bizness Comma Nunya
PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
11 months ago

Until recently, the Corvette was NOT the GM go-to for performance. That’s always been the Camaro. And when people stopped looking to GM for performance cars, the Camaro was out of production for a few years.

The Corvette was a joke, a balding 50 year old’s midlife crisis car until the Camaro left the field, and even then, the Corvette still didn’t really fit in as well because the chassis has always been way too wiggly, far to squirrely. When the Camaro came back, the Corvette was still holding GM’s performance torch but not firmly.

With the latest generation Corvette, that has all changed. It’s clearly the top performance piece at GM. Recent Camaros have been great choices, especially considering their bargain prices, but biggest problem remains that the trade-offs for body style are worse than ever before.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
11 months ago

Eh, I dunno. Camaros have been crap for a long time and this is kind of fitting.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
11 months ago

*camero

Ben
Ben
11 months ago

The thing I don’t understand about the 6th gen is why it tanked so hard. With the exception of the ugly grille it launched with (that I think they quickly backtracked on), it was supposed to be a better car than the 5th gen. Every other drawback on the 6th gen also exists on the 5th gen, yet those sold like crazy.

I’ve never driven either so maybe it’s abundantly obvious when you get behind the wheel, but every review I’ve seen raves about how the 6th gen drives so I find that difficult to believe. It’s just very strange.

Anchor
Anchor
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben

For me it was about the price. Even corrected for inflation you could get a 1SS in 2010 for about 5k less than one today.

I would like to buy a V8 manual Camaro and I would like to pay about 35k for it, just like I would in 2010, but I can’t because now I need to spend 42k on it. I absolutely do not care how good the Alpha chassis is(and it’s great, I’ve driven them) because I will use zero of that capability to do burnouts and get ice cream.

They’ve built a track monster and priced it accordingly, so it’s outside of what I feel comfortable spending for a car with capabilities I’ll never touch. I thought we had the corvette for winning magazine bragging rights but I guess we need every car to do that and then wonder why it doesn’t sell.

World24
World24
11 months ago

It’s definitely a shame, but I lost a lot of love for it like I did the Mustang when they decided to become sports cars.
GM definitely let this fall though. I wish they did more with the Camaro.

Gen-O Bernardo
Gen-O Bernardo
11 months ago

I LOVE my 2020 ss. Never in a million yrs thought this would be in my driveway over a mustang. it’s just sooo much better. hurts to imagine somewhere in the near future it’ll come back as some electric “sports” car. The name has too much equity to stay retired. The just thing would be to retire the name and never bring it back unless it’s for a future ICE powered version of awesomeness.

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
11 months ago

While it’s a shame, I’m not surprised. Not only does GM kill a car when it’s finally good, the final send-offs are mediocre at best. Remember the last Oldsmobile that rolled off the line? An Alero with special paint and a badge. The last Pontiac? A four-cylinder G6 for fleet use.

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
11 months ago

Anybody who knows how GM ended Olds and Pontiac and Saturn shouldn’t be surprised at the “final” anything they ever do.

GM would rather have GMC alive as a passenger car division, selling nothing but Chevy trucks with different badges, than to figure out how to sell Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs. Guys, the Cutlass Supreme was the top selling car in America, by a lot, for a WHILE. And if Pontiac didn’t invent the muscle car, it certainly fired the first shot in the muscle car wars, and sold piles of them. Member Grand Prixs and Grand Ams on every corner in the 1990s and 2000s? It’s not like it can’t be done.

rctothefuture
rctothefuture
11 months ago

I’m shocked that GM hasn’t adapted the Camaro nameplate for an EV of some kind. Dodge made big splashes with it’s Charger EV, imagine a Camaro with 1,000 WHP and being the flagship of the Ultium platform.

Camaro fans are used to this though. Give it 5 years and Chevy will roll out a new Camaro concept, it’ll debut in a Michael Bay film after, then it’ll be in showrooms.

Last edited 11 months ago by rctothefuture
AnalogMan
AnalogMan
11 months ago

This is just GM doing Camaro fans a favor so they don’t miss the car, by not giving it a spectacular finale.

Ford is doing the same thing with the latest S650 Mustang refresh. Ford should get big kudos for keeping the fabulous naturally aspirated 5.0 V8 and manual transmission. But at the same time they should be crucified for cheaping out and hot-gluing two generic iPads to the dash and calling it an instrument panel.

https://www.carscoops.com/2022/09/fords-base-mustang-will-use-two-seperate-tablet-style-displays-instead-of-a-single-panel/

Old Busted Hotness
Old Busted Hotness
11 months ago

This follows the GM formula of “get it right, then kill it.”

Logan King
Logan King
11 months ago

Maybe they should have not made it so actually living with it is even worse than the outgoing car (that they ludicrously made it look identical to) on *purpose*, and act surprised when sales were always bad. I loved my ATS that I did minor suspension work and I’m sure the higher trim Camaro V6 that came from the factory with that stuff and were even lighter would have been even more of a great car to drive.

If it wasn’t horrible to see out of with an awful interior. And then you try to use it for anything that you’d expect a daily driver to have, like its useless trunk.

Last edited 11 months ago by Logan King
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
11 months ago
Reply to  Logan King

That really was its problem, it just couldn’t be your only car. The interior and trunk dimensions were similar to a GR86 but that’s not really the same market segment as the Camaro or Mustang. It also didn’t help that the 6th gen looked so similar to the 5th, I’ve talked to so many casual car enthusiasts that didn’t realize that it was new generation from the 2009 model.

JumboG
JumboG
11 months ago

Should have made the 6th Gen look like the 2nd Gen.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
11 months ago

The Camaro tries so damn hard, and on paper it’s better than either the Mustang or the Challenger.
But it’s not as fun and tossable as the Mustang, and it’s not as in-your-face badass as the Challenger. Both are also better-looking. So of course it sells less than HALF of either.

DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
11 months ago

I remember a time when pony cars were supposed to be affordable horsepower. No wonder the old guys wear Wally World Special New Balance shoes

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
11 months ago

Shit the pony cars are still affordable horsepower. The $3,800 price for a base ’69 SS with a 300 “gross” HP 350 V8 in 1968 is worth $33,125 which isn’t that far off from a base LT1 with a 455 HP 6.2L V8 which is $37,795

Anchor
Anchor
11 months ago

Just sell it for 33k then, or make it even cheaper by dumbing the chassis down. Leave it on the 5th gen for all I care.

I’m not spending a premium for an incredible chassis to do burnouts and ice cream. Stop building cars to impress magazine guys and let the Corvette do that.

Peter Vieira
Peter Vieira
11 months ago
  1. You can’t get New Balance sneakers at Walmart
  2. New Balance Dad Shoes will run you $75 and up
  3. No Dad has ever bought their own Dad shoes. One only *receives* them.
JumboG
JumboG
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Vieira

I like New Balance because they are available in wide widths that I now require after breaking my foot (technically tearing the tendons off the bone when I rolled an ankle.) I used to like Addidas, but when they tanked the quality of Stan Smiths (shoes that used to last a year were now lasting a couple of months) I stopped buying them. Lastly, I like not paying extra for some sports start IDGAF about to endorse my shoes.

Cargeek!
Cargeek!
11 months ago

Didn’t GM kill their EV-1 plugin electric car The was YEARS ahead of Tesla for the Hummer? And now like Ford they are killing off more of their car segment for SUV’s. It may seem like a good idea now but I do wonder what it will look like for them ten years from now?

GM,,,, Make money now, forget about tomorrow!

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
11 months ago

The contrast between this and what Dodge has done with the last Challengers is staggering.

Vee
Vee
11 months ago

With this we’ll be left with two Chevrolets that aren’t an SUV, CUV, or a truck. The Corvette and the Malibu. GM’s already looking at the Malibu while holding the knife, so it may only be around for another year or so.

There’s no way there’s that much demand to kill five whole market segments and focus on only two for the majority of passenger vehicles. Fuckery is afoot and it smells like bank notes.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
11 months ago
Reply to  Vee

Ford would like to have a word with you.
There is currently only one Ford for sale that isn’t an SUV, CUV, or truck. And somewhat ironically to your point, it’s the Camaro’s primary competition.

Vee
Vee
11 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

The Mustang gets sold globally and is Ford’s only FIA motorsports competition vehicle, though. That’s the only reason they keep it around. Meanwhile the Cruze and Corvette hold those roles globally for GM, so killing the Camaro makes sense if they can continue to import things from– Oh wait, they can’t because they sold Opel. GM is abandoning everything and pushing upmarket as much as possible, scraping every dollar bill they can while chopping off their market share in massive chunks.

I wonder what NASCAR is going to do about this. Let them use the Camaro for a few years like they did with the Ford Torino in the ’70s? Let GM use vehicles not sold in the U.S.? … Allow them to use the Blazer…???

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
11 months ago
Reply to  Vee

Blazer is my guess. Just give it a slightly squished profile and two door styling. After all, the Ford Fusion never came in coupe format.

(For the record, when Ford killed the Fusion, I kinda liked the offbeat idea of using the Edge as its Cup series entry)

Brian Michael
Brian Michael
11 months ago
Reply to  Vee

I’ve been dying to know what will happen with NASCAR, because I can’t imagine that GM will just pull out of it, not when they’re winning seemingly every week.

My initial guess is that they’re allowed to run the Camaro for a few more seasons, even if that seems like a slap in the face to the Camaro.

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
11 months ago
Reply to  Vee

NASCAR should just stop pretending that these cars have anything to do with the Camaro, Mustang, Camry, or whatever “stock car” they are pretending to be.

BOSdriver
BOSdriver
11 months ago
Reply to  Vee

I had to look up Chevy to see that the Malibu was actually still being made. They just don’t stock them near me. I did a search at the largest Chevy dealer in the area, 1 is in stock. I did a general search on the chevy website, only 2 cars popped up under 100 miles away from my zip code next to Boston. It might as well not exist.

Six
Six
11 months ago

Not sure if this is the death of internal combustion or just the death of anything that isn’t an suv/truck. I’ll be unsurprised if the camaro comes back as a crossover.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
11 months ago
Reply to  Six

It’s already here and its name is Blazer.

V10omous
V10omous
11 months ago

I’ve been hoping for an LT6 all this time, and it really seems like they just aren’t going to do it. Fools.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
11 months ago

In fact, the only problems with the sixth-generation Camaro came from its shape. Because of the gun-slit sight out, autocross can be a bit of a guessing game. That’s annoying, but it’s not concerning like the fact that many larger helmets just don’t fit through the window aperture.

And the build quality was shit. Complete and utter shit. Camaro was not Corvette, therefore, materials and fit and finish were deemed to not need to be any better than “meh, good enough for fleet customers.” Every Camaro I test drove has been acres of cheap plastic, and deafening amounts of rattle and squeak, straight from the factory.

Also, typical GM foot-gunning. The LTG’s very quickly lost the real 1LE option. Reduced to nothing but shitty appearance bits like fake carbon fiber, a pointless spoiler, and different color badges. Not even so much as upgraded swaybars. And if you were road course bound, the LTG remains the TRULY hotshit setup.

Oh, sure, “I’VE GOT 650HP!!”
Good for you. The LTG weighs about 380lbs fully dressed. That’s over 150lbs of weight savings right there. “I’VE GOT 650!” Now we’re going to enable logic controlled overboost on the LTG, and I’ve got 315HP and about 330ft/lbs and I still weigh a lot less. “I’VE GOT 650!” Here’s a better intercooler, better fan, PWM cycle turned up, boost set to 30psi, and I’m headed for 375. Gap’s narrowing, me bucko. “YEAH WELL” Okay, fine. We’ll do internals and actual fuel. Now I’m at 475HP, I’ve got a thousand RPM more, and 500lbs less than the ZL1.
Which means I eat less tire and need less tire. My same-as-yours brakes blow you out of the water. I need less camber and less spring than you. I have better shift points than you. I might not sound anywhere near as good, but the only place you’re beating me is the straights.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
11 months ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

Ah this is what we miss when you’re not here all the time! 🙂

At the lower but more obvious end, Mustangs always seem to have had the same secret -economies of scale means lots o parts sharing means lighter, lower model Mustangs end up performing nearly as well as the GTs in real-life track situations.

I guess Americans being what we are, auto execs were smart to realize that go fast/be loud is enough to warrant the big pricetags. Comforting in a way that that still holds.

Lokki
Lokki
11 months ago

Forget it Jake Thomas, it’s Chinatown General Motors.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
11 months ago

As the former owner of multiple 4th gen F-bodies (back when you could still buy them new at the dealership), this is not surprising at all. GM didn’t try at all when they killed the Camaro before, back when it was an even bigger deal because it had been in continuous production 35 years. Sure, they had the 35th Anniversary SS, but it was a tribute to the year and not to the end of the car.

As good as the 5th/6th gens may be, it has largely been ignored for enough years that even if they made a big deal about it, nobody beyond those of us that care now would care then. I’ll add that my level of caring isn’t super high either, as the one feature I value out of the nearly 50 vehicles I’ve owned is being able to see out of them – and the 5th gen is absolutely, unequivocally awful at that. In a world where they designed it so humans could see where they piloting the 5th/6th gens, I’d be crying buckets while screaming at the clouds that it was too young to die. Sadly, that’s not our reality.

Last edited 11 months ago by Squirrelmaster
Jack Trade
Jack Trade
11 months ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

When I was shopping pony cars in 2001-2002, I of course tested a Camaro. While I didn’t get one in the end (Mustang was more up my particular alley), I came away with big respect for them and so was 1) shocked and then 2) saddened when GM just unceremoniously pulled the plug with almost no fanfare.

Last edited 11 months ago by Jack Trade
Top Dead Center
Top Dead Center
11 months ago

I have a 21’ Zl1, I’ve been at a few of the Autopian MI meetups. I am quite disappointed GM did this to send off the 6th gen. Not even a special edition with the CT5 blackwing magic, or some special interior bits, etc. Just expensive paint, badges and some trim. 89K for a final edition ZL1, good god…

Anyhow, I’m chose this over a C8 (also because manual). I debated about selling, but now Camaro ICE is done,in a hold pattern… It does daily, track, road trips just fine. Interior has some wacky ergo, but it does the thing ok. Love the seats. I fit, even with a helmet on (getting in/out with a helmet on sucks). Yeah visibility sucks, with the rear view camera mirror, BLIS/side traffic radar, reverse cam/parking sensors makes it sortof ok. Up front parking sucks, I really wish it had a front cam…

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
11 months ago

As a card carrying fan of the 6th gen Camaro I agree that this is a goddamn shame…but at the same time it’s predictable. No one at GM gives a shit about this car. They stopped caring years ago. It ate shit in sales and rather than owning the fact that they, seemingly unintentionally, made a brilliant driver’s car and making some small tweaks to make it more livable they just let it die a slow and undignified death.

Matte black appearance packages? Are you fucking serious GM? They might as well have just skipped a sendoff altogether. This so unbelievably lazy but it’s somehow not as much of a steaming dump on the car’s legacy as the inevitable electric crossover version will be. Ugh.

The 6th Gen is a brilliant car that seemingly will never get its due…and I’m going to be salty in 3-5 years when all the enthusiasts who dismissed it as a HURR DURR IT’S A REDNECK CAR or “lol can’t see out of it” are ranting and raving about how amazing it was and how it’s such a shame that it died. We all know that’s what’ll happen because it’s always what happens. Go out and take one of these for a rip before you judge it. Obviously the V8 is the way to go if you can but even the V6 is great for what it is.

Last edited 11 months ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Top Dead Center
Top Dead Center
11 months ago

The 4 banger 1LE on AutoX does some pretty neat stuff too… yeah drive one, rent one, any model, while you still can…

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
11 months ago

They only sold the 4 popper with the 1LE package for a few model years but they do have a fan club.

Top Dead Center
Top Dead Center
11 months ago

Yes, it definitely has a following. I rarely see them on the roads, see more Zl1s it seems

George Daily
George Daily
11 months ago

As a Chevy lover from the ’60s’ this is yet another GM dissonant. They just get to the point of making another great car and let it die like a thirsty camel in the desert.

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