Chevrolet Camaro Convertible 2012

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Chevrolet Camaro Convertible 2012 Car Pics

This year Chevrolet continues to offer the Camaro in two flavors, as a coupe as well as a convertible. The latter boasts the same increase in power as its hardtop kin, and very few other changes besides the fact that it comes with a soft-top. Nevertheless, sometimes that's all that matters to completely change a car, so let's take a look at what the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible 2012 has in store for us.

 

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Chevrolet Camaro Convertible 2012

Chevrolet Camaro Convertible 2012

First of all, the convertible comes with a choice of two engines and four variants. The 1LT and 2LT trim levels come with a 3.6 liter V6 unit delivering 323 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque mated with either a 6-speed manual gearbox as a standard, or a 6-speed automatic transmission available as an option.

However, for those aspiring towards a more powerful convertible, Chevrolet is offering the aluminum Camaro SS 6.2 liter V8 powerplant able to develop 426 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. The 6.2 liter unit is available on the 1SS and 2SS variants, following the same patter as before in terms of transmission: Six-speed manual standard or a six-speed automatic as an option.

Fuel efficiency is rated at 17 / 28 mpg city / highway for the 3.6 liter unit and 16 / 24 mpg city / highway for the beefy 6.2 V8 unit.

Both the interior and the exterior of the Camaro Convertible are very similar to those of the Coupe, save the soft-top which folds in roughly 30 seconds.

Standard equipment on all the trim levels include 6 airbags, OnStar navigation system featuring Automatic Crash Response, StabilitiTrak Electronic Stability Control System with traction control, tire pressure monitor, Ultrasonic rear park assist and rear camera featuring rearview mirror display, Bluetooth connectivity and SiriusXM Sattelite Radio with three months free trial.

A quick list of additional equipment that can be found on the SS variant as a standard includes USB port, PDIM (personal device interface module), Heads-up display, leather wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, remote vehicle starter system, Auto-Dimming mirrors and four-piston Brembo brakes.

As far as pricing goes the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible 2012 has a MSRP price of $30,180 which is a bit more costly than the $27,200 Ford Mustang Convertible. In case you're on the lookout for an import convertible you might be interested in the $23,500 Mazda MX-5 Miata 2012 or the $39,500 Nissan 370Z Roadster 2012.

Chevrolet Camaro Convertible EU Version

It was the muscle car that stole the hearts and imaginations of people everywhere, providing subject matter for wall posters, T-shirts, and songs for four decades. Now it's back, better and mightier than ever and ready to reclaim its place of honour on European roads. And bedroom walls.

The all-new 432PS V8 Chevrolet Camaro has returned to Europe after a decade-long absence with a design that is at once instantly recognisable and entirely modern.

The contemporary 21st-century design, an expression of the Camaro's rich heritage, features a V-shaped nose; wide, planted stance; and broad rear shoulders, all distinguishing features that acknowledge the legendary past while claiming the Chevrolet Camaro's place as a contemporary design icon.

"The Camaro is an ensemble of power, comfort and technology, offering great value for money that cannot be matched by our competitors," says Susan Docherty, President and Managing Director, Chevrolet Europe.

Put through its paces at the famed Nürburgring racetrack in Germany, the Chevrolet Camaro has been tuned to European taste with all-new suspension and a host of other refinements.

The Camaro's vital stats are as impressive as its design: the manual transmission boasts a superb 432PS 6.2-litre LS3 V8 engine that produces 569Nm of torque at 4,600rpm. This translates into a 0-62mph acceleration time of 5.2 seconds for the coupé and 5.4 seconds for the convertible.

The automatic transmission is mated to a 405PS L99 6.2-litre V8 engine that produces 556Nm at 4,300rpm. The automatic coupé covers 0-100km/h in 5.4 seconds, with an additional 0.2 seconds for the convertible. The Chevrolet Camaro has an impressive top speed of 155mph.

Prices for the coupé start at £35,025 while the convertible prices start at £40,025 OTR, although prices may vary across markets depending on local taxation and import duties. The 45th Anniversary packages come at an additional £1,500 each including VAT.

Fully European

The car makes its presence felt from afar, its deep, low-frequency rumbling V8 motor delivering an unequivocal message of its impending arrival.

The European Camaro is similar in content to the 2SS model offered in North America. The new model, Europe's first, features an all-new FE4 suspension that was developed specifically for this side of the Atlantic. The set-up - characterised by optimised stiffness and lateral stability for high-speed performance and manoeuvrability - has proven so popular that it will be also offered in the US. The FE4 suspension package features retuned front and rear dampers, plus new solid front (23mm) and rear (24mm) stabiliser bars.

"Our objective was to create a more precise sport suspension with greater road-handling capability," says Al Oppenheiser, Camaro Chief Engineer. "We applied lessons learned from extensive track testing to better the suspension geometry for flatter cornering, a more neutral balance during hard turns and minimised understeer at the limit."

Power is transferred to the road through 20in wheels wearing Pirelli P-Zero tyres, while the Brembo four-piston anti-lock disc brakes combine with StabiliTrak and traction control ensure effective braking and quick cornering. The wheels are positioned to be virtually flush with body surfaces for an agile, planted appearance.

Jaw-dropping exterior design

There can be no blending in with the crowd with the Chevrolet Camaro because its design rarely fails to turn heads as other road users and pedestrians alike watch in awe and admiration as the Camaro makes its commanding way down the road.

"From the very beginning, the fundamentals of the new Camaro were that it had to look great, have a real performance streak to it and be affordable," says Oppenheiser.

The V-shaped nose is flanked by high-intensity discharge headlamps with glowing LED xenon halo rings, mimicking deep-inset eyes and giving the Camaro a menacing look. Chevrolet's 'gold bow tie' logo proudly adorns the grille directing one's gaze towards the power-bulge bonnet, creating an aura of dynamic movement even when the car stationary.

The rear of the exterior is unique to the European-spec Chevy Camaro. Twin LED tail-lamp elements mirror the unique look of the front end, and design is finished off with large, round chrome exhaust tips similar to those on the Corvette Z06.

Interior design

An array of sound-insulating applications ensures occupants transported to a different world as soon as they sit inside a Chevrolet Camaro, although a hint of the burble of the V8 penetrates the interior by design. It's just enough to enjoy without becoming intrusive.

In homage to the spirit of its heritage, the new Camaro's interior conveys simplicity and refinement while incorporating contemporary details in the dials, switches and ambient lighting.

The integrated centre console combines stereo and climate controls into a single piece of modern electronics, while the use of rubber and chrome matches the character of the evocative Camaro name.

Chevrolet Blue Ice ambient light runs across the doors and the same colour illuminates the speedo and rev counter, with further driver information displayed in between. Optional orange ambient lighting is available with the Inferno Orange Interior Trim.

Similarly, the cluster of four gauges - oil pressure and temp, transmission fluid temp and battery voltage - in front of the gearlever harks back to the legendary 1969 Camaro, but includes contemporary LED backlighting.

The performance seats have sport bolstering and sculpted shoulders with accent stitching to provide optimum comfort and security for occupants.

Technological marvel

Data including fuel consumption, trip information and tyre pressure is provided by the Driver Information Centre. However, the Chevrolet Camaro is the only vehicle in its class to offer a standard Head-Up Display (HUD) that projects information, such as speed and stereo selection, on the windscreen. Ultrasonic rear parking assist with camera and six airbags are standard, as are ISOFIX anchor points.

The Camaro offers the discerning music aficionado a premium Boston Acoustics nine-speaker stereo system. USB ports for personal devices, along with Bluetooth connectivity, are also part of the package.

Active Fuel Management

The manual models have a combined consumption figure of 20mpg while the automatics return 21.5mpg. CO2 emissions are rated at 329 and 304g/km respectively.

While fuel economy might not be high on the priority list of a Chevrolet Camaro owner, the Active Fuel Management system on the L99 engine automatically shuts down four of the eight cylinders during light load operations, improving fuel consumption by as much as 7.5%.

Camaro: the new Chevy head-spinner

The legendary Camaro's return brings with it a fusion of modernity, confidence and soul.

Characterised by an immediately recognisable V-shaped nose, bold tail sculpted rear shoulders, the Chevrolet Camaro has been carefully designed to capture the spirit of the legend that first rolled off production lines 45 years ago… while creating an thoroughly 21st-century sports car.

"What we have created is a delicious blend of high-tech power, agility and efficiency wrapped in a stunning design. The Camaro has an iconic presence, unrivalled by competitors," says Susan Docherty, President and Managing Director of Chevrolet Europe.

On the outside, the coupé is a modern interpretation of its legendary 1969 predecessor, with strong, wide shoulders, long body, low roofline and large wheels. The convertible is equally striking thanks to its sleek shoulderline and shapely roof that folds down neatly under the rear deck.

The look

High-intensity discharge headlamps with glowing xenon halo rings, mimicking deep-inset eyes, complement the V-shaped front grille to give the Camaro an aggressive, ready-to-pounce stance. The long, sweeping bonnet and short rear deck accentuate the Camaro's iconic look and feel, as does the 10cm power bulge, that leaves little doubt as to what lies beneath while emphasising the sports car's heritage.

The body shows off the bold lines that have become a distinguishing feature of Chevrolet cars. Here, the style is clearly defined and the clean, creased lines are set off by muscular wheelarches. In a nod to a design element of the original concept car, vents are stamped into the sheet metal in front of the rear wheel.

Sculpted rear shoulders set the stage for a stunning rear end. The unique, European-specific LED tail-lights are inset, and complement the image portrayed by the front of the Chevrolet Camaro, while the stainless steel twin exhausts have polished tips and complete the ensemble, creating an appealing blend of technology, design and performance.

A lower body crease blends seamlessly along front quarter, door and rear quarter delivering a muscular wheel-orientated cue and refined dynamic appearance, emphasising the Camaro's rear-wheel capability.

The 20-inch wheels sit flush with the body, bringing further attention to the car's ready-to-pounce stance. The only feature more spectacular than the body of the car is what is sits under the bonnet (see Engines and Transmissions).

Stylish and functional interior

One's outlook on the world suddenly changes when seen from inside in a Camaro. You are immediately welcomed by a retro-style contemporary dashboard with multi-dials ready to provide all the vehicle information you could ever need.

As the sports seats anchor occupants in position, ambient blue lighting runs all the way across the upper edge of the doors. And once you have absorbed all this, you notice that while you are looking out, everybody on the outside is looking in.

Iconic look and feel

The interior presents an organised and functional setting, aimed at making the driver's job easier without losing any of the car's iconic look and feel. The revised instrument panel presents a classic appearance with contemporary details.

The steering wheel offers support for sporty driving and includes cruise control, Bluetooth, iPod/MP3 and stereo functions so the driver can keep eyes on the road and hands upon the wheel.

Leather-covered seats provide support with sporting, bolstered shoulders and accent stitching also seen on the gearlever, doors, centre console and steering wheel. The seats provide excellent lateral support and an added dose of confidence-inspiring comfort, while the rears fold down completely for additional storage capacity when required.

The HurstTM-branded short-throw shifter is designed to provide enhanced grip, which is critical when quick changes are required.

Dashboard blues

Chevrolet Ice Blue lighting takes centre stage on the Camaro dashboard, providing the perfect backdrop for the speedometer and engine temperature indicator to the left of the steering wheel; the tachometer on the right; and the large Driver Information Centre (DIC) in the middle.

The DIC includes a digital speedometer, trip information - such as average consumption, distance travelled and fuel range - and a graphic display of tyre-pressure monitoring. An adjustable Heads-Up Display (HUD), the only one offered in the Chevrolet Camaro's segment, is projected on the windscreen, making it possible for the driver to monitor important information without taking their eyes off the road.

An integrated centre console design combines the stereo and HVAC controls into a single unit. Large dials, detailed with rubber grommets and chrome, match the character of the car and make usage easy while driving.

Harking back to the classic 1969 Camaro, a four-gauge cluster under the stereo/HVAC controls but is thoroughly modern with a contemporary look and backlighting. The cluster includes gauges for oil temperature, oil pressure, transmission fluid temperature and battery voltage.

Despite being a performance car, the Camaro has ample storage space in the doors, console, glovebox and cup-holder. Additionally, the 245W, nine-speaker Boston Acoustics® premium sound system ensures excellent sound quality.

The Rear Vision Package adds a rear-view camera system and an auto-dimming mirror to the existing Rear Park Assist feature. The camera system complements the rear parking assist by providing a video display of the area behind the car with the video image appearing in the rear-view mirror.

Safety features

Safety is a key element engineered into the Chevrolet Camaro. There are six airbags: dual-stage on the front passenger and driver's sides for head and chest protection; seat-mounted pelvis-thorax side airbags for driver and front passenger; and roof-rail side curtain airbags for head protection for all occupants in the coupé.

Seat belts are equipped with load-limiting retractors and pre-tensioners to reduce injury risk in frontal, offset frontal and lateral crashes. Further injury-risk minimisers include a collapsible propshaft, breakaway brake pedals and a ride-down mechanism on the collapsible steering column.

Tuned for performance

From the frozen terrains in Sweden and test tracks in Germany - including the famed Nürburgring - to Australia, the Chevrolet Camaro has been put through its paces to provide ride and handling that satisfy the specific European driving style.

With a near-ideal 52/48 front-to-rear weight distribution, providing a stable centre of gravity, combined with an impressive FE4 suspensions and a tuned chassis, the Camaro handles transitional situations beautifully and claws its way round corners with impressive agility.

The vehicle is designed to match the specific driving habits of Europeans, with tight cornering and performance handling characteristics among the best in its class. The precise handling dynamics were developed on different road surfaces and conditions around the world including Australia, Germany, Sweden, Canada and the US.

A number of professional drivers provided input to help determine the perfect characteristics that make the Camaro what it is.

Smooth operator

The Chevrolet Camaro boasts a smooth and sophisticated ride, enhanced by a high-strength steel central structure, as well as polished road manners. The car is equally at home at cruising speeds and during performance runs.

Because the FE4 suspension geometry had been adjusted, its front (23mm) and rear (24mm) reshaped stabiliser bars have been repositioned outboard of the shock mounts. This results in more effective body control and precise responses for performance driving.

The unique 4.5-link independent rear suspension is double-isolated from the chassis for a smoother, quieter driving experience.

Four modes of driving

Precise and responsive steering contributes to cornering confidence as it provides great driver feedback. The Camaro chassis control system enables drivers to select from the following modes:

  • Base Stability Control Calibration
  • Traction Control off / Stability Control on
  • Competitive / Sport mode
  • Traction Control off / Stability Control off

StabiliTrak, a four-channel active handling system, links the dynamic control system to assist the driver in maintaining control under demanding or adverse conditions, such as wet, snow-covered or icy roads, tight turns and evasive manoeuvres. It does so by combining the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Traction Control (TC) and Active Braking Systems to control wheel slip, optimise wheelspin and enhance vehicle stability.

The speed of each wheel is monitored independently by the ABS, allowing for individual braking power directed to the wheels, resulting in superior control. Back-up braking is activated should one of the two braking circuits fail. Additionally, the ABS software uses a steering-wheel angle sensor to differentiate between straight-line and corner braking.

The Traction Control System, which is integrated with the ABS, uses the powertrain and brakes to regulate wheelspin during acceleration. Further control is provided by the Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA) which senses emergency braking by detecting the speed or force the driver applies to the brake pedal. Under extreme conditions, the HBA will apply the brakes selectively to maintain control.

Engine Drag Control (EDC) sends extra torque to the driven wheels when the driver lifts off the throttle in precarious road conditions, such as in the presence of ice or rain. The resulting effect ensures vehicle stability as all four wheels, the free-rolling front and driven rear, are travelling at the same speed.

Massive 20in alloy wheels transfer the engine torque to the ground. The high rubber-to-road component ensures excellent lateral grip and handling as well as optimum longitudinal acceleration, and shorter stopping distances.

The Camaro was engineered with performance in mind, evidenced by the 355x32mm (front) and 365x28mm (rear) vented brake discs, clamped by high-performance aluminium Brembo four-piston fixed calipers.

The brake linings are optimised to deliver long-term performance and consistent feel. Stopping distances from 60km/h are less than 40m on dry Tarmac.

Safety

The safety systems in the new Chevrolet Camaro have two primary functions: crash avoidance and occupant protection.

Prevention better than cure

The sports-tuned chassis dynamics help deliver optimum handling, maximum grip, high directional stability and powerful braking. Thanks to the integrated chassis control technologies - StabiliTrak electronic stability control, ABS, Traction Control and Brake Assist - drivers are in a strong position to maintain control of the vehicle during evasive manoeuvres and adverse road conditions. Altogether, these features contribute greatly to reducing the risk of collisions. This is further aided by the near perfect front/rear weight distribution.

Other safety factors include an ergonomically designed interior with supportive bolstered seating, visual and audio warnings, daytime running lights, fast-response LED tail and stop lights, steering wheel-mounted controls, Bluetooth connectivity, camera-aided park assist plus information displays - including the exclusive Heads-Up Display - that provide drivers with pertinent information without distraction.

Occupant protection

More than 7,000 crash-barrier tests were run using leading-edge virtual technology and the results were validated by 55 actual barrier tests. These helped optimise the vehicle's design for maximum occupant protection in the event of an incident.

Multiple load paths using high-strength steel were integrated into the design, establishing in effect safety-cage protection around the occupants.

Front and rear crumple zones absorb crash energy, while steel rails in the engine compartment and front bumper make up the crush zone and work with the six-mount engine cradle that deforms progressively on impact to take the brunt of a frontal impact.

Crash energy is distributed along the transition zones around the passenger compartment and the safety-cage construction consisting of the floorpan, rocker panels, centre tunnel, A and B pillars and front mid-rails.

The rear crush zone is designed to absorb energy progressively during impact, protecting occupants and ensuring the integrity of the fuel tank. A collapsible propshaft, breakaway brake pedals which minimise lower limb injury, and a ride-down steering column further enhance driver safety.

Multiple airbags for full protection

Six airbags are standard equipment in the Chevrolet Camaro Coupé. Deployment of airbags is regulated to ensure minimal risk to out-of-position occupants. Both driver and front passenger have head and chest protection with front dual-stage airbags. The side airbags provide pelvis and chest protection while roof-rail side curtain airbags provide head protection for all occupants in the Coupé.

Sensors in the front and side work in conjunction with a sensing diagnostic module (SDM) to trigger the seat belt pre-tensioners and deploy airbags depending on the crash severity. The sensors suppress airbag deployment if a child or small person is in the passenger's seat. The detection system uses a mat sensor embedded in the chair to establish the occupant's weight and weight distribution.

This sensing system also determines the optimum level of airbag deployment depending on the occupant. According to crash severity, the first or both stages of airbag deployment will be activated. Additionally, if the seat is positioned just one third of the way back from its most forward position, only the first stage will be deployed.

Front seat belts are equipped with low-friction rings and low-effort energy-absorbing retractors, putting minimum pressure on the occupant and maximising comfort. Front and rear seats are designed to work with the safety belt system to assist in restraining occupants. Padded head restraints in the front help to reduce the risk of head and neck injuries, as well.

Five generations of muscle

June 1966, Detroit, US, and a press conference held on a warm summer day announced the arrival of the Camaro. At the time, the car, which went on to sell in its millions, was described as a "small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs".

It was such an important event that Chevrolet's General Manager at the time, Peter Estes, unveiled what was to become an iconic symbol of performance and style to the gathered press… and, for the first time ever, to media in 14 cities connected via telephone link.

After four successful generations, Camaro production stopped in 2002. Nearly seven years later, the long-anticipated fifth generation was launched in the US. Today, the iconic sports car has reached European shores with a jaw-dropping design plus a proven and powerful 432PS 6.2-litre V8 engine.

The following is a historical retrospective on the first four generations of the iconic muscle car.

First Generation (Model Years 1967-1970)

The basic engineering of the original Camaro was a unibody structure from the windscreen and bulkhead back, with a separate steel-rail subframe for the front. As was typical of standard-equipment vehicles at the time, there were four drum brakes, no power-assisted steering and a rugged 3.9-litre straight-six engine which produced 140PS was mated to a three-speed manual transmission.

With a base price of only $2,466, the 1967 Camaro sport coupé was lean and aggressive, as was its convertible sibling. Adding substance to the appearance individual options or trim packages comprised RS (Rally Sport) and SS (Super Sport).

Engine options included a 155PS 4.1-litre six-cylinder or a 5.4-litre small-block V8 tuned to 210PS or, with a higher compression ratio 275PS. There were also two versions of a 6.5-litre big-block V8, producing 325 and 375PS. The larger engines could be mated to a series of wide- or short-ratio three- or four-speed manual transmissions, or one of two automatics.

RS spec included deluxe interior trim and hidden headlights, while the high-performance SS package had its own distinct appearance, including a domed hood with simulated vents, 'bumblebee' stripes encircling the nose, and SS badges. Chevrolet provided an RS/SS convertible, powered by a 6.5-litre big-block V8, as the official pace car for the 1967 Indianapolis 500.

The first generation of Chevrolet Camaro also produced a race-orientated Z28. When it was introduced in December 1966, the Z28 was powered by a special high-compression 5.0-litre V8 with displacement achieved by matching the short-stroke crank of the 4.6 with the big-bore block of the 5.4. Rated at 290PS, the then "radical" powerplant was matched with a more aggressive suspension.

The side-vent wing windows on the 1968 Camaro were eliminated and to comply with legislation, side marker lights were added, as well as a revised grille. Mechanically, the most significant change was the incorporation of staggered rear shocks to counteract wheel patter under hard acceleration.

While the 1969 Camaro's structure and mechanical elements were virtually unchanged from the 1968 model. New bumpers, door skins, rear quarter-panels, grille and tail-lights gave the car a wider, lower appearance. A redesigned dash and more comfortable seats took it slightly upscale and a wide array of performance extras combined to make 1969 the greatest model year for the model. The 1969 Chevy Camaro was also the inspiration for the current (fifth) generation.

Second Generation (1970-1981)

The second-generation 1970½ Camaro was in production for 12 years. Still based on the Nova, the new Camaro was engineered much like its predecessor in that it used a monocoque structure with a front sub-frame, leaf springs in the back and A-arms up front for suspension.

The 155PS 4.1-litre V6 was the Camaro's entry-level engine, followed by the 200PS 5.0-litre, while a 250PS 5.7 effectively replaced the 5.4. The SS package with the 5.7 included an enhanced carburettor and additional compression to reach 300PS. SS buyers could alternatively opt for a 350 or 375PS 6.5-litre big-block V8.

As with the previous generation, the Chevrolet Camaro was offered with Rally Sport or Super Sport equipment, or both. The Rally Sport package featured a unique front-end appearance with a split front bumper and a rubber surround to the centre grille. The SS had heavier-duty suspension.

The Z28 was powered by a 360PS high-compression LT-1 350. In a test by US title Car and Driver, the 1970½ Z28 covered 0-60mph (100 km/h) in 5.8 seconds and ran the quarter-mile in 14.2 seconds at 100mph (160 km/h).

Though virtually a carryover from the previous year, the 1979 Camaro proved the most popular yet. A new trim grade, Berlinetta, plus a new instrument panel with more contemporary instrumentation and better control placement, resulted in record sales of 283,000 Camaros during the 1979 model year.

Looking to improve fuel economy, the Camaro appeared with a new 115PS 3.8 V6 (effectively a small-block V8) in 1980. Caught in a fuel crisis, Camaro sales dipped to 152,000 during the 1980 model year. In 1981, a new ECU was introduced, ensuring all engines were certified for emissions performance.

Third Generation (1982-1992)

Third-generation Camaros were the first built without front sub-frames or leaf-spring rear suspension. These were replaced respectively by a McPherson strut system and a long torque arm and coil springs.

Factory fuel injection also made its debut, along with four-speed automatic transmission, five-speed manual transmission, four-cylinder engines, 16in wheels and hatchback bodies. In January 1982, the Camaro was, for the first time since 1967, truly all-new… and slightly smaller.

A Camaro paced the Indianapolis 500 again in 1982, the silver and blue replicas of which are often recognised as the most attractive of that model year.

The three-strong Camaro line-up continued into 1983 with minimal visual differences. However, the Z28 represented a significant power enhancement with the introduction of the L69 engine option. With a Corvette-spec camshaft, revised exhaust and a 'healthy' four-barrel carburettor, the 5.0-litre L69 HO (high output) V8 was rated at 190PS and was available with a new five-speed manual transmission.

The 1985 IROC-Z, named after the International Race of Champions which was contested with Camaros, featured 16in five-spoke wheels and unique graphics. Carburetted versions of the 5.0-litre small-block V8 were still available, but dramatic improvements came with the introduction of Tuned Port Injection (TPI) to that engine which produced 215PS as a result.

Big engines returned to the Camaro for 1987 with the 5.7-litre V8 making its way into IROC-Z as an option. Capped with the TPI system, the 5.7 was rated at a full 225PS — the highest horsepower in a Camaro in 13 years - with improved driveability. The 1987 Camaro line discontinued the Berlinetta and replaced it with an LT option package.

In 1988, the Z28 was discontinued. Since the IROC name was firmly established, all high-performance 1988 Camaros became IROCs. Entry-level 1988 Camaros inherited the 15in five-spoke wheels from the Z28, as well as the Z28's lower skirts.

The 1991 model year had been jump-started by the return of the Z28 in spring 1990. The 1991 variant had a tall rear wing, new lower body cladding, new bonnet scoops and fresh five-spoke wheels. Law enforcement organisations received their own version in 1991 with the introduction of the Camaro B4C Pursuit Vehicle.

Fourth Generation (1993-2002)

The 1993 fourth-generation Camaro featured new short-arm/long-arm front suspension, rack-and-pinion steering and a sleek, new profile. There were two 1993 variants: an entry-level sport coupé powered by a 160PS 3.4-litre V6; and the Z28 with the Corvette's 5.7-litre LT1 small-block V8 rated at 275PS. A convertible was not available.

The black-roofed 1993 Z28 was a widely acknowledged stunner, while the LT1 was easily the most powerful small-block unit installed in the Camaro. Behind it was either a four-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission transferring power to the road through 16in wheels and tyres. Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes were standard and, with Z28 prices starting under $17,000, the value was exceptional.

The convertible Camaro returned in 1994. It was designed and built by GM at the St Therese plant in Quebec, and its chassis was significantly stiffened.

While the 1995 Z28 received only minor changes, the base Camaro added GM's 3800 200PS 3.8-litre V6 as an option. The 3800 was significantly more powerful and refined than the 3400 and, by 1996, it was the only V6 offered in a Camaro.

With the adoption of the 3800 as the standard motor, the lowest-output 1996 Camaro still had more grunt than the most powerful 1984 Camaro. The SS, with its 305PS rating, was the first factory Camaro to exceed 300PS since 1971.

To celebrate the Camaro's 30th anniversary, Chevrolet introduced a special edition white Z28 with orange stripes and orange hound's-tooth upholstery, evocative of the 1969 Camaro pace car, for 1997. There were new "tri-colour" tail-lamps for all models, and SLP produced an exclusive run of 330PS Corvette LT4 5.7-litre V8 Camaro Z28 SS models. Only 106 of these were made.

The fourth-generation Camaro's only extensive visual update came in 1998 with a new front fascia design. But the real news lay behind that face where the C5 Corvette's all-aluminium small-block LS-1 V8 took up residence in the Z28.

The 1999 Camaros were largely similar to the 1998 models while those of 2000 and 2001 had only minor changes. For the fourth-generation Camaro's final year in production - 2002 - alterations were again minimal. The Z28s got a new power-steering cooler, the sound systems were revised and V6 convertibles received the automatic transmission as standard.

Continuing a trend

Ed Welburn, GM Chief Designer, is a big enthusiast of all Camaros and owns a classic 1969 example. However, he listed the fifth generation as one of the Top 10 Chevrolet cars ever built.

"It connects with people worldwide," he says. "When we introduced the car as a concept, there were grown men and women with tears in their eyes. It's valued all round the world."

Welburn reveals that when he and his team were working on the new Chevrolet Camaro, "I brought my [1969] one into the studio to inspire them. I told them, 'I want you to beat this!'" Although there are echoes of the first 1967-69 Camaros in the current car's muscular styling - such as the crease in the flanks beneath the back windows - Welburn is keen to emphasise that the current incarnation is very forward-looking. "I'm always thinking of the future, but you have a great heritage with Chevrolet," he explains. "You need to build on that: I wouldn't want to build a retro Camaro." He cites the confident and optimistic thrusting design of the new model as "a positive sign to GM employees and customers. It lit a fire within the company."

In 2009, the first year of sales after the seven-year break in production, a staggering 61,650 Camaros were bought in the US, even though sales started only that April. The following year, demand increased to 81,300 and, in the first half of 2011, 40,275 Camaros were sold in the domestic market. The Transformers trilogy has helped make the Camaro the best-selling sports car in the US.

 

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