Yes, we're talking about the new top-dog 2012 Chevrolet Camaro, which was unveiled today at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. After months of rumors that the Z28 name would be resurrected, we now know that Chevy has gone even further back in history and dubbed the car the ZL1.
Powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 that makes an estimated 550 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque, the ZL1 will top the lineup, slotting above the SS and fighting directly against Ford's Shelby GT500 Mustang. Production is expected to begin in early 2012.
Outside of the out-sized engine, the Camaro ZL1 will have a magnetically-controlled suspension, an aluminum hood with a vented carbon-fiber insert, and 14-inch Brembo brakes (14.6 up front, 14.4 in the rear) with six-piston calipers up front and four-piston calipers in the rear. The sole transmission will be a 6-speed manual with a dual-disc clutch and a short-throw shifter.
The supercharged engine will have an intercooler, heat-resistant aluminum alloy cylinder heads, among other features. The ZL1 will have electric power steering, a dual-mode exhaust, beefed-up axles and a heavy-duty limited slip differential. The magnetically-controlled suspension offers driver-selectable "Tour" and "Sport" modes.
The front fascia is revised, featuring a front splitter and new vertical fog lamps. Located near the fog lamps are air ducts that will direct air to the front brakes in order to cool them. Front-mounted air extractors will direct air over the car for better aerodynamics, and the carbon-fiber insert will reduce mass. HID headlamps and fog lamps are standard, and the car also has a diffuser and rear spoiler. ZL1 badging will appear on the hood, grille, and brake calipers.
The ZL1 will ride on 20-inch forged-aluminum wheels shod with Goodyear Supercar F2 tires that Chevy claims are specific to the ZL1. Chevy also claims that these wheels are lighter than the 20-inchers on the SS.
The interior will have unique trim--including suede inserts for the front seats, a boost gauge, and a redesigned steering wheel--and black will be the only available interior color. The ZL1 will have the same content as a 2SS and add a USB port, steering-wheel audio controls, Bluetooth, six-way power front seats, ZL1 sill plates, unique door inserts, unique instrument panel inserts, a rearview camera and rear parking assist, and a premium audio system. ZL1 logos will be embroidered on the front-seat headrests.
Chevrolet claims that the 2012 Camaro ZL1 will be the fastest Camaro ever, and based on our first impressions, it's hard to argue with that assessment.