2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Getting 580 Horsepower

This much we know: in the 2011 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, the LS9 engine produces 638 horsepower and 604 pound-feet of torque.

In the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V, the LSA engine cranks out 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque.

While the two powerplants are remarkably similar, the Corvette engine benefits from a slightly higher compression ratio (9.1:1 versus 9.0:1) and a higher capacity supercharger (2.3-liter versus 1.9-liter).

The potential for the LSA motor to make more horsepower in the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is certainly there, if Chevy’s engineers or marketing staff deem it necessary.

And that they have for the long-awaited muscle car due in showrooms early next year.

With an updated 2013 Shelby Mustang GT500 expected to deliver more than 570 horsepower from its own supercharged V-8, the Camaro ZL1 has been tuned to deliver a peak output of 580 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 556 pound-feet of torque at 4,200 rpm--24 horsepower and 5 pound-feet of torque higher than original estimates.

Liberating more power from the supercharged LSA was achieved via the installation of a new induction system featuring a high-flow air filter, dual ‘bell mouth' inlet paths, and better air flow through the supercharger.

A more efficient intercooler was also installed, as well as an electric power steering system. How well this latter feature relays feedback to the driver and performs at the track remains to be seen.

Other performance specs include a liquid-to-liquid oil cooler borrowed from the Corvette ZR1, a deep-sump oil pan, rear-differential cooler, third-generation Magnetic Ride Control able to adjust the suspension settings up to 1,000 times per second, and a new Performance Traction Management setup with five different settings ranging from “Wet” to “Race”.

The optional six-speed automatic box also has three different settings, including a manual mode that won’t upshift even at redline.

Stopping power comes from Brembo brakes (six-piston front, four-piston rear), which are housed within 20in wheels shod with ZL1-specific Goodyear Eagle F1 tires (285/35 ZR20 front, 305/35 ZR20 rear).

No word on pricing yet, though a low $50,000 starting price sounds right. However, we should know more closer to the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1’s debut in production form at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show this November. Note, the car could also appear at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale taking place at Florida's Homestead-Miami Speedway that same month.

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