2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE first drive review: More than a track package Page 2


Chevrolet says the V-6 1LE can sprint from 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds, two tenths quicker than the standard V-6. That’s as quick as the fifth-generation Camaro SS. The V-6 sounds like a barbaric yawp, too, its performance exhaust system opening up the muffler’s baffles and letting the engine sing a louder tune.

The V-8-powered 1LE cuts the base SS's 0-60 mph time by a tenth of a second to 4.2 seconds. Like in the base SS, it’s strong from a stop, revs a bit slowly, but keeps building speed up to 186 mph.

The short-throw shifter in both models requires little more than wrist action to move from gear to gear, and the clutch has a natural, easy feel, instead of the heavy feel you might expect. These are just two of the many elements that make the Camaro 1LE so satisfying to drive.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE

2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE

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2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE

2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE

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2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE

2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE

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On the road, the V-6 1LE is clearly the more comfortable car. With the SS’s suspension, it rides like that car, which is to say firm and stable but forgiving over all but the harshest bumps.

While the SS benefits from the Magnetic Ride Control dampers, which are both adjustable and can react to different conditions, it is still very stiffly sprung, and that makes it jiggle and bobble over consistently broken pavement.

Track star

Chevrolet boasts that the Camaro 1LE can put up some impressive track times and performance figures. For instance, the new, 455-horsepower SS 1LE is 0.04 second quicker around Laguna Seca than the 505-horse fifth-generation Z28. It is also three seconds faster around Virginia International Raceway than a base SS, and the V-6 1LE is two seconds quicker around the track at GM’s Milford Proving Grounds than the fifth-generation SS. Quarter-mile times are impressive, too: 13.7 seconds for the V-6 and 12.5 seconds for the V-8.

That’s all well and good, but how do the 1LE models feel on the track?

2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE SS

2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE SS

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2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE SS

2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE SS

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2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE V-6

2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE V-6

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2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE V-6

2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE V-6

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To ready the 1LE ready for track duty, I tap the drive mode selector until I get to the Track mode (the V-6 1LE has a Track mode while other V-6 models do not), then double tap the traction control button to activate the Competition mode. In the V-6 version, that’s the extent of it, but the V-8 adds five Performance Traction Management settings that both shut off the traction control and loosen up the stability control to various degrees. In the SS, I opt for the PTM’s Sport 1 setting and activate the active rev matching by clicking one of the steering wheel paddles. Now it’s time to head out on the track.

I start out in the V-6 model behind another journalist and an instructor, both in SS models. After a couple of warm-up laps, the instructor takes off and I soon fall behind. I’m giving it all I got, but the pull of the V-8 is just too great in the straights.


 
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