It may be falling behind, but the V-6 1LE is right at home on the track. The quick, connected steering helps me place the car exactly where I want. The suspension is settled, and the car maintains a lot of grip. In fact, Chevrolet says the V-6 1LE is capable of sticking to the pavement to the tune of 0.97 g on a skid pad. That’s in a constant, circular turn, but here on Spring Mountain the car’s g meter is maxing out at 1.25 gs.
As I try to catch up to the faster V-8 cars, I push it too hard into a couple of corners, and the front end starts to slide. I get harder on the brakes, though, settle the weight over the nose, and the nose tucks in and the car rotates willingly. For the most part, those brakes hold up well, but the pedal does get a bit spongy by the end of what has been almost six hours of track time.
Next up is the V-8 1LE, and now it’s my turn to make the V-6 driver eat my dust. The V-8 simply offers more of everything. With more power, more grip (1.02 lateral gs), and more brakes, it's more fun. The V-8 carries bigger speeds; it’s about 15 mph faster in the longest straight, and the wider tires let it handle more speed through turns. The brakes are more robust, and I detect no fade or pulse at all.
With the V-6 or V-8, the 1LE is buttoned down, flowing from corner to corner without drama. This trait becomes more apparent when I get into the BMW M4 that Chevy has on hand for comparison purposes. On the track, the BMW accelerates quicker than the Camaro and manages an extra mph or two at the end of the big straight. But get it into a corner and you can feel more body lean and less stability than you get in either Camaro 1LE. I’d hazard a guess that the V-8 1LE is a second or two faster around this 2.1-mile track than the BMW, which runs $20,000 more.
We love the sixth-generation Camaro, so much so that we named the Camaro SS the Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2016. The Camaro 1LE takes the innate goodness of the Camaro and gives it true track chops.
There are compelling reason to buy the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE in both of its forms. For less than $33,000 you can get a V-6 1LE with the cooling, suspension, and brakes to handle track duty, the engine to produce a 5.2-second 0 to 60 mph time, and the character to make you smile any time you’re behind the wheel. In a world of $30,000 Cruzes and $35,000 RAV4s, that’s a no-brainer.
Then again, the V-8 1LE offers more power, bigger brakes, and faster track times. It’s at least as quick as a BMW M4 on a track for tens of thousands less. We’d rather drive the V-8 1LE on a track, but we’d find the V-6 version easier to drive every day.
We recommend both. Whichever one you choose, you’ll find the Camaro 1LE is more than just a track package; it’s a fully integrated performance bargain.