2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 ConvertibleEnlarge Photo
Back in the halcyon days of 2011, Ford revealed the wildly fast—but exceptionally primitive—2013 Mustang Shelby GT500 could crest the magical 200-mile-per-hour mark thanks to its 662-horsepower supercharged 5.8-liter V-8. More recently, Dodge revealed its Charger SRT Hellcat will do the same. And Chevrolet? Close. So. Crushingly. Close.
The Bowtie brand announced today that its 650-horsepower Camaro ZL1 has a top speed of 198 mph. Now, before the Ford and Mopar folks dive into the comments to bash their friends at Chevrolet, it's worth noting how the company discovered that figure.
To neutralize any help or hindrance from the wind, Chevy's engineers took two top-speed runs on the 7.6-mile ring at Germany's Automotive Testing Papenburg in, um, Papenburg Germany. Chevy averaged the first run, which saw a production-spec ZL1 record a top speed of 202.3 mph, against a 193.3-mph run in the opposite direction, garnering an official top speed of 197.8 mph.
While the Camaro ZL1 falls short of the 200-mph mark officially, as the 202.3-mph run shows, the car can still beat that mark with a smidge of assistance. That could include, according to Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser, a couple of small tweaks. According to Oppenheiser, the Camaro ZL1 will average over 200 mph, provided you dial in zero degrees of camber and inflate the Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3 tires to their maximum sidewall pressure. We wouldn't recommend that, and we doubt Chevy would either.
The ZL1's top speed joins a spate of impressive stats, including a 3.5-second sprint to 60 mph, an 11.4-second run through the quarter mile, and a face-bending 1.02 g cornering ability. We look forward to experiencing these abilities—although maybe not the top speed—when we test the ZL1 later this week. Stay tuned for the full review.