The 2016 Chevy Camaro broke cover this weekend, and while it may not appear that much different at first glance, GM did a lot of work under the skin to shave weight and improve performance. This includes offering a first-for-the Camaro, a turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine that will serve as the new base motor for GM’s muscle machine.
Following the successful launch of the 2015 Ford Mustang, which also offers a turbo four-banger, the 2016 Camaro shuffles things up a bit in a bid to separate itself from its competitors. For one, the 275 horsepower 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine serves as the entry-level engine, with a 335 horsepower 3.6 liter V6 carrying over and the 455 horsepower LT1 (the same engine from the 2014 Corvette) doing duty in the top-end SS model. In the 2015 Mustang, the EcoBoost four-cylinder serves as the mid-range engine, with a detuned V6 being the base motor. Definitely a different approach from Ford.
GM quotes a 0 to 60 MPH time of “under six seconds” for the four-cylinder Camaro, while also claiming it will have the best fuel economy of any GM muscle car from the automaker’s long history. Expect at least 31 MPG in that case, as the outgoing V6 Camaro earned up to 30 MPG on the EPA testing cycle. Transmission options are either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic (where’s that 8-speed auto?), and both the V6 and V8 engines get cylinder deactiviation to improve fuel economy.
The area where the 2016 Camaro definitely wins “most improved” in my book is the interior. While the blind spots still look horrendous, the cockpit of this muscle car looks far more performance-oriented, slick, and airplane-like. Considering this is where the driver spends most of their time, it’s nice to see GM appears to have really kicked things up a notch. About damn time.
The styling is distinctly Camaro, no doubt about it, but beyond a familiar look GM has changed the 2016 Camaro over to an all-new chassis. The Alpha platform, which the 2016 Camaro shares with the Cadillac ATS, is lighter and more handling-oriented than the Zeta platform the 5th-gen Camaro rode on. GM says this helped shed some 200 lbs of extra weight, whereas the 2015 Mustang actually put on a few pounds. The two competitors have probably never been closer in terms of weight or performance, and now they’re getting the same kind of fuel economy as compact cars from just a few years ago.
Maybe American muscle will stick around for a few more decades after all.