The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 walks the fine line that separates where the everyday meets the racetrack. Using everyday Camaro (reviewed separately) as a building block, the tornado that is the ZL1 makes the 455-horsepower Camaro LT1 and SS trims feel like comparative gusts of wind. Credit the ZL1’s exclusive trim to the 650-horsepower supercharged V-8 and its wide, sticky-as-s’mores Goodyear F1 SuperCar tires. The available 1LE Performance Package awakens an even more powerful beast, with the package adding even wider and stickier tires, adjustable camber plates at each corner, and Multimatic Dynamic Suspension dampers. Think of the Camaro ZL1 as a NASCAR Cup Series street racer.
What’s new in 2023?
Chevy is making no major changes to the Camaro ZL1 for 2023. However, the carbon fiber spoiler for the ZL1 1LE is no longer available.
Pricing and which one to buy
A coupe with a standard manual transmission is our pick, the ZL1. While the optional 1LE Extreme Track Performance package for the 650-horsepower model is transformative and tempting, the overly stiff suspension makes the ZL1 too heavy for everyday use.
Engine, transmission and performance
The Camaro’s supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 is a good engine that works throughout the rev range. Be paired with standard six-speed manual transmission or the available 10-speed automatic transmission, the supercharged small-block V-8 is an absolute juggernaut. Even the quick-shifting automatic nets the ZL1 faster acceleration times than those that come with a stick. Even in its lesser form, the Camaro is a satisfying handler, with quick and communicative steering, a balanced rear-wheel-drive chassis, and a surprisingly supple ride. The ZL1 only enhances these qualities. Its adaptive dampers change their stiffness depending on the selected drive mode, but even the hardcore modes don’t spoil the car’s decent, if firm, ride. Want more? Grab it 1LE Extreme Track Performance Package—only available on the coupe—that takes the ZL1’s side-by-side performance into supercar territory. A package of wider and stickier tires, manually adjustable front suspension and exclusive spool valve shocks help chew up racetracks and spit out lucky drivers. The ZL1 comes to a stop from 70 mph in 143 feet, and the ZL1’s brake pedal operates with the firmness that befits a performance car.
Fuel economy and real mpg
The words “Camaro ZL1” and “fuel efficient” should not be used together in a sentence unless separated by the phrase “is not”. With the automatic transmission, the ZL1 is rated at 13 mpg in the city and 21 on the highway. With the manual, the ZL1 returns approximately 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. The manual ZL1 1LE we drove on the fuel-efficient route at 75 mph on the highway is part of our extensive testing regime, returned a paltry 17 mpg. For more information on the Camaro’s fuel economy, visit EPA website.
Interior, comfort and cargo
Turns out, 650 horsepower and a ZL1 badge do nothing to erase the miserable exterior of the current generation Camaro. It suffers from the same thick roof pillars and tall sills that characterize all Camaros. That said, every ZL1 is well-equipped from the get-go. The standard equipment includes electric drives of front seats with heating and ventilation, heated steering wheel and dual-zone automatic climate control. When it comes to the ZL1, performance and style take precedence over all other considerations. So there is very little room for small things inside. It’s an almost tacit admission on Chevrolet’s part that the Camaro can only seat two people comfortably. Behind the useless rear seats is an almost equally useless trunk, accessed through an oddly shaped opening.
Infotainment system and communication
Chevrolet’s touchscreen infotainment system is one of the easiest to use in the industry, with clear menus and large on-screen buttons. It includes a Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The ZL1 comes standard with nearly every available infotainment option that Chevy charges extra for on the lesser Camaro, such as a Bose audio system, wireless phone charger, and head-up display.
Safety features and driver assistance
The ZL1 comes with several keys driver assistance technology Features. However, if you opt for either the convertible body style or the coupe’s extra performance data and dash cam, you’ll have to do without forward collision warning. For more information on the Camaro’s crash test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute of Road Safety (IIHS) websites. Key security features include:
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Standard Forward Collision Warning (Coupe only)
- Standard rear parking sensors
Warranty and maintenance
The ZL1’s coverage is typical in the industry, but Chevrolet covers the cost of the vehicle’s first scheduled maintenance, provided it occurs within the first year of ownership.
- The limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- The transmission is warranted for five years or 60,000 miles
- Free service is paid for the first visit
2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
front-engine, rear-wheel drive, 4-passenger, 2-door coupe
PRICE ACCORDING TO TESTING
$75,985 (base price: $72,195)
Supercharged intercooled 16-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
376 U.A., 6162 cubic meters
650 horsepower at 6,400 rpm
650 lb-ft at 3,600 rpm
Suspension (F/R): Strut/Multilink
Brakes (front/right): 15.4-inch ventilated disc/14.4-inch ventilated disc
Tires: Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar 3R, F: 305/30R-19 (98Y) TPC, R: 325/30R-19 (101Y) TPC
Wheelbase: 110.7 inches
Length: 188.3 inches
Width: 74.7 inches
Height: 52.0 inches
Passenger volume: 83 cubic feet
Trunk capacity: 9 cubic feet
Curb weight: 3,886 lbs
Deployment, 1 foot: 0.3 sec
60 mph: 3.4 sec
100 mph: 7.4 sec
150 mph: 19.2 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 3.7 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 1.8 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 2.1 sec
¼ mile: 11.5 seconds at 124 mph
Top speed (manufacturer’s claim): 190 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 137 feet
Braking, 100–0 mph: 268 feet
Road resistance, 300 feet in diameter: 1.17 g
Observed: 14 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 16/13/21 mpg