2013 Chevy Camaro ZL1 with Steve Padilla

Steve Padilla, Chevy’s vehicle dynamics, ride and handling engineer for the 1LE talked to Drivingthenation.com about the suspension, rear differential, and sway bar in the Camaro.

According to Chevy:

The 2013 Camaro lineup includes:

  • The 323-horsepower (241 kW) V-6-powered LS coupe and LT coupe and convertible “ including the 2LS with an EPA-rated 30 mpg on the highway
  • The Camaro SS coupe and convertible, with a 6.2L V-8 delivering up to 426 horsepower (318 kW)
  • The 580-horsepower (432 kW) supercharged Camaro ZL1 coupe and convertible.

Camaro powertrains

Standard in LS and LT models is the LFX-code 3.6L V-6, rated at 323 horsepower (241 kW) and enabling EPA-estimated 30-mpg highway mileage (2LS model). Many lightweight engine features contribute to that, including an integrated cylinder head/exhaust manifold design that saves about 13 pounds per engine, when compared with a conventional, non-integrated design.

Two 6.2L V-8 engines are offered in the Camaro SS, including the L99 on automatic-equipped vehicles and the LS3 on manual-equipped models. Horsepower for the L99 is 400 (298 kW) at 5,900 rpm and torque is 410 lb.-ft. (556 Nm) at 4,300 rpm. The LS3 develops 426 horsepower (318 kW) and 420 lb.-ft. (569 Nm). Output on the L99 is lower than the LS3 because of a slightly lower compression ratio (10.4:1 vs. 10.7:1) and design features of the Active Fuel Management system.

The ZL1 name is derived from the all-aluminum racing engine of the same name, which was developed in the late 1960s and installed into a handful of regular-production 1969 Camaros. Only 69 were built with the engine, but theyve achieved mythical status among enthusiasts, as they represented the pinnacle in Camaro performance “ until the new ZL1 was introduced.

Because the architecture for the fifth-generation Camaro was designed to accommodate a convertible model, it gives the ZL1 convertible coupe-like driving dynamics. Four strategic reinforcements enhance the already-stiff body structure to quell the cowl and steering wheel shake common in convertibles. They include:

  • A tower-to-tower brace under the hood
  • A transmission support reinforcement brace
  • Underbody tunnel brace
  • Front “X” brace and stiffer cradle as well as rear underbody “V” braces.

Additional structural reinforcements in the ZL1 convertible are designed to improve noise and vibration characteristics, while also reducing unwanted ride and body motions. They include a hydroformed tube in the A-pillars, an inner reinforcement bracket in the windshield header, a reinforced front hinge pillar and reinforcements inside the rockers.

All Camaro models can be equipped with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with TapShift. Equipment and features include:

  • The Aisin AY6 six-speed manual is standard with the 3.6L engine, and a Hydra-Matic 6L50 six-speed automatic is optional
  • A Tremec TR 6060 six-speed manual is standard on the SS, and the Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic is optional
  • The SS models Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual is designed to handle the high torque characteristics of the LS3 engine and is matched with a 3.45:1 final drive ratio
  • A close-ratio version of the Tremec TR6060 is used with the 1LE package and is matched with a 3.91 final drive ratio
  • Hill start assist is standard on all manual transmissions.

A dual-mode exhaust system is available on Camaro SS models with the six-speed manual transmission. Similar to the systems found on the ZL1 and Corvette models, this vacuum-actuated system provides a quieter driving experience at low engine speeds and a more aggressive sound at when aggressive acceleration is called for.

Camaro chassis and suspension

Camaro features fully independent front and rear suspensions, with the rear suspension featuring a 4.5-link system that includes a unique, L-shaped upper control arm that attaches to the knuckle at one end and incorporates a ride bushing in the rear. A sub-frame at the rear is double-isolated to minimize vehicle body motions and dampen road imperfections. Coil-over shock absorbers are used in the rear with a decoupled, hollow stabilizer bar. The front suspension has a dual-ball strut system, with a direct-acting stabilizer bar.

Four suspension packages are offered: FE2 sport on LS and LT models; FE3 on SS Convertible models, FE4 performance on SS Coupe models and the FE6 with the 1LE Performance Package.

Four-wheel disc brakes are standard on all models “ including Brembo four-piston calipers on SS “ with hydraulic brake assist. StabiliTrak electronic stability control is standard on all models. Competitive/sport mode on SS models enhances on-track performance and Performance Launch Control on SS models with the manual transmission optimizes hard-acceleration launches for quicker, more consistent performance.

New for 2013, an electric power steering system developed for the ZL1 is standard on all SS. This variable ratio, variable effort system provides light efforts for easy maneuverability at parking-lot speeds as well as increased resistance at higher speeds, providing more feedback and a more direct steering feel.

By | 2017-03-22T08:01:02+00:00 September 14th, 2012|Categories: Automobiles and Energy, Chevy, Video|0 Comments

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.