The technical story of the Camaro 2SS Convertible we drove shows us the literal meaning of General Motors, as the vehicle is a joint effort coming from multiple parts of the group. As you can imagine, Chevrolet lit the revival fire, by presenting the Camaro Concept in 2007 and the Camaro Convertible Concept one year later. However, the development of the Zeta platform that underpins the Camaro was driven by GM’s Australian brand Holden.
The fact that the Camaro rides on GM’s global RWD passenger car architecture has brought both assets and drawbacks. The first category is led by the fact that this fifth-generation Camaro is the first to use independent rear suspension, while the most important of the latter is the hefty weight of the vehicle. An SS Coupe, which uses a naturally-aspirated V8, tips the scales at around 3,750 lbs (1,700 kg), while the Convertible climbs to about 4,170 lbs (1,890 kg).
Up front, the SS models uses thicker stabilizer bars compared to the V6 ones, as well as stiffer spring rates and offer less wheel travel. The Camaro uses a sub-frame that features double isolation in order to cater to both ride and handling. The rear suspension offers the same differences between V6 and V8 models as the front one. Regardless of the transmission choice, the V8 models use a limited slip differential. As a solution to minimize the rear axle hop effect, the axle halfshafts are asymmetrical in diameter.
We drove an SS with the standard wheel & tire setup, 20-inch rims with Pirelli P Zero summer performance rubber - 245/50 R19 up front and 275/40 R20 at the rear end.
When creating the Convertible, the automaker didn’t go for the usual pathway of making the suspension softer in order to cope with drawbacks brought by the open-top architecture. The suspension was left untouched, while the engineers upgraded the structure in four key points.
The A-pillars of the canvas roof model accommodate a hydroformed tube, an inner reinforcement bracket has been integrated in the windshield header, while the front hinge pillar and the rockers have also been strengthened.
As for the soft top, this uses a classical “Z” folding configuration and features a heated rear glass. It needs 20 seconds to change its state, but it does require manual operation of its latch up front. The aim was for its shape to follow the roof line of the Coupe, so it was built using composite knuckles instead of aluminum ones and taking the canvas below the belt line.
When it comes to powertrains, the Camaro SS once again shows the complex structure of General Motors. Both manual and automatic models are motivated by a naturally-aspirated 6.2-liter engine, each transmission comes with a different engine.
Both powerplants are based on the LS3 V8 that enter the market under the hood of the 2008 Corvette. The automatic-married L99 delivers 400 hp at 5,900 rpm and 410 lb-ft (556 Nm) of torque at 4,300 rpm, while the manual-mated LS3 produces 426 hp at 5,900 rpm and 420 lb-ft (569 Nm) of torque at 4,600 rpm.
The L99 is fitted with an Active Fuel Management System that shuts down four cylinders when the power requests are low. Together with the marginally lower compression ratio (10.4:1 compared to. 10.7:1), this is what makes the automatic-destined powerplant offer a slightly lower output.
The 400 hp L99 works with General Motor’s 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission, which also allows the driver to change gears using steering-wheel located paddles. The gearbox features a final drive ratio of 3.27:1.
The stopping power for the SS models is provided by Brembo hardware. At the front we have 355x32 mm rotors with four-piston calipers, while the rear receives 365x28mm discs with four-piston grabbers. In addition to that, the brake linings are semi-metallic.
For the 2013 model year, the SS models receive variable-assist electric power steering, a feature that was previously only found on the range-topping ZL1. As for the V6 models, these still have to make due with the hydraulic setup.Continue reading