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Driven: Chevrolet Camaro SS – 6.2 V8, 400PS / 535Nm!

Discussion in 'News and Features' started by Won, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. Won

    Won 5 Year | Silver

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    [​IMG]

    There are legends, and then there are icons. Take the Nissan GT-R for example, and you have a good impression of what a legend truly is. Mention the name, and enthusiasts will conjure up their own instances of Godzilla, irrespective of the model. An icon on the other hand, fares slightly differently. Bumblebee is a definite icon in its own right; drive out in one of these and you get an immediate reaction from just about everyone. Thanks in part to its appearance on the big screen, it is the younger generation who have the biggest reactions. Kids just swarm the car wherever we go! We went for dinner one night, a bunch of cars – Nissan 370Z, Porsche 997S, GT-R and this Camaro SS… most people were ooh’ing and aah’ing about the Bee, while the other cars barely got any response from the general public.

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    Definitely not something you'll see very often on Malaysian roads...

    A total of three models are produced (LS, LT, SS) but only the most powerful variant, in SS guise, is sold locally. The SS is powered by a massive 6.2L V8 under the bulbous hood. Again, two transmission types are offered (stick and slushbox) but only the 6-speed auto tranny is sold here. It will have the L99 engine which produced 400PS and 535Nm which are transferred to the rear wheels. These numbers are slightly lower than the LS3 mill in the manual that makes 422PS and 553Nm. Now; the key difference between these two engines is the Active Fuel Management (AFM) system that allows the engine to run on just four-cylinders when cruising – a plus, considering the petrol prices here in Malaysia. The LT and LS variants in comparison have a 3.6L V6 that makes 300PS and 370Nm. Would be interesting to see if the Camaro would be more popular if the LT and LS models were sold here.

    By now, I suppose it is very clear that the exterior of the Bee looks absolutely fantastic. The bulging bonnet, fins across the rear wheels, massive wheels under those wide arches and with subtle Transformers badgery all over… all this help to give the Bee a muscular profile. Just look at it! It feels as though it would transform to save the world at any moment! The interior of the Bee unfortunately does not sing the same tune. Now, don’t get me wrong – the cockpit is well built; there are no stray sounds with fit and finish still tight despite the owner thrashing it out rather often. What disappoints is the lack of... imagination in here. Yes, the vibe in here is old-school retro, but it is pretty bland, bordering on boring. Unfortunately, the additional Transformers plusses do not help to lift the spirits in the cockpit. This is surprising when it comes from a car that costs half a million ringgit. Even serious Germans can manufacture a bit of cabin emotions when it comes to cars in this price range!

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    Very simplistic cockpit.

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    Gauges are very retro. Unfortunately, the dashboard in the Cruze looks similar to this...

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    Homage to the original Camaro.

    Right – let’s move on to real world performance. Officially, the zerotohundred sprint takes only 4.6 seconds (the manual in comparison does 4.8 seconds), but on my butt-dyno, it never felt that quick. Despite my numerous attempts, I never managed to light up the rears. As it turns out, the L99 powerplant can become sluggish if low octane fuel is used and, although I’m not sure if this was indeed the problem, the resolution is a simple reset on the ECU and a full tank of premium. Perhaps you’ve read that the Bee is touted to be one of the best handling American muscle cars money can buy today. It features a fully independent suspension on both front and rear axles and is said to devour corners with ease. The SS also has a lowered sports suspension, four-pot Brembo discs, as well as sticky 20-inch Pirellis. There is one problem, though – it would require an exceptionally skilled and equally daring (crazy?) driver to eke out every last dollop of performance from the Bee. I did try slinging the Bee into a corner, but it felt much too heavy, and unsafe, to try out stunts like that. Not to mention that it is sold here in LHD configuration only, so I had to adjust my perceptions of its size.

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    SS badgery in front...

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    ...SS badgery on the rear; helps to remind you that this is the top-model.

    The Bee is not a regular muscle-car. The two seats in the rear are decent, not too uncomfortable and has decent leg-room (although boot space suffers quite a bit – you will not be able to fit any golf bags in here). There are flaws for sure – visibility out of the car is poor; the rear mirror is almost pointless and the expansive bonnet up front really impedes vision of the road. Difficult to exploit, it is my opinion that it should really be driven like a Grand Tourer instead. High-speed cruising is an almost effortless affair thanks to the huge V8 in front. Manual shifting is an option, but there are no paddle shifters, replaced instead with shift buttons behind the steering wheel column (left for downshifts, right for upshifts); I felt more at ease leaving it in auto and just buzzing along. Doing just that, you will notice people staring and that cars in front of you tend to get out of the way. I’ve got to admit, it was a pretty good feeling. I’ve driven this Bee when it was stock. At the time, the regular exhaust was barely audible both inside and out. Now though, it sports a set of custom titanium exhaust tips that gives it a more raspy note. Much better now, in my opinion.

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    Lots of space in front, a little less on the rears, but still decent.

    At the end of the day, muscle-cars are clearly not the norm for Malaysian roads. They’re difficult to drive, difficult to exploit, and clearly too expensive for the average Joe. Running costs are an altogether different story. This must explain why it is difficult to see many Camaros roaming our streets. Its credentials are impressive – massive power, pace, and proven track record on the Nurburgring that bests even the likes of Porsche’s Cayman and BMW’s E46 M3. But, and I’ve confirmed this with a few other owners of the Camaro SS, the Bee’s qualities are difficult to exploit. Let’s be honest – buyers of the Camaro are looking for the presence that very few cars can match. That, and the instant feel-good gratification you'll get, knowing you are driving an icon of this decade. Might sound silly, but that alone makes enough sense to me.

    Camaro SS lazy rev video - YouTube

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    Autobot insignias can be found both inside and outside the Camaro SS.

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    Sticks out like a yellow thumb...

    Chevrolet Camaro SS
    Zerotohundred: 4.6secs
    Top Speed: 250km/h (limited)
    Engine: 6.2L V8
    Power: 400PS / 5,000 rpm
    Torque: 535Nm / 6,000 rpm
    Weight: N/A
    Fuel Economy: N/A
    Wheels: 20” front & rear
    Tyres: 245/45 R20 (front), 275/45 R20 (rear)
    Price: N/A
     

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    #1 Won, Mar 21, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
  2. Izso

    Izso Boooooossst
    Helmet Clan Moderator

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    waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!
     
  3. Won

    Won 5 Year | Silver

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    I'm super happy that I had the opportunity to drive this. I've gotta admit, I was tempted to shout "TRANSFORM!!!!" a few times :p
     
  4. 6UE5t

    6UE5t Senior Member
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    The exterior looks good but the dashboard doesn't look nice, especially the odo & speedometer, looks so odd.
    I also read in some popular US magazines that actually the Mustang handles much better than the Camaro.
    Btw you've tested this to 280kph huh??
     
  5. Won

    Won 5 Year | Silver

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    6UE5t; sorry, my mistake. Limited to 250km/h, although I was not able to test it at its limit. I can say it will hit past 200km/h... :)
     
  6. kUmUcHaI 11/1

    kUmUcHaI 11/1 Senior Member
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    rare nice car...this car really became famous after transformer.
    even people dont really know about car...also will know that this is "transformer bumble bee"

    i prefer GT40..
     
  7. khairiaz

    khairiaz Senior Member
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    The reason for the sluggishness of the powerplant is purely because of using low-octane fuel. That is definitely the only reason for this. The V8 engine does not suit low-octane. I know this because I am driving a V8 as well, and the difference is very obvious when switching from high octane to low octane fuel.

    Now, the half-million price is the price in Malaysia. What if I can offer you same SS spec, same colour, same engine, zero mileage, brand new from showroom, same LHD but only at a cost of RM200k??? Just pay me a RM20k commission for bringing it back to Malaysia, hahaha...
     
  8. Won

    Won 5 Year | Silver

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    khairiaz, are you located in the US? If so - what are the RON ratings over there for regular and premium?
     
  9. khairiaz

    khairiaz Senior Member
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    I'm in the Middle East. RON 95 and 97. My V8 became sluggish when I switched from 97 to 95. Some friends driving V8s complained on the same thing. That's the reason why I am stating that the low octane is the sole cause of the engine sluggishness.
     
  10. Won

    Won 5 Year | Silver

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    Ah, I see. In any case; I know for sure that the owner of this Camaro SS uses RON97 in his Bee. He has always been doing so. But I still do think that a ECU reset is worth exploring... will definitely let him know.
     
  11. mustang125

    mustang125 5 Year | Silver

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    khairiaz bro,r u sure with da cost ur saying?
     
  12. HBS

    HBS Senior Member
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    The handling feels might be like the Z33,for me IMHO.

    I tracked my Z33 more than my NSX & RX8,& the different of handling for all the car is massive except when comparing the excellent turn in,& sharp steering respond from both NSX & RX8.Z33 unfortunately had numb steering respond,& the S turn can proven a slight disaster(the car wont bite firmly on the tarmac & up to 120km/h quick direction change always make the heavy Z sliding a lil' bit)

    So I think,the numb steering respond & the weight of the vehicle itself might cause some lack of confidence to throw out into the corner like I do.But the best thing if you practiced yourself to master the mediocore handling car that lack sharp-edge steering feels & grip,is that when you driving a car that touted to had the best handling in the world,you would had no major difficulties to explore its potential(Some say that mid engine is dangerous for first timer,but I had to say apart from tight-unassisted steering & bit of normal piston powered engine feel(engine felt like a bit of shaking due to fast momentum of piston going up & down compared to ultra-smooth feeling of rotary engined car)I can say the NSX is probably one of the best handling car that I have ever own,& almost as close in term of giving the driver instant confidence to push out even further(The best is still the RX8,& NSX is still placed second for this)
     
  13. kethon27

    kethon27 Senior Member
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    khairiaz.. you can be rich if you can sell that price in Malaysia, sell in bulk quantity. Bring more performance car, people will start appreciate you and you make yourself a name in Malaysia market..
    If only........ you really can 'magic' this performance car at most RM250K nett damage inclusive whatever necessary extra charges to the owner..:driver:
     

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