Car of the week: January 23rd – 2014 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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There is only one Camaro worth having – the mighty ZL1.

That doesn’t mean the other members of the Camaro family are rubbish; far from it, the SS is a great car but it’s just not fast enough and doesn’t compare to the top of the range monster.

Once you have driven it you won’t look back.

The ZL1 is what an American muscle car should be.

It looks awesome, and the Camaro design is now iconic, but the real attraction is the amazing power in the 6.2-litre supercharged engine which makes a noise that compares to rolling thunder.

The 2013 model is so good that I really had no idea how Chevrolet were going to improve it for the latest incarnation of a car that has been around in one form or another since 1967.

The answer is that the beast has been given a subtle design tweak.

They have tarted up the interior to give it a bit more refinement and the result is the finest ZL1 so far.

You actually wouldn’t want this car to be too refined because it would take away some of its appeal but they have got it just right.

Aesthetically, the front of the car has been changed slightly to give it a wider lower grille and slightly narrower upper grille, not that you would notice at first glance.

The magnificent power bulge hood vent is just as prominent and helps keep the engine cool and reduce aerodynamic lift.

At the back the car has new horizontal lights, diffuser and rear spoiler which makes it look a little more sleek.

Inside, our test car had alcantara leather trim and really comfortable leather seats with the ZL1 logo on the headrests.

There is now a new full colour HUD system which is brilliant and the new Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system operated via a seven-inch full colour touchscreen on the centre stack.

This gives the driver, or the passenger, access to phone books, personal playlists, photo galleries etc from compatible smartphones linked via USB.

Camaro devotees will no doubt be pleased to note that the retro oil pressure, boost, and temperature dials at the bottom of the centre stack are still there.

Personally, I think they are a bit redundant but I accept that they are a nod to the car’s heritage.

So what you have is a slightly sharper looking Camaro with an interior that offers a bit more of a luxury feel and a much improved infotainment system.

To drive, the Camaro is as entertaining as ever and I guarantee that once you open it up and hear the ground trembling noise from that engine, which is capable of powering you from 0-100kmh in just under four seconds, it will take several days for the smile to wear off.

You can drive this car in Tour mode for a slightly softer ride for those long motorway journeys or Sport mode which is what this car is all about – adrenaline pumping noise and performance. 

The acceleration really is extraordinary and while I wouldn’t describe this car as nimble it is certainly agile enough with what Chevrolet call Magnetic Ride Control, to breed confidence when dealing with most corners and road conditions.

For a car that offers this amount of performance and styling the asking price of Dh230,000 is remarkable value.

When up against American muscle car legends like the Ford Mustang, which has just been given a makeover, the Dodge Challenger, and the Shelby GT500 the ZL1 has to be good.

This latest version is very, very good.

Why Buy It

  • Iconic looks
  • Superb engine
  • Really quick
  • Interior now much better
  • Fun to drive

Why Not

  • It is strictly a two-seater and it’s a bit laddish. Neighbours might not be best pleased with the noise it makes.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – Specifications

Manufacturer : Chevrolet
Production : 1967 to present
Class : Muscle car
Body style : Two-seater
Layout : Rear-wheel drive
Engine : 6.2 V8 supercharged
Output : 580bhp
Torque : 754nm
0-100km : 3.9 seconds
Transmission : Six-speed auto or manual
Kerb weight : 1,869kg
Top speed : 290kmh
Price : Dh230,000

Rating out of 10: 9

Here's a video of a driver no-lift shifting in a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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