It’s the muscle car era at its best, with cars like the new Mustang GT350R, the Dodge Challenger Hellcat and the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 going head to head for the crown. Let’s just start off by saying this; the Hellcat might be the fastest on a straight line, but it doesn’t even come close to the other two on the track.
Not only is the new 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 faster than the outgoing ZL1 by 11.67 seconds on the Nurburgring, its 7:29.60 lap time is nearly 3 seconds faster than the hardcore Mustang GT350R’s 7:32.19. It’s so fast that it even smashed the previous gens Z/28’s 7:37 laptime as well.
Just to be clear, the ZL1 was meant to compete with the standard GT350 and not the track revised GT350R – that’s what the 2018 Camaro Z/28 is meant for. But with the standard ZL1 smashing the GT350R like that? What we can expect from Ford next is probably a supercharged GT500R version to make up lost time on the straights.
Underneath the pronounced and styling hood, lays a beast waiting to be awakened by your right foot. A beast taken directly from the Z06 – the 6.2-liter LT4 V8 that molests the tarmac with 650-hp and 650 lb-ft of torque all modulated by the command of a “10R90” 10-speed automatic gearbox that ensures there is no shortage of speed on corner entry or exit.
Ok, is it better than the Challenger hellcat? The Hellcat is equipped with 707-hp and that’s about as far a selling point there is. It’s not even a track car, it’s just a straight line machine that burns rubber when you want it to. Sounds as good as a muscle car can get and does the occasional oversteer very well.
So the answer is yes, the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is much better as an overall package with just 57 less hp. Now, this article is far from over but we had to get that out of the way for all you eager fellow.
The wheels are wider than a standard Camaro too, packaged with grippy 285/30ZR20 Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3 tyres up front and 305/30ZR20 in the back.
So, what can we expect from the ZL1 in a straight line? 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds or less according to Chevrolet which is blisteringly quick compared to cars in the segment. You can also heat the tires quickly using the lock heating feature which helps dispatch quicker quarter-mile times with grippy tires. Expect a quarter mile time of just 11.7 seconds at 127-mph, just a seconds slower than a Lamborghini Huracan.
Built on GM’s Alpha platform which is lighter, stiffer and better than before with an increased width of 4-inches over the current Corvette. Interestingly enough, the new ZL1 is actually as fast as the current Z06 despite the weight advantage.
The front bumper receives plenty of blacked-out parts that bring out a lot more aggressiveness out of the standard SS with bigger ducts, a larger grille opening, a huge front-splitter and daytime running LEDS. Besides some ZL1 badges here and there – the interior remains the same with some suede inserts to add a little spazz. I must say the Recaro bucket seats don’t look all that fancy, but they probably function well.
So, how much will a new 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 run you? About $64,435 plus a $1,300 gas-guzzler fee. For the performance you get out of the ZL1, you might want to shell out your hard earned money and take it to track every once in awhile. If not, you’re better off with the standard Camaro SS 1LE package which has upgraded brakes, grippy tires and some extras for the track for about $45,000.