AskPatty was present at Chevrolet's introduction of the production 2010 Camaro in Los Angeles today and is happy to share some of the first photos available of this anxiously awaited sports coupe. Camaro fans have been waiting for this heritage-inspired sports car since the concept was revealed at the Detroit Auto Show more than two years ago: We've seen teasers of the vehicle at autoshows since then, AskPatty President Jody DeVere had a chance to drive one and most notable was its starring role as the BumbleBee Autobot in last summer's blockbuster movie "Transformers." As our photos show, the production model does not disappoint. This beautiful coupe has made its own transformation from the original concept to a production model with great looks and performance, and it promises advanced technology and surprising efficiency - including an estimated 26-mpg highway fuel economy. Sales of the long-awaited sports coupe will begin in the first quarter of 2009.
The reincarnated Camaro was introduced in Los Angeles by Camaro Product Manager Cheryl Pilcher, while a concurrent unveiling was held in Detroit with Ed Peper, GM North America vice president, Chevrolet, and Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design. Pilcher has been working for General Motors since 1986: She was on the team which engineered the fourth generation Camaro, and worked on the C5 and C6 Corvettes before helping to bring this model to its fruition.
Built on GM's new, global rear-wheel-drive architecture, the Camaro will be reborn in V-6-powered LS and LT models, as well as a powerful V-8 SS. All models and powertrain combinations include fuel-saving six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, and boast direct injection; high-performance SS models also offer cylinder deactivation technology to provide both fuel economy and exhilarating performance.
"Camaro delivers all of the things that make Chevrolet such a revered, global brand," said Peper. "It competes with the world's best sports cars and does so with styling, fuel economy and value our competitors simply can't match."
In a journalist's roundtable last week with Welburn at his alma mater, California's Art Center College of Design, we had an opportunity to discuss the powertrain options to be offered in the Camaro. As the owner of a 1969 Camaro SS, it's easy to see he has strong interests in the heritage of this iconic muscle car. "I love power, I like performance, high performance," said Welburn. We asked him, because so many Camaro enthusiasts want to know "Will a high-performance Z/28 option be available?" To this question, Welburn explained "We had so many other issues to handle first, we felt our energies could be better focused on other products." He reminded journalists not to lose sight of the vehicle's small-block heritage, assuring them "the base Camaro will have the right powertrain, and will appeal to the true musclecar enthusiast."
Chevrolet honors that heritage by offering LS and LT models with a 300-horse/3.6-liter direct-injected V-6 engine with variable valve timing and a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. An SS model will offered with a 422-horsepower/6.2-liter V-8 - including fuel-saving Active Fuel Management on automatic-equipped combinations - and a six-speed manual transmission.
The new Camaro includes a laundry list of technologies meant to enhance performance, comfort and convenience, including: Bluetooth phone connectivity, premium Boston Acoustics audio system, USB connectivity, ultrasonic rear parking assist (late introduction), a remote vehicle starting system, as well as OnStar and XM Satellite Radio. Additionally, details such as frameless door windows with automatic indexing glass contribute to its solid feeling of quality, substance, and technical prowess. An RS appearance package available on LT and SS, will include HID headlamps with integrated halo rings, spoiler, specific taillamps, and 20-inch wheels.
"We acknowledge the nameplate's strong heritage in the design, but recognize that keeping this modern sports car relevant meant more than simply honoring a classic car, said Welburn from the unveiling in Detroit. "The line forms, stance, and overall execution are consistent with other new Chevrolets."
A long front dash-to-axle and short rear deck give the Camaro its classic proportions, while a sleek windshield profile, wheels pushed to the corners, and muscular fender forms are modern elements that reinforce its advanced engineering - and give the car its aggressive stance.
Elements such as a forward-V shape at the front of the car and subtle body-colored gills in the rear quarter panels are distinctly Camaro cues, as are the broad rear fender shoulders. Those elements make the new Camaro instantly recognizable, but their execution is smoothly integrated into the contemporary exterior form. A family of large, 18-, 19-, and 20-inch wheels also contributes to the Camaro's modern appearance.
Inside, the Camaro retains a fine balance of heritage, modern design, and attention to detail. A pair of deeply recessed instrument binnacles feature round gauges in square housings as a nod to classic Camaros, while an available ambient light package offers advanced LED light pipe technology to give the cabin a distinctive and inviting glow. Cloth upholstery is standard; heated leather-appointed seats with contrast stitching are available.
Details such as large, chrome-trimmed controls, low-gloss surfaces, and premium appliques express a richness that promises to challenge its contemporary competitors. More great detail is evidenced in the available center-console gauge cluster, which also takes its cue from a similar option on 1969 Camaros. It displays oil temperature, oil pressure, state-of-battery, and transmission fluid temperature, all highlighted with modern LED backlighting.
Don't think that because this car is so strongly focused on amazing looks and high performance that it doesn't also have a broad assortment of safety features. The new Camaro offers a robust body structure and integral safety cage around the passenger compartment; high-strength steel and ultra-high-strength steel are used in key areas throughout the structure.
Additional safety technologies integrated in the Camaro include driver and front-passenger dual-stage air bags, driver and front-passenger seat-mounted thorax side-impact air bags, head curtain side-impact air bags for front and rear seat occupants, as well as front seat safety belt load limiters and pre-tensioners. The front passenger detection system senses children and small-stature adults and suppresses air bag deployment when appropriate. And, as we have come to expect in General Motors products, OnStar's standard Advanced Crash Response System automatically sends a signal to OnStar for assistance, even if the air bags don't deploy.
The long-awaited Camaro exemplifies GM's new focus on global vehicle development. The design concept originated in the United States; engineering was directed by GM's global rear-wheel-drive team in Australia; validation was conducted on roads around the world and assembly will take place at GM's award-winning Oshawa facility in Canada. "It's a sports car for a new generation of enthusiasts that doesn't forget the heritage that helped make the original a cultural icon," said Peper. "That is no small feat and it took a worldwide commitment to achieve it." Thanks to an onsale date barely a year away and entry pricing loosely rumored to begin around $23,000, long-suffering Camaro fans are soon to be rewarded for their commitment, as well.
By Brandy Schaffels