2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible Review

2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 convertible Review
By Alain McKenna, Toronto Sun
General Motors created a bit of a stir last year when it unveiled a 580-hp Camaro ZL1. Now, it goes topless.
All this power puts the Camaro in a place of its own, along with the Shelby GT500 Ford Mustang (662 hp) and maybe, but only maybe, the Nissan GT-R (545 hp), the latter having only a coupe version, which costs about 40,000 dollars more than the other two.
Attractive convertible
In the case of the Camaro and the Mustang, we can obtain all this power under the hood of a highly stylized sports-car taking the shape of either a coupe or a convertible. And, honestly, if you want to spend over $65,000 on such a vehicle, better make it a convertible.
Because, really, who would take it to the street during winter?
What’s more, Chevrolet insists that the convertible’s chassis was specifically and thoroughly revised, to make it compatible with the added power of its upgraded engine. Pillars are reinforced, the suspension is stiffened and, overall, the whole car feels much stronger. Heavier too, by 120 kilos.
Because you can drop the top, the interior feels a lot less stuffy and cluttered than it does on other, more affordable versions. And thanks to a company-wide effort at General Motors, Chevrolet can now include a nifty touch-enabled multimedia LCD display right in the console of the Camaro, giving a more modern air to the whole affair.
The childish, toyish interior finish seems a little less so here, with the softer suede surfaces and seats, complete with red embroidery. The rearview mirror, on the other hand, is a nice nostalgic touch.
Front seats are supportive and comfortable. Visibility is good in every direction, except maybe right behind the vehicle, because of the elevated body. Looking at the road, GM’s heads-up display appears at the bottom of the windshield.
Despite the apparent lack of legroom on the back seat, at least the two occupants can raise their heads high (and possibly their index and little fingers as well, enjoying the hard rock radio station that’s only appropriate to this vehicle).
Muscle and more muscle
Numbers war put aside, let’s just say that 580 horsepower is quite enough muscle to make any hard, almost brutal acceleration enthusiast very satisfied, and possibly deaf as well. This V8 make a strong roaring noise. As is generally the case with GM products, the six-speed automatic transmission doesn’t remove any pleasure from driving the ZL1.
In fact, using the paddle shifters is probably faster than shifting gears the old fashioned way, since it takes only milliseconds. Passing on the highway is easy. There is always more torque to be had from the supercharged engine. The car sits low, and with its large tires, it offers a very adequate road handling, as welcome in curbs as it is in straight lines.
Older Camaros couldn’t handle sinuous roads that much. This one craves them. Maneuvering is impeccable, even in the convertible. It might drift a bit more than the coupe on uneven pavement, but only slightly. Is magnetic suspension self adjusts a thousand times per second, making sure it’s sportier while driving fast, but also much smoother at low speeds or in stop and go traffic jams.
This actually might be the Camaro ZL1’s strongest asset: beyond the impressive statistics and numbers, despite the extrovert personality, this convertible is civilized enough for city driving.
Fact file:  2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 convertible
Price: $64,250
Engine: 6.2-liter supercharged V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual or automatic
Power/torque: 580 hp/556 lb-ft
Fuel consumption: 13.5 l/100 km (tested: 16.8 l/100 km)
Warranty: 3 yrs/60,000 km (5 yrs/160,000 km)
Competition: Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, Nissan GT-R