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#3

in 2011 Affordable Sports Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $16,932 - $20,171
Original MSRP: $22,805 - $32,775
MPG: 17 City / 28 Hwy
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2011 Chevrolet Camaro Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Test drivers are impressed with the 2011 Camaro's strong powertrain and solid handling -- which give V6 competitors like the Challenger, and even the all-new Mustang, a run for their money.

  • "On the road, the Camaro's ride matches its muscular appearance. This car has more than enough power, and actually more than some might want to experience." -- Carseek
  • "The good news for Chevrolet is that the Camaro LS might be the best base car among the current crop of ponies, at least if measured by its high-tech powertrain." -- AutoWeek
  • "Buckle up, because the new Camaro runs like a cheetah escaping the zoo. The engine twirls for the 7000-rpm redline as if were born to live there, but at cruise it withdraws, like a fine personal valet, almost into invisibility." -- Motor Trend
  • "The Camaro's engine, transmission, steering, and suspension work together in such a way that the entire car feels engineered, not simply bolted together from spare parts. There's actual, tangible feedback from the controls, the engine is more than up to its task, and the chassis exudes a level of polish rarely seen on cars from Detroit." -- Automobile Magazine

Acceleration and Power

The Camaro LS, 1LT and 2LT feature a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 312 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 278 pound-feet of torque at 5,200 rpm. Sharp eyes will notice that’s an increase of eight horsepower and five pound-feet of torque over the previous year’s model. Technically, however, the Camaro’s power output has not been increased. Car and Driver explains: "The updated output numbers are not the result of any changes to the engine, though. Chevrolet says its original numbers were conservative and that these new ones are SAE-certified." Interestingly, the updated figures also give the 2011 Camaro V6 a seven-horsepower advantage over the all-new Mustang V6. If Chevy didn’t update the Camaro’s figures, it would’ve appeared that the Mustang had the Camaro beat by a single horsepower. Clearly, the muscle car wars are heating up.

The V6 Camaro is mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission. However, a six-speed automatic transmission with tapshift control is available.

  • "The V6-powered base Camaro can sprint to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds, thanks to 300 horsepower, yet it costs the same as competitors like the considerably slower Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T. Heck, even the V6's fuel economy is impressive compared to its competition." -- Edmunds
  • "They don't pin you to your seat, but they have good scoot in pretty much any situation." -- Consumer Guide
  • "With little low-end torque, there's no hold-on-tight sensation when you floor the gas. And while the engine will spin to 7,000 r.p.m., keeping the revs high is a strange way to drive a Camaro." -- The New York Times 
  • "GM's Hydra-Matic SL50 6L50 6-speed automatic gearbox does...do an excellent job of keeping the V6 on the boil, particularly in 'sport' mode. It's one of the quickest-to-shift slushboxes we've experienced and never seems to find itself in the wrong gear. In fact it's so good that it renders the steering wheel-mounted shift buttons largely irrelevant. The 6L50 is clearly better than any of the Camaro's domestic rivals." -- Jalopnik
  • The manual shifter, complete with hardball-size knob, isn't sports-car grade--not really even quick. Yet it's solid, without slop, and it makes it easy to find and recall gear positions.  ... Yet we like it more as an old-fashioned automatic--kicking down as it should, quickly and smoothly, and appropriately matching upshift points to applied throttle." -- AutoWeek

Handling and Braking

Test drivers are surprised by how well the Camaro handles. In fact, many critics report that it easily keeps pace with the Dodge Challenger. Some even find it more entertaining to drive. Nevertheless, muscle cars are better known for their straight-line performance than ability to cut twists and turns with ease. Those in the market for an affordable, agile performer will be better served by a traditional sports car, like the Nissan 370Z.

  • "Riding on a shortened and reworked version of GM's Zeta platform, which it shares with the Pontiac G8 sport sedan, the Camaro boasts an independent rear suspension and refined handling characteristics." -- Edmunds
  • "Though the Camaro lacks the cojones to run with the big boys, it does make a compelling case as a decent sports car. Around the 10Best loop, the Camaro showed remarkable poise, with the suspension handling the pockmarked roads with hardly any disturbance to the cabin. The chassis is less jumpy than that of the Mustang but far more communicative than in the Challenger, and although the Camaro is nearly as wide as the Dodge it doesn't feel as big." -- Car and Driver
  • "The first thing you notice is how solid these cars feel. There is virtually no flex in the body, nor rattles or looseness to distract from the driving experience.  ... The Camaro - with its tauter dimensions than the Dodge Challenger and the advantage of an independent rear suspension over the live-axle Mustang - flatters with its linear steering and brake response and nicely weighted clutch takeup in the manual version. This is an easy car to hustle down the road, predictable in its manners and forgiving if you overcook a corner." -- Road and Track
  • "The car's chassis is rock solid and the ride surprisingly decent, even on the massive optional 20-inch tires. There's remarkably little body roll in fast turns, and the brakes are tremendous - both the standard four-wheel discs and the stronger, optional Brembo racing brakes." -- The New York Times

Next Steps: 2011 Chevrolet Camaro

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