It may be hard to believe, but the Camaro first hit the streets of America 45 years ago as an answer to Ford’s wildly successful Mustang. While it may have disappeared for a few years during the mid-2000’s, GM isn’t about to let the 45th anniversary go by without some kind of celebration.
Today GM unveiled the 45th Anniversary Edition Camaro sporting a special graphics package and some spiffy wheels to celebrate the special occasion, and a new V6, which gets a healthy 11 horsepower increase over last year.
The V6 Camaro now has 323 horsepower, putting a 18 horsepower spread between it and the closest competition, the Mustang V6. The appearance package features a special red-and-silver stripe package adorning the hood, and inside is a Jet Black leather interior with 45th Anniversary badges and logos and white face gauges. Silver trim around the foglights and taillights add a bit more flair to this special edition.
Worry not performance fans, performance upgrades for the Camaro SS hasn’t been forgotten. The new FE4 suspension package adds retuned dampers to all four corners of the Camaro SS, as well as a solid 23mm stabilizer bar in the front and 24mm bar out back.
GM put a lot of work into the V6 engine for 2012, including more horsepower, a new 30 MPG rating and 20.5 pounds less weight for a more “balanced” driving experience. So is the SS next for the diet plan?
Sports car brings new, more powerful V-6, sport suspension and new technologies
DETROIT – Chevrolet Camaro, America’s most popular sports car, extends its momentum with enhancements for the 2012 model year. Highlights include an improved version of its standard 3.6L direct injection V-6 engine, a new FE4 performance suspension package for SS coupes and several interior and technology improvements, such as a revised instrument panel design, new steering wheel and rear camera system.
The enhancements arrive in time for Camaro’s 45th birthday, which will be celebrated with this summer’s release of the 45th Anniversary Special Edition Camaro. Continuing the tradition of Camaro anniversary models, the 45th Anniversary Special Edition carries all the upgrades for 2012, with additional unique design elements, inside and out.
“The appeal of Camaro design and performance has powered it to the top of its segment,” said Rick Scheidt, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. “For 2012, we’re capitalizing on that momentum with enhancements to Camaro’s performance and comfort.”
Also coming in early 2012 is the high-performance Camaro ZL1, the most technologically advanced car ever developed in its segment.
Class-leading 3.6L V-6 engine
Camaro’s new 3.6L direct injection V-6 – the LFX engine – goes into production this summer. It delivers an SAE-certified 323 horsepower (241 kW) at 6,800 rpm – an increase of 11 horsepower (8 kW) over the 2011 engine, with no compromise in fuel economy.
The LFX delivers the most standard power in the regular sports car segment. It is also 20.5 pounds (9.3 kg) lighter than its predecessor, which promotes a more balanced driving experience. EPA-estimated highway fuel economy for the ’12 Camaro is 30 mpg (2LS model).
Compared to the 3.6L V-6 in 2011 models, the new LFX engine features:
New cylinder head design with integrated exhaust manifold
Improved intake port design and larger intake valves within the cylinder heads
Longer-duration intake camshafts
Composite intake manifold
New fuel pump and isolated fuel rail
New, optimized-flow fuel injectors
Structural front cover and cylinder block enhancements
Stronger and lighter-weight connecting rods
Camshaft cap and throttle body design enhancements.
Direct injection is the key technology enabling the engine’s combination of power and efficiency. It optimizes fuel delivery to the combustion chamber by introducing fuel closer to the combustion chamber. The result is better efficiency in the combustion process leading to increased fuel efficiency at part and full throttle. It also uses a new fuel pump for the direct injection system, along with a new, isolated fuel rail. The new fuel pump is quieter, while the isolated fuel rail further reduces fuel system noise.
FE4 suspension enhances performance
The new FE4 suspension debuts as a performance improvement for the Camaro SS coupe in 2012, focusing on more refined handling.
“Our objective was to create a more precise sport suspension for the SS coupe, with greater road-holding capability,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “We applied lessons learned from extensive track testing to better refine the suspension geometry for flatter cornering, a more neutral balance during hard turns, and minimized understeer at the limit.”
Elements of the FE4 package include:
Retuned front and rear dampers
New solid front (23 mm) and rear (24 mm) stabilizer bars
Twenty-inch aluminum wheels and P245/45R20 front/P275/40R20 rear tires (SS).
More than just new components, the new FE4 performance suspension incorporates learning from the ongoing development of the high-performance Camaro ZL1. In particular, the suspension geometry has been adjusted, including reshaped stabilizer bars that are repositioned outboard of the shock mounts. This results in more effective body control and more precise response in performance driving.
Interior, exterior and technology updates
The 2012 model year brings appearance, ergonomic and technology upgrades inside for Camaro drivers and passengers. The interior updates include a revised instrument panel appearance, with new instrument graphics and trim, as well as a new steering wheel design and a power lift feature for the front passenger seat. The steering wheel features a fresh new look and ergonomic improvements intended to support performance driving.
Also new for Camaro in 2012 is a Rear Vision Package, which adds a rearview camera system and an auto-dimming mirror to the existing Rear Park Assist feature. The rearview camera system complements the rear parking assist by providing a video display of the area behind the car, with the video image appearing in the car’s inside rearview mirror.
On the exterior for 2012, a new rear spoiler will be added as a standard feature for Camaro; and the taillamps that had been a part of the RS appearance package option are also being made standard. Additionally, a new, body-color “sharkfin” antenna joins the RS package.
Crystal Red Tintcoat replaces Red Jewel as an exterior color.
45th Anniversary package details
Launching this summer, the 45th Anniversary Special Edition commemorates both Camaro’s lineage and its 21st-century revival. Camaro fans will get their first look at the 45th Anniversary Special Edition at the Camaro5 Fest II, April 15 in Arizona. The anniversary package will be offered on Camaro’s top two trim levels (2LT and 2SS) for both coupe and convertible body styles.
The exterior signature of the 45th Anniversary Special Edition is its unique rally stripe, in red and silver, that contrasts the Carbon Flash Metallic paint. The package also includes:
Unique 45th Anniversary hood and deck stripes; badges located beneath the front fender emblems
New-design 20-inch wheels in dark silver
Fog lamp and taillamp bezels finished in dark silver
RS-style taillamp lenses
Standard rear spoiler and HID headlamps
Body-color roof molding
Jet Black interior with leather-trimmed seats featuring the 45th Anniversary logo
White instrument panel and door trim inserts with the 45th Anniversary logo on the instrument panel
Red, white and blue stitching on the seats, steering wheel, shift knob/boot, door armrests and console lid
45th Anniversary logo on the steering wheel and sill plates.