2011 Chevy Camaro Car Pro review

It was a REALLY good week to be the Car Pro!  I have never hidden my enthusiasm for the Chevy Camaro since it came out two years ago.  I pretty well love everything about it.  I liked the six-cylinder version and loved the big V8.  I often said that when the convertible comes, it will be the perfect car.  It is here now and I have it!

My press fleet car is a 2011 2SS convertible with the 6.2 liter V8 and a six-speed manual transmission with a limited-slip differential.  426 heart-pounding horses await you under the hood that produces 410 lb-ft of torque  that comes alive and screams at you when you slam the accelerator from a dead stop.  Kick the traction control switch off and you’ll see nothing but white smoke.  If you love the smell of burning rubber, this may be the car for you.

Outside, the car is striking with the top up or top down.  This particular car is Cyber Gray on the outside with a black rag top and a stunning black and red interior, which General Motors calls Inferno Orange.  There is a lot of contrast inside this car that catches your eyes immediately.

The good and bad news about the convertible version of the Camaro is that in an effort to make the car ride really well, about 250 pounds was added to it.  Structurally, underbody v-braces, extra transmission supports, and a strut tower brace were among the adds.  The end result of all that was the convertible rides as well as the coupe version, which is uncommon in most cars.  The downside is the weight affects the 0-to-60 performance.  I had to do some research to figure out why this car didn’t feel quite as fast as the last one I drove.

From the handling perspective, I would call the car rigid.  It holds the road well in curves, no question about it.  However, in a really tight turn, the car feels a little heavy to me, but you never feel in danger of losing it.  It is in fact quite heavy, weighing in at 3995 pounds.  By convertible standards, it is quite overweight.

The 2SS package comes with a pretty amazing list of standard features.  Some of the more notable exterior standard features include 20” wheels, dual exhaust, fog lamps, and rear park assist.

On the inside, the list is even more impressive.  You get the very cool heads-up display which projects pertinent info up on your windshield, an 8-speaker audio system with a 10” subwoofer and satellite radio.  Leather seats come in this package along with Bluetooth, rear defroster, leather wrapped shift knob, heated power seats, and steering wheel controls.

Option-wise, this car has the RS Package, which for $1200 retail comes with special wheels.  On the front they are 20” x 8” and on the rear 20” x 9”.  You also get high-intensity headlights, and RS tail lights.  Then for $500 more, the interior accent trim package gives you the contrasting colors throughout the interior and a lot of really cool stitching.

Like most coupes and convertibles, trunk space is limited as is back seat room.  This is not a 4-person vehicle if two of them are over 10 years old.  The convertible top works flawlessly and is amazingly simple.  Just one easy to get to latch, then hit the button, the car does the rest by itself.  It comes with a tonneau cover for the rear, but the car looks good without it, and frankly it’s a pain to put on.  The top is terrific and three times I timed it from start to finish at 20 seconds, remarkably fast.

Overall, the car is a joy to drive and is priced right, even at MSRP.  If the Z28 comes out later, I may have to have one.

What I liked most: The looks inside and outside.

What I would change if I could: Somehow a little more back seat room.

MSRP as tested: $42,200

Fuel Economy: 16 city/24 highway, but I am not getting either.

Camaro Convertible in a few words:  A bargain even at MSRP.

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