The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 walks the thin line that separates where the everyday meets the racetrack. Using the everyday Camaro (reviewed separately) as a building block, the tornado that is the ZL1 makes the mighty 455-hp Camaro LT1 and SS trims feel like comparative wind gusts. Credit the ZL1’s trim-exclusive 650-hp supercharged V-8, as well as its wide Goodyear F1 SuperCar tires that are as sticky as s’mores. An available 1LE performance package awakes an even mightier beast, with the package adding even wider and stickier tires, adjustable camber plates at each corner, and Multimatic’s Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve dampers. Think of the Camaro ZL1 as a NASCAR Cup Series racer for the street.
What’s New for 2023?
Chevy makes no significant changes to the Camaro ZL1 for 2023. The carbon-fiber spoiler for the ZL1 1LE, however, is no longer available.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The coupe with the standard manual transmission is our ZL1 of choice. While the 650-hp model’s optional 1LE Extreme Track Performance package is transformative and tempting, its overly stiff suspension setup makes the ZL1 too hard to live with as an every-day vehicle.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Camaro’s supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 is a well-behaved and tractable engine that makes power all over the rev range. Whether paired with the standard six-speed manual transmission or the available 10-speed automatic, the supercharged small-block V-8 is an absolute juggernaut. The quick-shifting automatic nets so-equipped ZL1s even quicker acceleration times than those fit with the stick. Even in lesser forms, the Camaro is a satisfying handler with quick and communicative steering, a balanced rear-drive chassis, and a surprisingly supple ride. The ZL1 only heightens these qualities. Its adaptive dampers change their stiffness based on the selected drive mode, but even the hardcore modes don’t ruin the car’s decent, if firm, ride. Want more? Grab the 1LE Extreme Track Performance package—available only on the coupe—that vaults the ZL1’s lateral performance into supercar territory. The package’s wider and stickier tires, manually adjustable front suspension, and exclusive spool-valve dampers help chew up racetracks and spit out happy drivers. The ZL1 stops from 70 mph in 143 feet, and the ZL1’s brake pedal operates with a firmness befitting a performance car.
More on the Camaro ZL1 Coupe
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The words “Camaro ZL1” and “fuel efficient” shouldn’t be used together in a sentence unless the phrase “is not” separates them. With the automatic transmission, the ZL1 is rated at 13 mpg city and 21 highway. With the manual, the ZL1 returns an estimated 14 mpg city and 20 highway. The manual-equipped ZL1 1LE we ran on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, returned a measly 17 mpg. For more information about the Camaro’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Turns out 650 horsepower and a ZL1 badge do nothing to erase the current-generation Camaro’s woeful outward visibility. It suffers from the same thick roof pillars and high windowsills that plague all Camaros. Still, every ZL1 is well-equipped out of the box. Standard equipment includes power-adjustable front seats with heating and ventilation, a heated steering wheel, and dual-zone automatic climate control. When it comes to the ZL1, performance and style take precedence over all other matters. As such, there is very little interior stash space for small items. It’s an almost tacit admission on Chevrolet’s part that the Camaro comfortably seats only two human beings. Behind the useless rear seats is a nearly as useless trunk that’s accessed via an oddly shaped opening.
The Car and Driver Difference
Infotainment and Connectivity
Chevrolet’s touchscreen infotainment system is among the industry’s easier-to-use units, with clear menus and large on-screen buttons. It includes a Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The ZL1 comes standard with nearly every available infotainment option Chevy charges extra for on lesser Camaros, such as a Bose audio system, wireless phone charger, and a head-up display.
How to Buy and Maintain a Car
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The ZL1 comes with a handful of key driver-assistance technology features. However, if you select either the convertible body style or the optional performance data and video recorder on the coupe, you’ll have to make do without forward-collision alert. For more information about the Camaro’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert Standard forward-collision warning (coupe only) Standard rear parking sensors
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The ZL1’s coverage is typical for the industry, but Chevrolet covers the cost of the car’s first service for scheduled maintenance, provided it happens within the first year of ownership.
Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit
2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door coupe
PRICE AS TESTED
$75,985 (base price: $72,195)
supercharged and intercooled pushrod 16-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
376 cu in, 6162 cc
650 hp @ 6400 rpm
650 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 15.4-in vented disc/14.4-in vented disc
Tires: Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar 3R, F: 305/30R-19 (98Y) TPC, R: 325/30R-19 (101Y) TPC
Wheelbase: 110.7 in
Length: 188.3 in
Width: 74.7 in
Height: 52.0 in
Passenger volume: 83 cu ft
Trunk volume: 9 cu ft
Curb weight: 3886 lb
Rollout, 1 ft: 0.3 sec
60 mph: 3.4 sec
100 mph: 7.4 sec
150 mph: 19.2 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 3.7 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 1.8 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 2.1 sec
¼-mile: 11.5 sec @ 124 mph
Top speed (mfr’s claim): 190 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 137 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 268 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 1.17 g
Observed: 14 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 16/13/21 mpg
More Features and Specs