The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE is a Game Changer
The new Camaro hasn’t been winning any beauty contests in the eyes of ...
The new Camaro hasn’t been winning any beauty contests in the eyes of enthusiasts. Many claim that it just isn’t different enough from the former generation, but didn’t your mother tell you that it’s what’s on the inside that counts? This is exactly what makes the new Camaro special. It may look similar, but it is a 100% new vehicle. The chassis is GM’s all new Alpha platform as used on the Cadillac ATS and CTS. This new chassis is a giant improvement over the Zeta platform used in the last generation. The new car is lighter, smaller, more nimble and just plain faster. The Camaro has transcended the limits of what an American muscle car is thought to be. Ten years ago, nobody would predict that a Camaro would be compared to a BMW or Mercedes.
Since the unveil of the new generation, we’ve been impatiently awaiting the new high-performance Camaro. People have been creating renderings of what a Z/28 or ZL1 would look like, but no word yet from Chevy on the newest high-performance Camaro; until now. Meet the 2017 Camaro 1LE. The 1LE was developed in 1988 to make the Camaro more competitive in the Showroom Stock road racing series. Only 111 of these were built in 1989. It made a brief return in 1999, but came back full force in 2013 with the fifth-gen Camaro as a bare-bones, track-oriented version of the Camaro SS. This package was essentially wider wheels and stickier tires, extra cooling and some aero add-ons. Oh yeah, and a satin black hood. This package wasn’t about your average stoplight to stoplight run. This is the Camaro you take to the local road course or mountain road on the weekends. Chevy’s new 1LE has brought back the same concept and with a clear message. This is a driver’s car. They send this message with the clear distinction of it only being offered with a manual transmission.
While the last generation 1LE was only an option for V-8 SS models, this generation includes the little brother; the V6. A V6 Camaro sounds like a rental car or a car that somebody would buy their spoiled teenage daughter, but let’s look at some numbers. In 2002, everybody thought Chevy was selling the last Camaro and ran out to buy the big bad SS. The outgoing SS model was one bad ride in 2002 with a 325-hp, 5.7-liter LS1 under the hood. Sending that power through a 6-speed manual transmission, these rides could go 0-60mph in a swift 5.2 seconds. They could do a 1/4 mile in 13.5 @ 107mph completely stock. Let us compare this to the new V6 Camaro. The sixth-generation rental car with the new 8-speed automatic can do 0-60 in 5.1 second and run the 1/4 mile in 13.5 @ 103 mph. So, the old baddest Camaro hardly matches up to the new Camaro rental car. The new V6 is no joke, especially in 1LE trim.
The 1LE package adds quite a bit on the V6 models. With a more aggressively-tuned suspension and sticky Goodyear Eagle F1 tires, this thing can provide 0.97g of grip in the corners. If you really want to take this thing to the track, we’d recommend opting for the optional Recaro seats and Performance Data Recorder. The suspension on the 1LE V6 model is Chevrolet’s FE3 borrowed from the SS with new dampers, rear cradle mounts, ball-jointed rear toe links and stabilizer bars. The upgraded 20″ forged wheels are wrapped in the Goodyear Eagle F1’s in 245/40R20 front and 275/35R20 in the rear. This package also adds a mechanical limited-slip differential with 3.27 gears. Another piece borrowed from the SS is the dual-mode exhaust system. This is pretty much modern-day cutouts that bypass the mufflers for a more aggressive sound. It even has a stealth mode to keep it quiet so that you can surprise unsuspecting Mustang drivers. The engineers have even gone to the detail of adding a suede steering wheel and a shorter-throw shifter to help you stay in control on the track. The V6’s advantage over the V8 is weight. This model weights in roughly 200 pounds lighter, weighing under 3,500 pounds. Camaro chief engineer, Al Oppenheiser, said that in development testing, this car produces comparable lap times to the outgoing V-8 model. Want to go to the track? Want to go in a Camaro? You may be better off buying a 2017 Camaro 1LE with the V6 than buying a 5th gen SS.
The V6 model is crazy impressive. Add a couple extra cylinders with some more goodies and this Camaro may blow your mind. The old 1LE borrowed pieces from the ZL1’s parts bin, but currently, there is nothing above the 1LE, so its suspension is the all new FE4 system. Chances are, like the old 1LE and ZL1 relationship, this is the future ZL1’s suspension. They say this new suspension is tuned to be more aggressive and track-ready. The key to this suspension is the Magnetic Ride. The Magnetic Ride dampers, springs and stabilizer bars keep the body in check like regular shocks just can’t. This also allows you to adjust the driving mode for a more comfortable ride, or all-out track mode. The electronic limited-slip differential helps keep the rear end in check and the 3.73 gears give it plenty of low end grunt. The 20″ lightweight forged aluminum rollers are wrapped in 285/30ZR20 front and 305/30ZR20 rear Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires. With wide and sticky rubber, this thing could easily be a competitor for Shelby’s GT350.
Chevrolet Performance’s optional Brembo brakes with 14.6″ two-piece rotors and 6-piston monoblock calipers come at standard up front. The plain SS, with the smaller rotors and 4-piston Brembo’s, can stop from 70mph in 147 feet. This is quicker than many $100,000+ cars. The 1LE should decimate that number with the big 6-piston setup. The 1LE comes standard with the heavily bolstered Recaro seats to keep you in check. Along with these racecar seats, you can opt for their Performance Data Recorder that helps analyze your laps and gives you a built-in dash camera. Visually, a 1LE can be differentiated from a normal SS by the satin-black hood and side mirrors along with a front splitter and three-piece rear spoiler. If you were thinking of buying a new Camaro, the 1LE is the one to buy.