Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Dubai, UAE. Call Of The Wild

It’s also on full taps (there’s a G-Force meter on the Head-Up Display, and its seems rude not to use it) that the transmission comes into its own. Mercifully for the ZL1, General Motors has done away with the steering-wheel mounted buttons and reverted to traditional shift paddles for manual changes, which offer much more feel and connection with the drivetrain. Shifts between gears in the six-speed box are perhaps a little laboured (even in full bore Sport mode), but power delivery is no less ferocious: flick from first to second and the nose suddenly lunges at the horizon, your head simultaneously walloping the headrest. Just make sure you give yourself enough room to pull up, since the six-calliper Brembos on the 1980kg ZL1 can lack a little feel.

Where perhaps the Camaro may surprise you though is the steering. Chances are you’ll spend the opening 50 yards of your journey sluicing sideways with an idiotic grin on your face, and solid feel for the front tyres and weighty electric power steering helps immensely in keeping the big brute on a chain. Track-ready suspension and good weight distribution mean there’s no discernible body roll either, and the rears are far too busy trying to flick the car 180 degrees for understeer to be an issue.

If however you prefer a slightly less oafish driving style, feeding the power in gently is actually remarkably straightforward: feather the throttle, keep the upshifts nice and gentle, and the traction control is never once shaken from its slumber. Indeed, despite the animalistic tendencies demonstrated so far, leather upholstery and alloy pedals, Magnetic Ride Control for shaving the aggression from harsh terrain, and even a remote vehicle starter make the ZL1’s cabin surprisingly relaxing: you wouldn’t think, driving as I am at 20kph, that just minutes earlier the beast had been trying to snap my head off.

But emerging as we do from a cloud of dust and tyre smoke, it’s clear that the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is not a beast that can – nor indeed, should – be tamed. Yes, fine, on the city streets good ride comfort, comfortable seats, an easy-to-use infotainment system and plenty of head and legroom mean the convertible is practical enough for day-to-day commuting. But there’s so much grunt and aggression that it’s impossible not to smile whilst silently praying for salvation at the wheel, and even though the bruising supercharged V8 will keep you on your toes, it’s surprisingly easy to reign the rears back in thanks to good feel for the steering and solid grip through the tyres.

Going mano-y-mano in the wilderness will leave you with a few scratches, and an insatiable urge to go back for more. And the animal will be waiting.

2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Engine: V8 supercharged / 6162cc
Power: 580bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque: 556lb ft @ 4200rpm
Transmission: Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic / rear-wheel drive
Front suspension: Double-ball-joint / multi-link strut / direct-acting stabilizer bar / progressive-rate coil springs / Magnetic Ride Control
Rear suspension: 4.5-link independent / progressive-rate coil springs over shocks / stabilizer bar / Magnetic Ride Control
Brakes: Four-wheel disc / ventilated two-piece front / one-piece rear rotors / six-piston fixed Brembo aluminum front / four-piston rear calipers/ 370mm (front) / 365mm (rear) / ABS
Wheels: 20in front and rear
Tyres: P285/35 ZR20 (front) / P305/35 ZR20 (rear)
Weight (kerb) 1987kg
0-100kph: 3.9sec
Top speed: 296kph


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