Chevrolet’s beautiful new Camaro Convertible made its debut in January at the Los Angeles International Auto Show and it was an immediate hit; American consumers loved it.
With the top up, the Camaro Convertible has the same sleek profile as its sibling hardtop. With the top down, it is much more seductive, and the overused term of “sleek and sexy” only begins to describe its beauty.
The Camaro Convertible’s underlying body structure has been re-worked to accommodate the very tight and nicely tailored top mechanism. GM engineers made four primary additions to strengthen the body structure and eliminate cowl and steering wheel shake.
They added a tower-to-tower brace under the hood, installed a new transmission support reinforcement brace, added an underbody tunnel brace and installed front and rear underbody “V” braces. The end result is a convertible automobile that has a good looking profile and handles very much like a sport coupe.
Additional structural safety reinforcements include a hydroformed tube in the A-pillars, an inner reinforcement bracket in the windshield header, a reinforced front hinge pillar and reinforcements inside the rockers to improve noise and vibration characteristics. The changes give the car’s body better bending characteristics and torsional stiffness.
Designers also wanted to eliminate the appearance of convertible top support ribs, so they used composite knuckles rather than aluminum, extended the top material below the belt line and revised the top’s stitch lines for a smooth, taut and carefully tailored appearance that retains the sleek roofline of the coupe.
The power top retracts in about 20 seconds, folding in a simple “Z” pattern, and latches with a single twist handle at the center of the windshield header. Turn the latch to the open position, push a button and the windows go down and the top goes down. And you don’t have to be parked to activate the top; you can drop it on a spur-of-the-moment, such as while stopped at a traffic light.
A folding, one-piece tonneau covers the folded top for a finished look and an accessory windscreen is available that installs behind the front seats to limit wind buffeting when driving with the top down.
The Camaro Convertible is available in the same configurations as the coupe. The standard model comes with a 312 hp direct injection V-6 engine that delivers 29 mpg highway. The SS model has a 426 hp 6.2 liter V-8 engine under the hood. A six-speed manual transmission is standard equipment and a six-speed automatic is an option.
Other distinguishing characteristics include locating the OnStar/XM/AM-FM radio antenna on the deck lid on LT models without the RS package; embedding the radio antenna in the rear spoiler on RS-equipped LT and SS models and moving the trunk lock cylinder to the rear seat area for a cleaner exterior.
Pricing starts at $30,000, including $850 destination charges.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.