Camaro Convertible Now Available at Pat McGrath Chevyland
In 2010, the all-new Chevy Camaro bolted to the sales lead in its segment, besting powerful competitors like the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger. To its credit, the Camaro achieved overall sales dominance without a drop-top model in the lineup. This year, Chevy fills that void and broadens the appeal of its best-selling muscle car by adding the 2011 Camaro convertible to the stable.
Transforming a closed coupe into a convertible can mean diluting the car’s ride-and-handling prowess. Without design and engineering modifications, removing the hardtop weakens the body structure, and a softer ride is necessary to compensate for the resulting cowl and steering wheel shake. Chevy avoided that compromise on the 2011 Camaro convertible through diligent, painstaking engineering, reinforcing the body structure with strategically placed braces. The result is an open-air sportscar that equals the driving dynamics of its coupe stable mate, and betters the torsional stiffness of the BMW 3-Series convertible.
Chevy offers the new Camaro convertible (MSRP starting at $29,150) in two models: LT (1LT and 2LT trims) and the high-performance SS (1SS and 2SS trims).
The standard engine is a 3.6-liter V6 featuring direct fuel injection and making 312 hp. The SS convertible gets the same 6.2-liter V8 as its mighty SS coupe sibling with a road thumping 426 hp and 420 lb/ft of torque on tap.
A six-speed manual gearbox with Launch Control serves as the standard transmission on both models. Working in concert with the V8, the manual helps deliver zero-to-60 acceleration runs of just 4.9 seconds (for comparison, a 2011 Porsche 911 Carrera makes the same run in 4.7 seconds).
The available electronic six-speed automatic also lets you shift gears manually via steering wheel-mounted TAPshift controls. Match the V6 with the automatic or manual and the Camaro convertible returns an economical 29 mpg on the highway. Proving you can have blistering performance and high efficiency, the V8 delivers an impressive 25 highway mpg.
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Straight-line performance is given with a muscle car, but purists will tell you that all Camaros, drop-top or not, are meant to carve the road. Along with extensive body-structure reinforcements, Chevy kept that road hugging reputation alive by equipping the convertible with four-wheel independent suspension, electronic power steering and ABS brakes with single-piston calipers (track-ready Brembo four-piston units on the SS). A limited-slip rear differential and StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control System with Traction Control are also standard. The SS’s performance-tuned suspension also features a “competitive mode,” for drivers who compete in sanctioned racing events.
Sweating the details delivered a power folding top with a smooth, taut appearance, forgoing the unsightly ribs found on most convertibles. The top is made of durable canvas (black or tan) and has a headliner that incorporates acoustical foam to reduce road noise when it’s closed. A glass rear window, complete with defogger, ensures clear visibility. Pop the latch center-mounted in the windshield header, press a single button and the top retracts in 20 seconds. You can also use the available tonneau cover (standard on 2LT and 2SS) for a clean profile once the top is stowed.
WardsAuto.com honored the Camaro with the Interior of the Year award in the Sports Car Category for 2010. Chevy maintains bragging rights with the new convertible, delivering the same high level of interior comfort, style and amenities.
Highlights on the long list of standard features include a six-way power driver’s seat with power recline, an AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system with audio input jack, XM Satellite Radio and OnStar with the Directions & Connections Plan, which includes Turn-by-Turn Navigation (first six months free). You also get cruise control, a tire pressure monitor and Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist.
Available on the 1LT Trim and standard on 2LT and 2SS, the Convenience and Connectivity Package brings such must haves as Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, remote start and leather wrapping for the shiftknob and steering wheel.
Stepping up to the 2LT and 2SS Trims gets you heated, leather-appointed front seats, a Head-Up Display (HUD), a four-gauge auxiliary cluster and a Boston Acoustics® premium eight-speaker sound system.
Finally, the available RS Package features 20-inch flangeless aluminum wheels with Midnight Silver finish, HID headlamps with integral LED halo rings, unique taillights and a rear spoiler. You can also personalize your Camaro with available interior accent trim packages (including Inferno Orange leather), exterior stripe packages, ground effects and more. Chevy’s smartphone app adds convenience, and a five-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty means security and worry-free driving.
The engineers’ goal in designing the new 2011 Chevy Camaro convertible was to match the ride, handling and overall performance of the best-selling coupe. A reviewer for the website autoblog.com did them one better, writing that the convertible “takes everything good about the Camaro and amplifies it.” Test those claims for yourself with a top-down test drive.