Road Test: Chevrolet Camaro 6.2 V8 2dr Reviews 2023 | Top Gear
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Thursday 5th October
First Drive

Road Test: Chevrolet Camaro 6.2 V8 2dr

£39,200 when new
Published: 15 Mar 2012


  • BHP


  • 0-62


  • CO2


  • Max Speed


  • Insurance


If our understanding of engineering is anything to go by, removing a car's roof tends to make the driving experience a bit... fluctuant. Especially if it's enormous and American. But the new Euro-spec rag-top Camaro's confounded us - it handles beautifully.

Which is probably because it's not a dollar-driven afterthought. The convertible was designed alongside the tin-top, so a lot of the bracing's been massaged into the shell, not bolted on later - that keeps weight down, closing the dynamic gap between the 'vert and coupe. But at 1,920kg (125kg more than the fixed head) it's still very ponderous.

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Wrestling the mass are two engines, both 6.2-litre V8s. There's a 432bhp LS3 that comes with a six-speed manual 'box and a 405bhp L99 with a six-speed auto.

They're quick enough, but both struggle to feel as fun as the numbers suggest. They're thirsty, too - despite the L99's Active Fuel Management system (it shuts down four of the eight cylinders during light loads), it only manages 22mpg. They make a pretty noise, though, which you get a lot more of in the scalped version.

So far, so muscle car. But it gets interesting underneath - instead of a leaf sprung/live axle rear end, there's an independent set-up with Euro-only stiffened dampers and a pair of repositioned and reshaped anti-roll bars. Which means it does the unthinkable - it corners. Like a proper sports car.

It's not exactly unruffled, but body roll's minimal and it's GT-like in its compliance on the open road.

There is, however, a problem. The auto costs £41,495 (manual is £39,999), which seems offensively pricey for something that trades on affordable fun. It gets worse when you notice the wobbly seat stitching and frail trim - something not endemic of other Euro GM cars. Then there's the inconvenience of left-hand-drive, cramped rear legroom, dim fuel economy...

But, let's face it, buying a muscle car in the UK transcends judgement - it's all about visual pheromones and cultural connotations. And, of the current over-priced, under-built crop available in the UK, at least it handles.

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