December 21 , 2015 /

Chevrolet Camaro

Overall: NEW_for_2016_3Cadillac pushes the envelope with a model geared to compete with some of the grandest sedans from around the globe. Chevrolet’s answer to the new-for-2015 Mustang is more power in a smaller and slightly lighter package.

Drivetrain: A 400-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 tops the list of powerplants; there’s also a 265-horsepower four-cylinder and a 335-horsepower V6; all use eight-speed automatic transmissions; AWD is optional with both V6 engines. Base models are motivated by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; both the V6 and V8 return in beefed-up form; six-speed manual transmissions, or optional eight-speed automatics for all.

With the 2015 redesigned Ford Mustang and significantly updated Dodge Challenger models (including the mind-blowing 707-horsepower Hellcat version), what more could fans of old-school-style American muscle wish for? Well, that would be an all-new sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro to keep pace with the competition. The 2016 edition sticks with the same general look as the previous car, including a beltline as high as Steve Urkel’s pants. Inside, a completely modernized interior does away with the annoying tunnel-style gauge pods that weren’t all that popular when they were installed in the original car nearly a half-century ago. The new dash is clearly more user-friendly, with an eight-inch screen displaying vital info between the tach and speedometer, and another optional screen of the same size on the control panel for the navigation, communications and audio systems. The new car has a stiffer chassis and is slightly shorter and narrower than the 2015 model. The weight was also cut by as much as 390 pounds. That amount relates to the base LT model equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 275 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Of course the Camaro becomes heavier with the installation of either the 3.6-liter V6 (335 horsepower/284 pound-feet) or the Corvette-based 6.2-liter V8 (455 horsepower/455 pound-feet) that’s exclusive to the SS trim. All three powerplants are available with six-speed manual transmissions, or available eight-speed automatics. However the V8’s manual gearbox gets a rev-matching program that blips the throttle when downshifting. Matching the engine speed to the transmission keeps things nice and smooth at the back end. Regardless of which powertrain you select, you’ll still have a quick car on your hands; the slowest being the base turbo with the automatic that Chevrolet claims can get to 60 mph from rest in 5.5 seconds (the quickest Camaro SS does it in 4.0). There’s no word yet whether or when the higher performing ZL1 or Z/28 models will show up, but given the racy Mustang GT350’s 2016 return with 526 horsepower, it shouldn’t be too long. The convertible version will join the coupe part way into the 2016 model year.If there are niches to fill in the luxury car category, Cadillac appears determined to build product. The CT6 thus becomes the fourth sedan brand in its lineup. And with yet a higher-end model in the planning stages, General Motors’ premium division isn’t finished by any stretch. The CT6 is using a combination of luxury appointments, prodigious power, knife-edgy design and, last but not least, lithe and lightweight construction. To this point, Cadillac claims that the CT6 tips the scales below the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5-series sedans and weighs about the same as the smaller Cadillac CTS (the CT6 has close to eight more inches grafted in between the front and rear wheels). Assisting in the pound-paring quest is a 100-percent aluminum body and front suspension. Preventing the CT6 from becoming corpulent ensures that the three available power teams will provide the driver with plenty of kick. They include a 265-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, a 335-horsepower non-turbo 3.6-liter V6 and a 400-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. All are connected to eight-speed transmissions. All-wheel-drive is available, but only with the 3.6- and 3.0-liter V6s. All-wheel-steering can be had as well. Naturally the CT6 comes brimming with content and also provides a significant number of extra-cost luxury and safety amenities. Among the most unique are “Quadzone” climate control, articulating heated and cooled rear seat with message, surround-view security camera that can record a 360-degree view of the car, a rear camera mirror that replaces the traditional mirror and a Bose “Panaray” sound system with 34 (!) strategically positioned speakers.

Base price (incl. destination): $26,700
Type: Two-door sports coupe/convertible
Base engine (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (275)
Optional engines (hp): 3.6-liter DOHC V6 (335); 6.2-liter OHV V8 (455)
Layout: Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Six-speed manual; eight-speed automatic (opt.)
MPG (city/highway): 26/32 (I4, MT)
Weight (lb.): 3,340

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