How Fast Can a 2012 Chevrolet Camaro LS1 Go?

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The reborn Mustang seemed like a good idea at the time; visually, it seemed like an avante garde interpretation of the original Mustang, and performed better than previous models. But the Mustang's day in the sun was short, because the new Camaro's debut immediately made the Mustang look like a cross-eyed, buck-toothed hillbilly wearing an off-the-rack, powder blue suit. Sexy, sophisticated and razor sharp, GM's long-awaited speed machine has proven well worth the wait.

Models

  • The 2012 model came with three different versions of the 6.2-liter LS-series V-8. The 1SS and 2SS models came with 400-horsepower and 426-horsepower versions of the LS engine. Ticking the ZL1 option box got buyers an intercooled supercharger in place of the LS engine's variable-length intake manifold; with 580 horses at 6,000 rpm and an Earth-shifting 556 foot-pounds of torque at 4,200 rpm, the ZL1's mill put this Chevy well into Ferrari territory at a fraction of the price.

Top Speed

  • All models in this range are aero-limited, meaning that the engine's horsepower and the point at which the body declares a draw with air resistance determines how fast it will go. The 400-horsepower SS should hit between 177 and 179 mph, and the 426-horse car 178 to 180 mph. Given that, you'd think that the 580-horsepower ZL1 would hit 200 mph easy; however, GM only claims 184 mph and mathematical models put it at about 186 mph. Air resistance increases with the square of speed; so, the faster you go, the harder it gets to go faster. That's especially true with the squared-off Camaro's body -- it's mediocre 0.35 coefficient of drag forces the engine to fight that much harder for every additional mph.

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