It's been the worst-kept secret in the industry, but we can finally officially reveal HSV will import and convert the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 from April this year, with pricing to start from $159,990 before on-road costs.
In addition to announcing a six-speed manual, 10-speed automatic and facelift for the base 2SS, the 2019 model year update for the Camaro range includes the addition of the supercharged Camaro ZL1, which will be available from April with a ten-speed automatic, and from May with a six-speed manual.
The ZL1 is the most powerful production Camaro ever built, powered by a 6.2-litre supercharged LT4 V8 engine producing around 480kW of power and 860Nm of torque subject to local certification, and will be available with a choice of six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission.
To give you an idea of the performance on offer, the Camaro ZL1 (with the 1LE track package we won't be getting in Australia) clocked a 7:16.04 around the Nurburgring, faster than a Porsche 911 Turbo S, Nissan GT-R, Ferrari 488 GTB and BMW M4 GTS.
Without the 1LE package and with the ten-speed automatic it managed a similarly-impressive 7:29.60.
It's also capable of a 0-60mph (97km/h) sprint of just 3.7 seconds with a manual and 3.5 as an automatic, and charges through the quarter mile in 11.4 seconds. It could be slower to 100km/h given the manual sprint to 60mph is all done in first gear, but second is required to hit 100km/h. Either way, it'll be damn quick.
It puts all that torque to the ground thanks to 305mm-wide 30-profile tyres on 20-inch wheels at the rear, and 285mm-wide tyres at the front.
Stopping power comes in the form of mammoth, 390mm Brembo brakes with six-piston monobloc calipers at the front.
Other standard features include:
- Magnetic ride control dampers
- An electronically-controlled limited-slip differential
- A bi-modal performance exhaust system
- Recaro performance seats
- A suede flat-bottom sports steering wheel and gear shifter
- Sport alloy pedals
Arguably the best part of this whole package is the inclusion of launch control and a line lock feature. While Ford Australia backed out of including line lock on the Mustang, despite the technology being available in the US market, HSV wanted to ensure it was included on the ZL1.
The feature holds the front brakes and releases the rears, allowing a controlled burnout. It should, of course, be used in a closed environment.
Finishing off the performance package is an electronically-controlled limited slip differential and magnetic ride control, which uses tuned magneto-rheological fluid filled-dampers that respond to electrical impulses to modify the damping.
Inside the cabin, buyers get a new infotainment system creatively called Infotainment 3. It's an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but no inbuilt satellite navigation.
The flat-bottomed steering wheel is wrapped in suede microfibre and features wheel-mounted paddle shifters, while the interior colour scheme can be adjusted on the fly with 24 colour combinations available to choose from.
A new feature to Camaro is a rear-view camera mirror, which uses a boot mounted wide-angle camera to provide a video feed on the rear-view mirror. It's there to help with visibility out the slim rear window.
HSV general manager of marketing, Damon Paull, told CarAdvice the company has been working on development of the right-hand drive conversion of both the ZL1 and 2019 2SS for some time, but said the company didn't mess with the vehicle beyond the conversion.
"Much of the development work (~18-24 months) was done in preparation for MY18. MY19 has taken ~12 months and was more focused on emissions, calibrations and testing," Paull said.
"The focus of HSV’s approach is to retain the integrity of the vehicle while re-engineering it for right-hand-drive, as opposed to trying to enhance it beyond what is already a great vehicle.
"Some minor adjustments were needed to conform to ADRs: rear-view mirrors (revised for “break-away” functionality as opposed to the rigid type supplied with the core vehicle) and the adoption of subtle rear mudspats on ZL1 (to ensure no wheel/tyre protrusion from the body) are 2 examples."
The Camaro range will be sold with a three-year, 100,000km warranty, and there's currently no commitment to bring the 1LE track package to Australia as part of the conversion.
Production of the ten-speed automatic will commence first in April 2019 with six-speed automatic variants to follow from May 2019 onwards.