Never in a million years would I have thought that a Chevrolet Camaro would be able to compete with some of the best supercars on the planet. We’re talking about cars like the Ferrari Enzo, the Porsche 911 GT2 RS and the Nissan GT-R. But this is exactly what’s happening with the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. Its supercharged 6.2L V8 makes 650-hp and 650-lb.ft of torque, it stops from 60-mph in just 91-feet and it recently lapped the famed Nurburgring in 7:16.03. Simply put, this car is serious and it’s coming for the worlds best with both barrels.
For the full 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE review, specs, pricing and data, read on…
2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Exterior:
You’ll most likely notice the aero bits first. There’s the large exposed carbon fiber rear wing, the front dive planes, a carbon fiber heat extractor on the satin black hood and one heck of a lower splitter. They’re not there for show and in fact produce 300-pounds of down-force at 155-mph to help keep the 1LE planted firmly on the pavement. The front grille is massive and along with the patented flow-tie emblem helps to increase overall airflow. The lower rear diffusor houses four-exhaust ports to curb the exhaust boom, while the 19-inch forged aluminum wheels running 305/30-series Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar R3 tires up front and 325/30-series out back help you achieve pure track bliss (more on the tires later).
From a visual perspective the ZL1 1LE is a bulldog in a world of greyhounds. Its squat stance commands attention and its overall vibe means business. Oh, and you’ll know a ZL1 1LE when you see it, as all those go-fast goodies come in one color only – black.
2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Interior:
I doubt anyone would ever refer to the interior of the ZL1 1LE as “plush”, but truth be told, it’s a nice place to be. Once inside the cabin you’ll notice that everything reflects the track-focused nature of the 1LE. The high back power adjustable ZL1 badged Recaro bucket seats offer a great combination of snug bolstering and comfort along with heat and ventilation. The center console is non-obtrusive and the thick flat-bottomed steering wheel feels just about perfect in ones hands. The entire interior is covered in double-stitched leather and alcantara, along with silver and chrome accents and soft touch plastics.
Chevrolet has gone through great lengths to make the cabin feel analog, however there’s actually a lot of technology going on here. The main dash is a combination of standard analog and digital gauges through a beautifully designed, multi-configurable, integrated center screen. The graphics are crisp and colorful and look as though they came from your favorite driving simulator. An 8-inch color touchscreen allows one access to the Chevrolet MyLink Audio system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation and of course the integrated on-track data recorder that not only includes video but vital vehicle statistics as well. And while the Camaro does possess rear seats, they’re only useful in a pinch or for those of a shorter stature.
2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Performance:
The 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in stock trim is a hammer of a performance car. It comes standard with a 6.2L supercharged V8 that produces 650-hp and 650-lb.ft of torque through either a 6-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic transmission. Opt for the 1LE package (a $7,500.00 option) and the Camaro ZL1 goes from being a car that’s supremely capable on the track, to one that’s a flat-out weapon.
Aside from the aforementioned aero bits, there are quite a few differences between the ZL1 and the ZL1 with the ZL1 1LE package. First are the exclusions of the automatic transmission and electronically controlled suspension, and the inclusion of the Multimatic DSSV spool valve dampers. The 1LE is only offered with a 6-speed manual transmission and rides on special 19-inch forged aluminum wheels with Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar R3 tires, Goodyear’s first DOT approved R-compound tire. A tire, I might add, that was designed specifically for the 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE, and one that has some of the best grip I’ve ever experienced from a production R-comp fitted to an OEM production vehicle. While most DOT based R-comps are good for a few hot laps, their grip does tend to diminish. Not so with the Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar R3. Lap after lap the tires were progressive and never once did I feel an abrupt loss in traction.
We experienced the Camaro on both the street and the track. On the street the ride is very firm. The track, however, is another story entirely. Here the suspension shines. First off, having a controllable 650-hp/650-lb.ft of torque is a wonderful thing, especially when the power delivery is so linear. Roll on the throttle coming out of a corner and the 1LE simply sticks and puts the power down without delivering a hint of instability from the chassis. This is highly in part due to the adjustable Multimatic DSSV shocks that adjust for front end ride height and camber to the tune of -3.7 degrees. Then there is the 6-speed manual transmission with active rev matching. It’s a wonderful addition and especially helpful to those who aren’t proficient in heel-toe technique. In regards to the brakes: up front reside 6-pot Brembo calipers on massive 15.35-inch two-piece rotors, while the rears are 4-piston Brembo units. All of this stopping power brings the Camaro to a halt from 60-mph in an eye-popping 91-feet.
Then there’s the EPA rated fuel economy rating. How’s 20-mpg highway, 14-city and 16-mpg* in combined driving sound? For a 650-hp supercharged car that weighs in at 3,837-pounds, honestly, I don’t think it sounds half bad.
2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Safety:
Airbags throughout the cabin, some of the best brakes in the business, traction and stability control, OnStar and a Five Star overall rating from the NHTSA, plus a host of other safety features ensure that Chevrolet has taken all aspects of safety seriously when it comes to the Camaro.
2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Overall:
With a “base price” of $61,500.00 and an “as tested” price of $73,090.00, the 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE is an absolute bargain when you consider the levels of performance it delivers. This is a track car for the street, NOT a street car for the track, so keep that in mind when you walk into your Chevrolet dealership. Also understand this final tidbit of information – if for some reason you have a mechanical failure of any kind on your UNMODIFIED 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE whilst at a track day (not a race), Chevrolet says that your car is covered under your factory warranty as that’s exactly where they designed it to live.
People, if that’s not standing behind your product, then I don’t what is. Drop by your local AutoNation Chevrolet dealer today to check one out!
*Fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. Actual mileage will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition.
**Vehicle MSRP of $61,500.00 excludes taxes, title, transportation, options, and dealer fees.