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Old 07-06-2013, 09:46 PM   #1
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test drove 2013 camaro SS manual... not impressed

it's fast, but not as fast as you'd expect for 426 HP, and handling is horrible, felt closer to how my toyota avalon feels than how the 987 feels

very disappointed for a $40,000 car, but glad to see the boxster is still #1

P.S. when i took the SS back and told the dealer he handed me the keys to a 580 hp Camaro ZL1... told him thanks but no thanks, I didn't think it would handle any better than the SS

P.S.S. possible explanation of why it handles like a brick: SS weighs 3,900 lbs
2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE First Drive – Review – Car and Driver

ZL1 weights a whopping 4,100 lbs
2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Test – Review – Car and Driver

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Old 07-06-2013, 10:03 PM   #2
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I had a 2000 SS and it at least felt MUCH faster than the new SS. I was shocked at the lack of power/grunt. Also, I could actually see out my old Camaro. The sightlines are terrible.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:52 AM   #3
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As a DE instructor, I do a lot of ride alongs in a lot of different performance cars. I instructed a student at a DE in a Camaro SS at AutoClub Speedway. He was a good driver and plenty aggressive. The car was fast on the straights but surprisingly, a pig in the corners (especially the infield portion). Nothing but huge understeer - the car plowed like a tractor on an Iowa farm.

He then asked for a ride along in my BSX Boxster (PPS9's, GT-3 sways, R-compound tires, etc.) He was in shock. He hated getting back into his car and having to drive it for the rest of the day.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:54 AM   #4
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This is surprising. The 2013 ZL1 (580 HP) has put down some impressive lap times despite its weight.


VIR (GC) on ordinary rubber, 2.57 which was better than 997.2 Turbo, 997.1 GT3, 991 S (PDK).
The GT3 RS 3.8 on good rubber (MPSC) was at 2.55. So you can imagine what th ZL1 would do on similar tires.

Excellent front end grip according to Tony Quiroga:
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:40 AM   #5
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Oh, honestly!

What about "American cars can't turn" don't you guys get?

I haven't driven one yet with any kind of handling to speak of. Impressive in the straightaways, almost a full stop at the turn. That's why Nascar only goes left.

American cars can't turn, English cars don't last (only the old Land Rovers are the exception there), French can't build a car, period.

Let successful stereotyping be your guide.
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:43 AM   #6
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This is surprising. The 2013 ZL1 (580 HP) has put down some impressive lap times despite its weight.


VIR (GC) on ordinary rubber, 2.57 which was better than 997.2 Turbo, 997.1 GT3, 991 S (PDK).
The GT3 RS 3.8 on good rubber (MPSC) was at 2.55. So you can imagine what th ZL1 would do on similar tires.

Excellent front end grip according to Tony Quiroga:
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The ZL1 is much more capable than the SS. The ZL1 did a 7:41 at the Nurburgring whereas the SS clocked an 8:22.
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Old 07-08-2013, 12:18 PM   #7
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No question, the ZL1 is much more capable (and expensive - you are really are getting into Boxster S prices, as we have discussed before). The handling is decent on tracks/smooth pavement, but I can guarantee that the car has nowhere near the precision or feel of the Boxster or Cayman S.

I am not knocking them - lets face it, Shelby Mustangs/Z28 Camaros etc. all went pretty well in the day compared with a number of far more exotic (and expensive) sports cars. All that horsepower and torque, even with a relatively primitive suspension that has stiffer springs, anti-sway bars and better shocks, can create some pretty good lap times. They ZL1 is a remarkably fast, if blunt instrument. The styling is - well to me, the dashboard looks like an overstyled video terminal with square gauges and, as has alread been pointed out, the high beltline makes for limited visibility. Still, if you are someone who believes that there is no substitute for horsepower, they are pretty good bang for the buck!

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Old 07-08-2013, 03:59 PM   #8
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Oh, honestly!

What about "American cars can't turn" don't you guys get?

I haven't driven one yet with any kind of handling to speak of. Impressive in the straightaways, almost a full stop at the turn. That's why Nascar only goes left.

American cars can't turn, English cars don't last (only the old Land Rovers are the exception there), French can't build a car, period.

Let successful stereotyping be your guide.
I actually have the opposite feeling. GM/Dodge sports cars can pretty much lay claim (so aslong the GTR isn't around) to fastest time at any race track on any continent. If it's not the Viper destroying zee Germans the Corvette will come and finish off the rest. Now add this ZL1 tank to the 'bargain bin' of sports cars that allow any fairly skilled weekend warrior to look like a Porsche factory driver on the time sheets. In the case of the Corvette and ZL1 we're talking about pricing that can barely get you into a well spec'd Boxster/Cayman yet are matching the most expensive six fgure and up Porsches. And forget about modifying those Porsches to keep for just this kind of track abuse. You're into the nosebleed seats.


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No question, the ZL1 is much more capable (and expensive - you are really are getting into Boxster S prices, as we have discussed before). The handling is decent on tracks/smooth pavement, but I can guarantee that the car has nowhere near the precision or feel of the Boxster or Cayman S.

I am not knocking them - lets face it, Shelby Mustangs/Z28 Camaros etc. all went pretty well in the day compared with a number of far more exotic (and expensive) sports cars. All that horsepower and torque, even with a relatively primitive suspension that has stiffer springs, anti-sway bars and better shocks, can create some pretty good lap times. They ZL1 is a remarkably fast, if blunt instrument. The styling is - well to me, the dashboard looks like an overstyled video terminal with square gauges and, as has alread been pointed out, the high beltline makes for limited visibility. Still, if you are someone who believes that there is no substitute for horsepower, they are pretty good bang for the buck!

Brad
Style only counts for so much before you have to put up some laptimes that can justify some of these absurd prices we're seeing. And the kicker for me is the nonsensical warranty push back that Porsche give their owners who venture onto the track, despite paying six figures and higher.
One of the GT3 group directors was quoted like saying something along the lines of "[a lot of guys buy these GT3's specifically to use on the track. That's not what these cars were made for....This is like a race car for the street, it was not intended to take that kind of abuse]"
Strange, it sure is priced for that kind abuse.
GM want their drivers to learn how to drive on the track, while Porsche have been completely unambigous -- if your new, in-warranty engine goes kaput on the track, zee buyer is 100% responsible for all costs to replace their 24K gold engine.
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Old 07-08-2013, 04:40 PM   #9
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Perfectlap speaks the truth.
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Old 07-09-2013, 03:15 AM   #10
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That may all be true, but I test drove a Corvette, and hated it. I chose the slower, low Horsepower Boxster instead. Granted, I do wish my 'Box had Corvette power!
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:19 AM   #11
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Perfectlap, PorscheChick was joking - and lets face it, those WERE the old stereotypes! I don't disagree about lap times - although the percentage of Porsche buyers who are interested in lapping their cars is so small that the company can afford to ignore them. Whether they should is another matter.

I think it is also important to bear in mind that this is not a recent development. While I am unaware of direct comparisons at the time, I have no doubt that a 5 litre1966 Shelby GT 350 would have turned better lap times than the 2.0 litre Porsche 911 of the same vintage.

If your primary interest is lap times, then the Corvette is no doubt a much better buy. To many, however, the issue is not lap times in an absolute sense, but getting the best out of your car in comparison to comparable cars. Is the Vette going to be faster on most tracks than a Boxster/Cayman? Absolutely. But as a result, why would someone get a thrill out of turning a faster time in one as against a Boxster or Cayman? What does that say about their driving ability?

The Boxster and Cayman are not as fast overall, but they have more precise steering and turn - in than the Camaro or Vette, allowing a good driver to hit their 'marks' much more accurately and consistently. Indeed, according to a number of testers on track, the Cayman may be the best there is in this vital trait for a good sports car. Add to that brakes that are generally conceded to be as well balanced and easy to modulate as any available in a production car (always a Porsche trait, brought on in part because, with the intevitable weight transference forward under heavy braking, a mid or rear-engined car uses front and rear brakes more effectively than a front-engined one). Shifting is also much lighter - truly a 'snick, snick' engagement that is not possible with the heavier transmissions in the Camaro and the Vette. This is to say nothing of the ability of the Boxster or Cayman to maintain better composure/balance on rough roads due to the superior suspension design; if the suspension is made stiff enough, a transverse leaf spring like the Vetttes can work well on the generally smooth pavement on tracks, but the car will be more skittish when the roads get rough.
To me, regardless of absolute lap times, all of this this equates to a car that is more fun to drive, especially on the road rather than on track.

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Old 07-09-2013, 07:31 AM   #12
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Perfectlap, PorscheChick was joking - and lets face it, those WERE the old stereotypes! I don't disagree about lap times - although the percentage of Porsche buyers who are interested in lapping their cars is so small that the company can afford to ignore them. Whether they should is another matter.

I think it is also important to bear in mind that this is not a recent development. While I am unaware of direct comparisons at the time, I have no doubt that a 5 litre1966 Shelby GT 350 would have turned better lap times than the 2.0 litre Porsche 911 of the same vintage.

If your primary interest is lap times, then the Corvette is no doubt a much better buy. To many, however, the issue is not lap times in an absolute sense, but getting the best out of your car in comparison to comparable cars. Is the Vette going to be faster on most tracks than a Boxster/Cayman? Absolutely. But as a result, why would someone get a thrill out of turning a faster time in one as against a Boxster or Cayman? What does that say about their driving ability?

The Boxster and Cayman are not as fast overall, but they have more precise steering and turn - in than the Camaro or Vette, allowing a good driver to hit their 'marks' much more accurately and consistently. Indeed, according to a number of testers on track, the Cayman may be the best there is in this vital trait for a good sports car. Add to that brakes that are generally conceded to be as well balanced and easy to modulate as any available in a production car (always a Porsche trait, brought on in part because, with the intevitable weight transference forward under heavy braking, a mid or rear-engined car uses front and rear brakes more effectively than a front-engined one). Shifting is also much lighter - truly a 'snick, snick' engagement that is not possible with the heavier transmissions in the Camaro and the Vette. This is to say nothing of the ability of the Boxster or Cayman to maintain better composure/balance on rough roads due to the superior suspension design; if the suspension is made stiff enough, a transverse leaf spring like the Vetttes can work well on the generally smooth pavement on tracks, but the car will be more skittish when the roads get rough.
To me, regardless of absolute lap times, all of this this equates to a car that is more fun to drive, especially on the road rather than on track.

Brad
I not taking away any of the strenghts of the Porsches. Although I don't think that's reason most (obviously with means) buy them, I personally think it has a lot more to do with status.

First of all let's dispell the idea that the Porsche has something that all others lack. Granted, although the Porsche strengths are not common in the car market, there are many sports cars that are not made by Porsche and provide all of the same street-level thrills and excellent feedback. The bulk of a Porsche's strenghts, when speeds are high and the wheel is turned, are not experienced by the average Porsche buyer, they drive them just like they would any other car, on the road -- at the speed limit. You don't need a Porsche to manage that.
So it begs the question why do so many spend all the extra money in the first place when other choices can provide the same emotion of speed limit driving? Because they want some of the perceived exclusivity.
The fact of the matter is that Porsche is not exclusive at all, there are hundreds of thousands of them glutting the market right now. And VW intend to make that condition worse. And if you're a 'gotta have it now!" type buyer, I recently counted 1,000 water-cooled Carreras on Autotrader on any given day. Yep, 10 pages with 100 Carreras on each page. That's nuts -- and we haven't even gotten to the Caymans, Cayennes, Panas and Boxsters. But let's face it we are all guilty of wanting some of that perceived exclusivity to some degree, some just decide to attain in the second-hand market, while others are perfectly willing to take the depreciation hit.

Now, if you're going to sell a sports car at such premiums then you simply can't escape the glaring reality of laptimes. They inconveniently serve to remind that the Porsches are no more capable, in their native enviorment, than many 'budget' sports cars commonly seen on an autocross course or track day on any given day.
And I think we can all agree that the premium is not because of Lexus reliablity which questions the practicality of these cars when maintainenace and the cost of unexpected repairs, some disastrous, come at such a higher price than those other cars. I have enjoyed my Porsche for over a decade but the experience has not left me as convert to the church of Dr. Porsche. And Detroit is right on time with some of these new offerings that appear to be very practical for street driving, with superior high performance capability, no 'Porsche tax' or warranty penalization and significantly lower running costs. What's missing? intangibles. But seriously how much are those really worth? Luckily for Porsche their customers are not versed in asking such questions, they want what they want, when they want it.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:20 AM   #13
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... But seriously how much are those really worth?
What are those Porsche intangibles worth? The market determines the what buyers are willing to spend for the additional perceived value.

In the case of the base Corvette vs base Carrera 2, those Porsche intangibles are valued by buyers at $34,700. That is the price premium (aka Porsche tax) that Porsche buyers pay.

It takes a strong brand to command that kind of premium.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:35 AM   #14
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What are those Porsche intangibles worth? The market determines the what buyers are willing to spend for the additional perceived value.

In the case of the base Corvette vs base Carrera 2, those Porsche intangibles are valued by buyers at $34,700. That is the price premium (aka Porsche tax) that Porsche buyers pay.

It takes a strong brand to command that kind of premium.
True, and largely why they are amongst the most profitable (if not the most).
But many other brands also command big premiums and put out cars that are not remarkable in reliability or performance. Specifically luxury cars, ie Range Rover, Merc, etc.
My point being I think it has less to do with the actual car and more to do with how the deep-pocketed buyer perceives the brand or the status that comes with the owning of it. Porsche has slowly but surely been turned into a luxury brand.
Chevy and Dodge will never be luxury brands no matter how capable their sports cars become. They could blow out every Porsche by seconds on every track -- with every day streetability -- and will never enjoy the premium of a luxury brand. Porsche aren't selling 10X's as many cars in a given year because there are now 10X's as many sports car drivers as there were in the 993 days. There are now many more wealthy buyers and Porsche have learned to mass produce in a profitable way. A perfect matching of luxury seekers and efficient production.
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:17 AM   #15
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True, and largely why they are amongst the most profitable (if not the most).
But many other brands also command big premiums and put out cars that are not remarkable in reliability or performance. Specifically luxury cars, ie Range Rover, Merc, etc.
My point being I think it has less to do with the actual car and more to do with how the deep-pocketed buyer perceives the brand or the status that comes with the owning of it. Porsche has slowly but surely been turned into a luxury brand.
Chevy and Dodge will never be luxury brands no matter how capable their sports cars become. They could blow out every Porsche by seconds on every track -- with every day streetability -- and will never enjoy the premium of a luxury brand. Porsche aren't selling 10X's as many cars in a given year because there are now 10X's as many sports car drivers as there were in the 993 days. There are now many more wealthy buyers and Porsche have learned to mass produce in a profitable way. A perfect matching of luxury seekers and efficient production.
+1 Well said.
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:17 AM   #16
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I drove one too when it came out, so fat, clunky and crude. Im hoping the next generation is much smaller and lighter. I want to like the new camaro but I just cant. : (
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:58 AM   #17
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I drove one too when it came out, so fat, clunky and crude. Im hoping the next generation is much smaller and lighter. I want to like the new camaro but I just cant. : (
Are you talking about a new Camaro or the new 911.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:21 AM   #18
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A lot of great points to consider. My frame of reference is the used market (10 year old range) and that significantly changes the "premium" point. With some luck I hope that my 986 cost of ownership is in the range of most budget cars....and I would then consider my 986 to be a great bargain...
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:38 AM   #19
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That may all be true, but I test drove a Corvette, and hated it. I chose the slower, low Horsepower Boxster instead. Granted, I do wish my 'Box had Corvette power!
Mine will one day

My new plates will read "LS1 BOX" or "I8A V8"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vkENe0nejo
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:51 PM   #20
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Mine will one day

My new plates will read "LS1 BOX" or "I8A V8"

LS V8 Boxster Conversion From Renegade Hybrids! - YouTube
That runs about $14K (assuming your Indy is doing the work) before you actually buy the engine...
A cheap used engine with all the wiring stuff will cost at least $4K.
So $18K for starters. Well over $20K if you want the big balls engine.
Or you could look at this way, a GT3 engine in a Boxster is not feasible/cost effective
So the Chevy is sorta like getting 996.1 GT3 engine power at a bit of a discount. What's another $20K at this point...

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