So the Camaro is laden with very up-to-date performance-car tech; but, up front, the power unit is perfectly old-school. It’s a 6162cc normally aspirated V8 that develops 447bhp and 455lb ft of torque.
But while the Camaro does eschew the very modern, mostly European trend for downsizing and turbocharging, and it cares not for any sort of hybridisation, its huge V8 does feature such refinements as variable valve timing and direct fuel injection.
It isn’t quite the archaic hulk you might imagine it to be. And if you specify the eight-speed automatic rather than six-speed manual gearbox - which has a rev-match function - the engine can shut off four cylinders in normal driving to save fuel.
The Camaro, then, is a muscle car through and through – but a muscle car for the 21st century. At £39,040, its domestic competition comes from the likes of the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger, while for a little more money BMW will sell you the smaller, lighter and less powerful M2.
As for standard equipment, the 2.0-litre turbo gets 20in alloys, xenon headlights, keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, rear parking sensors, reversing camera, ventilated front sport bucket seats, dual-zone climate control and Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system complete with an 8.0in touchscreen display, DAB radio, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, Bose audio system and smartphone integration.
Choose the V8 version and you’ll find the Camaro adorned with sat nav, wireless phone charging, a head-up colour display, a heated steering wheel, and a limited slip differential.
Getting settled in the Chevy Camaro
If the first basic principle of the muscle car is that it should be powered by a V8 engine, the second is that it will have a low-rent interior. At least that was the case for 50 years or so, because the latest Camaro is arguably the first of the breed to actually have a solidly built, premium-feeling cockpit. The plastics are no longer flakey and the overall design isn’t slavishly retrospective, as the Mustang’s is.
Given the car’s sizeable exterior dimensions, it’s surprising that there isn’t more rear seat leg room, but front passengers are treated to generous and hly appointed chairs with acres of interior space. Muscle cars have long been built to cover ground at speed and in comfort, and this Camaro is no exception.
Unexpectedly, perhaps, the Camaro doesn’t have a slow and remote steering rack, but a quick and very direct one. It’s every bit as sharp and precise as these latest generation electric power steering systems tend to be but, true to type, it’s also short on any real sense of connection. Mid-corner, you find yourself guessing how much grip the front tyres are finding.
That very fast and responsive rack also causes a slight issue on turn in because, although this model is lighter than the previous Camaro, it still weighs a considerable 1659kg. The quick steering tends to agitate the front end into a bend in an artificially hurried way, which upsets the rest of the car as its trips over itself trying to keep up. Quick and sharp the steering may be, it isn’t especially well matched to the rest of the chassis.
Unleashing the Camaro’s power on the road
There is a distinctly American muscle car vibe to the Camaro still, despite its handful of sophisticated sports car flourishes. It does still feel quite large on the road, and rather than being the sort of car you take by the scruff, the Camaro wants to be stroked along with a degree of patience, albeit at quite high road speeds. Even on its magnetic dampers, the body does heave up and down exaggeratedly over the shape of the road, although it isn’t exactly willowy or loosely controlled. The ride, meanwhile, is fluid and plaint, except for overly sharp ridges and potholes, which tend to thud right through the entire structure.