by Danny Shin
The 2018 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible ZL1 offers shoppers the chance to experience drop-top motoring and sports car performance all in one package. The massive supercharged V8 engine turns this Camaro into a tar-burning machine that still comes packed with luxury and convenience features.
The interior offers up a mix of materials that is a step up from previous efforts but still wouldn’t be accused of being class-leading. The cabin is perfectly suited for two occupants to travel long distances in comfort, the rear seats are best reserved for shopping bags as head and legroom is severely restricted.
The trunk is small in the coupe and even less accommodating in the convertible, the folding roof takes up a fair chunk of space and the narrow opening makes loading larger items a pain.
The ZL1 features upgraded suspension settings, massive tires and a limited-slip differential to help put most of that power down on the road. The handling levels are excellent although judicious use of the throttle is still required to prevent the rear tires from flaring up out of tight corners.
With the roof down the ZL1 offers an intoxicating head rush of sound and fury, the slightly less rigid body compared to the coupe is hardly an issue and few owners would trade that drop-top excitement for a few seconds shaved off a track lap time.
The ride is firm although still compliant over most road surfaces and the suspension setting have been softened a bit in this application. With the roof up the cabin is relatively quiet but outward visibility out the back is close to zero, with the roof down visibility improves and wind buffeting is acceptable as long as you travel at reasonable speeds. Something that is not always easily achievable in practice.
The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible is equipped with a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 which makes 650hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard and either a 6-speed manual or an optional 10-speed automatic transmission are available.
Performance levels are class-leading with a claimed 0 to 60 mph time in the mid-three second range and while the 10-speed auto is a bit quicker off the line, the 6-speed manual does offer rev-matching and no-lift gear changes.
The Chevrolet Camaro convertible ZL1 is the top trim level in the Camaro range and features a large range of standard convenience and luxury items.
Standard luxury features include heated and ventilated power front seats covered in leather, rearview camera, power mirrors, LED daytime running lights, dual-zone climate control, Bose audio system, dual-zone climate control, head-up display, 8-inch infotainment screen with smartphone and Bluetooth connectivity.
Safety systems include rearview camera, rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, lane change and side blind zone alert as well as a teen driver mode which limits certain features and allows monitoring of driving performance. It is probably best not to let your teenager anywhere near a 650 hp car in the first place.
Performance features include a dual-mode exhaust system, driver selectable driving modes with a unique track mode, 20-inch alloy wheels, uprated 6-pot Brembo brakes and sport suspension.
Certain performance related items such as the electronic limited-slip differential and performance data recorder are limited to the coupe variant. A traditional mechanical limited-slip differential is still fitted.
The standard specifications list is so comprehensive that options are limited to a carbon fiber instrument panel trim, navigation system and a selection of carpets and vehicle car products.
The 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible is a range-topping performance machine with most of the coupes dynamic capabilities as well as its cramped rear and restrictive trunk space.
None of that should matter as the addition of the folding soft top adds another level of enjoyment that cannot be had in either of the Camaro’s closest competitors. The long range of standard features and muscular looks make for a highly desirable package.