Fans of the ultimate affordable track-ready performance car (in relative terms, that is), the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28, still may balk at the starting price of $75,000 that Chevy just announced.

While it won’t go on sale yet for a couple of months, in late spring, the 2014 Z/28 does include $995 destination and freight charge and the gas-guzzler tax in the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). Not included, however, are any tax, title, license, and dealer fees.

What’s so special about the latest Z/28? Let us count the ways.

It’s designed like a race car.  With its unique exterior, there’s no mistaking the Z/28 from any other vehicle on the road. The car is designed like a race car to produce downforce that presses the tires against the track for greater grip. Chevy says this results in up to 1.08 g in cornering acceleration, along with faster lap times.

Documentation for such a feat is the fact that the 2014 Z/28 logged a lap on Germany’s famed Nürburgring road course that was faster than the Camaro L1’s time by 4 seconds and also surpassed published times for the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 and the Porsche Carrera S.

It has awesome power.  Engine specifications don’t lie. The 2014 Camaro Z/28 gets its power from the 7.0-liter LS7 engine, with dry-sump oiling, rated at an SAE-certified 505 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque.

The LS7 engine is ideally matched with a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission, the only one offered. Power distribution to the rear wheels is via Torsen limited-slip differential. For optimal performance, the Torsen uses a helical gear set, not traditional clutch packs. The set-up works together with the proprietary Chevy Performance Traction Management system to give drivers the satisfying ability to adjust throttle level and braking intervention according to their capability and the environment in which they’re driving.

Other handling highlights:

  • The 2014 Camaro Z/28 is one of the first production cars to be fitted with race-proven spool-valve dampers, allowing four-way damping control.
  • Additional chassis changes include stiffer springs and bushing rates for better cornering response.
  • Lightweight, 19-inch forged aluminum wheels and Pirelli 305/30ZR19 PZero Trofeo R tires (first production car application, believed to be widest front tires on any production car) reduce weight by 49.6 pounds, compared to 20-inch wheels standard on Camaro ZL1 and SS.
  • Brembo Carbon Ceramic Matrix™ rotors and fixed, monoblock calipers help the massive PZero Trofeo R tires exploit their grip.
  • Standard front brake cooling ducts allow continuous track use.

The interior details matter, too. Z/28 owners want certain amenities on the inside of their ride and Chevy delivers with a flat-bottom steering wheel, a distinctive matte-metallic finish trim called Octane, and Recaro seats with microfiber inserts, aggressive bolsters for high-performance driving and seat cutouts. More weight savings was obtained by having manual adjustments for both front seats.

Designers took out another 9 pounds from the rear seats, thanks to use of high-density foam instead of the rigid back seat structure and steel-mesh on the seat bottom, and by eliminating the seat-back pass-through.

Having a go-fast car meant the need for other weight reduction efforts. To this end, engineers removed some of the interior sound deadener and trunk carpet, eliminated the tire-inflator kit (except where it’s required by law, as in Delaware); used a smaller and lighter battery; eliminated high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps and fog lights; used thinner rear-window glass, and no air conditioning included, except as part of a single $1,150 option package that also includes a full sound system (with a single standard speaker, again to save some weight).

Dealers will start taking orders for the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 later this month.

 

 

 

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