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2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 aims for 200 mph … and almost makes it

Why it matters to you

The ZL1 is not only seriously fast for a car in its price range, it's seriously fast, period.

The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 now has one more impressive statistic to add to its resume.

Chevy recently took its most muscular Camaro to the Papenburg High Speed Oval in Germany, where it achieved a wind-corrected top speed of 198 mph. It’s standard procedure in top-speed testing to compensate for wind by averaging runs in both directions. Over Papenburg’s 7.6-mile loop, the ZL1 actually hit 202.3 mph in one direction, and 193.3 mph in the other.

For the test, Chevy used a ZL1 equipped with the 10-speed automatic transmission (a six-speed manual is also available), on stock tires with pressure set to 44 psi. Chevy says that’s the recommended setting for extended high-speed driving, but it’s also the maximum pressure the tires’ sidewalls are rated for, so it’s not a good idea for everyday driving. The ZL1 did its high-speed runs with some added safety and data-logging equipment, but was otherwise completely stock.

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The ZL1 may have just missed the magic 200 mph, but it still put in an impressive performance for something that isn’t a pure-bred supercar. The Chevy also narrowly missed beating the rival Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, which has an official top speed of 199 mph. Both cars are armed with 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engines, with the Hellcat producing 707 horsepower and the ZL1 producing 650hp.

Besides the 198-mph top speed, Chevy says the 10-speed automatic ZL1 will do 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, and run the quarter mile in 11.4 seconds at 127 mph. When not accelerating in a straight line, the ZL1 can pull 1.02 g of cornering grip, and come to a complete stop from 60 mph in 107 feet. A ZL1 also recorded an 11.67-second lap of Germany’s Nürburgring last year, beating a slew of supercars.

While not exactly what you would call an economy car, the ZL1 is one of the cheapest ways to attain that kind of performance. Pricing starts at $63,435 for a ZL1 coupe (a convertible is available as well) with the manual transmission, and $65,830 for an automatic-equipped coupe. Both prices include destination charges and gas-guzzler taxes.