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Chevy’s 2017 Camarao ZL1 convertible loses its top, keeps 640-horsepower V8

General Motors unveiled its muscular 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 well ahead of the 2016 New York Auto Show, but it did save a little surprise for the show itself. Like the previous ZL1, the new model will be offered as a convertible.

Hacking off the roof typically has a negative effect on performance, but Chevy says the convertible ZL1 will have comparable performance to the coupe. It claims the new sixth-generation Camaro body structure was engineered with a high-performance convertible in mind, so relatively few changes were required to account for the removal of the fixed roof.

All of the performance hardware is the same, including the 6.2-liter supercharged LT4 V8 shared with the Corvette Z06 and Cadillac CTS-V. In the ZL1, it produces 640 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque. There’s a standard six-speed manual transmission, but the ZL1 also debuts GM’s new 10-speed automatic, which will find its way into eight models by 2018.

To ensure the ZL1 can handle as well as it can melt faces with its acceleration, Chevy also equipped it with Magnetic Ride suspension, an electronic limited-slip differential, huge Brembo brakes, and a host of other features. Chevy says the ZL1 coupe doesn’t require any extra option packages to make it track ready, thanks to features like 11 standard heat exchangers. That’s probably true of the convertible as well.

The convertible also gets many of the same visual cues as the coupe, including a massive grille that looks ready to swallow other cars, a bulging hood with carbon fiber insert and heat extractor, front splitter, rear spoiler, and wider front fenders. GM’s Performance Data Recorder is also available as an option, allowing drivers to record video and telemetry.

The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 doesn’t go on sale until early 2017, but the coupe will be available later this year.

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Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
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