Chevrolet unveils 580-hp Camaro ZL1 convertible


General Motors has released some early details about its most powerful Chevy convertible of all-time, the 2013 Camaro ZL1. The super-charged softop is set to make its official debut next month, at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show.

 “The Camaro ZL1 convertible will be one of the most powerful, and most capable, convertibles available at any price,” Camaro chief designer Al Oppenheiser told USA Today. “This is a car that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you drop the top – or hit the gas.”

Under the hood, the ZL1 packs a monstrous 6.2-liter LSA V-8 capable of cranking out a staggering 580-horsepower and 556 pound-feet of torque. As GM boasts, that makes the ZL1 more powerful than a wide number of exotic muscle cars, including the 2012 Mercedes SL63 AMG, 2011 Porsche 911 Turbo S and the 2012 Aston Martin DB9 Volante. It even smokes domestic competitors, like the 2011 Ford Shelby GT500, which has 30-hp and 46-lb-ft fewer than the ZL1.

One problem with convertibles, especially ones with a herd of ponies as large as the ZL1’s, is wheel shake and other sub-par performance issues. To cut down on these problems, GM reinforced the ZL1 with a four “strategic” braces: a tower-to-tower brace under the hood, a transmission support reinforcement brace, an underbody tunnel brace, a front “X” brace and stiffer cradles, plus underbody “V” braces.

To further help tame the beast, GM has included a variety of noise- and vibration-reducing qualities to the design. The Magnetic Ride suspension and new twin-wire/dual-coil dampers, located on all four corners, give the ZL1 a smooth-as-whipped-butter ride. And launch control, traction control and electronic stability control features all add the to the ZL1’s acceleration and cornering performance.

GM has saved the rest of the details about the ZL1 until its public unveil next month. But we do know that the carmaker plans to have the ZL1 available at dealerships by the end of this year. Pricing has not yet been announced.

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