In the three-way nuclear arms race that is the muscle car wars, there are no winners. I imagine power output between Detroit’s finest will continue to rise year-over-year until we reach an inevitable maelstrom of radioactive fire and death, which is likely the scientific phenomena that really killed the dinosaurs. But, until we reach that day, we will drool, mouths agape, at the sheer thunder of machines like this — Chevrolet’s new Camaro ZL1, which was formally revealed Thursday at the New York Auto Show.
The new ZL1 inherits the supercharged 6.2 liter V8 from the Corvette Z06 to deliver 640 horsepower — 60 more than the outgoing car. Although that doesn’t best the 707 horsepower Challenger Hellcat in terms of sheer numbers, it doesn’t necessarily have to. Chevy claims the new ZL1 is also 200 pounds lighter than the model before it, which makes it over 500 pounds lighter than the Hellcat. And since weight is the enemy of speed, you can be sure Chrysler would prefer to strike that detail from the record.
Admittedly, most muscle cars that have claimed similar power numbers spin their wheels into the asthenosphere before actually moving in a forward direction. To aid that problem, Chevy is offering as an option to the tried-and-true six-speed manual, a 10-speed auto. Between that, the electronic limited slip differential, magnetic ride suspension, launch control, razor-sharp aero package, and even larger Brembo discs that rival Jupiter in diameter, it’s abundantly clear the new ZL1 is a track car, first and foremost, with eyes on Germany’s Green Hell. And while many automakers now tout Nürburgring lap times as a matter of PR routine, in 2012 GM claimed the old ZL1 ran the famous 14-mile Nordschliefe in 7 minutes, 41 seconds — placing it within mere seconds of the likes of the 458 Italia, various editions of the 911 Turbo, SLS AMG, and the so-good-you-can-pay-half-a-million-and-still-not-own-it Lexus LF-A.
I have a sneaking suspicion we’re gonna see that time fall.
—By: Adam Ismail