Saturday, December 13, 2014

The 2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE.....Powerful and Beautiful


The 2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE works best when going fast or tackling a corner.

Evaluating a coupe as powerful and uninhibited as the Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE on public roads is hardly a fair exercise.

One moment, you’re creeping along Ninth Avenue in first gear and struggling to keep the slow pace, modulating a heavy clutch pedal in a balancing act that involves an admirable deal of restraint. Just knowing how much power is under the hood of the aging but skillful, wide but compact two-door is almost too much.

Then, when the traffic clears and the road ahead seems a wide ribbon, everything changes. In an instant, the Camaro 1LE becomes a star of track and field, with the ability to take on the persona of a more tossable coupe as it flies through the corners, its old-school V-8 singing legato all the way to redline.

From the moment you slip inside the low-mounted front buckets, there seem to be two shoulder-mounted devils whispering illicit maxims into your ear. It’s all very fuzzy behind all the noises erupting from the Camaro 1LE—from exhaust note to engine roar—but the gist is quite clear: This quick Chevy is more than capable of illegal activity on a whim.

The 1LE is more than just an options package. Chevrolet turns this pony car into a contender at all levels.and the Camaro 1LE isn’t even the quickest of the lot. One rung up the power band, there’s the strapping Camaro ZL1, which features supercharged power from the same displacement. Atop the hierarchy is the racetrack-biased Z/28, which packs 505 horsepower made by a 7.0-liter V-8.

The 1LE nameplate has a special place, however, as more than just an options package. For $3500 on top of the Camaro 1SS or 2SS trim levels—aka SS, quicker than both LS and LT—Chevrolet turns its pony car competitor into a contender at all levels. The suspension is retuned for sharper responses in corners. Unique 20” wheels and summer tires barely fit in the wheel wells. For a flourish, there is an exterior appearance package that bundles a rear spoiler and a flat-black hood.
The 2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE works best when going fast or tackling a corner.

The Camaro 1LE boasts a 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V-8 making 426 horsepower.and under that hood is the engine that makes the Camaro 1LE dangerously addictive: a 6.2-liter, naturally aspirated V-8 that produces 426 horsepower. (A supercharged variant finds a home in the aforementioned ZL1. A re-geared 6-speed manual transmission reprises the role as the gearbox that feels most at home in a Camaro, despite rental car dreamers’ and fleet captives’ love of the automatic—which is not even offered on the Camaro 1LE.

On the Connecticut Autobahn, known better as the tree-lined Merritt Parkway, triple-digit speeds crept up without as much as trying, and that’s a frighteningly fun prospect. A light, sustained touch on the accelerator allowed for quick buildup of momentum. Had we not lifted before entering a sweeping corner, beyond which waited one of the Nutmeg State’s Finest, the Camaro 1LE might have beckoned us toward some unexpected trouble.

Surprisingly, unlike the much more powerful Dodge Challenger Hellcat that can pussyfoot around town without noise or fuss, the Camaro 1LE is not much fun unless it’s going fast or powering into a corner. This caught us off-guard, as so many cars of different shapes and sizes are now often asked to play multiple roles. We’re OK with a one-trick pony, if it performs as well as this one does over time.

But time has not been as kind to the Camaro, which now faces a world-class Ford Mustang, an overhauled Dodge Challenger, a slew of European and Asian competitors vying for the same dollars, and the Corvette—all battling for about $40,000. At that price, it becomes hard to justify the Camaro 1LE’s outdated MyLink infotainment system and significantly over-plasticked interior. Minor quip: The trendy, frameless rearview mirror common to many new GM products features embedded red and blue OnStar emergency lights, which makes the Camaro driver uneasy with each rearward glance.