Yes, the 2016 Chevy Camaro won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award and no one could be more surprised than, well, the judges at Motor Trend. As odd as that sounds given their expertise, the Camaro had to beat out high performance vehicles like Audi TT, Mercedes AGM GT S and Mazda MX 5 and it had to best Toyota and BMW in including the latest technology.
Even knowing that Chevy introduced the Alpha platform onto the 2016 Camaro, they still didn’t see it coming. However, that all changed as soon as they sat in the drivers seat. Previous expectations diminished as quickly as the SS takes to get to 60 mph, which is about 4 seconds.
It’s not that the Camaro has ever been the underdog. It’s always been fast as hell and, as the song will tell us, bitchin’, but it had yet to impress the right audience. It’s architectural improvements were exactly what it needed to earn such accolades. If you’re looking for a Chevy Camaro, Miami, look no further than Motor Trend’s 2016 Car of the Year. It’s what’s making American muscle look oh so good again.
2016 Chevy Camaro: Modern American Muscle
If you’re into muscle cars, it’s more likely than not that you have a favorite, which is sort of silly given how patriotic we love to be regarding American made products. But still, when it comes to performance engines, people tend to stay with their favorite models.
Be it a Mustang, Charger or even Corvette, they all have something in common that makes us all get a little hot under the collar. Besides their perfectly lean and chiseled bodies and purring power, they all happen to be American and they’re all fast as hell.
Blaring down the highway in a Chevy Camaro is pure, unadulterated American greatness and winning Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award feels like a gathering of patriots chanting “USA! USA! USA!”.
There are many reasons why the 2016 Chevy Camaro won Car of the Year, but there’s three that stand out the most.
Praising the Platform
Thanks to it’s stunning new Alpha architecture, the 2016 Camaro has everyone turning to Chevy not just for their power in pickups, but now for their performance, as well.
Rather than being built on the Zeta platform, like its predecessors, the 2016 Camaro is built on GM’s Alpha platform. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it was first used on Cadillac’s ATS and CTS models, one of which was Motor Trend’s 2014 Car of the Year.
The Alpha platform was engineered to be lightweight, highly modular and provide excellent dynamic driving conditions. Unlike the Zeta platform it’s previously rode on, this platform is longer and more narrow.
Alpha Approach: Light, Stiff and Modern
The Alpha approach its platform is simply light, stiff and modern. Though its is made of high-strength steel, it also incorporates the use of lightweight aluminum. Dropping the unnecessary weight by using aluminum where it could made it quicker, directly enhancing its performance. It’s lighter body also means it gets better fuel efficiency making it more appealing to today’s consumer. Using this platform meant definite improvements to its performance, but it also meant changing
Because the Alpha platform structure was already developed for the Cadillac ATS and CTS, and because the Camaro has a wider track (1.6 inches greater up front and 1.2 inches wider in back), painstaking attention was going to have to be paid to the suspension to ensure the proper fit while preserving the Alpha structure. Engineers found a solution by using longer suspension pieces on the same pickup points. Now that it is completely changed, all of the underbody pieces are completely different and are not interchangeable.
Chevy’s Weight Loss Program
In order to perform the way they envisioned it to, the 2016 Camaro was going to have to lose weight. Engineers had to get creative with how they were going to shed those LB’s. This 6th generation Camaro is now more than 300 lbs lighter than its predecessors. How did it do this?
Like stated earlier, engineers became creative. Swapping materials out, switching metals for hard plastics, doing whatever they could to get the weight down without compromising performance or safety.
All V6 models have a front anti-roll bar drop links that are now molded from high-strength plastic. The front suspension is made from specified aluminum with steel links that have extensive lightening holes to keep weight down. The suspension alone lost about 26 pounds from last year’s model. Altogether, the 2016 Camaro weighs 368 lbs less in its 6th generation than its previous generations.
Impressive New Powertrains
Besides the new platform that the Camaro rides on, it needs new power to back it. Introducing a new powertrain lineup, Camaro’s also introduced an all-new eight speed automatic transmission that the propels the SS to be the fastest it’s ever been. These new powertrains have elevated Camaro’s commitment to delivering dynamic and nimble performances. All of the engines can be mated to the 8-speed automatic paddle shift transmission, otherwise they’ll be mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
The Ecotec 2.0L turbo comes standard on the LT and as a base model still puts out one hell of a race. Getting to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds, it provides over 30 mpg on the highway.
The second choice is a 3.6L V6 which offers an SAE-certified 335 horsepower which gives it the highest specific output of any naturally aspirated V6 in the segment. Built off the previous award winning V6 deep skirt cylinder block, this current V6 has an all new design that incorporates new features, including Active Fuel Management.
Powering the Camaro SS is the Small Block 6.2 LT1 V8. Certified for 455 horses with the same lb/ft of torque, this makes it the most powerful Camaro SS ever.
An all new Hydra-Matic 8L45 and 8L90 paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmissions are now offered in all 2016 Camaro models. the 8L45 is available on the Ecotec turbo and V6 on the LT models while the 8L90 is available with the LT1 V8 on the Camaro SS.
For optimal efficiency, both transmissions feature four simple gearsets and five clutches that enables them to fit the same space as its predecessors, while weighing less. Smaller steps between gears, when compared to a six-speed transmission, keep the engine running within its optimal rpm range. This makes the most of its horsepower and torque, further optimizing performance and efficiency.
Truly an American Performance
When Chevy set out to redesign the 2016 Camaro, they did it with full intentions on speaking to those who want to love their muscle cars again. They want to be proud to buy an American performance car that will deliver power but won’t leave them bankrupt. Chevy has done just this. Making changes to the platform and powertrain, updating their architecture and technology, they made the appropriate changes that people wanted to see.
With four trim levels offered and numerous configurations to choose from there, you can start at the base and decide on your level of comfort from there. The base 2016 Camaro 1LT starts at $26,695. This price point is one that keeps Americans buying American products. From there you can go up in trim to the 2LT which starts at $30,795.
For those of you who are under subscribe to the “go big or go home” theory, even the SS’s start out perfectly affordable for their high performances. 1SS starts at $37,295 while the 2SS begins at $42,295.
Without getting lost in silly upgrades that don’t matter, Chevy focused their attention on the Camaro by engineering a design that is lighter and produces a more powerfully enhanced performance vehicle. This is truly an American muscle car to be proud of.