Corvettes and Camaros: The Supercars in Your Driveway
Summer is coming, and that means ridiculously wealthy car enthusiasts will be dusting off their Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
These are beautiful cars, but they’re hardly very practical.
Thankfully, Chevrolet does supercars better.
Consider the Camaro ZL1 and the Corvette Z06. These deliver stunning looks and outstanding performance—but they have the added advantage of being drivable every day, and they don’t come with a sky-high price tag.
“Traditional” supercar downsides
Good luck fitting a bag of groceries in the back of a Lambo, let alone a set of golf clubs. The cabin is cramped with no room for even a water bottle or purse. Getting in and out is harder than it should be, especially for those with stiffening joints or wearing a skirt, and visibility is dreadful.
To add insult to injury, maintenance costs and reliability on the Ferraris of the world are the stuff of nightmares. An oil change will max out your credit card, so pray nothing expensive fails. (It probably will.) And if you think those costs are high, the insurance premiums will require a second mortgage!
In other words, even if you had the money, a thoroughbred Italian supercar would be less enjoyable than you might think.
Which leads us to the Chevrolet alternatives.
The Chevy Camaro ZL1 and Chevy Corvette Z06 both have the performance and looks to compete with Italy’s finest, and we’d venture they’d come out on top.
Let’s start with a look at the Vette.
It’s low (1.23m) and wide (1.97m). Two doors and two seats. The trunk’s pretty big though – Chevy has always thought about the golf bag test – and visibility from the cockpit is excellent.
It’s as if it was designed with the racetrack in mind. (Oh right. It was.)
Under the long hood, they’ve somehow squeezed in a 6.2-liter supercharged V8. Designated the LT4, this delivers 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. Equipped with the 8-speed paddle-shift and the Z07 Performance package, it’ll hit 96 km/h in under three seconds.
Yes, it looks great as both a coupe and a convertible, but this is no boulevard cruiser. It’s a track day weapon.
The Camaro comes from a different place on the automotive spectrum. While the Vette has sports car roots this is a muscle car derived from the hotted-up sedans of the 1940’s and ’50’s. As a result, it’s taller (1.35m), looks more, well, muscular, and there’s more interior space. There’s even a (small) back seat and the trunk offers 258 liters, so there’s definitely room for groceries.
Here you’ll find the same supercharged V8 as in the Z06, and as with the Vette, those horses power the rear wheels. Fortunately, “Performance Traction Control” helps you leap off the line without disappearing in a cloud of tire smoke. And if you wanted to take this to the track, it’s ready.
If you don’t need all that performance …
Not everyone wants to play race driver. Many of us just want a car that’s powerful, handles and stops as a performance car should, and looks great while doing it.
For those buyers, Chevy offers slightly less potent versions of these cars.
The Corvette range starts with the Stingray and progresses through the Grand Sport before reaching the Z06. The Stingray looks much like the Z06, though some might argue it’s prettier. It also has a 6.2 liter V8, so it’s not slow.
The Grand Sport is a blend of Stingray and Z06. It has the handling of the latter but without the totally crazy levels of performance. It’s a bit cheaper too. For many car lovers, this is the Vette to own.
The Camaro offers an even wider range of performance and affordability. Working down from the range-topping ZL1, there’s the SS, the LT, and LS.
The LS and LT get a 2.0-liter turbo good for a healthy 275 hp. If you want more cylinders there’s an optional 3.6 liter V6 rated at 335 hp. Step up to the SS and you’re looking at a 6.2 liter V8. Yes, it’s the motor from the Stingray.
So… are the Corvette and Camaro “practical supercars?”
Check out their space and ease of access. Ask us about reliability, safety, and running costs.
We’d be happy to give you the answers but we’ll also tell you this: the only way to find out about these wonderful alternatives to the Italian supercars is to come see us and check them out for yourself.