2014 Chevrolet Camaro Revealed, Hails the Return of the Track-Focused Z/28 with 7.0-liter V8

This is it: the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Camaro, which just received its world premiere today at the New York International Auto Show.

The first facelift for the fifth generation of GM’s long-running muscle car series since its market debut in 2009 not only introduces fresh styling cues but more importantly, it resurrects a historic nameplate from the past, the Z/28, which will supplement the ZL1, featuring a 7.0-liter V8.

But first things first. GM designers have afforded the 2014 model with newly styled front and rear ends, which are supposed to make the Camaro look more contemporary and bring it closer to Chevy’s original sports car, the Corvette Stingray.

Up front, the latest Camaro gains a sleeker and less macho look via a narrower upper grille opening adorned with a chrome trim piece and slimmer headlamps, along with a re-sculptured bumper and a new functional vent positioned on the hood instead of the mail-box-like slit on the SS models.

Moving to the rear, the first thing that catches your attention are the new one-piece LED headlamps that are completely different than those found on the European-spec Camaro, with inspiration likely coming from the 1967 and 1969 Camaros (instead of the 1968-style split units of the outgoing 2013 model).

Chevrolet also redesigned the trunk that is now fitted with a third-stop light and in some models, with a spoiler that looks like its flowing on top. Rounding out the changes at the back is the new diffuser in black that has grown in height reaching the center of the license plate.

GM hasn’t released any photos of the regular Camaro’s interior, nor did it mention any upgrades or changes in the current press release. The photos of the Z/28’s cabin it did share, though, suggest that there aren’t any noticeable updates to the dashboard styling.

Clearly, GM is more thrilled about the Z/28, which it features in detail. The LS7-powered Z/28 is a street-legal sports car tuned for the track and it slots between the 426hp 1LE and the 580hp ZL1, which have yet to be revealed in facelift trim.

“We set out to make the fastest road-racing Camaro possible that was still street-legal,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “While the Camaro ZL1 offers exceptional performance on the street, the drag strip, and the track, the Z/28 is entirely focused on the track performance. The Z/28 will be too track-focused for most drivers, but offers road-racers one of the most capable track cars ever offered from an automaker.”

Chevrolet said that the Z/28’s, Corvette-sourced 7.0-liter V8 will deliver “at least 500 horsepower (373 kW) and 470 lb-ft of torque (637 Nm)” and will be linked exclusively to a six-speed manual gearbox with close-ratio gearing and 3.91:1 final drive ratio turning the rear wheels.

“The build sheet is the wish list of any racer: lightweight, high-revving, dry-sump LS7 engine; carbon-ceramic brakes; integrated coolers for track use; true aerodynamic downforce, and a significant reduction in curb weight. This car could only come from Chevrolet, and could only be called the Z/28,” commented Mark Reuss, president of GM North America.

The Z/28 benefits from a number of weight saving measures including manual adjustments for the front seats, modified rear seat section that is nine pounds (four kilograms) lighter, and 19-inch diameter wheels and tires, which reduce unsprung weight by 42 pounds (19 kilograms) per car compared to the 20-inch wheels standard on Camaro SS and ZL1.

Other examples of weight savings include, removing interior sound deadener, and carpeting from the trunk, replacing the standard LN4 battery with a smaller, lightweight, LN3 battery, elimination of the air-conditioning system that is now optional, and thinner, 3.2-mm glass for the rear window, compared to 3.5-mm glass on the standard Camaro.

All told, the Z/28 is 100 pounds (45 kilograms) lighter than the naturally aspirated Camaro SS and 300 pounds (136 kilograms) lighter than the supercharged Camaro ZL1.

Other notable features include the standard Recaro seats with microfiber suede inserts, a special aero package designed to produce downforce at track speeds, a limited-slip differential featuring a helical gear set, rather than traditional clutch packs, huge 305/30ZR19 Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tires and a braking system comprised of Brembo Carbon Ceramic Matrix rotors and fixed, monoblock calipers. Additional chassis changes include stiffer string rates and suspension bushings for improved cornering response.

GM said that in initial testing, the Camaro Z/28 is three seconds faster per lap than the Camaro ZL1, while it also achieved up to 1.5 g in deceleration on the track.

Pricing, availability and other details for the entire 2014 Camaro range are expected to be released at a later date.

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