How Much Of A Beast Is Chevy’s New Camaro ZL1 Compared To The Old One?

If you had to take a second look at the fifth-gen ZL1 Camaro to realize it was the top-of-the-line performance variant, things couldn’t be any more different with the new model. But was it for the best? We visually compare the two to find out.

The previous 2012-2015 Camaro ZL1 with its 580hp 6.2-litre V8 was more subtle, with its body-kit, governed by a huge hood scoop, doing most of the talking.

Now, even the humblest of the current Camaros appears to be as aggressive as the once-king-of-the hill, and the new ZL1 makes quite a visual statement about the impressive grunt it pushes to the rear wheels. However, that was to be expected, as the performance coupe is a lot of things, but definitely not a sleeper.

First thing’s first: the sixth generation is nothing more than an evolution in Chevy’s food chain and that means it had to up the game in all departments, from design to mechanics and everything in between.

Oh, but the ZL1 takes it all to a whole new level. It uses the the MK5-gen design as a template, stretching its traits to near cartoon-like proportions and looking like it had its predecessor for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The front end’s design , the vehicle’s shocking lines exude aggressiveness. The beefy bonnet is a new take on the previous model’s long, crested bulged hood, and the new ZL1 Camaro’s bad boy looks are emphasized by the central cavity in the front fascia. The same story goes on at the back; while the previous one looked as tamed as the facelifted 2014 models, rocking the “old” quad taillights/quad tailpipes format and a little boot flap, the brand new comes with additional cuts and creases, one-piece taillights and a bigger spoiler. Chevy’s black bowtie option further highlights the vehicle’s sportiness, if you feel you just have to.

Open the door and the new cockpit to attack all your senses. Unlike its precursory, the 2017 Camaro ZL1’s cabin layout is a lot to comprehend from one bite, requiring you some time to get accustomed to it. The instrument cluster has merged into one unit adopting a central display, while the infotainment system sits at the central console, just above the climate control buttons. The steering wheel is completely redesigned, sporting the Camaro logo instead of Chevy’s bowtie and featuring a lot of additional buttons in a cluster.

By the looks of it, Chevrolet means even more business with the new ZL1, wanting everybody to be instantly aware of its grunt even before that 640 HP, 6.2-litre V8 awakens. A bit OTT compared to its not so overtly aggressive predecessor or just what the doctor ordered?


  • john1168

    I always thought the old ZL1 looked GREAT!!! I thought it had the best looking front end. The new one though is on an entirely different level… It’s all business and out to kick some ass.

    • john coleman

      Why would you want to kick a donkey? Oh, you mean ‘Arse’ !!

      • Slav

        A whole arsenal of arses.

  • Tumbi Mtika

    God, this made the fifth gen look old! Plus, I think the new one takes itself TOO seriously.

  • Andrewthecarguy

    I like the front end of this render better than the real deal.

    • Stew24

      Hell no, bro! …that new ’17 ZL1’s front facia is incredibly on point, beautiful!!! This could knock me off my plans for a new C7 Vette!

  • Six_Tymes

    A very cool car, the new one is a huge step up inside and out. cant wait for video reviews.

  • thunder bolt

    The new one looks like it just went through a nuclear reactor meltdown,

  • Obsequious Lickspittle

    Good luck in keeping that gear knob clean.

  • nauticalone

    I like the new 6th Gen a lot! But I also like the 5th. To me the big gist issue with the 5th was/is the interior materials quality just aren’t nearly as good as they should be. The 6th appears to have improved on quality – will definitely be checking this out later this year! Looks to be a big hit!

  • Bo Hanan

    Imagine trying to clean/Armor All that front grille.
    Also, the new one really makes the previous one look very old.


    • Thomas Olson

      Says the 12 year old with capslock.

      • T_Cake

        The worst part is I think he’s grown.

  • expert

    only thing I don’t like about the 17 ZL1 is the cheap spoiler….it doesn’t need it and detracts from its looks IMO….I hope there is a ‘spoiler delete’ option

    • STAN24

      Judging by the Chevy website, not so far. I for one do trust that it serves an aerodynamic purpose – they’ve spent so much on that everywhere else, making the spoiler purely cosmetic (especially without an option to omit it) seems unlikely. There is,, however, a blade spoiler which looks better and more old school.

    • Stew24

      Yeah, I don’t like flying wing spoilers eiher. If the corners were pinned down to the quart panels it would be OK.

  • Stew24

    This thing is so incredibly sharp looking, its amazing how it took a really great looking last gen ZL1 and made it look “old”! My only real problem is that rear spoiler. Look how the wing is wider than the car and extends out past the quarter panel. Kinda reminds me of those who used to buy a generic universal wing from JC Whitney and put it on a car that was never meant to have a spoiler!!! Other than that, … YES!!!