2012 Chevrolet Camaro SS 45th Anniversary Edition | first drive

Posted on Feb 26, 2012 by

2012 Chevrolet Camaro SS 45th Anniversary EditionUncorking champagne and bursting confetti are the usual celebratory acts of an anniversary, but that’s not how we were planning on doing to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Camaro. We drove it, instead. Chevy has marked this year rather with a special edition of their heralded pony car. The celebratory Camaro gets a red-and-silver rally strip pasted on carbon flash metallic paint enamelled on its body. The jet black interior is also refreshed with a white instrument panel and door trim inserts. The seats and the steering wheel get the 45th anniversary logo which also marks its presence on the instrument panel, along with red, white and blue (that is just Chevy being pro-U.S.A.) stitching.

This special trim can be ordered with either the V8 or the V6 version. Besides the Camaro’s association with the Transformer series of movies, a glance of the car’s LED halo rings in your rear view mirror gives you an insight into the menacing look of the car. The design is inspired from the lines YF-22 fighter jet and there is no doubt that it is one of the better-looking cars on the roads today.

Fortunately we got to drive the 400bhp 6.2-litre V8 that makes 556Nm of torque at the crank. It was matched to the six-speed automatic. If you opt for the six-speed manual transmission you get 426 horses and a massive 569Nm of torque. There is also a direct-injection 323bhp 3.6-litre V6 for those who are light footed. The first thing you notice when you try getting into the car is that the doors are very long and need a lot of space to open them. You may chip the paint of the car next to yours if you’re not careful. The next thing is that for a 2+2 coupe of this size, the interiors are rather snug fitting; the rear seats are only suitable for kids under the age of five at max. An interesting bit was the heads-up display. It projects your navigation screen (not available on the model we drove) or vehicle diagnostics onto the windshield, this helps you keep your eyes on the road.

There is also a four-pack gauge set, suggestive of the aircraft-style chronographs on the lower end of the centre console. The surprising bit was that even after having the smallest of side view mirrors, rear visibility is not hindered. We settled into the car and switched on the audio system and discovered that you really need to pump up the volume on the Boston Acoustics Premium nine-speaker system because those 245-Watts are insufficient with the engine and the road noise seeping in.

How does it feel on the road? The long hood and short rear deck that give the Camaro an iconic look is instantly recognisable and heads will turn and people will trip once you cruise by them. We got into the car expecting pure Amercian muscle because there is nothing less you should expect from a throbbing 6.2-litre V8. The throttle sensitivity is decently good. You don’t have to wait till Christmas to get the car going. The company claimed 4.7 seconds to a 100km/h from a standstill is quite optimistic and although we never got the opportunity to do acceleration runs, we think the car’s performance will fall short of that figure. None the less, there is sufficient thrust to beat your neighbour at the signal lights. However, on the face of it, it does not feel like the muscle car. It sounds muted and in some form, civilised. Coincidently, we were driving the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C 350 Coupe at the same time and there wasn’t much between them in terms of all-out acceleration.

Stopping power comes from four-piston Brembo performance brakes on all four wheels. Brake pedal feel is linear and general braking is confident and the car stays in line under emergency braking. Also offered on the six-speed automatic variant were steering-wheel-mounted TAPshift controls. We tried it a few times but shift times are anything but ‘DSG’ quick. Although the Camaro has lost some of its old school charm, what it has gained is improved handling dynamics. It now handles like how most sports cars should. I may not challenge its German and Japanese rivals at the Nurburgring but the everyday driver will find that the Camaro offers sufficient grip and flickability.

The auto-box also offers Active Fuel Management for a claimed 9.4l/100km on highways. As we parked the car and got out we noticed a few neat aesthetic touches, the one-piece body-side panel that extends from the A-pillar all the way to the boot and the chrome fuel filler lid, which is optional. Usually sports car owners are annoyed by the lack of luggage space but the Camaro’s offers 320 litres of cargo volume which accommodated our test gear and camera stuff without much fuss.

The 45th anniversary might not be the biggest of occasions and the anniversary edition of the Camaro, like the regular Camaro is lost between the Yankee’s pride i.e. the American muscle car and the true-blue sportscar. It does have a bit of an identity crisis. But is the 2012 SS 45th Anniversary Edition worthy of the drive and ownership? We say yes…until you peep into of the other American stables.

2012 Chevrolet Camaro SS 45th Anniversary Edition

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