Though its big, brutal, supercharged ZL1 brothers have made most of the headlines lately, they're obviously not the only V8 Camaros around. Chevy still builds and sells the Camaro SS, and it still has a seriously potent pushrod V8 making 455 horsepower, a number that outdid the Mustang GT until this year, and even now it's only a difference of five horsepower. Add in some excellent handling, and you have one of the most compelling V8 sports cars on the market.
The example we test drove was in many ways the ideal enthusiast car. It was a well-equipped 2SS model, the top trim level, and the V8 was coupled to a six-speed manual transmission. It was suspended by GM's magic magnetic ride control suspension and came with Chevy's new Redline package, which adds black and red accents all around the car. Altogether, our Camaro came to a not-so-cheap $47,530.
Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: The Chevy Camaro is a lot of car. I kept thinking that as I peered around the blocky pillars and looked out over the long hood. But that's a good thing. It's muscular yet also sophisticated, agile and powerful. I love the turbo four Chevy is offering in the Camaro, but every time I drive an SS like this one, I realize that's the way I'd go if I were in the market. A V8 Camaro is just irresistible. The manual transmission has long throws, but it's precise, and the clutch action is nicely calibrated. It's an engaging, rewarding drive experience.
The Camaro feels good in corners, the chassis is tight, but not crazy abusive, and it's miles ahead of the last generation's dynamics. The car has a buff look. It's a subtle change compared with its predecessor, though I think it's better tailored. The creases just seem to hang in a better, more confident manner and the front end sort of sneers at you. My only complaint is the interior is a little plain. The materials don't feel great, but the layout and the design is smart. Overall, the modern Camaro is in a good place. It's well-rounded, attractive and compelling.
Senior Producer Eddie Sabatini: This was my first time behind the wheel of the Camaro. It was fun. I immediately I noticed the limited visibility, which made it seem like the vehicle is all blind spots. But I was having a bad week so I decided to withhold judgment and just drive to clear my head, and this car delivered one of the most enjoyable times I've had in recent memory. I took this SS onto the expressway, up and down Woodward Avenue and through the drive-thru. I was having so much fun that I forgot about the things I didn't like when I first got behind the wheel. Things like, a hard to find and reach USB port to charge my phone, or the oddly placed hazard light button that was deployed by my cell phone (keep your phone in the cup holder in the 2018 Camaro). The snappy shifting of gears, the gravely sound of the engine as you get up to (and only slightly above) speed, the comfortable wheel, the quickness, these all outweighed those little annoyances. Easily.
Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: I was thoroughly impressed at how well-rounded this car is. Everything about it is just really good. The engine is wonderfully powerful, and makes a great noise through the exhaust, but without being so loud that you'll annoy the neighbors and attract the cops. The handling and ride balance is shocking, too. With the magnetic ride control, I could leave it in track mode and it still felt extraordinarily comfortable over bumps, while also delivering impressive cornering ability. The chassis is pretty communicative, too. Add in a super comfortable driving position, and you have a superb sports car and grand tourer.
There are some quirks, though. Visibility is still a weak point, especially toward the rear. If possible, be sure to get blind spot monitoring, as ours had. It's also a bit noisy in the cockpit, mainly from road and tire noise. There's also the issue of the interior. On lower trim Camaros it would be fine, but moving up to a car that's easily over $40,000, and it would be nice to have fewer cheap plastics. But the controls are easy to use, MyLink is a pretty user friendly infotainment system, and the temperature control rings are still cool. Overall, it's a brilliantly fun and comfortable car with a few rough edges left.