Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chevy Drops the Top on 2011 Camaro Convertible at LA Auto Show

The latest addition to the Camaro family is the all-new Convertible model, which received its world premiere in Los Angeles. The four-seater model comes with a power-folding soft-top that retracts in about 20 seconds, with a folding, one-piece tonneau cover that neatly hides the folded top being standard on higher-spec models.

GM's engineers were keen to point out that the rag-top Camaro comes with significant structural changes that give it "superior bending and torsional stiffness than its closest competitor" (we'll assume the General is pointing its arrows to Ford's Mustang), and better torsional stiffness than the BMW 3-Series convertible.

"Our goal in development was to make the convertible match the coupe as closely as possible in ride quality, handling and overall performance," said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer."To compensate for the reduced structure of an open car, engineers often will make the suspension softer, making the convertible a boulevard cruiser. Instead, we took the more difficult, but better path of bolstering structure rather than softening the suspension. We didn't change a strut, bushing or spring rate from the Camaro coupe."

As with the coupe, power comes from a standard 312-horsepower direct injection 3.6-liter V6 engine delivering 29 mpg highway, and an optional 6.2-liter V8 unit producing 426 horsepower for the SS model with the manual transmission and 400HP when paired to a six-speed automatic.

The new convertible version of the Camaro begins production in January and goes on sale in the States in February 2011 with a starting price of $30,000.