2017 Chevrolet Camaro V-6 1le And Ss 1le Street And Track Review

Chevrolet has been on a roll with its sixth-gen Camaro. In fact, we named the new modern muscle car our 2016 Motor Trend Car of the Year, and the new 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE placed fourth out of 12 cars in our 2016 Best Driver’s Car competition. Not one to rest on its laurels, the Bow Tie crew now offers the 1LE handling package on the Chevrolet Camaro 1LS and 2LT with the optional 3.6-liter V-6 engine and six-speed manual. Chevrolet invited us to Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch about an hour outside of Las Vegas to drive the new 2017 Chevrolet Camaro V-6 1LE and 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE on public streets and the racetrack for some driving impressions.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro

2017 Chevrolet Camaro V-6 1LE

Performance upgrades on the Camaro V6 1LE include the base Camaro SS’ FE3 suspension (dampers, rear cradle mounts, ball-jointed rear toe links, and stabilizer bars), staggered 20-inch (20-by-8.5-inch front, 20-by-9.5-inch rear) alloy wheels shod with Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric RunOnFlat (245/40R20 front, 275/35R20 rear) tires, Brembo four-piston front brake calipers and 12.6-inch front discs, a mechanical limited-slip differential with 3.27 ratio, a cooling package (engine, transmission, differential coolers), SS fuel system optimization for higher-load cornering, a dual-mode exhaust system, and a short-throw shifter.

The 3.6-liter LGX DOHC V-6 engine’s 335 hp at 6,800 rpm and 284 lb-ft of torque at 5,300 rpm is unchanged.

Other functional and cosmetic changes include black high-flow upper and lower grilles and a black lower splitter on the standard V-6 front fascia, a black three-piece decklid blade spoiler, and a black hood wrap. Inside, the V-6 1LE features a suede steering wheel. Options include $1,195 Recaro seats and $1,300 Performance Data Recorder (2LT only).

After several laps in the V-6 1LE, we hopped into a competitor car selected by the crew at Chevy: 2017 Ford Mustang GT without the optional GT Performance package. Why? Because the Camaro V-6 1LE rides on the base Camaro SS’ suspension. The Mustang GT, however, came with a power advantage: 435 hp and 400 lb-ft versus 335 hp and 284 lb-ft in the Camaro.

Although I am far from a professional driver and the lap times weren’t timed, the Mustang GT didn’t feel as confident in the corners as the Camaro V6 1LE. Although a Mustang GT with the Performance package may have been a closer comparison, there would be a significant price discrepancy. The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LS 1LE starts at $32,895 (including the $4,500 1LE package and $995 destination), but the base 2017 Ford Mustang GT starts at $33,820. The $2,500 GT Performance package would bring the price up to $36,320. (The Camaro 2LT 1LE is priced at $37,395).

2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE

Chevrolet followed a similar recipe for the handling upgrades for Camaro SS 1LE, which include the upcoming Camaro ZL1’s FE4 suspension (dampers, springs, and stabilizer bars) with Magnetic Ride Control, staggered 20-inch (20-by-10-inch front, 20-by-11-inch rear) alloy wheels wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3 (P285/30R20 front, P305/30R20 rear) tires, Brembo six-piston front brake calipers with 14.6-inch front discs and four-piston rear brake calipers with 13.3-inch rear discs, an electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD) with 3.73 ratio, the Track Cooling package (engine, transmission, differential coolers), a dual-mode exhaust system, and a short-throw shifter (5.1:1 ratio).

On track, the Camaro SS 1LE offered even more confidence than the V-6 model and was able to reach much higher speeds on the straight—well above 110 mph. Body roll for the SS 1LE was almost imperceptible even on some of the tighter corners. The steering always pointed the car exactly where you intended. Like the V-6 1LE, the Camaro SS could tackle much of the track in third gear, upshifts needed on only the two longest stretches.

Not only is the Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE a better track day car, but it’s also priced significantly less than the BMW M4 coupe. The SS 1LE starts at $44,400 compared with $71,945 for an M4 with the manual transmission and just the Competition package. It’s no wonder that the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE placed fourth and the 2016 BMW M4 GTS placed 11th in out of 12 cars in our 2016 Best Driver’s Car competition.

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