More cogs, same muscle

EXTRA RATIOS, A MANUAL TRANS AND BOLSTERED EQUIPMENT HEADLINE CHANGES FOR UPDATED CAMARO

STEPHEN CORBY

JUST WHEN you thought the HSV-badged Chevrolet Camaro couldn’t be any more tempting to the grunt-loving, old-school enthusiast, the even more attractive 2019 2SS model has been launched, and will offer a manly manual gearbox.

The six-speeder will become the standard transmission, yours for the slightly higher starting price of $86,990 (up $1000), while a 10-speed auto – replacing the current car’s eight-speed unit – will be the option for left-leg-lazy buyers, at a $2200 premium.

The manual comes with both revmatching and hill-hold, although purists will snort with derision at the idea of using either, while the auto offers the bonuses of a customisable launch-control program, and a slightly contentious line-lock feature.

Beloved of drag-strip diehards, line-lock allows you to hold your Camaro stationary while you spin up the rear wheels with a big old smokey burnout, the kind of behaviour that might well see you clamped in irons in police states like Victoria. Americans do seem obsessed with going fast in a straight line, however, so it’s a feature Yank buyers love.

Ford chose to remove similar technology from the Mustang GT, but HSV spokesman Damon Paull says his company trusts its customers not to be irresponsible. “We have emphasised it’s available for track usage – we’ve been fairly clear on that,” he says. “It’s a track-only performance feature.”

Unlike the first 550 examples of the super-muscular Camaro that HSV brought into the country to undergo its right-hand-drive conversion, which were originally specced for Argentinian buyers, and thus not entirely ideal, the new examples will be fitted with more cutting-edge technology.

That includes the latest-generation Chevy infotainment system with a 7.0-inch touchscreen offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Also included is wireless phone charging, a reversing camera displayed in the rear-vision mirror, a head-up display, and forward-collision alert. What you don’t get is AEB, which is a startling omission in this day and age.

Looks wise, the updated design has been controversial, but there’s a certain modernity to the old-school Camaro exterior with twin-element LED headlights, a functional hood scoop and the very cool sounding ‘flowtie’ grille emblem, which allows air to flow through the famous Chevrolet bow tie, a badge that many Holden owners have long coveted.

The rear has also been given a freshen up, with new tail-lights and a slightly more pinched look from the revised fascia, while the 20-inch wheels get a new five-spoke design.

Under that attractive hood, the mechanical package remains the same, however, with the 6.2-litre LT1 V8 pouring the same 339kW and 617Nm to the ground through the rear wheels. The 2019 Camaro weighs 1710kg and HSV claims 0-100km/h in just over four seconds. A Wheels test (November 2018) managed 4.9sec from the current car.

HSV is still trying to shift some of its original allocation of 550 Camaros, although it won’t say how many are left, but the first examples of the 2019 2SS arrived for conversion at Clayton in Melbourne in March.

Super-keen enthusiasts might, of course, want to keep their powder dry for the truly mental ZL1 model, which you can read all about on page 62…

KEY CHANGES TO THE 2019 CAMARO 2SS

UP TO SPEED

1. Previously auto-only, updated Camaro is now offered with a six-speed manual

2. The auto version is now a 10-speeder (up from eight), a transmission shared with Mustang

3. Front end is heavily revised, with new LED headlights, fascia and bonnet

4. Forward-collision alert is added, along with additional equipment, including head-up display

5. The previously mandatory sunroof will now be an option

STEPHEN CORBY