Chevrolet Camaro Convertible: the lowdown
GM will slide the covers off this Chevy Camaro Convertible at the Detroit Motor Show at the weekend - and this is one concept that'll definitely go into production. Last year's Camaro coupe has already been given the nod for sales in two years' time, and this soft-top will join the stable later in 2009.
How refreshingly candid. What's changed for the Camaro Convertible?
The size is identical to the coupe, but the - bright chromed - windscreen mounting is slightly different to accommodate the hood. When folded, the soft-top is hidden out of sight under a tonneau cover. This concept car's eye-grabbing paint job is dubbed Hugger Orange; it's supposed to be an update of the '60s original colour. The orange outline is even repeated on the rims of the five-spoke, 21-inch front alloys and rear 22s.
It looks like a muscle car, will it go like one? What's under the bonnet?
GM is being coy about the exact engine details on the production Camaros, but has confirmed it will get the correct engine: a V8, driving the rear wheels through a manual gearbox. The rear-drive chassis, developed by Holden in Australia, will be shared with Vauxhall's Monaro replacement among other muscle cars. Although not confirmed in the initial details, it's a safe bet that the Camaro will have the same 6.0-litre V8 as the coupe concept; it musters 400bhp and has GM's Active Fuel Management, which shuts down one bank of cylinders under light loads to save fuel. So you can have your cake and eat it. It should handle, too. There's independent suspension at the rear to keep things together through the corners, while four-pot calipers grab 14in discs at each corner for strong braking performance.
What's it like inside then? More orange?
There's no orange inside, thank goodness. Instead, there's a more monochrome look; two-tone Alcantara seats, and the instrument pack is a retro style update of the original Camaro's, with three-dimensional dials. Four further minor gauges are mounted ahead of the gearstick. It's a concept car, so you get the usual flight of designers' fancy inside: smoke-satin aluminium trim on the vents and handles; a starter button to rouse the V8; and the front seats are centre-hinged for access to the small, occasional rear seats.
Love it, but will it be sold in Europe this time round?
Yes. GM has decided that it will export both Camaro - the coupe and the convertible - to Europe this time round. It's too early for exact prices, but GM sources are talking in the region of £30,000. British buyers will probably have to put up with left-hand drive though; the production volumes aren't projected high enough to warrant changing the steering wheel to the right.