Fun-to-Drive 2018 Chevy Camaro

Fun-to-Drive 2018 Chevy Camaro

Lineup ranges from fun to screaming hot with TREMEC 6-speed manual transmission

Digital Trands / Bruce Brown / January 18, 2018 (photos courtesy of General Motors)

The 2018 Chevy Camaro fun-machine is all about choice, with a dozen variations counting both convertible and coupe versions of six trims. Whether your idea of fun is a sprightly jaunt around town, smoking Christmas tree-style greenlight takeoffs, or tire-shredding apex conquests, the Camaro coupe and convertibles are ready to play.

The 2018 Camaro lineup carries over unchanged from the 2017 model year with one notable exception for the ZL1 trim.

Chevy introduced the full-out Camaro ZL1 with its 650-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8 in 2017. The 2018 ZL1 can be ordered with the 1LE Extreme Track Package to make the previously most badass Camaro even badder. The 1LE kit is possibly due to the ZL1?s failure to hit 200 miles per hour at the Papenburg High-Speed Oval in Germany, prompting Chevy?s engineers to sharpen pencils.

Engines and transmissions

Depending on the trim, 2018 Camaros have one of four engines.

LS and LT Camaros come standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged DOHC inline-four with 275 hp at 5,600 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque from 3,000 to 4,500 rpm. The LS and LT trims can also upgrade to a 335-hp 3.6-liter V6 direct injection engine. The V6?s maximum 284 lb-ft comes on at 5,300 rpm.

Both Camaro SS trims run on a naturally-aspirated, 455-hp 6.2-liter V8 that matches its horsepower with a torque rating of 455 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm.

The ZL1’s supercharged version of the 6.2-liter V8 produces 650 hp at 6,000 rpm and 650 lb-ft at 3,600 rpm.

If cost were no object, the rational decision would be to buy the vehicle that matches the need. But let’s be real. People buy Camaros (or Corvettes, or Mustangs) based on what they want, not what they need. So, with eyes wide open, decide how much Camaro go-power you’re willing to shell out for, and that’s your ride. Don’t give a second thought to the fact that most drivers will seldom, if ever, use the Camaro’s full potential.

The first performance level for 2018 Camaros, the LS and LTs, come with either a turbocharged 275-hp four-cylinder engine or an optional 335-hp V6. Transmission choices are a Tremec six-speed manual and an eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission, but be aware that the 1LS is available only with the manual transmission and the 1LT only with the automatic. The manual transmission is standard equipment for the 2LT, but the automatic is an option.