Short Take: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS Automatic
By Jared Gall of Car and Driver
Put an automatic transmission in a car, and you typically lose a few hundred (or thousand) bucks and that extra connection between man and machine. In the Chevrolet Camaro, you also lose 26 hp.
But you gain a free hand with which to return fist pumps or throw the bull's horns to fellow F-body enthusiasts or crush Monster cans against your head. Also, you get simplified burnouts — billowing, tire-boiling annihilation is a couple of stomps away. No tricky clutch-drop-to-brake dance or modulating pedal pressures, just mash the brake, mat the gas, and take a deep breath of vaporized vulcanized rubber. This — the ease with which it goes about its hooliganism — is what we imagine draws people to the automatic Camaro SS.
It also goes about its hooliganism rather quickly, with the 26-hp deficit going virtually unnoticed. The automatic Camaro went from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 13.3 at 107 mph, figures that are on par with those of other SS Camaros we've tested. The automatic gearbox costs either $995 or $1185, depending on whether you start with a 1SS or 2SS model. That's because, on the 2SS, the automatic is bundled with remote start, which is unavailable on the 1SS. Our tester had only one other option, the RS package. For $1200, it gets you different wheels, unique taillights, HID headlights with halo rings (think BMW), and — joy of joys! — body-color drip-rail molding.
Six Degrees of Reparation
Shifts effected by the buttons are lazier than the best in the industry but far from unacceptable. Downshifts are accompanied by a computerized throttle blip, and two-cog drops happen with a quickness only the best human drivers could better. Plan your upshifts in advance, though, as the Camaro takes a little time to react, and the heady, 400-hp V-8 plows into its fuel cutoff at 6000 rpm, despite a redline that, at first glance, appears to be 200 revs higher.
The Four-Cylinder Camaro: Reality at Last?
At least the Camaro will torch a back road better than a pickup. A lot of folks have expressed a desire to see the Camaro, Challenger, and Mustang competing in a new Trans-Am racing series, and the Chevy's suspension feels as though it could withstand track duty. For a car this big to pull 0.87 g on the skidpad — not to mention its 158-foot stopping distance, which is BMW 335i territory — is impressive, but the Camaro's stiff legs can inflict some harsh abuse over rough roads. Much of the blame lies with the 20-inch wheels and low-profile tires, but those are the only shoes available on the SS.
Big wheels, however, are a must for presence, and the look of the new Camaro atones for many sins. It makes you forget the car you are driving isn't actually all that expensive or prestigious. People turn and stare and elbow their friends without taking their eyes off you in a way rarely inspired by affordable cars. Who ever would have expected that reaction with the old, fourth-generation car, or a Mustang? Gawkers point and seem to speak in slow motion as you read their lips: "Wow." "New Camaro." "Holy friggin' neoretrogasm, I want one." And when you're driving a Camaro automatic, you can oblige oglers as easy as pie with a burnout.
C/D TEST RESULTS: