Chevy Puts Top Down on New Camaro Convertible

Better torsional stiffness than BMW 3-Series convertible

Preparing for a sunny spring, Chevrolet is rolling the all new Camaro Convertible into the Chevrolet dealers across the country ready for February delivery.

?The launch of the new convertible opens Camaro design and performance to a new set of potential customers,? said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. ?The 21st century revival of Camaro is tremendously popular, so it?s a natural to now expand and elevate the product range in new directions.?

The convertible will be offered in similar model configurations as the Camaro coupe. The standard model will have a 312-horsepower direct injection V-6 engine delivering 29 mpg highway. The SS model will feature the 6.2L V-8 engine producing 426 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission will be standard, with an optional six-speed automatic.

Camaro convertible is offered in 1LT/2LT (V-6) and 1SS/2SS (V-8) trim packages and priced from $30,000 MSRP (including $850 destination). Nine production exterior colors are available, with tops offered in black or tan. Rear parking assist is standard on all convertible models.

The Camaro?s architecture was designed to accommodate a convertible model with reinforcements to enhance the already-stiff body structure to eliminate common convertible maladies of cowl and steering wheel shake.

?Our goal in development was to make the convertible match the coupe as closely as possible in ride quality, handling and overall performance,? said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer.

A telling example of the Camaro convertible?s strength is evidenced in its suspension tuning ? specifically, the lack of changes between the convertible and coupe models.

?To compensate for the reduced structure of an open car, engineers often will make the suspension softer, making the convertible a boulevard cruiser,? said Oppenheiser. ?Instead, we took the more difficult, but better path of bolstering structure rather than softening the suspension. We didn?t change a strut, bushing or spring rate from the Camaro coupe.?

The result is a convertible that preserves nearly all the acceleration, road-holding and performance capabilities of the Camaro coupe.

At the outset, designers and engineers sought to eliminate the common appearance of convertible top support ribs and they succeeded, using composite knuckles rather than aluminum ones, as well as extending the top material below the belt line and revising the top?s stitch lines. The result is a top that has a smooth, taut and carefully tailored appearance that also retains the sleek roofline of the coupe.

The power-folding top retracts in about 20 seconds. It is built in partnership with the same manufacturer as the Corvette convertible top, and operates in a similar manner. Once the latch is turned to the open position, the push of a single button lowers the windows and activates the top. The car doesn?t have to be parked for the top to be activated, allowing for spur-of-the-moment lowering while stopped at a stoplight.

The top is made of thick, durable canvas and it features acoustical headliner material that provides a quiet, coupe-like ride when the top is up. It also incorporates a glass rear window and rear window defogger.

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