2012 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe new car reviews

Happy birthday, Camaro. Here, have some stripes.
And have a badge, too. So, in a few decades, will this piece of chrome help a Camaro become an auction star?

Better than: Cross Fire Injection Camaro
But not as good as: Mustang Boss 302
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 94.62

Happy birthday, Camaro. GM's favorite pony car turns 45 in 2012, and Chevrolet is celebrating with a special 45th Anniversary cosmetic package for both Camaro and Camaro SS. Here's the official scoop courtesy of GM:

"The new 45th Anniversary Special Edition package is available on 2LT and 2SS models. All come standard in Carbon Flash Metallic (black) and include a unique rally stripe in red and silver, with 45th Anniversary graphics on the stripes. Also included are special fender emblems, new 20-inch wheel design in deep silver, RS-style tail lamp lenses, standard rear spoiler, standard HID headlamps, body-color roof molding and special-trimmed interior."

Price for these extras? $1375. We wonder, though, what kind of effect that figure will have on future prices. With pony cars back in the forefront, is this an easy way to pick up a future collectible?

The big Camaro news is something right on the horizon, though: Camaro ZL1. Power comes from a 6.2-liter LSA engine backed by a six-speed transmission. Output is said to be near 550 horsepower. Who said the pony car wars ended back in the '60s?

Other staff views

Steve Chryssos
Steve Chryssos

In 1969 Chevrolet slightly tweaked the Corvette in response to customer and media complaints. For example they modified the outside door handles for easier use. GM also modified the interior door panels for more shoulder room. Like that 69 Corvette, the 2012 Camaro seems easier to live with than the original. Perhaps we're just getting used to the fifth generation platform. There are no ergonomic update announcements, nor obvious changes beyond the new for 2012 steering wheel. Did GM tweak the seats? The 45th Anniversary trim looks great. The stripe design is creative and subtle. We can say the same for the special edition wheels. They make the car appear more svelte. It would be nice to take one of these cars apart in search of 400 lbs worth of weight savings. If GM wants to send over a long term "loaner", we promise to start cutting it up straight away.

J.G. Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

This is perhaps the best iteration of the “new” Camaro that I have yet to drive, but the takeaway impression is not one of how good the Camaro is, but of the ever-widening gulf between it and the Mustang.

While each successive tweak of Ford’s ponycar produces a new and genuine superlative, each new Camaro seems to produce a series of asterisks, excuses and qualifications. Well, it’s got lots of power... but it feels a little soft in such a large package. It handles pretty good... for a 4000+ lb car, etc.

Taken on its own, the Camaro is a nice cruiser. The feel and aura is GM at its best. The quality of the materials and ergonomic presentation is orders of magnitude better than the GM we had become so used to, where Cavalier turn signal stalks were the company standard.

The latest generation of the Camaro’s LS powerplant makes all the right sounds and 425hp, but it’s pushing a large chassis. As a result, the Camaro feels quick, but not at all spry and urgent like the more lithe Mustang.

Still, there’s no denying the boulevard appeal. While I would have preferred the second generation skin for the Camaro’s throwback uniform, the styling echoes of the past sound just as good in 2011 as they did 45 years ago.

And speaking of 45 years, the 45th anniversary package may seem trite now, but 25 years from now I’m guessing it will command a premium on the classic market.

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