2017 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible 1LS new car reviews

275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. Back in the day, that was pretty good for a V8-powered pony car. Today, though, those are the figures posted by the turbocharged 2.0-liter four found in our Camaro test car. I know, right?

Note: the Camaro pictured is not the exact same 50th anniversary edition that we drove.

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

By most standards, performance is pretty good: zero-to-60 around 6 seconds. Faster options exist, but that’s not bad. You lose that traditional pony car soundtrack, but this thing got around pretty darn well.

I even liked the eight-speed automatic. Yeah, I know, no clutch pedal on our test car, but that box is smooth.

Backing up, what exactly is special about this Camaro? It’s a 50th Anniversary Edition, and the upgrades are largely cosmetic: unique Nightfall Gray Metallic paint, special 20-inch wheels, black leather interior with orange stitching and the appropriate labels and badges. The package is available with the 2LT (turbo-four) or 2SS (V8) trim levels.

Other than that, it’s standard Camaro fare. On the plus side, it’s a Camaro. You’ll be cool. It offers way more performance than a Prius–and it tells the world as such. And how can you turn down a convertible, especially a rear-drive one fitted with a massive wheel and tire package?

The Camaro asks for a major concession, though: outward visibility. Thick A-pillars, high widow sills, a short roof, that intruding gauge pod, and those giant rear pillars make for a pillbox of an interior. I imagine it’s how it felt to pilot the Monitor. Or was it the Merrimac? Either way, you know what I mean.

J.G. Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

Okay, yes, it’s cool that we live in a world where a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine puts out tantalizingly close to 300hp while delivering nearly 30mpg. I got no beef with that. But when it comes to pony cars, we still live in a world where every engine in the lineup that is not the V8 will be compared to the V8. Thus it is with this Camaro.

A turbocharged four cylinder Camaro is only truly exciting in a world where a 6.0-liter LS V8 isn’t offered in the lineup. Otherwise, it’s just a substitute. it’s New York Strip when Prime Rib is on the menu. It’s a business-class upgrade when there’s sleeping pods in First.

Taken on its own merits, the four-banger Camaro is a fine car. The turbo 2.0 shows lots of flexibility and hardly the peakiness that you would expect from such low displacement. And the 8-speed automatic transmission is one of our favorites. It feels for all the world like a twin-clutch, with no real converter lag, and crisp, positive up and downshifts.

Chassis-wise, the Camaro has always been a great driver’s car, despite its size and less-than-stellar outward visibility. It’s easy to position despite the large flanks, so the fact that you can’t really see the corners very well doesn’t tend to bother you.

But ultimately, while the 4-cylinder Camaro is a fine car, it’s really just fine enough to allow itself to be compared favorably to the V8 Camaro that you actually need.

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