Chevrolet Camaro convertible debut
General Motors >
18th November, 2010
The segment-leading Chevrolet Camaro opens a new chapter as the
production ready 2011 Camaro convertible premieres, to the public, at the Los Angeles Motor Show tomorrow. The
new convertible begins production in January and goes on sale across North America in February. It includes an
enhanced body structure and well-tailored top mechanism – a combination designed to deliver sports coupe-like
driving fun and precise quality.
“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
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. 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 seized leadership in U.S. sales in its segment with the original coupe model that launched in 2009 as
a 2010 model.
The Camaro convertible delivers great refinement, along with uncompromising, coupe-like driving dynamics.
Its enhanced body structure helps prevent cowl or steering wheel shake, for a strong, confident feel in all
driving conditions. The top has a smooth, tailored fit, with acoustical foam in the headliner that helps deliver
a quiet ride with the top up.
Camaro convertible is offered in 1LT/2LT (V-6) and 1SS/2SS (V-8) trim packages. Nine production exterior
colours are available, with tops offered in black or tan. Rear parking assist is standard on all convertible
The Camaro’s architecture was designed to accommodate a convertible model, which means customers enjoy the
fun of top-down cruising with coupe-like driving dynamics. Four strategic reinforcements enhance the
already-stiff body structure to eliminate common convertible maladies of cowl and steering wheel shake. They
- A tower-to-tower brace under the bonnet
- A transmission support reinforcement brace
- Underbody tunnel brace
- Front and rear underbody “V” braces.
“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.
Additional safety structural reinforcements are designed to improve noise and vibration characteristics,
while also contributing to the elimination of cowl/steering wheel shake. They include a hydrofromed tube in the
A-pillars, an inner reinforcement bracket in the windshield header, a reinforced front hinge pillar and
reinforcements inside the rockers.
The structural changes to the Camaro convertible body give it superior bending and torsional stiffness than
its closest competitor, and better torsional stiffness than the BMW 3-Series convertible.
Exceptional top refinement
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 aluminium 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. That means it folds in a simple “Z” pattern and
latches with a single, convenient handle located at the centre of the windshield header. Other convertible
models in this segment still offer convertible tops with dual latches, forcing drivers into two-hand operations
reaching across the car.
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, for example, traffic lights.
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.
A folding, one-piece tonneau cover is standard on 2LT and 2SS models and optional on 1LT/1SS. It covers the
folded top for a finished appearance. An accessory windscreen is available from Chevrolet dealers. It installs
behind the front seats to limit wind buffeting when driving with the top down.
A myriad of fine details distinguish Chevrolet Camaro convertible models, including:
- The OnStar/XM/AM-FM radio antenna moves to the boot lid on LT models without the RS package
- The radio antenna is embedded in the rear spoiler on RS-equipped LT and SS models
- The boot lock cylinder is moved to the rear seat area for a cleaner exterior appearance
- A new subwoofer design is located in the boot between the rear seats.
Because the combined OnStar/XM/AM-FM radio antenna is mounted on the roof of coupe models, it had to be
relocated on the convertible. On RS-equipped LT models and SS models, which include a rear spoiler, a small
“shark fin” OnStar/XM antenna is mounted on the boot lid, while the AM/FM radio antenna is hidden inside the
rear spoiler. This patent-pending design provides a sleeker appearance. For LT models without a rear spoiler
(without the RS package), the combined antenna is located in the centre of the boot lid.
The relocation of the boot lock cylinder also cleans up the Camaro convertible’s appearance, moving from
the panel between the taillamps to a discreet area between the rear seat back cushion and driver’s side
interior panel. The change retains full, lockable access to the boot, with the keyless remote fob also offering
easy boot access.
Finally, the subwoofer – either an eight-inch unit with the base sound system or a 10-inch subwoofer with
the available Boston Acoustics system – is relocated from the boot to an area between the rear seat
Camaro LT convertible models are offered with a 3.6L direct injection (DI) V-6 that delivers more power
through increased efficiency, while maintaining fuel economy and lowering emissions – including a 25-per cent
drop in cold-start hydrocarbon emissions. It is rated at 232 kW (312 horsepower) and 370 Nm (278 lb.-ft.) of
Two 6.2L V-8 engines are offered in Camaro SS models, including the L99 on automatic-equipped vehicles and
the LS3 on manual-equipped models. Both engines are derived from the LS3 that debuted on the 2008 Corvette,
with an aluminium block (with cast iron cylinder liners) and aluminium cylinder heads. The L99 has 298 KW of
power (400 horsepower) and 556 Nm (410 lb.-ft.) of torque. The LS3 develops 318 kW of power (426 horsepower)
and 569 Nm (420 lb.-ft.) of torque.
The L99 features the fuel-saving Active Fuel Management System, which saves fuel by shutting down half of
the engine’s cylinders during certain light-load driving conditions, such as highway cruising.
All Camaro models can be equipped with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The
Aisin AY6 six-speed manual is standard with the 3.6L engine, and a Hydra-Matic 6L50 six-speed automatic is
optional. A Tremec TR 6060 six-speed manual is standard on the SS, and the Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic