2017 Camaro ZL1 in pre-production in Lansing

LANSING – Chevrolet has revamped the track-ready Camaro ZL1 for the 2017 model year.

General Motors Co. introduced the 2017 version at the New York Auto Show in March. It’s packed with a 6.2-liter V-8 engine with an estimated 640 horsepower and the option of a six-speed manual transmission with active rev matching or a 10-speed automatic.

“This is kind of the pinnacle for us,” said Mike Trevorrow, GM’s Lansing regional plant manager. “With 640 horsepower, I don’t think we have much more room. It’s the fastest car I’ve seen parked.”

The model is currently in pre-production at GM’s Lansing Grand River Assembly plant. It will go on the dealership lots late this year.

The 2017 Camaro ZL1 is the first time Chevy is incorporating the 10-speed automatic, which has smaller steps between gears, allowing the engine to remain at optimal rpm during acceleration for quicker laps.

There’s also a greater emphasis placed on handling. The sports car weighs 200 pounds less than its predecessor and offers 640 pound-feet of torque, 80 more than before.

“This handles very well on corners,” Trevorrow said. “There’s a greater balance. This goes against the Mustang Shelby, and we’re starting to see the vehicle be compared to Porsche and BMW M Series.”

Pricing information is not yet available, but Trevorrow said it will be comparable to previous model years.

Camaro deliveries were up 7.3 percent in the first quarter of 2016 to 18,581 from 17,320 in the first quarter of 2015. Its March deliveries were up 15.5 percent to 6,879 from 5,956 last year.

"The ZL1 is another choice for customers, and it will attract more business," said Mike Green, president of UAW Local 652.

The Lansing Grand River plant started a third shift this week. The plant hired 500 people in January because of Camaro demand. Last year, the plant hired 450 people and reinstated a second shift during the summer.

"The Camaro has been really good for us, bringing all this work here," Green said.

Article courtesy of Alexander Alusheff, Lansing State Journal (http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/2016/04/04/2017-camaro-zl1-pre-production-lansing/82509782/)

Contact Alexander Alusheff at (517) 388-5973 or aalusheff@lsj.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexalusheff.

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