In Depth – Chevrolet Camaro Convertible –

2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

After a couple of annoying delays, the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible is finally available and the wait was worth it.  Four years ago Chevrolet showed us the Camaro Convertible Concept, a year later after the original Camaro Concept. They planned since then a convertible version but due to bankruptcy issues, the production model was unfortunately postponed.

After the crisis has passed, sun worshipers can now enjoy the Camaro Convertible if they can afford it, of course. Taking the recipe from the standard Camaro, the convertible version sounds better, is better and is more fun to drive than the original model. It was a risky business for Chevrolet to remove the roof of the Camaro and at the same time maintain the car’s eccentric look, but somehow they did it. In the coupe version, the roof of the car is pulled in tight over the massive flat rear fenders while for the convertible model, the roof meets the haunches in a more natural way and fills the space on the rear deck better.

A neat trick is the AM/FM antenna which hides in the rear spoiler, maintaining the smooth look of the roof. At the moment the roof is available in black and tan, but later on the manufacturer will introduce other colors as well.

Of course, driving without the roof improves the driver’s visibility greatly and even more interesting is that with the roof up; the Camaro convertible is easier to see out of than its coupe sibling. Just as you have might expected, the rear window of the car is considerably smaller, but in actual visibility you wouldn’t notice it that much. The downside is that from the windshield forward, the convertible is identical to the coupe which means that those huge A-pillars are still there and you will have some trouble looking through the corner. The visibility is quite low but those A-pillars are necessary for the rollover protection.

You will forget about this downside once the wind is in your hair. In order to remove the roof, you need to grab the single center-installed latch, then pull it down and twist it to the right. After that, you need to push and hold the roof-control switch which is conveniently located nearby and let the car take care of the rest. It should take about 16 seconds to go topless. In order to have the necessary space for all of the roof parts, the trunk space has been lowered to 10.2 cubic feet in comparison to the 11.3 offered by the coupe version. If you decide to fold the roof, you will only have 7.9 cubic feet of space. A similar feature that you can find in the Cadillac XLR is the pull-out screen that is capable of protecting the soft roof from your cargo.

A more difficult chore is putting the roof back on the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible. If you have got the $200 optional tonneau cover in place, it must go back in that tiny trunk. After that, the roof needs to come up and it will do so in about 25 seconds.

2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

The Camaro Convertible uses a front suspension consisting of struts, coil springs and an anti-roll bar while for the back it has coil springs and also an anti-roll bar. To stop it, Chevy engineers equipped the Camaro with 14-inch vented discs in the front and 14.4-inch vented discs for the back wheels. The car rolls on 8×20-inch wheels in the front and 9×20-inch rims in the back, covered by Pirelli PZero 245/40ZR20 103Y / 275/40ZR20.

People over at Chevy claim that their Camaro Convertible is stiffer than the highly-acclaimed BMW 3-Series Convertible; we will let you decide that. The Camaro packs new V-braces under the front and rear of the vehicle, a new front shock tower brace, a new transmission brace and a new sheer panel situated below the driveshaft. All of the additional parts, including the ones for the folding roof, added 253 pounds to the overall weight of a car that was already quite hefty. The good side is that the weight distribution is now closer to the 50:50 magic ratio.

Driving the car you will not notice the extra weight of the convertible and it feels just about the same as the coupe model. People over at Chevrolet said that they have been working very hard at improving the car’s handling for both of the configurations. Both models benefit from updated damper settings for less understeer and better on-center feel. The downside is that this additional weight is felt in the engine performance because the SS V8-powered model will do the 0-60 mph sprint in 4.9 seconds which is 0.2 more than the coupe version.

The good thing about the added weight is that the car feels more planted while driving in comparison to the coupe and it is more deliberate while cornering. This confidence during driving always allows a better driving experience.

Although the Camaro Convertible might be fashionably late in this segment, the timing is just perfect for it. We are very curious to see how well this new model will sell if we take into consideration that it will only be available in the LT and SS trims and not in the entry-level LS. This means that the base price of the car will be $30,000 for the one powered with the V6 engine and $37,500 for the more powerful V8 engine. This means that the Camaro convertible is $2,000 more expensive than the Ford Mustang convertibles. Probably this difference in price tag will not affect sales, taking into consideration the fact that Camaro coupe buyers are already paying $500 more in comparison to Mustang buyers.

According to the EPA ratings, the 2011 Camaro Convertible it will do 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. CO2 emissions stand at 1.03 lb/mile. All things considered, it is without any doubt one of the most interesting convertibles of this year.

Post tags: Tags: camaro, Chevrolet, convertible