2012 Camaro 2SS Convertible
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Thu, Dec 29, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By Reed Berry This is the story of a good car and bad luck. The car is the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS Convertible and - just my luck - it has been delivered during a week of cold, rainy weather in southern California. Let’s face it, this car is a date magnet and even though I don’t own it, I would like to be able to put the top down and create the illusion that I do for obvious reasons. However, it appears as though I am meant to focus on a review of the vehicle rather than enhancing my social life. So be it. Before I get to my impression of the vehicle, have you noticed how many late-model Camaros are on the road? This car’s popularity is a review in itself. These cars are flying out of dealerships (well, not actually flying, but that will probably be an available option at some point in the future) proving that America’s love of muscle cars is alive and well. And unlike some cars that focus primarily on performance rather than aesthetics, Camaro is a great looking muscle car dressed for any occasion.
And when I say this car is great looking, I’m talking both inside and out. Sleek exterior styling and a low profile make Camaro a head turner to begin with, but the addition of a convertible top makes this car hard to resist. The flowing body lines and big, bold 20-inch aluminum wheels seem to scream DRIVE ME! And so I shall. Getting into the convertible version of Camaro seems a bit easier than the hardtop. Having driven both, it is obvious that the only disadvantage of a sporty car with such a low roofline is that you must make a conscious effort to lower yourself sufficiently to enter the car without banging your head or accidentally rearranging your freshly gelled faux-hawk. On the inside, Camaro has the features you would expect from a performance car plus some interesting surprises, as well. An instrument cluster with actual gauges is yet another indication that you are in a serious driving machine. Expected, I guess, in a powerful muscle car but a refreshing change from the lack of gauges and overabundance of warning lights found in most vehicles. One may think that having an array of gauges would take away from the interior appearance but, in fact, the design and positioning of the cluster serves to enhance the interior’s stylish look. Seating surfaces are leather, as is the wrap on the steering wheel and trim on the shift knob. Meaning no disrespect to animal activists that may think otherwise, but there is nothing to match the feel, the smell and the perceived quality of rich, supple leather. My test vehicle features an available ‘accent trim’ package that includes color contrasting accent panels on the front and rear seats, as well as attractive accent stitching on the steering wheel, shift knob, armrests and center console.
You could say that this car is a ‘breath of fresh air,’ as Camaro has its own air filtration system. Not only is the air pure, but the passenger cabin is filled with pure entertainment thanks to an outstanding Boston Acoustics premium audio system. From conventional broadcasts and satellite radio to CDs, the sound quality is excellent. There is a USB port as well as an auxiliary jack, making it possible to connect your iPod and other devices but, as with many cars, these jacks are hidden deep within the center console storage and can be a bit awkward to access. As I start the car, just hearing Camaro’s powerful 426-horsepower V8 engine seems to have gotten my automotive juices flowing or, perhaps, I just had too much coffee this morning. Nonetheless, I am anxious to see what this car can do. As I shift into reverse, I notice that this vehicle has, not unlike a number of other vehicles on the market, a back-up camera for safety. The video display for backing is conveniently located in the interior rear-view mirror rather than on a separate display. Another unique and much appreciated safety feature is Camaro’s ‘head-up’ display that projects the vehicle’s speed, direction, outside temperature and other important information on the windshield directly in front of the driver. A control on the dash allows the display to be raised or lowered a bit for easy viewing.
As one would imagine, this is a Camaro so performance is nothing less than impressive. The big V8 engine has been paired with a six-speed transmission and this combination certainly provides the desired result. Acceleration is quick and confident and Camaro cruises effortlessly at highway speeds. Normally in a car this sporty, I would recommend the standard 6-speed manual transmission. However, in this vehicle I suggest considering the super efficient six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. It’s an add-on of nearly $1,200 but well worth the price as it really gives you the best of both worlds – the convenience of an automatic and the sportiness of paddle shifting. Camaro handles quite well. Cornering is precise and the vehicle seems to negotiate uneven road surfaces quite well. The ride is smooth and comfortable but I do have a good feel of the road. Camaro is equipped with Stabilitrak for stability and traction control. With some convertibles, there is an understandable loss of rigidity but, having driven both the hardtop and convertible versions of Camaro, it seems as though Chevy designers have done an excellent job of providing additional support to preserve the structural integrity of the vehicle.
Fortunately, the weather has cleared up a bit and I am able to take advantage of the car’s crowning feature – the convertible top. The top operates easily and fairly efficiently, but it seems a little slower than other convertibles that I’ve tested. And if you’re thinking about filling up the trunk for a weekend trip, think again. Unless you plan on leaving the top up during your trip, you will have to load the trunk very strategically using only low-profile items. A bag I placed in the trunk about the size of a standard airline carry-on prevented the top from lowering so I had to move my bag to the back seat. A small price to pay, I guess, to drive a sporty convertible but something to be considered based on one’s storage needs. Another issue with the convertible is that as you put the top down, the windows lower automatically. As you put the top up, however, you must raise the windows yourself. At the risk of sounding a bit lazy, shouldn’t the windows raise automatically, as well? One can only wonder if there is a logical reason that they don’t but, on a vehicle with a price tag upwards of $40K, I was a bit surprised by this design issue. Overall, the Camaro 2SS Convertible is powerful, great looking and definitely a sweet ride for the money. But if fast isn’t fast enough for you, stay tuned for the 2013 Camaro ZL1 Convertible, Chevy’s most powerful convertible ever, with a supercharged 6.2-liter 580-horsepower engine that literally blows it’s worthy competitors, including the Shelby GT500, right off the highway. For more information on Chevrolet products: chevrolet.com GM’s Blog: thefutureiselectric.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2012 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS Convertible Price MSRP: $40,600 As Tested: $44,535 EPA Fuel Economy Estimates (City/Highway): 15/24 miles per gallon Engine type: 6.2-liter V8 with electronic fuel injection Horsepower: 426 @ 5,900 rpm Torque: 420 @ 4,600 rpm Transmission type: 6-speed manual transmission standard; 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters available Steering: Variable ratio power steering Brakes: Brembo performance brakes Wheels: 20” painted aluminum wheels Wheelbase: 112.3 inches Overall length: 190.4 inches Overall width: 75.5 inches Overall height: 54.7 inches