Appropriately enough, the week with the Red Beast went by in a flash. She’s back safely with her handlers, I had a marvelous time, and no traffic violations were incurred. I’d call that an all-around win. My closing thoughts…
- First things first: the Camaro 2SS is badass, no two ways about it. Strong, fast, and “menacing” as my Brit-bred pal Keval put it. I’d definitely go with the black, gray, or silver instead of the red exterior. More badass.
- Chevy completely nailed it with the new Camaro: perfect stylistic homage to the first generation Camaro, ample power, great handling, sufficient interior trappings.
- The sticker price on the model I drove is $37,650. Not bad considering how much car (read: engine, not backseat size) you get, but not chump change, either. The info sheet I received listed the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, Nissan 370Z, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, and BMW 3 Series as key competitors. Given that company, I’d say $37K is in the right neighborhood purely from a competitive landscape standpoint (if you choose to accept that list of competitors).
- Speaking of key competitors, I’ve thought a lot about who the target audience is for the high-end 2SS Camaro — and whether there’s much room for the Camaro in that audience. I can clearly see room for the low-end $22K Camaro among the age-light, testosterone-heavy crowd. But when you’re pushing well north of $35K, you run into brand image concerns that may inhibit the purchase of a traditional muscle car (at least that’s what I’ve been led to believe by various media channels and anecdotal evidence). Does/can the 2SS really resonate with 370Z and 335i/M3 denizens? I’d argue that from a performance standpoint, the 2SS is definitely in the ballpark (and even over the fence in certain aspects). But what has Chevy done to convince folks from an image standpoint? I think the 2SS is worth serious consideration in this market, but are there enough people like me out there? And even if there are enough of us who embrace or look past the traditional Camaro thing (to paraphrase Kay Corleone), how many are sidelined by the need to fit a carseat in the back? Or is this the mid-life-crisis-mobile for those who can’t afford the Corvette? Chevy is walking a thin edge here, particularly in the current economic climate; only time will tell whether their market-size crystal ball was right. But I wholeheartedly applaud and endorse their attempt.
- Two more thoughts on image. (1) My buddy Tom loved the performance, but felt the Camaro is too “look at me”. There’s some truth to that (particularly in Victory Red), but it’s really in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? Some people think a rear spoiler is too “look at me”. What’re you gonna do? Badass gets looks. As long as you know why you drive it, what does it matter? (2) Another person mentioned that he’s not sure he wants to be identified as a “Camaro driver”. Don’t fall prey to that fallacy. If you’re afraid to be lumped in with other folks who happen to like what you like, you’ll never like anything in this world. Yes, you’d be a Camaro driver, but you should define what that means more than some other guy who doesn’t have the balls to drive one.
- I commented on my first post what my Camaro playlist was. As it turns out, the most apropos Camaro song on my list was A3’s “Woke Up This Morning” (The Sopranos opening credits song).
- Would I buy this car? As much fun as it was, I’d have to say “no” at this point. I miss the power and the growl, but at the end of the week, a big part of me was happy to be back in my TL-S. Much better visibility. Much better backseat access. Better accoutrements. And given that this is a new generation of Camaro, who knows what that car will drive like in 5-10 years? That said, my purchase consideration is significantly higher now and I’m happy to recommend it to people without the need for carseats…