With the new Ford Mustang just around the corner, soon the Camaro won’t be the only V8-powered muscle car rumbling along UK roads.
So to help keep its own iconic coupe looking fresh, Chevrolet has introduced a raft of cosmetic tweaks for 2014. These include a narrower grille, slim headlights and ridge of air vents along the centre of the bonnet to help cool the 6.2-litre V8.
At the back the styling gets even more cartoonish, with a wider, flatter rear wing to increase high-speed stability, a neater set of LED lamps and new exhaust tips. The thick black stripes on our ‘Summit’ white test car were a £400 option – but needless to say, the Camaro draws a serious amount of attention on the road.
Mechanically though, this refresh keeps to the tried-and-tested American recipe of a big V8 petrol engine, rear-drive chassis and enormous 20-inch alloy wheels. It might sound simple, but the Camaro also gets multi-link rear suspension and a limited-slip differential to help keep all 400bhp and 556Nm of torque in check.
Sadly, none of this firepower really makes its presence felt when you’re behind the wheel. The engine is muted unexciting unless you really floor it, the steering is remote and inconsistently weighted, giving you little confidence in the chassis. The auto gearbox is slow and jerky with its responses, so its best to swap ratios with the steering wheel mounted paddles, and utilize the impressive in-gear torque.
There is plenty of traction and grip to be exploited, but the Camaro’s sheer size, and the fact that it’s only available in left-hand drive, both make driving it on UK roads a restrictive experience. Those massive wheels cause a fair amount of tyre roar on the motorway, and also crash and thud noisily over any uneven surfaces.
Inside, there is more space than you get from most European sports cars, with a decent sized boot hampered only by its awkward shape, and just about enough room for adults to squeeze into the rear seats. The 2014 Camaro gets a new ‘My Link’ touchscreen infotainment system that can be upgraded with sat-nav for an additional £800. Material quality is extremely poor though – and there are far too many hard and shiny plastics close to the major dash touch points.
Although it might be cheap on paper, with prices starting at just over £35,000 for the manual version, the Camaro will be eye-wateringly expensive to run – with worse economy and CO2 emissions than a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S.