2021 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1: Costs, Facts, And Figures
By Shivank Bhatt
Discover why the most hardcore version of Chevrolet's iconic muscle car is more than just a one-trick pony.
The ZL1 sits at the top of the perch in the Chevrolet Camaro range since it’s the most intense iteration of GM’s most iconic muscle car. The task of the ZL1 is simple: to take the fight to the most powerful versions of its longtime rivals, the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger, on the road, track, and drag-strip.
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While it may not have the outright firepower or over 700 horses like the Hellcat or GT500, the ZL1 has more than a couple of tricks up its sleeve to keep its rivals on their toes.
Overview Of The 2021 Camaro ZL1
The 2021 Camaro lineup is based on the sixth-gen model of the muscle car. The ZL1 version of this generation was first introduced in 2017 as the most hardcore version of the Camaro range, and none of that has changed since. To help onlookers distinguish it from the lesser Camaro models, the ZL1 has an aggressive demeanor. Some bits that make the ZL1 stand out include 20-inch forged alloy wheels shod with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires, LED daytime running lights, dark bowtie badges, large air intakes and wind deflectors, and a special rear spoiler.
A total of nine exterior color options are available, but if you want to make yours more exclusive, pick one of these three premium colors on offer—Crush ($395), Shock ($395), and Wild Cherry Tincoat ($495). A Black Metallic Center Stripe is offered for $470.
However, if you’re after performance and want the ZL1 in its most hardcore setup, you have got to go for the slightly pricey ($7,500) but totally worthy 1LE Extreme Track Performance Package. The 1LE brings a number of goodies to the ZL1 including a unique front splitter design, carbon fiber hood insert and rear spoiler, darkened tail lamps, red brake calipers with 1LE logo, and more. For better road-grip and performance, it gets more performance-oriented Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R tires shod with lighter but smaller 19-inch forged aluminum wheels.
For folks who prefer a topless driving experience, there’s a convertible version available, too. However, if you choose to go for it, you won’t have the option to equip it with the 1LE package.
Related: The 1969 Corvette ZL1 Had More Power Than We Thought It Did
Performance Is The Name Of The ZL1 Game
Performance is the name of the game with the ZL1, which is why it’s offered with a lumpy 6.2-liter supercharged V8 motor—the same that does duty in the C7 Corvette Z06. The LT4 V8 engine churns out 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. Power transmission duties are carried out by either a six-speed manual (comes with active rev match feature) or a 10-speed automatic gearbox depending on what you prefer. In either case, the drive goes strictly to the rear wheels.
Chevrolet claims the ZL1 Coupe can sprint from zero-to-sixty in 3.5 seconds with the automatic transmission. The manual version will achieve the same in 3.7 seconds. Both the models can clock 198 mph. If you manage to find a track or drag strip long enough to max out your ZL1, it may even hit 200 mph!
The ZL1 isn’t just about straight-line thrills, though. In fact, it’s a muscle car that’s equally capable of sniffing apexes around racetracks. In 2017, the ZL1 1LE clocked a lap time of 7:16.04 at the iconic Nürburgring racetrack in Germany. It was faster than a Ferrari 488 GTB and Nissan GT-R at that time!
Of course, that feat was achieved with the optional 1LE package. Along with all the extras we listed above, the 1LE also gets Multimatic DSSV (Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve) suspension, sticky rubber, and more downforce. However, even if you choose to go with the standard setup, you’re going to get a pretty impressive handling package, courtesy of its standard kit that includes magnetic dampers, an electronic limited-slip differential, and six-piston and four-piston Brembo brakes at front and rear, respectively.
In a muscle car that screams and shouts performance, fuel efficiency should be the least of your worries. However, for the sake of reporting, here are the claimed mpg numbers: 14 (manual) / 13 (automatic) in city, and 20 (manual) / 21 (automatic) on highway.
Interior, Features, And Space In The ZL1
Things are quite straightforward inside the ZL1. You can only have it in jet black with a red accents color scheme. If you want more red stuff, go for the $195 red seatbelts and $350 red kneepads options. Heated, ventilated, and power-adjustable Recaro front seats are standard, and so is a heated steering wheel. You’ll also find a nice eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Connectivity. You can add in-built navigation for $495.
Some standard features include a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, tire pressure monitoring system, an HD rear parking camera, head-up display, Forward Collision Alert (coupe only), Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert.
If you plan to hit the local racetrack regularly with your ZL1, you should get the $1,300 performance data and video recorder from the options list. However, equipping this will remove the Forward Collision Alert. Similarly, you get a sunroof by paying $995 extra, but it can’t be clubbed with the 1LE package.
Even though the ZL1 qualifies as a 2+2 coupe/convertible, the interior space or comfort is nothing to write home about. It should be strictly used as a two-seater. Similarly, with a cargo space of 9.1 cubic feet for the coupe and 7.3 cubic feet for the convertible, it’s best to pack light when you’re headed out of town on weekends.
Related: These Are The Best Modifications For Your Chevrolet Camaro
2021 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Costs
The most affordable Camaro ZL1 is the manual coupe version, priced at $64,195. This is followed by the automatic version of the same at $65,790. The ZL1 Convertible is substantially expensive. The manual version of the ZL1 drop-top starts at $70,195, while the automatic will cost you $71,790.
The aforementioned prices include a destination fee of $1,195, but you’ll have to shell out a Gas Guzzler Tax of $1,700 on top of the final price.
Over 5 decades after it made its debut, the first-generation Chevrolet Camaro remains one of the most loved cars in America.
Read NextAbout The Author
Shivank's love for cars & bikes has made him switch his career from engineering to writing stuff about automobiles. So far, he's been doing alright as an auto-journo with more than 6 years of experience under his belt. That said, he does like to show his nerdy self more often than not...
With a fire-breathing 650-hp supercharged V-8 and ferocious track capabilities, the 2021 Chevy Camaro ZL1 is the king of monster muscle cars. Sure, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 have horsepower ratings that start with seven, but the bow-tie beast delivers similar thrills for fewer green bills. In fact, if the mid-engine Corvette didn't exist, the ZL1 could perhaps be called the world's greatest performance value, which is why it's an Editors' Choice winner. Regardless, the Camaro perfects the front-engine, rear-drive formula inherent to muscle cars. While both the coupe and convertible have a remarkable chassis that's more clairvoyant than Miss Cleo, unleashing the ultimate Camaro requires the transformative 1LE track package, but beware that it makes the suspension very stiff. If you can overlook the Chevy's flawed interior, the 2021 Camaro ZL1 can be more exciting than a roller coaster, and it'll regularly reward thrill-seekers and track rats alike.
What's New for 2021?
There are only a couple changes to the Camaro ZL1 lineup for 2021. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are now on its roster of features, and Chevy offers a new extra-cost paint color: Wild Cherry.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
While the coupe with the standard manual transmission is our ZL1 of choice, the optional $7500 1LE Extreme Track Performance package is transformative and tempting. Still, it makes the ZL1 hard to live with every day because the upgraded suspension is very stiff. Instead, we'd simply add the performance data and video recorder for capturing the days we're brave enough to bring this 650-hp hellion to the racetrack.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Camaro's supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 is a well-behaved and tractable beast that makes power all over the rev range and leaves black streaks all over the road. As you'd expect, when stirred up, it leaves the sound of thunder echoing in its wake. Whether paired with the standard six-speed manual transmission or the available 10-speed automatic, the supercharged small-block V-8 lays down stupidly incredible performance figures. The fast-shifting automatic results in quicker acceleration times than the stick, but either way, this Chevy is a demon at the drag strip. Already a satisfying handler with quick and communicative steering, a balanced rear-drive chassis, and a surprisingly supple ride, the Camaro is elevated to new heights by the ZL1 gear. Its adaptive dampers change their stiffness based on the selected drive mode, but even the hardcore modes don't ruin the car's decent, if firm, ride. Want more? Grab the 1LE track package, which vaults the ZL1 into near supercar territory. Its wider and stickier tires, manually adjustable front suspension, and exclusive spool-valve dampers help chew up racetracks and spit out happy drivers. The ZL1 stops from 70 mph in 143 feet, and the ZL1's brake pedal operates with a firmness befitting a performance car.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The words "Camaro ZL1" and "fuel efficient" shouldn't be used together in a sentence unless the phrase "is not" separates them. The EPA estimates models with the automatic transmission will earn 13 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. With the manual, those numbers change to 14 and 20, respectively. Surprisingly, the Camaro beats the Shelby GT500 in fuel efficiency, as the latter manages 12 mpg city and 18 mpg highway. The manual-equipped ZL1 1LE we ran on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, returned a measly 17 mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Turns out 650 horsepower and a ZL1 badge do nothing to erase the current-generation Camaro's woeful outward visibility. It suffers the same thick roof pillars and high windowsills as other Camaros. Still, every ZL1 is well equipped out of the box and offers few options. Standard equipment includes power-adjustable front seats with heating and ventilation, a heated steering wheel, and dual-zone automatic climate control. When it comes to the ZL1, performance and style take precedence over less sexy matters such as cupholder counts and cargo space. There is very little interior stash space for small items, an almost tacit admission on Chevrolet's part that the Camaro comfortably seats only two human beings. Behind the useless rear seats is a nearly as useless shallow trunk with an oddly shaped opening.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Chevrolet's touchscreen infotainment system is among the industry's easier-to-use units, with clear menus, large on-screen buttons, and popular features. It includes a Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The ZL1 offers as standard nearly everything available on normal Camaros, including a Bose audio system, wireless phone charging, and a head-up display.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2021 Camaro ZL1 earned a four-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but this model hasn't been evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Chevy does offer a handful of driver-assistance technology. However, if you select either the convertible body style or the optional performance data recorder on the coupe, you'll have to make do without the forward-collision alert. Key safety features include:
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross-traffic alert
- Standard forward-collision warning (coupe only)
- Standard rear parking sensors
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The ZL1's coverage is fairly typical for the industry, but Chevrolet offers buyers a complimentary scheduled maintenance visit within the first year of ownership.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit
2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door coupe
PRICE AS TESTED
$75,985 (base price: $72,195)
supercharged and intercooled pushrod 16-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
376 cu in, 6162 cc
650 hp @ 6400 rpm
650 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 15.4-in vented disc/14.4-in vented disc
Tires: Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar 3R, F: 305/30R-19 (98Y) TPC, R: 325/30R-19 (101Y) TPC
Wheelbase: 110.7 in
Length: 188.3 in
Width: 74.7 in
Height: 52.0 in
Passenger volume: 83 cu ft
Trunk volume: 9 cu ft
Curb weight: 3886 lb
Rollout, 1 ft: 0.3 sec
60 mph: 3.4 sec
100 mph: 7.4 sec
150 mph: 19.2 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 3.7 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 1.8 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 2.1 sec
¼-mile: 11.5 sec @ 124 mph
Top speed (mfr's claim): 190 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 137 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 268 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 1.17 g
Observed: 14 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 16/13/21 mpg
More Features and Specs
ZL1 2dr Coupe
2021 Chevrolet Camaro Pricing
$63,000MSRP / Window Sticker Price
Additional or Replacing Features:
- 6.2L V-8 Engine
- 650 @ 6,400 rpm Horsepower
- 650 @ 3,600 rpm Torque
- 20" gray forged aluminum Wheels
- front air conditioning, dual zone automatic
- driver and front passenger heated-cushion, heated-seatback Heated front seats
- SiriusXM with 360L AM/FM/Satellite, seek-scan Radio
- Heated mirrors
- simulated suede/leather Seat trim
- Rear Park Assist Parking assist
- 2.0L I-4 Engine
- 275 @ 5,600 rpm Horsepower
- 295 @ 3,000 rpm Torque
- 18" silver aluminum Wheels
- front air conditioning, automatic
- AM/FM/Satellite-prep, seek-scan Radio
- cloth Seat trim
- 6-spd man w/OD Transmission
- rear-wheel Drive type
- ABS and driveline Traction control
- 2 - 1st row LCD monitor
- keyfob (all doors) Remote keyless entry
ZL1 2dr Coupe
Satin Steel Metallic
Shadow Gray Metallic
Riverside Blue Metallic
Wild Cherry Tintcoat
Jet Black w/Red Accents w/Leather-Trimmed Seat Trim w/Sueded Inserts
Fees & Taxes
Total Cost to Own
See the cheapest Performance Vehicles to Own
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Cost camaro zl1
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