Offering all the brashness expected from an American pony car, coupled with the unexpected sophistication of a European grand tourer, the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible is the finest Camaro ever. Its handsome appearance and awe-inspiring performance potential rival the absolute best of the sporty four-place two doors. Throw a folding roof into the mix and you’ll derive even more pleasure from the already exciting package.
Marking Camaro’s sixth generation, the redesign brought a body leaner, tighter of line and more highly sculpted. You might have trouble telling it’s all new at first glance, but when seen next to its predecessor the changes are readily apparent. The only styling elements carried over are the golden Chevrolet emblem and the red Super Sport badge. While it still comes across as something of a large car, the 2016 Camaro is actually slightly smaller than the 2015 in every dimension.
Prominent at the top of the center stack is an eight-inch touchscreen from which infotainment features are accessed. The screen also hosts Chevy MyLink telematics as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which mirrors the functions of your smartphone you’ll likely need while driving, including audible text messaging. An analog tachometer on the left and a speedometer on the right anchor the main instrument panel. In between is another eight-inch monitor. Reconfigurable, it can display performance attributes, additional infotainment intel and navigation information.
Passenger comfort is about average, though we do wish the handsome sport seats provided a bit more support. Rear seat legroom is largely nonexistent, and the trunk is severely compromised by the well from which the roof is deployed when folded. Camaro convertible offers 7.3 cubic feet of trunk in total. This is cut by approximately 2/3 when the top is retracted. By the way, the roof functions at speeds up to 30 miles per hour and takes about 25 seconds to cycle. A hard body-colored tonneau automatically covers the roof when it’s folded away.
While much ado has been made about the new four-cylinder turbocharged engine applied to the Camaro, our Super Sport convertible was fitted with the new 455-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8 dishing out 455 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful Camaro Super Sport ever. Paired with a six-speed manual transmission with rev-matched downshifts, it’s a highly effective powerplant, both in sound and capability. Fuel economy is rated at 16-city/25-highway/19-combined. We averaged 17.5 overall, read on and you’ll understand why.
A set of four driver mode selector settings calibrates response for snow or ice, touring, sport, or track. Additionally, the system allows custom configuration of the parameters so you can set the car up to your preferences. Each mode varies steering, the sound of the engine, and suspension response (with the optional magnetic ride control system), throttle response, and shift parameters for the optional eight-speed automatic As you’ve probably guessed, Track provides the most aggressive response, Sport is one notch down from there, Tour is the “normal” mode, while Snow/Ice is the least aggressive mode.
Being the way we are, we set everything to Track initially. In so doing, we found the steering to be too stiff and slow so we switched it to Tour and reveled in the newfound lightness and agility the Camaro demonstrated. The engine sounded so good in track mode, we tended to run it hard in the lower gears just to hear it—which explains the 17.5-mpg.
Its mellifluous burble at the bottom of the rev range morphs into a metallic blat at the high end. The transition as the revs rise will absolutely make the hairs on the back of your neck tingle. Your neighbors might like it the first time they hear it, though we suspect they’ll tire of it eventually because the Camaro Super Sport can be quite loud. Best to switch the exhaust system to stealth mode (that’s really what they call it) and tiptoe around your neighborhood.
Out where it counts though, the Camaro SS is a highly fulfilling performance car. Lest its pony car roots fool you, please know the Camaro SS delivers outstanding roadholding. It will dive toward an apex with the best of the best and demonstrate extraordinary grip in the process. The onboard g-meter routinely showed .9 g of lateral acceleration.
Brakes are exceptional in their capability and propensity to permit highly accurate modulation. Further, throttle response in both the Sport and Track modes is exemplary. This car will pin your cranium to the headrest under full acceleration. The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible is a first order performance car, one capable of holding its own in any company—anywhere.
If we were to change anything, we’d like to see a bit more comfort and support from the seats (which the optional Recaros will likely provide) and from behind the wheel the Camaro still looks too big. Additionally, outward visibility with the top in place is severely compromised. Still, we absolutely love driving it.
Pricing for the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Super Sport starts at $44,295.