Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but Chevy opted to release pricing on the 2012 Camaro ZL1 on the very same day that Ford announced its new, 650 horsepower 2013 Shelby GT500. If you’re a bowtie fan, $54,995 (including destination charge) will buy you a car that runs from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds, runs the quarter-mile in 12 seconds flat at 119 mph and tops out at 184 mph. It’s all but guaranteed to win you tickets and points on your driver’s license, so if you planning to buy one, now is the time to dig up dirt on your insurance agent.
Those wanting to row their own gears will be disappointed to learn that slushbox-equipped ZL1s are quicker to 60 mph (3.9 seconds versus 4.0 seconds), quicker through the quarter-mile (12.0 seconds versus 12.1) and have a higher top speed (184 mph versus 180 mph). On the other hand, spending the $1,185 for the six-speed automatic can help you convince your significant other that the ZL1 is a practical commuter car, too, which may help you win the argument about buying one.
The Camaro ZL1 will hit Chevy dealers in the spring, and (until the 2013 Shelby GT500 comes along) there’s really nothing else with comparable performance in the same price range. Your options are to buy one now, or wait for the masses of used ZL1s to hit the market when Ford’s new Shelby GT500 hits Ford dealers.