The 2011 Camaro Convertible will have it’s official debut at this week’s Los Angeles Auto Show, but Chevy’s coughed up pics, details and videos in advance. The drop-top Camaro officially goes on sale in February 2011, just in time for the peak of cabin fever in winter states, when buyers flock to showrooms looking for any sign that spring is on the horizon. Fortunately, Chevy didn’t waste time and effort designing a needlessly complex and expensive retractable hard top; the Camaro makes do with a power folding cloth top, made from heavy duty canvas with an acoustical headliner to reduce wind noise with the top up. The power top’s operation is said to take only 20 seconds from start to finish, which means you can easily go topless at a stoplight without drama. The Camaro Convertible uses a single latch at the center of the windshield header, which allows the driver to put the top up or down without getting out of his seat.
Chevy went to great lengths to ensure that the convertible had stiffness comparable to the coupe. Four reinforcements were made to enhance torsional stiffness, including a strut tower brace under the hood, a transmission support reinforcement brace, an underbody tunnel brace and front and rear underbody V braces. The net result is a car with better torsional stiffness than a BMW 3 Series convertible, and the Camaro Convertible uses the exact same suspension as the coupe. Manufacturers often use softer suspension components on convertible models to improve ride (and reduce flex) at the expense of handling, but the Camaro ‘vert uses the same struts, bushings, and springs as the coupe. It won’t handle quite the same, since the convertible version carries an additional 257 pounds in SS trim; still it will be closer than most convertibles are to their coupe siblings.
The 2011 Camaro Convertible will be available with either a 3.6 liter V6 (good for 312 horsepower) or a 6.2 liter LS3 V8 (400 horsepower with the automatic transmission, 426 horsepower with the six speed manual). Drivers who want to row their own gears will be happy to learn that the six speed is available with either the V8 or the V6 motors, which is a departure from the normal “auto only” school of thought for base models. Pricing will start at $30,000 (including destination charge) for a V6, and Chevy has yet to fill in the blanks for pricing on SS models. Using the coupe pricing as a guide, I’d expect the LS3 powered SS models to start just under the $40k mark.