Chevy Camaro ZL1: Still One of the Best Performance Bargains?

The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 isn’t just a savagely fast muscle car; it’s fast, period. Chevrolet went beyond modification into mutation to make a machine that would smash circuits while wearing a Camaro suit. However, with the momentum of the market and the availability of cars like the 2013 Shelby GT500, is the Chevy Camaro ZL1 and 1LE still some of the best performance bargains?

The Chevy Camaro ZL1, especially the ZL1 1LE, is a beast ready for the track.
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 | General Motors

How much does a Chevy Camaro ZL1 cost?

Depending on the model year, a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is an absolute bargain. For instance, the 580-horsepower 2012 Camaro ZL1 has a fair market price of around $27,442 with average (and admittedly high) mileage. Of course, the latest, sharpest, most powerful track weapons demand more of an initial sacrifice. Specifically, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) says a 650-horsepower 2018 ZL1 demands closer to $50,000 from a dealership with an average odometer reading. 

Still, that money buys the Camaro’s nuclear option. Since 2017, the ZL1 nameplate has delivered supercharged V8 fury to the tune of 650 horsepower. However, the ZL1 isn’t all burnouts and fire-and-forget straight-line sprints; this is a track day weapon. Moreover, the 1LE package takes the ZL1 to new handling benchmarks. 

Is the Chevy Camaro ZL1 faster than the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat?

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat of later generations steal most of the accolades in the modern muscle car segment. However, despite all the pantomime of the Challenger SRT Hellcat, the latest ZL1s outrun the Mopar muscle cars in every metric. First, the 2022 Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE will hit 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds, a full 0.3 seconds faster than a comparable Hellcat Redeye Widebody. Also, the ZL1 outsprints the Hellcat in a quarter mile, crossing the line in 11.5 seconds and 124 mph. 

Moreover, the Hellcat is hopeless in keeping pace with the ZL1 1LE on a circuit. Specifically, the 2018 Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE smashed a lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife in just 7:16.04, faster than a Porsche 911 Turbo S from the same year. That makes it one of the fastest American cars around the track ever, second only to Vipers and Corvettes.   

How much is a ZL1 1LE?

The magic question for enthusiasts who want the sharpest Camaro ever: how much is a ZL1 1LE? KBB puts the private party value of a 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE at $46,533. That makes the circuit-ready 1LE one of the best performance bargains on the market. Of course, if you want a newer 1LE, the 2022 ZL1 with the package starts at around $73,545.  

The Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE is a beast and a bargain.
Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE | General Motors

Is the Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE a supercar?

At a glance, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE is a Camaro; it’s an angular muscle car with prominent aero and an aggressive fascia. However, take the 1LE to the track, and it’s a different animal. The ZL1 1LE is nothing short of Clark Kent hiding in plain sight; it’s a supercar blending in with muscle cars. Scroll down to the following article to read more about fast cars!

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