EDITOR WES RAYNAL: OMG, as the kids say. This 2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible is just one hell of a fun car. I could sit and listen to this crackling V8 all day long. In fact, I'd be happy just sitting and listening to it idle, for cryin' out loud. The sound is outstanding, there is the slightest rough idle and a wee bit of backfiring during shifts.
The 2014 styling updates look OK. I really like the refreshed front end, but not sure about the new rear taillights. Don't really care too much, though; I had too much fun in it.
The car is quick, as one would expect, but just as noticeable is the engine's flexibility. The power comes on smooth through the rev range -- you could leave it in second, third, fourth (your choice) and do 90 percent of your in-town driving. The car feels a little heavy 'cause it is. Nearly 4,200 pounds seems high to me; it's almost 400 pounds heavier than the last 2SS coupe I drove. The engine and eager rock-solid chassis make up for a lot, but it can feel weighty, particularly going into a corner with a little oomph, where the car will understeer some. Don't worry, grip is excellent. The ride is actually quite pleasant (a nice surprise) and the steering isn't bad, either -- predictable and quick and decently weighted. It's an easy car to drive.
In previous Camaro SS drives, I crabbed about the interior materials and how they weren't good enough for an entry-level car, let alone a car costing this much. This one looks and feels better. Love the seats; it looks like there are more soft-touch materials inside.
The $50K as-tested price isn't cheap, but it is less than I guessed when road test editor Wong handed me the keys, so there's that…
This would definitely be part of my fleet.
Our 2014 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS Convertible received a few optional goodies from the ZL1 including the rear spoiler.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: The first thing I noticed on this convertible Camaro SS was the 21-inch wheels. They look aftermarket, in a good way. And they're wide as all get-out.
The radio is awesome. After I turned off the podcasts and switched to music, because I couldn't really hear with the top down, I cranked it up, and could feel the bass vibrating my legs down by the pedals. My passenger and I could carry on a conversation on the expressway, but it was a little strained.
A recent day was perfect to drop the top and cruise around. The exhaust sounds great, especially in a tunnel, better than myFord Mustang GT, unfortunately. It only gets loud at 3,500 rpm, meaning you can cruise around normally without making much of a ruckus. Power from the V8 is nearly immediate, though I can feel the extra quarter ton, from my Mustang, holding it back. There is still a ton of thrust. Enough that after first, second and third you're going fast -- fast enough to be breaking the speed limit. But getting on the expressway, especially between to retain walls is intoxicating.
The convertible absorbs bumps well. I think it's a mix of an independent suspension and the extra flex and weight. While not good for track duty, it makes for a very comfortable ride. The only time I noticed the suspension behaving badly was during slow-speed takeoffs over big potholes. Then you get jostled around a bit, and you can see the windshield shake.
So, there's no trunk space, because this is a convertible, and there isn't much back seat room, either. This car does best with one friend, on a sunny day, with the top down, on the long freeway blast or back-road jaunt. But for a family vacation? Not a chance.
The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS Convertible is equipped with a 6.2-liter V8.
2014 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS Convertible
ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: I really shouldn't like this car. It's heavy and it's impossible to see out of unless the top is down
It's a flamboyant 4,200-pound hunk of steel -- the anti-Mazda Miata, if you will. The growl from its 6.2-liter means you're not going to sneak by under the radar, either.
But there are certain days when it should be a crime to drive around with the top up, and on those days, you can really understand why someone might find this vehicle attractive.
Actually, it's attractive precisely because it's so danged flamboyant. Everything about the Camaro is excessive. Heat rises off the motor and into your field of view after just a few minutes of driving. With 426 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque (all remarkably accessible, as others have noted) it's got more motor than any Friday night cruiser could possibly need. You weren't dreaming about taking this thing to the drag strip, right?
For the money, I'd be looking at a new Corvette -- even a C7 convertible starts at just a few grand more than this loaded 2SS. Trying to justify this over a 'Vette on the grounds of practicality is, to me, absolutely insane if you've ever tried to sit in the back seat of a Camaro for more than five minutes.
Still, if you don't take yourself too seriously and just want a beefy convertible, here you go.
Base Price: $42,950
As-Tested Price: $50,635
Drivetrain: 6.2-liter V8; RWD, six-speed manual
Output: 426 hp @ 5,900 rpm, 420 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm
Curb Weight: 4,197 lb
Fuel Economy (EPA City/Highway/Combined): 16/24/19 mpg
AW Observed Fuel Economy: 15.8 mpg
Options: Spring special edition package including 21-inch silver painted wheels, 245/40 ZR21 front tires and 275/35 ZR21 rear tires, unique Blue Ray stripe, blue leather appointed interior including white gauge cluster and door panels, RS appearance package, premium floor mats, ZL1 rear spoiler, ground effects, black front grille, Blue Ray hood insert ($5,995); dual-mode performance exhaust ($895); navigation system ($795).
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