Chevy Camaro 2SS offers power, looks, value

2011 Camaro 2SS Convertible

I’m online in a WiFi hotspot where the air is blasting and it’s barely 50 degrees outside. It makes me think back a couple months ago when it was 80 degrees and I was driving topless in the Camaro 2SS convertible.

Yes, the car was topless – not I. This torso doesn’t come out. I was tempted to at least do the wife beater thing but that idea was nixed as well. That’s how good the SS convertible made me feel – a bit bold and daring.

That’s how I describe the car’s looks. We all know the current Camaro. Marketing the car in the Transformers movies, which have grossed about a bazillion dollars, was one of GM’s smartest ideas. Their best idea was to actually do the car when development money was tight. The car is a brilliant throw back but much better built than its predecessor.

I like this SS, with its wide squinty body and aggressive interior–in color, anyway. There’s bit too much plastic on the dash but I love the two-toned leather seats. Grey isn’t the most exciting shade but the red contrast made it interesting.

Ahhh, but who cares about color pallets when you can hit the gas pedal and hear the glorious rumble of a 6.2-liter V8 engine. It’s an angry growl, as if it’s ready to pounce on the competition. The engine makes 426 horsepower with 420 pounds feet if torque. GM says it will return 24 miles to the gallon on the highway, which is impressive if a bit hard to believe. I don’t think I managed that number but I also found myself approaching twice the double-nickel speed limit most of the time.

Driving the Camaro SS with the top down is a blast. Gone is the claustrophobic feel of the blind-spot laden cabin. Barreling down the highway at ridiculous speeds isn’t as noisy as you’d think.  Sixty miles an hour takes about 5.0 seconds from zero, which is fast enough for a car this heavy. You may get quicker results from the six-speed automatic. The six-speed manual is a tad notchy. Handling is good, but cornering requires a bit more finesse than a Mustang or Charger. Ride quality? Really? It’s a Camaro with a sport suspension. Still, not bad. The Brembo brakes are wonderful and that Stabilitrak with traction control comes in handy.

My only real gripe is that once the power-operated top goes up, your ability to see out this thing goes down. The 2012 offers a backup camera, which you should definitely check on the options list. Other than not having a usable back seat, that’s about the worst of it. The 2SS comes with about everything you’d need at $39,650. If you must have 20-inch painted wheels, high intensity discharge headlights, an interior accent trim package and a few other goodies, expect to pay $42,995.

If you are looking for an affordable sporty car with exotic looks the few aforementioned niggles should not keep you from considering the SS convertible. I’m not of the Transformers generation so this isn’t the pony car I’d saddle up. Still, the Camaro is a tempting package and a well sorted one to boot.

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