First introduced as General Motors’ answer to the Ford Mustang in 1966, the Chevrolet Camaro has come a long way since the days when the mere suggestion of fitting a four-cylinder engine to a pony car would have seen you tarred and feathered before being chased out of town by an angry mob. Chevy just took the cover off the 2019 edition, and not only did the design change slightly, but this is also the first version ever to receive the 1LE performance package on the 2.0-liter turbo engine.
The new face of the car—which the company says has been updated to improve performance by allowing more airflow toward the engine and to minimize drag—seems less assertive than the previous model, and has so far received mixed reviews from fans online. The rear has also undergone some cosmetic surgery, and now sports newly designed LED taillights that come in red on the LS and LT versions, while the RS, the SS and the ZL1 get tinted neutral-density lenses. All in all, it has been more of a gentle face-lift than a radical redesign.
One of the biggest changes under the skin is the addition of the 1LE package for the turbocharged 2.0-liter entry-level engine. The term 1LE goes back to the late ’80s, when Chevy first started to offer a setup that made the third-generation Camaro more competitive in the Showroom Stock road racing series, and ever since this option has stood for cars that have been beefed up for racetrack use. In the case of the 2019 turbo 1LE, this means that the 275hp, 400Nm four-cylinder block is supported in its work by an upgraded suspension system, a Brembo brake package, and new driver-selectable Track and Competition modes. Optional Recaro seats and a suede flat-bottom steering wheel round out the track-happy update.
The latest Camaro also gets a few revisions on the inside, including a rear camera mirror that first saw use in the Cadillac CT6 and the Chevrolet Bolt, a new infotainment system with a seven- or an eight-inch touchscreen, and tweaked ambient lighting. In terms of safety, the car packs everything from multiple airbags for the front, the side and the knees, to rear cross-traffic and blind spot alerts, as well as a forward-collision alert system.
Other engine options for the Camaro include the SS version with the 455hp 6.2-liter V8 that now sends its power through an optional 10-speed automatic transmission with flappy paddles, and a 335hp 3.6-liter V6. While Chevrolet did mention the range-topping ZL1 briefly in the press release, the company didn’t give any details on it yet—meaning we will have to wait and see if the 650hp V8 monster has been sharpened up or left untouched. The new Camaro will go on sale later this year with pricing yet to be confirmed.