America’s love affair with muscle cars is more than half a century old. It’s no secret either. We love our fast cars. There’s something about the deep rumble of the motor and the feel of the road. You get your fingers wrapped around the steering wheel, rev the engine, and then you start to feel the heartbeat of the car, rough and jagged, hungry like a beast yearning for the attack. Your blood pumps, your soul soars and you feel alive, really alive. You put the car in first gear, grab second and you’re free.
There is no feeling like it in the world and the faster you can grab the gears, the faster you go. This is where the Chevy Camaro ZL1 is changing the game. By now you’ve probably seen or heard of paddle shifters being put in cars in recent models. These paddle shifters allow a driver to shift gears like you would a manual transmission but without taking your hands off the wheel. The paddles are imbedded into the steering wheel similar to the way music and phone controls are mounted. A driver can use their thumbs to shift up a gear and to shift down a gear.
To date, the paddle shifters haven’t really been any faster than grabbing a gear shifter the good old fashion way. GM is changing that. GM has upgraded their TapShift system for the 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1. By using a proprietary software algorithm they can speed up the shift response time by up to 60 percent. The algorithm effectively predicts when the driver will shift based on the current gear, speed, throttle and torque. The system uses this information to allow it to pre-fill the clutch for the next successive gear, pressurizing the hydraulic clutch before the driver actually shifts. By doing this, gear shifting literally doesn’t miss a beat and is nearly instantaneous.
The Chevy Camaro ZL1 now reaches a standard so high that it has really kind of out classed itself. The supercharged 6.2L pushes 580 horsepower. It has a 0 to 60 time of 3.9 seconds and its top speed is 184 mph. With those stats the Camaro ZL1 successfully challenges many supercars.
GM is releasing the new TapShift system this spring in the 2012 Camaro ZL1 Coupe and will release a convertible this summer as a 2013 model Chevy Camaro ZL1. GM also intends to release the updated TapShift system in the 2012 Chevy Corvette. Starting next year, the updated TapShift will go into all production model GM vehicles that currently use Tapshift.