History of the 5th Generation Camaro
GEN5 CHEVROLET CAMARO
The 5th Gen Camaro was the comeback generation of the Chevrolet Camaro after it was discontinued in 2002. The first model year for the fifth generation was 2010, and it went on sale in the American market in April of 2009. This Camaro was built on the GM Zeta platform, shared by the Buick Park Avenue and Chevrolet Caprice, among other GM models. Production for the 5th Gen Camaro took place in Oshawa, Ontario, in Canada.
History of the 5th Gen Camaro (2010-2015)
Even though the Camaro was discontinued in 2002 at the end of its fourth generation, it wasn't long before a concept model for a new generation of Camaro was back in development. In early 2005, sketches and models were in progress for the next generation of Camaro. By 2006, a finished clay model of the new Camaro was available to the public. Between 2006 and 2008, several test models were created for a potential new Camaro. These test models were initially hidden from the public until early 2008, when Chevrolet announced that the models were no longer camouflaged. As a result, several images of the new Camaro were released in 2008.
At the same time, a concept Camaro was shown at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show, and it was announced that the Camaro would start production in 2008 for a 2009 model year release. However, production plans were delayed until 2009, and the new generation of Camaro would not go on sale until the 2010 model year.
5th Gen Camaro Evolution and Changes
The 2010 Camaro was available in five trim levels to start: LS, 1LT, 2LT, 1SS, and 2SS. These were all in the coupe layout. There were also several special editions that were released for the 2010 model year, including the following:
- Transformers Special Edition
- Synergy Special Edition
- Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Special Edition
- SLP Performance ZL550/ZL575 Special Edition
The LS and all LT trim levels were powered by the GM LLT V6 engine, which made 304 horsepower. The SS trim with a manual transmission was powered by the 6.2-liter GM LS3 V8 engine, which produced 426 horsepower. The SS trim with an automatic transmission was powered by an LS3 variant called the GM L99. This engine made 400 horsepower. The design of the new 5th Gen Camaro was quite different from the 4th generation. It followed the retro design cues popular with other sports cars of that time, including the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger. The body design was thick with an aggressive stance, long hood, and a narrow grille.
For 2011, the V6 engine was boosted to 312 horsepower. No reason was given for the change, but GM claimed that the earlier 304 rating from 2010 was too conservative and inaccurate. The Synergy Green color from the Synergy Special Edition became available for all 2011 models. Another special edition was announced with the Neiman Marcus Edition Camaro Convertible. Orders for this edition were available through Neiman Marcus, and they sold out in three minutes. To date, this was the fastest-selling GM special edition ever. This special edition also heralded the future arrival of the Camaro Convertible, which went into production in early 2011. The new XM Accessory Appearance Package was also available in the 2011 model year. This package was designed so buyers could make the LT trims more unique as all the special editions were using the SS trims only. Three colors were available with the XM package: Black, Cyber Gray Metallic, and Imperial Blue Metallic.
The 2012 model year saw the debut of the ZL1 high-performance Camaro. Roughly 30% of the parts on the ZL1 were unique to the ZL1 versus any other Camaro model. The ZL1 featured a 6.2-liter LSA V8 engine with a 1.9-liter supercharger. The LSA motor was rated at 580 horsepower, and the LSA blower had a max boost at stock specifications of 7 psi. Along with the introduction of the ZL1, there were other changes for the 2012 model year, including the 3.6-liter direct injection LFX V6 engine, which was rated at 323 horsepower. A new suspension package was also introduced for the SS coupe.
The 2LS Camaro was introduced for the 2012 model year. This trim used different gearing in an automatic transmission to achieve better fuel economy. The 2012 COPO Camaro coupe and convertible debuted as limited-production versions of drag-racing Camaro models built for NHRA Stock Eliminator and Super Stock. Finally, the 45th Anniversary Special Edition for this model year for both coupe and convertible layouts. It was based on the 2LT and 2SS trims.
The introduction of the 1LE performance package was the most significant change to the regular Camaro production models. This package was available on the SS trims and featured an exclusive six-speed manual transmission, upgraded suspension components, ZL1-style wheels, and many more extras. Several special editions were available for this model year as well:
- NASCAR Nationwide Series Camaro coupe
- Camaro Giovanna Edition
- "Turbo" Camaro Coupe
- 2013 Camaro Hot Wheels Special Edition
- 2013 COPO Camaro
For the 2014 model year, a facelift included a front and rear-ended redesign that gave the Camaro a more contemporary appearance with less of the retro look from the earlier part of the generation. The Z/28 Camaro finally made its appearance for the 2014 model year as well. The Z/28 is a high-performance version of the SS with a full aerodynamic upgrade package to make it more proficient in race track driving. Also included on the Z/28 was a 7.0-liter LS7 V8 engine developed in collaboration with Corvette Racing. This engine was rated at 505 horsepower but was lighter and more adept at cornering.
The 2015 model year was to be the last year of the 5th Gen Camaro. After its makeover in 2014, the 2015 model year saw very few changes. A new color called Blue Velvet Metallic was added, and an upgraded navigation system became available on most trims. 2015 mainly set the stage for the next generation of Camaro.
5th Gen Camaro Fun Facts
- The 2010 Camaro reportedly had an 18-hour assembly time per car
- The rear quarter panel of the 5th Gen Camaro is the largest ever built by GM
- The 2015 ZL1 Camaro was the fastest to date with a 184 MPH top speed
- The Z/28 Camaro was only available for the 2014 and 2015 model years in the fifth generation
- The ZL1 shares the same power plant as the 2nd generation Cadillac CTS-V
Legacy of the 5th Gen Camaro
The 5th Gen Camaro will always be known as the comeback generation as it brought the Camaro nameplate back on the market after nearly ten years of absence. It began by following the popular retro design cues of its day but ended with a more contemporary look that would be carried over to the 6th generation Camaro. The 5th generation was almost like a celebration of the Camaro, with numerous special editions made and awards won during its run.
Want more Camaro history? Read about the 6th Gen Camaro (2016 - 2022).