When I drove a bright yellow, automatic-equipped Camaro RS hardtop this winter, I determined that a Florida vacation island was not the ideal locale for testing such a vehicle. In setting up a loan of its topless, roided-out older brother in the form of this bright yellow, manual-transmission Camaro SS Convertible, I pledged not to make that same mistake.
Instead, I made a different mistake.
Having lived in New York for twenty-five years, I felt quite confident that the first week in May—typically a time of temperate spring sunshine bordering on a globally-warmed heat wave—would be perfect for roof retracting. (Sorry, Dr. Granstein.) Instead, it was freezing cold and poured rain. All day. Every. Single. Day.
I’m the kind of bitch who will put the top down when it’s forty degrees. I’m the kind of bitch who will ignore all of your engineer-speak about the limited torsional rigidity and enhanced body flex associated with unaffixed roofs. I’m the kind of bitch who likes to have fun, to floss, to shine. The top remained up.
Nor did the weather encourage me to put my foot down, given the fact that it was either blindingly damp, or foggy, or near icy. But I couldn’t resist. This engine sounds wonderful, and has Machiavellian reserves of power which it is unafraid to summon and wield. The chassis tuning is lithe and superlative, just as in the Cadillac ATS with which it shares its underpinnigs. The rev-matching 6-speed has a notch-y, fluid action that approximates BMW quality. And it has outward visibility that is marginally better than Stevie Wonder ice skating with Ray Charles.
I generally dislike pony cars, finding them, like ponies themselves, to be thick and disproportional—overly concerned with attitude, showboating, and appearance at the expense of comfort and practicality. These are the exact reasons people buy them. If you're going to buy one, buy this one, because the Camaro SS is the best one on the market.
2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible
Price As Tested: $38,855
Powertrain: 6.2-liter V8, 455 hp/455 lb-ft, 6-speed manual transmission
0-60 mph: 4.2 seconds
Toplessness Rating: Jessica Alba