Gen 5 Racing Tech - Impressions from the Camaro Focus Group




OctaneZ28
05-21-2008, 04:35 PM
As one of the 15 members of the Camaro Focus Group, I was lucky enough to get behind the wheel of a near-production Camaro during the second round of the Camaro Focus Group this weekend at the General Motors Proving Grounds in Milford, Michigan.

Although the cars we actually drove were the black & white camo-painted IVER cars (as seen all over the internet), we did get some time to explore four Camaros that are about 90% production ready.
We did drive both the V6 & V8 models, and I'll say the V6 will be quite the sleeper!

Driving the IVER car was quite satisfying and impressive.
Quite honestly, I would've be happy with that as a final car, but those cars are only 60-65% done.
If 65% is that good, I can only imagine how awesome the 100% finished car is gonna be!

Some highlights:
- The attention to detail is simply amazing, nothing is overlooked.
- The build quality will be top notch, think CTS & Malibu.
- V6 and V8 cars look different, and the V6 is not a dumbed-down look at all.
- The V6 car will surprise people, it's a great performer!
- There will be 10 paint colors on the initial palette.
- A host of GM Accessories will be available at the car's launch.
- It screams. Not only in performance, but in value!

While we can't go into specific detail about the car, I gotta say that aside from the attention to detail, I am most impressed with the development team.
Every single person on the team is just as enthusiastic about the new car as any of us are, and they sure got this car right.
And getting back to the attention to detail - I am seriously impressed about how concerned they are with every little thing. :)

If you thought the concept was awesome, you ain't seen nothin yet! :D

Group photo:
http://www.5thgen.org/images/FocusGroup/M080849-001A.jpg

Note: the production Camaro official unveiling will definitely happen before the Indy 2008 event. Date and location TBD.

FQuick article:
http://www.fquick.com/blog/Impressions_from_the_Camaro_Focus_Group_/1756


hpjunky98
05-21-2008, 05:08 PM
Cool. Wish I could say i drove a 5th gen

TriShield
05-21-2008, 05:26 PM
How many people from Holden were on hand?

Are there any traditional muscle car candy colors in the palette like bright blue, purple, yellow, orange, etc?


Luder[PAK9]
05-21-2008, 05:52 PM
Most of those ppl do not look like those who I would consider the proper target consumer for the Camaro

phantomzer0
05-21-2008, 06:21 PM
I'm glad they are going to unveil it before Indy. I hope it is soon though, maybe before July. That would be sweet. Then I could determine if I should start saving or not. ;) Thanks Octane.

Kamauxx
05-21-2008, 06:24 PM
That car looks HUGE on side of those people..like 2 door Bentley huge.

Do you get any perks (other than driving a car that officially doesn't exist) from being in the Focus Group? Discounted car mayhaps? Free supercharger maybe?

Wallywall
05-21-2008, 07:51 PM
I drove a Malibu not too long ago and was very impressed. Only thing I didn't like was the chrome crap all over the dash and interior. The sun managed to reflect in my eye no matter what direction I was driving. I'll be very happy with that type of quality, minus the chrome of course.

demonspeed
05-21-2008, 08:01 PM
;9409900']Most of those ppl do not look like those who I would consider the proper target consumer for the Camaro

They're old and female?

kozak
05-21-2008, 08:42 PM
Awesome! I'm happy that it will be revealed before indy, but am sad this it won't be a big unveil at indy.

RCowan
05-21-2008, 09:34 PM
If they are unveiling it before Indy then JULY 4 sounds perfect to me! What better day for the rebirth of an AMERICAN Muscle Car ICON than on the birthday of the USA. Get that Red, White, and Blue Camaro logo flying. :cool: :usa:

RevGTO
05-21-2008, 11:06 PM
Too bad the economy is tanking and gas will be over $4.00 a gallon. Timing could hardly be worse for the introduction of this car. Selling it is going to be tough, even if it's excellent in every respect.

Buckwheat
05-21-2008, 11:24 PM
They're old and female?

No....they don't have MULLETS!

xpridah
05-21-2008, 11:44 PM
Too bad the economy is tanking and gas will be over $4.00 a gallon. Timing could hardly be worse for the introduction of this car. Selling it is going to be tough, even if it's excellent in every respect.

I cosign that. $134.00 a barrel is alot. We gotta wait and see the numbers for fuel economy.

WECIV
05-22-2008, 12:26 AM
Focus Groups looks mainly like old ppl.

W

WECIV
05-22-2008, 12:29 AM
4 bucks plus a gallon means I will be able to pick up a used one of these for cheap :)

I like smaller cars, but this thing likes like it will hold my frame in comfort.

W

TriShield
05-22-2008, 12:45 AM
Too bad the economy is tanking and gas will be over $4.00 a gallon. Timing could hardly be worse for the introduction of this car. Selling it is going to be tough, even if it's excellent in every respect.

Somehow muscle cars managed to survive and prosper after the original fuel shortage and crisis of the 1970s. That's not being repeated today. The people that really want this type of car will still buy them just as those who still need pickups to do real work or for a task will still buy them.

Devylyst
05-22-2008, 02:00 AM
u lucky s.o.b!!!

triggerjerk
05-22-2008, 09:37 AM
How many V8 versions were there?

Luder[PAK9]
05-22-2008, 11:18 AM
They're old and/or female?

Fixed^^, but yeah. Though the one chick by the windscreen withthe blue collar looks like she has the 'tude needed for driving a Camaro.

Lickeyman
05-22-2008, 11:56 AM
I'll be ROFLMAO if the six is real competition for a gt mustang stock for stock. It will be like the 1996 all over again.

But yeah gas is going suck the life out of the 5th gen no doubt.

Are they doing direct injection with the v-8s or do you know????????

Hydramatic
05-22-2008, 12:36 PM
;9409900']Most of those ppl do not look like those who I would consider the proper target consumer for the Camaro

That's about what I was thinking when I saw the photo...

I guess the chicks are there to make sure the V6 is up to their standards. They probably squirmed driving the V8. "oh my god! why would anyone want a car this powerful....wahhhh....What? I can't drive this, it's a standard! Don't ya'll have an automatic laying around?"

Ok, I take that back...most of the ladies there look old enough to have driven a manual at some point in their lives...

But seriously, what's up with all the old fogeys in this focus group? I guess no one told them that when you get the young guys hooked early, you keep them as customers for life. Look at Honda.

demonspeed
05-22-2008, 07:24 PM
One of the lead engineers/production managers is a female (Cheryl Pilcher).

The old guys are probably in their 40's/50's. These people were brought up around the original Camaros and were probably buying brand new 3rd and 4th gens. They know a lot about the Camaro brand. These are also people who can afford any version of the 5th gen, which I would assume a lot of people who criticize the car can not.

Killer_Z
05-22-2008, 10:01 PM
i'll buy one regardless of fuel costs.

2LS1TA
05-22-2008, 10:24 PM
Sounds great. I might actually be interested in a V6 w/ an M6. A 300 horse V6 priced in the low - mid $20k's sounds interesting. ;)

As for colors, I'm hoping to see hugger orange and some sort of bright blue. :cool:

68Goatboy
05-23-2008, 05:39 AM
you said the V6 power was great...but how was the V8 power in comparison?!

the more i see this car the more i like it!

i might have to consider trading my 05 ram and 00Z28 in for one of these if theyre so amazing

Hydramatic
05-23-2008, 12:44 PM
One of the lead engineers/production managers is a female (Cheryl Pilcher).

The old guys are probably in their 40's/50's. These people were brought up around the original Camaros and were probably buying brand new 3rd and 4th gens. They know a lot about the Camaro brand. These are also people who can afford any version of the 5th gen, which I would assume a lot of people who criticize the car can not.

See, there is the problem! The Camaro really shouldn't be expensive at all! It was meant to be a little personal coupe to compete with the Mustang. That's it. If GM tries to pull this, "oh it's a RWD coupe, therefore it must be out of normal people's price range" shit, I'm going over to the Mustang side of the fence! To hell with expensive coupes!

EvoWake
05-23-2008, 02:17 PM
See, there is the problem! The Camaro really shouldn't be expensive at all! It was meant to be a little personal coupe to compete with the Mustang. That's it. If GM tries to pull this, "oh it's a RWD coupe, therefore it must be out of normal people's price range" shit, I'm going over to the Mustang side of the fence! To hell with expensive coupes!

Although not the way i'd have put it, you are right. We don't need a corvette jr. we want an affordable rwd sports coupe! Nor would i EVER buy a mustang...

Blue Meanie
05-23-2008, 02:49 PM
Well hopefully I can pick up the top model in 2-4 years. I couldn't wait any longer and spent the 20k I had for a deposit to build a 427 for the SS. Oh well. Should be a great car.

mr.ss
05-23-2008, 04:36 PM
Unfortunately after seeing the car in person last year at Carlisle PA I personnally do not like the looks of the car. I really think that GM missed a great oppurtunity to do something more retro like Mopar and Ford and really missed the boat. The gauges remind me of the dash in my chevy truck. My flame suit is on just my 02

TriShield
05-23-2008, 06:54 PM
If GM tries to pull this, "oh it's a RWD coupe, therefore it must be out of normal people's price range" shit, I'm going over to the Mustang side of the fence! To hell with expensive coupes!

It will be priced like the Mustang, which is what cars like this go for nowadays and you can't afford that?

Kamauxx
05-23-2008, 07:07 PM
Well hopefully I can pick up the top model in 2-4 years. I couldn't wait any longer and spent the 20k I had for a deposit to build a 427 for the SS. Oh well. Should be a great car.

20K for a LS7?

Fuck that! Stroke a LS2 and and put a 250 shot in it! Save 13K and make 675 hp!!!

Apoxi
05-23-2008, 10:45 PM
Too bad they are making muscle/sports cars more refined and less rough and visceral. It makes me sad that that is how things are going. :(

Hydramatic
05-23-2008, 11:00 PM
It will be priced like the Mustang, which is what cars like this go for nowadays and you can't afford that?

>Poor College Student

:nod:

I just don't like how every manufacturer seems to think that you can't sell a RWD coupe for under $20K. It's madness. Why would any competent car buyer want a $21K Camaro 3.6L over a similarly priced Malibu or Fusion which would yield much more room for people and stuff? Everyone seems to have forgotten that with a Camaro/Mustang you ARE getting LESS CAR for your money than a sedan. By that definition, logically the coupes should sell for significantly less than the sedans they are based on. I can't stand that coupes have more or less become fashion statements and not just 2 door cars in today's day and age. Honestly, a pony car is not supposed to be an expensive endeavor, so why do manufacturers feel the need to jack up the prices?

An '02 Camaro Z28 cost a couple grand more to purchase than my truck back in the day, but it was much less vehicle for the money. Why? Oh, wait...it's because GM was more or less selling 3rd gens with LS1's for BMW prices. Tell me how that makes sense.:confused:

LS1FC3
05-24-2008, 01:04 AM
That car looks HUGE on side of those people..like 2 door Bentley huge.

Do you get any perks (other than driving a car that officially doesn't exist) from being in the Focus Group? Discounted car mayhaps? Free supercharger maybe?

I was shocked at the size of it too after seeing it last week. I wasn't expecting something like my subaru but it is pretty big.

demonspeed
05-24-2008, 08:48 AM
A Camaro with a LSA is much more of a car than $20k can afford it. If you want bargain-basement, look at the base V8. That's how it has been forever. You think a 396 SS/RS was the run-of-the-mill cheapo? No.

It's no different on the Ford side. You want the top-dog Mustang? You're going to pay over $40k for it. Same goes for the Challenger.

Hydramatic
05-24-2008, 11:06 AM
A Camaro with a LSA is much more of a car than $20k can afford it. If you want bargain-basement, look at the base V8. That's how it has been forever. You think a 396 SS/RS was the run-of-the-mill cheapo? No.

It's no different on the Ford side. You want the top-dog Mustang? You're going to pay over $40k for it. Same goes for the Challenger.

I never implied nor stated that a $20K LSA was a good business move. In fact in the past I've pretty much agreed with the manufacturers on the price of the big dogs. It's the base V6 and base V8 prices that need to be adjusted downwards.

Around here you can get a V8 Mustang for around $24k brand new, and a six for less than $20K. If you really think GM will sell a 6.0L Camaro for $24K, you're dreaming. I would LOVE for them to do that, and by all means they really should be doing it, but they aren't because they are GM and the Camaro apparently isn't for common folk anymore, rather, a Chevrolet version of the GTO.

I merely think it's absurd that GM always seems to pull this "elitist" attitude out of its ass when it comes to selling fun-to-drive cars. Dodge is completely out of line for selling their RWD cars at the prices they sell them. Has anyone over in Auburn Hills taken a look at how cheap and disgusting their regular lineup is? Dodge used to be nice, about like Pontiac, but now it has sunk to about where Plymouth would be if it was still around...which begs the question...what gives Dodge the idea that their cars are worth that much to people? Similarly, what the hell is up with Chevrolet thinking that they can honestly sell 2-door coupes for as much as I'm sure they will be asking?

Seriously.


BTW...has anyone noticed that the sub-$20K car market is more or less OWNED by the Japanese and Koreans? Where the hell are the Domestics? There is no reason GM, Ford, and the Mopar twins can't make competitive small cars...other than the fact that they make their base offerings so repulsive that you would much rather spend 4-5K more for the infinitely better $20K-plus range of vehicles they offer. You see?

There is no reason the Aveo HAS to be THAT UGLY other than the fact that they want to up-sell you on a Cobalt, etc.


*rant over*

P.S.
I'd be happy with a 4.8L V8 Camaro if it was priced like a 4.8L V8 Camaro should be...

RCowan
05-24-2008, 11:30 AM
Noone should be surprised that a V8 car will cost significantly more than your avg car.

Back in the old days of muscle cars, you know, before fuel injection, etc. you could get a regular car with some muscle in it. In some cases you could order just about any car with any motor. If that held true today you could have ordered your Cobalt with an LS2 or something, but in the post CAFE world they can't give you a cheap way to get that car with a V8 or it screws up their CAFE. So anything with a V8 has to be expensive in order to sell fewer of them. So then if you are going to put down the new higher $$ to get your v8 you expect a hell of a lot more than just a box with a v8 in it. In the end you get the "Corvette-ification" of muscle cars where they are all very nice and much better than the old days, but the every-man V8 "car" disappears. So to keep the price down they either have to find a way to get EVEN MORE efficiency out of these V8s or the industry can start stepping up with more and more forced-induction options, which wouldn't be bad thing. Of course there may be other possibilities but I think a realistic power-dense super-battery is still a long time coming.

If the govt continues to try to force technology, sure the industry will respond, but look how long it took muscle cars to come back after they were all but killed off in the 70s/80s. For now, bite your lip, smile big, keep stepping up to the plate showing that we still love 'em and want 'em, pay a little more, enjoy your better-than-ever Camaro, be glad they are still around, keep the flags flying, and above all--enjoy it!

-RCowan
99SS Black Vert
93 Black 3.1v6 hardtop -RIP
85 Black 305v8 carb'd T-top -gone

JD_AMG
05-24-2008, 11:37 AM
I just don't like how every manufacturer seems to think that you can't sell a RWD coupe for under $20K. It's madness. Why would any competent car buyer want a $21K Camaro 3.6L over a similarly priced Malibu or Fusion which would yield much more room for people and stuff?

Because the Camaro will perform better in every way, and as you already stated it is a fashion statement unfortunately.


Honestly, a pony car is not supposed to be an expensive endeavor, so why do manufacturers feel the need to jack up the prices?

The problem is they are not the same kind of car as they were back in the 60s. New safety and emission standards, and people want a car that can turn and brake as well as accelerate. Honestly I don't see how a manufacturer can meet all these standards for under $20,000, its just not possible.


An '02 Camaro Z28 cost a couple grand more to purchase than my truck back in the day, but it was much less vehicle for the money. Why? Oh, wait...it's because GM was more or less selling 3rd gens with LS1's for BMW prices. Tell me how that makes sense.:confused:
A Z28 could be bought for $22,000, how is that BMW price territory? And there is nothing carry over from the 3rd gens.

68Goatboy
05-25-2008, 11:28 PM
>Poor College Student

:nod:

I just don't like how every manufacturer seems to think that you can't sell a RWD coupe for under $20K. It's madness. Why would any competent car buyer want a $21K Camaro 3.6L over a similarly priced Malibu or Fusion which would yield much more room for people and stuff? Everyone seems to have forgotten that with a Camaro/Mustang you ARE getting LESS CAR for your money than a sedan. By that definition, logically the coupes should sell for significantly less than the sedans they are based on. I can't stand that coupes have more or less become fashion statements and not just 2 door cars in today's day and age. Honestly, a pony car is not supposed to be an expensive endeavor, so why do manufacturers feel the need to jack up the prices?

An '02 Camaro Z28 cost a couple grand more to purchase than my truck back in the day, but it was much less vehicle for the money. Why? Oh, wait...it's because GM was more or less selling 3rd gens with LS1's for BMW prices. Tell me how that makes sense.:confused:

you shuld define what "more car for the money" really means. more car as in a big trunk and 4 doors for a family to comfortably fit into? or more car as in when you sit in the car its gonna give you the ride of your life and put a huge sh!t eating grin on your face? however you define that should resemble what you look for in buying a car...i want something thats gonna kick majhor ass!

and i can see this car as being something that will eat into other markets like G35 and BMW 3 series coupes due to performance and refinement.

Hydramatic
05-26-2008, 01:52 PM
you shuld define what "more car for the money" really means. more car as in a big trunk and 4 doors for a family to comfortably fit into? or more car as in when you sit in the car its gonna give you the ride of your life and put a huge sh!t eating grin on your face? however you define that should resemble what you look for in buying a car...i want something thats gonna kick majhor ass!

and i can see this car as being something that will eat into other markets like G35 and BMW 3 series coupes due to performance and refinement.

I meant the first definition you gave. I guess the price hike of the pony cars is dude to the fact that there just aren't that many coupes out there nowadays, and the manufacturers feel the need to make the consumer "pay" for the "crime" of wanting a 2-door. I guess I'm just irritated that so many car companies could really give a shit what people want. Yes, people want the Camaro, but what about the guys who want a Chevelle or Nova? If GM made a budget Nova on that new Alpha platform, they would be my hero.

See, I'm the kind of guy who thinks IRS and Nurburgring testing is pretty sweet, but I could live without it if it hikes up the price of the car significantly. There were great handling cars before IRS was common and Nurburgring testing was a standard procedure. I think it's great that the Camaro will be a BMW/Infiniti/Acura eater, but was that it's original role in this world? Hell no. It was a PERSONAL, 2-door coupe. It had so many variants and options that it WAS its OWN family of cars. Now I know that that kind of thing isn't entirely possible anymore, but for pete's sake, that doesn't mean they shouldn't try! Until the late-model 4th gens, the Camaro could be a relatively budget-friendly car if you didn't tack on the options and stripes. You could have an agressive-looking coupe for a good price, or you could have a barn-stormer with fantastic handling if you felt like emptying your wallet.

My point is this...the Camaro was always an everyman's car, but GM has felt the need to raise the bottom-line of the vehicle, placing it out of a lot of folks' price range. It has been losing it's identity since '98. So okay. It's not the same car it used to be. I have a problem with that. Does anyone else?

SS#1531
05-26-2008, 03:38 PM
I meant the first definition you gave. I guess the price hike of the pony cars is dude to the fact that there just aren't that many coupes out there nowadays, and the manufacturers feel the need to make the consumer "pay" for the "crime" of wanting a 2-door. I guess I'm just irritated that so many car companies could really give a shit what people want. Yes, people want the Camaro, but what about the guys who want a Chevelle or Nova? If GM made a budget Nova on that new Alpha platform, they would be my hero.

See, I'm the kind of guy who thinks IRS and Nurburgring testing is pretty sweet, but I could live without it if it hikes up the price of the car significantly. There were great handling cars before IRS was common and Nurburgring testing was a standard procedure. I think it's great that the Camaro will be a BMW/Infiniti/Acura eater, but was that it's original role in this world? Hell no. It was a PERSONAL, 2-door coupe. It had so many variants and options that it WAS its OWN family of cars. Now I know that that kind of thing isn't entirely possible anymore, but for pete's sake, that doesn't mean they shouldn't try! Until the late-model 4th gens, the Camaro could be a relatively budget-friendly car if you didn't tack on the options and stripes. You could have an agressive-looking coupe for a good price, or you could have a barn-stormer with fantastic handling if you felt like emptying your wallet.

My point is this...the Camaro was always an everyman's car, but GM has felt the need to raise the bottom-line of the vehicle, placing it out of a lot of folks' price range. It has been losing it's identity since '98. So okay. It's not the same car it used to be. I have a problem with that. Does anyone else?


Every car models have a tendency to "grow up" so to speak. The fact that it took this many years for it to happen to the Camaro is quite unusual. Most cars only take about 2 model runs before they start getting bigger, more refined, and more expensive.

Hydramatic
05-26-2008, 03:58 PM
Every car models have a tendency to "grow up" so to speak. The fact that it took this many years for it to happen to the Camaro is quite unusual. Most cars only take about 2 model runs before they start getting bigger, more refined, and more expensive.

Yes, but there is usually a "replacement" for the slot that the prior car used to fill. Take the Cavalier, for instance. When they replaced it with the more expensive Cobalt, the Aveo was added to fill in the space for a budget car. This didn't happen with the Camaro OR the Mustang, thus lighting my fire so to speak. It's almost like these companies don't care that they've left a gaping hole in their product lineup...

2k05gt
05-27-2008, 09:32 AM
See, there is the problem! The Camaro really shouldn't be expensive at all! It was meant to be a little personal coupe to compete with the Mustang. That's it. If GM tries to pull this, "oh it's a RWD coupe, therefore it must be out of normal people's price range" shit, I'm going over to the Mustang side of the fence! To hell with expensive coupes!

I would not worry about the price.. Take the new Pontiac G8 GT, I think it's also on the ZETA Frame platform. look at the price and performance of it. fully decked out for 32K, not bad for a lux 4 door sedan right?

I would expect the Camaro to sport the same specs, price to start out at 29K and decked out 32K with a tuned L76 400hp w/DOD M6 and weight around 3700 lbs.

Well I hope so, I have money down on one right now.