Sometimes you only need one reason to buy a car, and the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible is a case in point. For many current owners, the droptop Camaro’s show-stopping looks alone were probably enough to clinch the deal. But this Chevy’s got plenty more going for it than just a sexy shape, so if you’re on the fence about getting one, here are five factors that might tip the scales in the Camaro’s favor.
1: Concept-Car Styling
All right, we admit it: the Camaro convertible is defined by its slinky sheetmetal. Well, metal and fabric, to be precise. Impressively, the Camaro convertible manages to retain most of the coupe’s formidable visual impact with the standard power-operated soft top in place, which is something we can’t say of the Ford Mustang convertible, for example. Fold the top down, of course, and the Camaro convertible simply stands apart. We think it’s one of the best-looking droptops at any price.
2: Improved Interior
If you’ve done much research on the current Camaro, you’ve likely come across criticism of its cabin. Materials quality was subpar when the Camaro made its debut a few years back, and the steering wheel came under particular scrutiny for flat-out failing to accommodate human hands. Thankfully, Chevy has made moves to rectify these shortcomings. Our 2SS test car featured supple dashboard trim with exposed stitching, and the replacement steering wheel is ergonomically superior, if arguably less stylish.
3: Vicious V8 Power
One feature of the Camaro SS that’s been great from the get-go is under the hood. The 6.2-liter V8 has strength to spare, making 426 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque with manual transmission, or 400 hp and 410 lb-ft with the automatic. It handily outmuscles the rival V8s of the Mustang and the Dodge Challenger. The only thing we haven’t liked about the Camaro’s big V8 is its rather muffled exhaust note, but the convertible has the solution to that: just put the top down.
4: Civilized Drive
You wouldn’t necessarily expect this from a 400-plus-hp bruiser with enormous wheels and tires, but the Camaro SS convertible manages to strike a satisfying balance between athletic handling and a supple ride. Credit is largely due to the car on which the Camaro is based, the dearly departed Pontiac G8. Like that Australia-bred performance sedan, the Camaro tackles fast corners without drama, yet it doesn’t beat you up on bad roads. We’re not sure we could live with the Camaro’s bunkerlike visibility on a daily basis, but its underpinnings? Absolutely.
5: Loaded with Amenities
If you expected a Spartan equipment roster from this modern-day muscle car, you’re in for a treat. The 2SS is the fanciest Camaro short of the exclusive supercharged ZL1, and it’s got all the fixin’s, including leather, Bluetooth, a standard USB port, Boston Acoustics premium audio, and a retro "four pack" auxiliary gauge cluster. We’d like to see xenon headlights as standard rather than as part of an extra-cost option package, but overall we applaud Chevrolet for bringing its iconic two-door up to 21st century standards.