2019 Chevy Camaro Turbo 1LE

2019 Chevy Camaro Turbo 1LE Prototype Drive Review

In addition to a model-wide refresh, Chevy is introducing yet another 1LE variant of the Camaro. Chevy’s already amplified the ultimate ZL1 Camaro, so now it’s addressing the least powerful Camaro equipped with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. And on paper, it gets nearly identical equipment to the V6 1LE.

It features cooling upgrades for the engine, transmission and differential, big four-piston Brembo front brakes, and upgraded suspension. The suspension is basically what you find on the standard Camaro SS, but with slightly retuned shocks and springs for the lighter engine. That lightweight four-cylinder also means that it’ll be 100 pounds lighter than its V6 sibling, and it has a nearly even 50/50 weight distribution front and rear. If that’s not enough, Chevy also adds launch control and no-lift shifting, and the company will still warranty any parts broken while being driven on the race track.

This Camaro also has several driving modes: touring, track and snow modes, the first of which lightens up the steering. There’s also a “competition” mode, which is how we experienced the car, that’s activated by switching to track and pressing the traction control button twice. This shuts off traction control and puts the stability control system in the most lenient setting. It also weights up the steering.

This pricing also helps reveal the target audience for the Camaro. Chevrolet told us that they’re aiming at people that would usually consider a little turbo hot hatch such as a VW GTI, Ford Focus ST or Honda Civic Type R, or possibly a Subaru BRZ or Toyota 86. Whether those buyers will be tempted by the Camaro is a tough call. It does certainly offer fun rear-drive characteristics that only the Toyobaru can match, and the turbo engine rectifies the little coupe’s dearth of torque.

It will be interesting to see how the Camaro Turbo 1LE fares in this increasingly competitive performance car segment. It delivers on the fun, but we’ll see if the performance-to-dollar ratio is good enough to get attention. The good news for Chevy is that this is a low-risk move, since most of the parts were already developed for the SS and the V6 1LE; it was simply a matter of fitting them to the four-cylinder. And the good news for the rest of us is that there’s yet another fun sports car option on the horizon.

Denree Smith Author

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