Chevrolet Announces 6th-Gen Camaro Drivetrains!


Image: Barry Kluczyk

Today, Chevrolet had unveiled the brand new line of Camaros for the 2016 model year! Available with a choice of three engines (!), and two transmissions, the 2016 Camaro continues the tradition of legendary pony car performance from Chevrolet.

Our friends at GM have passed along all of the juicy details regarding the drivetrain choices and we’ve shared it below in the form of their official press release. After all, why waste time speculating, stipulating or guessing the specifics when you can get 100% accurateinformation directly from the source?

Official Release:

DETROIT – An all-new lineup of six powertrain combinations in the 2016 Camaro complements the car’s lighter, stronger structure to enable a faster, more nimble driving experience.

The lineup includes an Ecotec 2.0L turbo, a next-generation 3.6L V-6 and the LT1 6.2L V-8. The 3.6L offers an SAE-certified 335 horsepower (250 kW), giving it the segment’s highest specific output of any naturally aspirated V-6, while the LT1 is certified at 455 horsepower (339 kW) and 455 lb-ft of torque (617 Nm) – for the most powerful Camaro SS ever. The new engines are matched with six-speed manual transmissions and all-new eight-speed automatic transmissions.

The Ecotec 2.0L turbo will deliver 0-60 mph acceleration in less than 6 seconds and offer more than 30 mpg on the highway (GM-estimated), making it the most fuel-efficient Camaro ever.


“Everything about the 2016 Camaro is focused on a fun, engaging driving experience and that’s delivered with each of its new powertrains,” said Dan Nicholson, vice president, General Motors Global Powertrain. “From the first-ever turbocharged engine in a Camaro and an efficient V-6 with more power than many of the V-8s offered in previous generations, to the return of the LT1 small-block V-8, there is a choice to satisfy every taste and performance desire.”

All three engines feature direct injection, which enables an increased compression ratio for a greater balance of performance and efficiency. For models equipped with an automatic transmission, the all-new 3.6L V-6 and the new LT1 also employ Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation technology, which disables some cylinders under light throttle applications to enhance efficiency. In the 3.6L, two cylinders are deactivated and in the LT1 V-8, four cylinders are deactivated.

The Ecotec 2.0L turbo and 3.6L are offered with the all-new Hydra-Matic 8L45 paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission. It is based on the Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed, which is offered on the Camaro SS, but scaled for the performance envelope of the smaller engines and offers an estimated 5-percent efficiency improvement over a comparable six-speed automatic.

They are also offered with six-speed manual transmissions, as is the Camaro SS. Its TREMEC TR6060 six-speed manual features Active Rev Match technology, a driver-selectable feature that automatically “blips” the throttle for perfectly timed downshifts.

Ecotec 2.0L turbo details
The Camaro LT’s standard engine is a new Ecotec 2.0L turbocharged I-4, rated at an SAE-certified 275 horsepower (205 kW) and 295 lb-ft of torque (400 Nm). For impressive power on demand, it offers a wide torque band with 90 percent of its peak torque available from 2,100 rpm to 3,000 rpm, and maximum torque from 3,000 to 4,500 rpm.

The turbocharger generates up to 20 pounds of boost and its twin-scroll design helps make the most of the usable power from the engine, practically eliminating turbo lag and helping deliver a broad power band. It also gives the engine the rapid throttle responsiveness associated with a higher-displacement, naturally aspirated, high-performance engine. Electronically controlled supporting components, including the wastegate and bypass, help optimize performance and efficiency.

The engine features durability and technological features familiar in premium engines, including low-friction hydraulic roller-finger valve operation and an electronic throttle. A hydraulic tensioner keeps the timing chain adjusted for life.

Additional engine features include:

  • Precision sand-cast engine block with cast-in-place iron liners
  • Forged steel crankshaft with induction heat-treated fillets and cross-drilled chamfered oil passages for racing-grade lubrication characteristics
  • Forged powdered metal connecting rods incorporate an I-beam cross section for added strength
  • Pistons with jet-spray cooling
  • Modular balance shaft system in the oil pan
  • Dual Overhead Camshaft (DOHC) with continuously variable valve timing
  • Direct injection with cam-driven high-pressure fuel pump
  • Two-stage variable-displacement oil pump
  • Air-to-air intercooling system.

Additionally, an A356T6 aluminum cylinder head is produced using a Rotacast process for high strength, reduced machining and improved port flow. The head also uses stainless steel intake valves that are nitrided – nitrogen is diffused into the surface of a metal to create a case-hardened surface – for improved durability and undercut to improve flow and reduce weight. The exhaust valves have sodium-filled stems that promote valve cooling to reduce wear on the valve guide for better alignment and a consistent seal between the valve seat and valve face.

The Ecotec 2.0L turbo engine will be built at GM’s Tonawanda, N.Y., engine plant.

All-new 3.6L V-6
The new 3.6L V-6 ,available in the Camaro LT, offers the highest specific output for a naturally aspirated V-6, producing an SAE-certified 335 horsepower (250 kW) and 284 lb-ft of torque (385 Nm). It’s an all-new design that represents the fourth generation of GM’s DOHC V-6 engine family and incorporates new features, including Active Fuel Management.

Structurally, the all-new 3.6L V-6 builds on the proven, award-winning design of the Camaro’s previous V-6 engine, including an aluminum, deep-skirt cylinder block. The optimal 60-degree cylinder angle is retained, with the bore size enlarged from 94mm to 95mm and the bore centers stretched from 103mm to 106mm. The cylinder block features six-bolt main bearing caps and inter-bay breather vents that enhance power and oil flow management.

Additional engine highlights include:

  • Tough, refined rotating assembly with a stiff, 1538MV forged-steel crankshaft, friction-reducing polymer-coated pistons and strong high-copper-content, sinter-forged connecting rods
  • Oil-spray piston cooling, which helps reduce noise, lower combustion temperatures and enhance durability by drenching the underside of each piston and the surrounding cylinder wall in an extra layer of cooling, friction-reducing engine oil
  • All-new lubrication system with a variable-displacement, two-stage oil pump that enhances efficiency. It is located inside the oil pan, which contributes to greater noise abatement
  • New four-cam phasing system with intermediate park technology that enhances efficiency by enabling late inlet valve closing in certain conditions
  • All-new, patented “targeted” cooling system that provides strategic cooling of the engine’s hottest areas while simultaneously fostering faster warm-up to enhance efficiency
  • New, higher-flow cylinder heads that enhance direct-injection performance through features including larger-diameter intake and exhaust valves for greater flow capacity, revised valve angles that promote faster combustion and greater efficiency, and a smaller, 12mm spark plug that promotes greater flame propagation and greater light-load efficiency
  • Exhaust manifolds integrated with the cylinder heads, which saves weight over a conventional, separate head/manifold assembly
  • Revised, simplified timing drive system with cushioned chain sprockets contributes to quieter engine operation.

The new 3.6L engine is produced at GM’s Romulus Engine Operations powertrain assembly facility, near Detroit, which received a $390-million investment to build next-generation V-6 engines.

Return of the LT1
The 2016 Camaro SS is powered by the Small Block 6.2L LT1 V-8 engine, with output SAE-certified at 455 horsepower (339 kW) and 455 lb-ft of torque (617 Nm), making it the most powerful Camaro SS ever.

Its use in the sixth generation marks the third time the LT1 moniker has been bestowed on a Camaro Small Block V-8 engine, with previous iterations used in the 1970-72 Z28, 1993-97 Z28 and 1996-97 SS.

About 20 percent of the components are specific for the Camaro’s architecture, including new, tubular “tri-Y”-type exhaust manifolds. It also offers advanced technologies, such as continuously variable valve timing, direct injection and Active Fuel Management (on automatic-equipped models) to help balance efficiency and performance.

Those technologies support an advanced combustion system that incorporates a unique cylinder-head design and a new, sculpted piston design that is an integral contributor to the high-compression, mixture motion parameters enabled by direct injection.

Compared to the fifth-gen Camaro SS’s previous LS3 engine, the new LT1 cylinder head design features smaller combustion chambers designed to complement the volume of the unique topography of the pistons’ heads. The smaller chamber size and sculpted pistons produce an 11.5:1 compression ratio, while the head features large, straight and rectangular intake ports with a slight twist to enhance mixture motion. This is complemented by a reversal of the intake and exhaust valve positions, as compared to the previous engine design. Also, the spark plug angle and depth have been revised to protrude farther into the chamber, placing the electrode closer to the center of combustion to support optimal combustion.

The pistons feature unique sculpted topography that was optimized via extensive analysis to precisely direct the fuel spray for a more complete combustion. The contours of the piston heads are machined to ensure dimensional accuracy – essential for precise control of mixture motion and the compression ratio.

Additional engine features and highlights:

  • All-aluminum block and oil pan: The LT1 block has a deep-skirt design, that helps maximize strength and minimize vibration. As with the Gen 3 and Gen 4 Small Blocks, the bulkheads accommodate six-bolt, cross-bolted main-bearing caps that limit crank flex and stiffen the engine’s structure. A structural aluminum oil pan further stiffens the powertrain. The block features nodular iron main bearing caps, which represent a significant upgrade over more conventional powdered metal bearing caps. They are stronger and can better absorb vibrations and other harmonics to help produce smoother, quieter performance. 
  • Advanced oiling system: The oiling system – including oil-spray piston cooling – is driven by a variable-displacement oil pump that enables more efficient oil delivery. Its dual-pressure control enables operation at a very efficient oil pressure at lower rpm coordinated with Active Fuel Management and delivers higher pressure at higher engine speeds to provide a more robust lube system for aggressive engine operation. To make the most of efficiency, oil-spray piston cooling is used only when needed the most: at start-up, providing extra lubrication that reduces noise, and at higher engine speeds when the engine load demands.
  • Tri-lobe camshaft: The LT1’s camshaft features an all-new “tri-lobe” at the rear, which drives the engine-mounted direct injection high-pressure fuel pump. The cam’s specifications include 14mm/13.3mm (0.551/0.524-inch) intake/exhaust lift, 200/207-crank angle degrees intake/exhaust duration at 0.050-inch tappet lift and a 116.5-degree cam angle lobe separation.
  • New, cam-driven fuel pump: The direct injection system features a very-high-pressure fuel pump, which delivers up to 15Mpa (150 bar), which is fed by a conventional fuel-tank-mounted pump. It is mounted in the “valley” between cylinder heads – beneath the intake manifold – which ensures noise is muffled by the intake manifold and other insulation.  
  • PCV-integrated rocker covers: The patented integrated positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system enhances oil economy and oil life, while reducing oil consumption and contributing to low emissions. The rocker covers also hold the direct-mount ignition coils for the coil-near-plug ignition system. Between the individual coil packs, the domed sections of the covers contain baffles that separate oil and air from the crankcase gases – about three times the oil/air separation capability of previous engines. In the Camaro, the system also includes a unique track PCV separator tank, which provides a significant benefit during track driving, separating liquid oil from the PCV system and returning it to the oil pan.
  • Intake manifold and throttle body assembly: The LT1’s intake manifold features a “runners in a box” design, wherein individual runners inside the manifold feed a plenum box that allows for high-efficiency airflow packaged beneath the car’s low hood line. Acoustic foam is sandwiched between the outside top of the intake manifold and an additional acoustic shell to reduce radiated engine noise and fuel pump noise. The manifold is paired with an electronically controlled throttle, featuring an 87mm bore diameter and a “contactless” throttle position sensor design that is more durable and enables greater control.
  • Exhaust manifolds: The Camaro LT1 uses a unique tri-Y exhaust manifold design to take advantage of its V-8 firing order. The primary pipe pairings join cylinders one and five, then three and seven on the left bank. Cylinders two and four and six and eight are paired on the right bank. At each bank, the primary pairings collect in a secondary Y, delivering a combination of pulse separation of adjacent firing cylinders and improved scavenging for the LT1 firing order of 1-8-7-2-6-5-4-3. The optimized header and exhaust system improves torque and sound quality.

New Hydra-Matic eight-speed automatic transmissions
All 2016 Camaro models are offered with new, Hydra-Matic 8L45 and 8L90 paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmissions. The 8L45 is available with the Ecotec 2.0L turbo and 3.6L V-6 engines on LT models, and the 8L90 is available with the LT1 V-8 on the Camaro SS.

The 8L45 shares the architecture and design features of the GM-designed Hydra-Matic 8L90 transmission, but scaled and calibrated for the performance envelope of smaller engines. Both transmissions’ wide, 7.0:1 overall ratio and numerically lower top gear offer an estimated 5-percent fuel economy benefit over comparable six-speed automatic transmissions.

Both transmissions feature four simple gearsets for optimal efficiency and five clutches (two brake clutches and three rotating clutches) – creative packaging that enables them to fit the same space as the previous six-speed automatic, while weighing less.

The new 8L45 has a smaller overall diameter and length, and weighs approximately 33 pounds (15 kg) less, than the 8L90 eight-speed – a transmission already lighter than GM’s 6L80 six-speed automatic.

A numerically higher first gear ratio – 4.62 in the 8L45 and 4.56 in the 8L90 – also helps drivers start off more confidently, with a greater feeling of immediate performance. Smaller steps between gears, compared to a six-speed transmission, keep the engine within its optimal rpm range, making the most of its horsepower and torque to optimize performance and efficiency.

Ratios compared: Hydra-Matic 8L45 vs. 8L90

Type:  8L45 eight-speed automatic 8L90 eight-speed automatic
Gear ratios (:1)
     First: 4.62 4.56
     Second: 3.04 2.97
     Third: 2.07 2.08
     Fourth: 1.66 1.69
     Fifth: 1.26 1.27
     Sixth: 1.00 1.00
     Seventh: 0.85 0.85
     Eighth 0.66 0.65
     Reverse: 3.93 3.82

World-class shift time quickness and responsiveness are accomplished with a Gen II controls system, which works with variable force solenoid technology and three internal speed sensors. The transmission controller is mounted externally and its processor executes hundreds of calculations and commands every 6.25 milliseconds.

Additionally, friction-reducing design features – including synthetic fluid – and lower spin losses via a powerflow that uses only two open clutches contribute further to efficiency. The torque converter design is also specific to each transmission.

The Hydra-Matic 8L45 and 8L90 transmissions are built at GM’s Toledo, Ohio transmission facility.

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