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Chevrolet Camaro Walkinshaw Power Pack review

By Chris Thompson, 30 Oct 2019 Reviews

Chevrolet Camaro Walkinshaw Power Pack review feature

More grunt and noise takes Camaro to new level of tough

So you’ve just picked up your new Chevrolet Camaro 2SS and thought it could do with a little bit ‘more’. But more of what? Well, if you’re Walkinshaw Performance, you reckon an extra 15 per cent to its power and torque might do the trick. And why not a few more decibels to match?

The Walkinshaw Power Pack for the Camaro SS provides just that, bringing GM’s Mustang rival up to 390kW and 710Nm without doing a whole lot to the engine.

Walkinshaw Performance operations manager Richard Jong says they didn’t feel that any more than 15 per cent extra was necessary because the LT1 V8 is “extremely impressive” already.

“We have found that the LT1 engine is an absolute powerhouse… it wants to keep pulling power even beyond 220km/h, and essentially we run out of dyno (capability).”

To extract this power increase, the Walkinshaw Power Pack includes a cold-air intake and an ECU recalibration that allows the engine to make use of it. You also score a stainless steel header and exhaust system (three-inch from the ‘cat’ back, with four-inch billet aluminium tips).

Both the airbox and exhaust system are available separately to customers who would only like one or the other.

MOTOR news: Aussie tuners gearing up for the Camaro

In terms of styling, the only noticeable changes are a dark chrome Walkinshaw badge on the rear and the exhaust tips. The Walkinshaw decal (here in white on white, confusingly) is not part of the pack.

The whole thing comes with a three-year/100,000km driveline warranty.

The exhaust retains GM’s electronic bi-modal system, and when you let it open up all the way it is l-o-u-d. Jong rates the system as “the best sounding exhaust” Walkinshaw has ever produced.

It accentuates the deep V8 rumble you would associate with a GM LT engine, and turns it up to 11. The pops and crackles it produces are almost comically loud in Track Mode, as if you’ve just run over a wooden box full of lit firecrackers.

At the risk of disturbing the peace in rural Victoria, we discovered very quickly this new layer of character very much suits the Camaro – and the muscle car lover in us. It’s brutal and harsh, but in the best way possible. In fact, it’s up there as competition for the supercharged ZL1 in terms of satisfying muscle car noise.

It’s hard not to smile when the exhaust begins singing the praises of the powered-up 6.2-litre LT1 as cold air rushes in to help ignite the fuel – plenty of it, judging from the pace at which the needle drops.

Walkinshaw’s claim of 15 per cent more power and torque feels about right, though at first the exhaust is the only clear difference. And that is by no means a bad thing. There’s nothing with the performance of a regular Camaro SS, but this Walkinshaw pack adds a little more without detracting from its useability.

Once up to pace, it starts to become more apparent that this is not a standard SS. Coming out of corners in second or third gears requires easing onto the gas as the run-flat tyres (Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3) will lose their grip if you’re inelegant with your throttle foot, leaving the traction light imploring you to be more gentle.

Once you manage to judge how much you can get away with in terms of grip, however, you can start having some fun with the chassis, spurred on by the extra power.

The run-flat tyres hold the car back – Walkinshaw can recommend a better set more suited to your needs – but the thing we really wish they would have a crack at is the suspension. Having now sampled the ZL1, we know the Camaro benefits from adaptive dampers, and the wizards at Walkinshaw Park have worked their magic before in fast Commodores.

But that’s where the $9990 RRP (that’s for parts and fitting this pack) would surely start to rise, and a price under $10K is a good way to add a bit of interest. Walkinshaw hasn’t remixed the Camaro SS, but it has altered the bass and treble setting a little.

Perhaps the best way to describe the Walkinshaw Power Pack might be as a burger that’s been given an extra patty and more cheese. The bun still holds the whole thing together properly, and you can still taste the sauce and feel the lettuce crunch, but who wouldn’t mind 15 per cent more meat.

Tested and rated on MOTOR reviews

Engine: 6166cc V8, OHV, 16v
Power: 390kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 710Nm @ 4800rpm
Weight: 1710kg (approx.) 
0-100km/h: 4.4sec (est) 
Price: $9990 (over the base HSV-converted Camaro SS: $86,990 manual/$89,190 auto)

Likes: Exhaust sounds absolutely bananas; still very usable day-to-day; stickers not part of the pack
Dislikes: Dampers would be a good option; some might not find it fast enough; run-flat tyres make extra power hard to put down

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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