2019 Chevy Camaro Turbo 1LE Prototype First Drive: Entry-Level Excitement

– Las Vegas, Nevada

Three laps around Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s twisty road course was all it took for me to be instantly enamored with Chevy’s new Camaro Turbo 1LE. It’s the entry-level performance offering Camaro fans will undoubtedly snap up, and follows the same formula as the V6- and V8-powered 1LE models before it: stiffer, lighter, and all-around more fun to drive.

Producing just 275 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, the same 2.0-liter turbocharged engine from the standard Camaro RS carries over, and it’s the least powerful 1LE of the bunch. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make up or it elsewhere. A finely tuned suspension, sharp, direct steering, and plenty of straight-line speed make the Turbo 1LE one to consider.

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The most important upgrade is the beefier suspension. The Turbo 1LE rides on a new FE3 performance setup, making it tighter and more athletic all around. Technically speaking, the new suspension features larger front and rear anti-roll bars, specially tuned dampers, stiffer rear cradle bushings, and cross-axis ball joints in the rear toe links. Combined, the extra engineering increases lateral stiffness, and yields a near-perfect 50/50 weight balance, resulting in better handling on the track.

The steering is scalpel sharp; the Camaro has the ability to dive into corn...