1982 Chevy Camaro Berlinetta Was Slower Than A Muscle Car Has Any Right To Be

A screenshot from the MW YouTube video review of the Camaro flying through a time warp

Screenshot: Motorweek/ YouTube

The Chevrolet Camaro was introduced to the world as Chevy’s answer to Ford’s revolutionary affordable performance car the Mustang, but by the time the gas crunch came around there wasn’t much performance left to offer. I was raised in a Ford family, but even the Ford Mustang of the era struggled to live up to its original muscle car claims. The era was a dark time for performance cars, and this Motorweek Retro Review of a 1982 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta proves that.

The Camaro in question was the then-new third-generation of the Camaro, in short-lived Berlinetta trim. Berlinettas were meant to be more luxury focused than the traditional Camaro muscle car recipe, with softer suspension and fancier interior appointments. Berlinettas were offered with either the 2.8-liter V6 under the hood of the Motorweek test car, or a carbureted 5.0-liter V8. Neither engine provided great performance, and all Camaros of the time were slow. Motor Trend tested the most powerful Camaro at the time, a 1982 Camaro Z28 with a fuel-injected version of the Berlinetta’s 5.0-liter V8, and that model only managed a 9.4-second 0-60 time.

1982 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta | Retro Review

This Motorweek Retro Review doesn’t include a 0-60 mph run, but it does include some other acceleration measures, the most shocking for me was the Berlinetta’s quarter-mile time. The test car took 19.4 seconds to run a max-speed quarter-mile, and only achieved a trap speed of a measly 70 mph. For reference, Motorweek’s 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage road test resulted in a 18.8-second quarter-mile run, and the Mirage only had three cylinders under the hood that sent power through a CVT. That’s slow. Yes, every car in the early 1980s was similarly underpowered, but it’s still entertaining to take a look back in time and see what the automotive landscape looked like in the past. Give it a watch, and remember that as grim as automotive enthusiasts might feel looking down the barrel of an EV age, at least we aren’t driving performance cars that require 20 seconds to complete a quarter mile.

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