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HSV Camaro ZL1 unleashed: the most powerful Camaro ever to launch in Oz

There is huge news for Australia's power-hungry performance fans, with HSV confirming it will finally launch the most powerful Camaro ever, the ZL1, as part of a range update for its converted American muscle car.

To date, HSV has focused on converting only the sixth-generation 2SS Coupe from left-hook to right-hand drive for the Australian market, but the Melbourne-based company will now turn its attention to the biggest, baddest Camaro in the range.

The ZL1 will join the fleet from April in automatic guise, with manual cars to follow in May. The company says it’s still verifying power outputs, but says to expect "in the vicinity of" 480kW and 860Nm of torque. To put those stratospheric numbers into perspective, the updated 2SS Camaro still makes 339kW and 617Nm, and the most powerful of Australian Ford Mustangs, the Bullitt, produces 345kW.

That urge arrives complements of a 6.2L LT4 supercharged V8, which sends its power to the rear tyres via your choice of a 10-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual gearbox with a tricky rev-matching function.

HSV is yet to confirm sprint times for the ZL1, but the company's American cousins provide some hints in that department, where Chevrolet claims a zero to 60mph (96.5km/h) blast of 3.5 seconds, and a 400m run of 11.4 seconds at 204.3km/h.

There is a limited-slip differential to help manage all that grunt, and the brand's "Magnetic Ride Control" adaptive dampers are standard fit, too.

HSV is promising all sorts of fun-focused performance goodies, too, namely launch control, and what it calls lift-foot gear hold, which forces the 10-speed automatic to cling to a lower gear when cornering, even when you take you foot off the accelerator.

But the function that is sure to get wowsers wowing is what Chevrolet calls its Line-Lock feature, which essentially freezes the front wheels so the rear tyres can spin more easily. The colloquial name, then, would be a burnout button.

Other performance kit includes big Brembo brakes front and rear, a bi-modal sports exhaust, Recaro seats and 20-inch forged alloys. Expect to pay $159,990 for the ZL1 paired with a six-speed manual, while the automatic will set you back another $2200. Metallic paint is billed at $850.

The ZL1 arrives as part of a broader upgrade to the Camaro range, with the the 2SS updated for 2019, too. While there is no more power on offer from that model's V8 engine, the upgrades focus more on safety and technology.

The 2SS gets the same six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic, but scores a refreshed front-end, with LED headlights, new bonnet venting, and new LED rear lights.

There's new alloys, a new "Chevrolet Infotainment 3" system, too, as well as a safety update including a rear-view camera, a new head-up display and forward collision alert, all of which join the standard kit for the first time.

The 2SS will arrive wearing a $86,990 sticker price (manual), with the automatic gearbox a $2200 option. Metallic paint is another $850.

“HSV has a history steeped in high-performance and the upgrades to the 2SS model, and the introduction of the ZL1 – the most powerful performance Camaro available in the world - really sing to HSV’s heritage," says HSV boss Tim Jackson.

"We’re confident the GM faithful, and performance enthusiasts generally, will be delighted with our latest move.”

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