2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

When you talk about bang for the buck, no vehicle is more impressive than that Camaro ZL1. For example, the ZL1, with its 580-horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine, is only three-tenths of a second slower to 60 mph than Aston Martin's super-sleek One 77. Yet, you can buy 15 to 20 Camaro ZL1s for the price of a single One 77.

Sure, Chevrolet took its time delivering an "ultimate" Camaro. But now that it's here, all is forgiven. Designed to compete head-to-head against Ford's Shelby, the ZL1 is much more than simply a Camaro with a powerful engine. Every aspect of the ZL1 chassis has been tuned for performance driving, from such obvious elements as adding oil coolers for the engine, transmission and differential, to subtleties ranging from changing suspension bushings to upgrading wheel bearings.

Needless to say, this thing goes like a bat out of hell. But that was expected. What surprised us is the car's ability to seamlessly transition from track to street. The ZL1 is a perfect gentleman while puttering to the store or piling on freeway miles. Power is linear and easy to modulate, the suspension soaks up bumps and curbs, and the steering is precise. Very impressive. [from $54,095; chevrolet.com]