2014 SLP Panther Camaro Long-Term Road Test

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Wrap-Up


  • 2014 SLP Panther Camaro

    2014 SLP Panther Camaro

    We spent the past six months with a 600-horsepower 2014 SLP Panther Camaro. | June 19, 2014

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Read the 2014 SLP Panther Camaro's introduction to our long-term fleet.

See all of the 2014 SLP Panther Camaro's long-term updates.

What We Got
The main ingredient in our 2014 SLP Panther 600 Camaro is going to sound obvious. It's a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro. Our car was a 2SS with the 1LE and RS packages. This combination of numbers and letters equated to a six-speed manual, dual-mode exhaust, sport suspension, 3.91 rear axle and 20-inch Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires, HIDs and LEDs, navigation system and a rear spoiler among other minor touches. The Camaro cost $43,390 before SLP stepped in.

Standard SLP performance touches cost $16,760 and included a TVS 2300 high-output supercharger; SLP Blackwing cold-air induction system; PowerPac valvetrain upgrade (1.85 ratio aluminum rockers, high-lift springs, titanium retainers); and a PowerFlo axle-back exhaust.

Optional SLP parts added $6,870 more to the sticker in the form of: a dual-disc clutch and flywheel, heavy-duty half-shafts, steering-column-mounted boost gauge, thicker sway bars, coil-over shocks, Brembo Sport disc brakes and Panther black and gold accents.

The bottom line read $67,020.

More importantly to us was the resulting power increase. Output from the Camaro's stock 6.2-liter V8 swelled from 426 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque to 600 hp and 550 lb-ft. To manage the power boost, suspension adjustments were also made, dropping ride height 1 inch up front and 0.8 inch in the back. A healthy list of SLP-specific cosmetic alterations brought the whole package together.

We had the Panther on loan for just six months, half of our normal long-term loan length. So when the keys dropped into our hands, we were eager for the test to begin.

Our Impressions

  • "Because it started life as a Camaro SS, our SLP Panther 600 has a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission.... SLP enhances it with a short-throw shifter kit, and our Panther also has the company's optional heavy-duty clutch kit. I've now driven our SLP Camaro in a variety of traffic conditions, and this is one of the better applications of the TR6060 I've experienced. I wouldn't exactly call this transmission effortless in stop-and-go traffic, as the clutch is on the heavier side while the shifter has a weighty, mechanical feel as you work the gears. But it's not physically taxing, either. The clutch has a fairly well-defined engagement point, and I do enjoy the shorter throws. It also helps that SLP has gone ahead and removed the transmission's 1-4 skip-shift feature.... And there's pleasure in loafing when traffic requires it. When you abruptly lift off the throttle while easing along in 2nd or 3rd, there's a satisfying 'bwa-bwa-bwa' from the exhaust." — Erin Riches

  • 2014 SLP Panther Camaro

  • "This car makes me happy.... There's so much more to like about the SLP Panther besides its color scheme and its monster performance. This is not just a toy like so many tuned performance cars. SLP manages to dial up the performance without destroying the car's drivability, usability and comfort. The Panther is easy to drive, even in the rain, and it doesn't beat you up when you're just cruising to work. You can hear its big V8, as you should, but it's not so loud that it's obnoxious. And the suspension is more compliant than the last Cadillac CTS Vsport I drove. In fact, it rides much better than our long-term Porsche 911. Even the Panther's clutch is light enough to keep traffic jams from becoming left leg busters. In other words, it's a real car, not just some burnout machine. You might even call it refined." — Scott Oldham

  • "It's not obnoxious at all. It has an invigorating bark on start-up, but the exhaust is just loud enough to excite without waking up the entire neighborhood. And it doesn't suffocate you with supercharger whine at full throttle, either. In most driving you barely notice the reworked suspension. It's only when you hit an oversize bump at freeway speeds that things get truly bouncy. Overall, this is an impressive (and yes, crazy-fast) piece." — Mike Monticello

  • "I was tasked with driving it off the SEMA show floor in Las Vegas and back to L.A. In my head, it would have far too much power, too little gearing and a suspension that rivals a shopping cart. Boy, was I wrong. First off, the power is very manageable. Things only get ridiculous with a deliberate stab of the pedal. The gearing is pretty much dead-on, too, with just enough snap to have fun while not being so aggressive that it's revving unnecessarily high on the highway. The suspension is pretty exceptional as well, balancing enough stiffness for cornering without being harsh. And the sound... oh... the sound. From the driver seat with the windows up, it doesn't sound obnoxious at all. You can even hear the faint whine of the supercharger. Roll down the window and romp on the throttle, though, and you get this glorious cacophony of a mechanical roar. Dump the throttle and you're treated to a beastly snarl and crackle overrun." — Mark Takahashi

  • "The Panther's flaw is its rev limiter.... It isn't even a rev limiter. It's a hard fuel cut-off. Bang the motor into it and it shuts off like Right Now. It's like driving the car into a wall. Of course, I think the engine needs some protection from over-revving, but I've driven many LS-powered cars over the years, from Pontiac GTOs to Camaros and Corvettes including more than a few supercharged examples like ZL1s, ZR1s and Callaways. I don't remember any of them having such an abrupt limiter. When over-revved, those cars spit and sputter. They sort of ask you for the next gear. But the Panther shuts you down. Hard. SLP says this is by design.... Despite keeping the rev ceiling at the factory spec 6,600 rpm, the company's engineers have reprogrammed the fuel cutoff for the more aggressive feel. If you ask me, they should change it back." — Scott Oldham

  • "You can't miss it. Right there on our long-term SLP Panther's hood are 1-inch-tall letters smacking your ocular nerves with what lurks beneath: 600HP Supercharged.... Challenge accepted. We rolled on down to MD Automotive's Dynojet chassis dyno to see if it delivers on its promise.... (the Panther has) a suitably broad plateau of torque that, over a wide span of engine speed, barely deviates from its peak value of 449 lb-ft as measured at the wheels. It's a big, flexible power delivery that maintains its goods even as the 6,600-rpm fuel cut looms large. Power peaks at 6,000 rpm at 479 horsepower.... Factoring in driveline loss, its 600 hp claim appears a touch optimistic. SLP tells us that the Panther's 600 hp designation is determined on their SuperFlow dyno using the 92 or 93 octane fuel common in their region.... Since Edmunds is based in Los Angeles, 91 octane is what we feed our Panther." — Jason Kavanagh

  • 2014 SLP Panther Camaro

  • "Sure enough, the coolant temp gauge was pegged.... I immediately swung the big coupe alongside the curb. Upon reaching a halt, the engine ran roughly for a second before quitting. I attempted to restart it (idling allows the coolant to keep circulating... assuming there's still coolant to circulate) but it wouldn't start.... Popped the hood and half-expected a geyser of steam, but no such thing happened. Instead I found the serpentine drive belt shredded and shoved into one side of the engine bay.... I discovered what caused the old belt to be chucked off. The alternator pulley was loose. Bingo. Belts will walk right off of loose pulleys. In yet another silver lining, the nut that secures the pulley had backed off a few turns but was still in place." — Jason Kavanagh

  • "If you're going to tune a car, this is the way to do it. This Panther can still be a wild beast if you want it to, but otherwise, it's a domesticated creature that can easily be your daily driver." — Ronald Montoya

Maintenance & Repairs

Regular Maintenance:
Our SLP Panther followed the same guidelines as those of a standard Camaro SS. This put us into the service bay for oil changes twice during our test. We had such a favorable experience during our first visit to a nearby Valvoline Instant Oil Change facility that we were back again for the second oil change.

Service Campaigns:
No recalls or TSBs were issued on the Panther during our test. On two occasions the serpentine belt came off due to a loose alternator pulley. The only money spent out-of-pocket came in the form of tires. Replacement Eagle F1 Supercar tires in the rear cost us $675, balanced and installed.

Fuel Economy and Resale Value

Observed Fuel Economy:
We averaged 14.7 mpg over 10,240 miles of owning the Panther. Our best single tank of fuel from the supercharged V8 was 24.4 mpg. The longest distance traveled between fill-ups was 370 miles. EPA fuel economy estimations were not available for this vehicle.

2014 SLP Panther Camaro

Resale and Depreciation:
Our 2014 SLP Panther test car cost $67,020. We added just over 10,040 miles during the time it called our garage home. When our loan of the Panther was over, we returned it to the manufacturer. Depreciation information was not available on Edmunds' TMV® Calculator at the time of this article.

Summing Up

Pros: Fast and loud, with the sort of power we expect from an SLP Camaro. It's quicker than a ZL1. Surprisingly, the Panther is also comfortable enough for daily driving.

Cons: Its wider stance and low front scoop require extra care during typical city driving maneuvers. The 580-hp Camaro ZL1 starts at $57,650.

Bottom Line: Despite the underlying spatial limitations of being a Camaro, the real appeal of the SLP Panther is its balance between power and everyday drivability. This car does it better than just about any aftermarket car we've ever driven.

 
Total Body Repair Costs: None
Total Routine Maintenance Costs: $243.99 (over 7 months)
Additional Maintenance Costs: $674.52 for two tires
Warranty Repairs: None
Non-Warranty Repairs: Replace two rear tires
Scheduled Dealer Visits: 2
Unscheduled Dealer Visits: None
Days Out of Service: None
Breakdowns Stranding Driver: 1
 
Best Fuel Economy: 24.4 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 10.3 mpg
Average Fuel Economy: 14.7 mpg
 
True Market Value at service end: Not available
Depreciation: Not available
Final Odometer Reading: 10,240 miles

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro in VA is:

$173 per month*
* Explanation
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