So, yes, we expected that power would not be an issue, but what surprised was the demeanor of the stock SS. The first time you put wheels to road, it's obvious that the build quality is miles above the fourth-gen issue, immediately relegating that car to tin-can consciousness. The '10 feels like a Caddy CTS-V, buttoned up and so tight and solid you'd swear you were dreaming. Torsional stiffness abounds and lays a very firm foundation for the car's outstanding handling ability. As a bonus, the piece is as quiet inside as a bank vault at midnight. The world-class ZETA II platform, as developed by Holden, enables all this and sets the stage for enhancement.

Though suspension aficionados say that the stock Camaro leans more than they'd like but sticks to the pavement nonetheless and that they discern a jitter in the steering as the car passes over uneven pavement, we noticed none of that in the stock SS. We did experience a rear end that stepped out noticeably in the turns while we pushed the brakes or added power, though. The crew at Pedders Suspension (www.peddersusa.com) did, too. Pedders home base is Australia, the same continent that hosts Holden, so the two have come together like cat and mouse.

To absolve the platform (with an excellent 52/48 weight bias-hint: battery's in the trunk) of its venial (FE3) suspension sins, Pedders developed a series of polyurethane subframe bushings to supplant the ones in the rear suspension cradle as well as another set for the control arms in front. Further, the Berger edition maintains the Chevrolet 0.95-inch (23mm) diameter anti-sway bar (AKA the "lawyer bar") that is certain to maintain understeer way before the rear tires lose adhesion, thus erasing fear of litigation, or so it has been said. To amend that concept, the Berger Camaro is fitted with a Pedders 1.06-inch (27mm) front bar and specific endlinks along with poly control-arm bushings. The factory coil springs/struts have fallen to Pedders' externally adjustable replacements; the progressive-rate springs drop the front and rear a little more than an inch from the stock ride height. By our humble estimation, the ride quality is about the same as stock but wheel control is better. The 16.0:1 rack steering was untouched.

Even with a 550hp engine preceding it, the standard 11-inch single-disc clutch seems quite up to the task. While we didn't necessarily abuse it, we know that others already had, including this car's owner, Matt Berger. No matter, just about everybody in the clutch biz has upgrades engineered for excessive behavior. The unit in Matt's toy was smooth, chatter free, and grabbed tight right off the mark. The Tremec six-speed (3.01, 2.07, 1.43, 1.00, 0.84, and 0.57:1) is paired with standard 3.45:1 gears in the independent axle, a combination that proves just about perfect for daily driving. Hell, you could get off the mark in Second gear with nary a shudder. The gates on the Hurst changer are tight and its throws exceptionally short, so the first attempts at flat-shifting found our clutch leg lagging a bit.

While we did our share of laying rubber and banging gears out there on hinterland roads, we detected not a wisp of wheelhop. The halfshafts sprouting from the coconut measure 30mm on the left and 40mm on the right, as torque moves in a clockwise direction. This disparity reduces torque oscillation from side to side and ultimately reduces axle tramp.

Brakes? We got 'em here, folks. Four-pot Brembo calipers scissor 14- and 14.4-inch discs all around (we'd be willing to bet that somebody will soon be offering retro-fit kits using this system for earlier cars). The pedal offers easy modulation and the grip is right now.