General Motors executives announced they plan to begin production of a new full-size, rear-wheel drive Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle today at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Denver.
The 2011 Caprice PPV will be available in two configurations: a 355-hp V8 that generates an estimated 384 lb-ft of torque and a tamer V6. An undercover version will also be available.
Regardless of how it is configured, the sleek Caprice PPV is likely to make an impression on traffic scofflaws. Revealing the concept car, GM executive Jim Campbell touted the car's bold and commanding presence.
He asked, "Can you imagine this baby in your rearview mirror?"
The new Caprice will not only look fast, it is fast. GM spokesperson Brian Goebel said the V8-equipped model will offer "segment-leading top speed" and sports car-like performance. Built on the same platform as the new Camaro, the 6.0-liter V8 Caprice PPV is expected to accelerate from 0-60 mph in less than six seconds.
Such performance could have come at the price of poor gas mileage, but GM says the Caprice PPV will offer excellent fuel economy. One reason that the car may score well in EPA tests is that it features GM's Active Fuel Management. This technology improves gas mileage while cruising by dropping out four of the engine's eight cylinders, making the car essentially a V4.
Unlike most patrol cars, the Caprice PPV is not based on an existing passenger car in the Chevy line. It was designed specifically as a patrol car. Part of that design includes substantial interior room. GM says the Caprice offers 112 cubic feet of interior volume, which is more than its leading competitor.
Sgt. Noel Clason of the Bloomfield Hills (Mich.) Police Department fondly remembers the previous generation of Chevy Caprice patrol cars, which were discontinued in 1996, and he is excited about the 2011 Caprice PPV. A fleet manager and a public information officer, Clason said the car will give patrol officers a much more comfortable workspace. "The legroom is excellent," Clason said reclining the driver seat, which was not blocked by the prisoner cage. "And look I can get in with my hat on. The ingress and egress is just incredible."
Some of the most intriguing features on the new Caprice include seats designed to improve the comfort of fully equipped officers. The seats have cutouts that make it easier for officers to get in and out while wearing TASERs and other gear. They also have a soft spot to prevent an officer's handcuffs from pushing into his or her back.
Officers gathered in the GM booth at IACP were also thrilled by the new car's trunk. It's extraordinarily deep, so deep that it makes you do a double take to see if the passenger seats are folded down. The trunk is configured with two heavy-duty batteries.
GM says it will continue production of the Chevrolet Impala Police Patrol Vehicle and Tahoe PPV.
The company has a long history in law enforcement, with notable models including the 1959 Chevy Biscayne, which had a 348-cubic-inch V8, the 1965 "big-block" Chevys, the 1976 Impala and, more recently, the 1994 Caprice, according to AutoWeek.