Once a mere sports car, the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is now a supercar. What was already a masculine car has become a very manly car.
The C7 Corvette Z06 (“C7” indicating that it’s a seventh-generation Corvette) has transcended its sports car roots so much that its performance level is now over 9,000! OK, maybe not, but its 6.2L supercharged V8 engine produces an estimated 625 horsepower and 635 lb-ft (861 Nm) of torque, which is virtually on par with the C6 Corvette ZR1’s output. Why is that important? Well, because the ZR1 has for decades been the manliest production Corvette money can buy, but it has now been surpassed. And if the reports are true, it might not get a replacement solely because the Z06 is so darn good.
But the new Z06 is more than just brute power; equally important is the improvements made to its lightweight construction. Thanks to the extensive use of aluminum, carbon fiber and other strong but light materials, it is notably lighter than its predecessor. And as we all know, more power + lighter weight = faster car, both in a straight line and around corners.
Helping the Z06 navigate corners better than ever before is a highly-tuned suspension featuring Magnetic Ride Control and an electronic limited-slip differential. It roll on lightweight aluminum wheels wearing tires that are 1.5-inches wider in front and 2.0-inches wider in back than those on the standard Corvette Stingray. An aerodynamic kit with a front splitter, spats around the front wheel openings, a unique carbon-fiber hood with a larger vent, and a rear spoiler further keeps it suctioned to the track.
GM has answered our prayers by giving the new Corvette an interior worthy of an American icon. Not only is it more aesthetically pleasing, it is also covered in soft-touch premium materials, rather than the hard plastics that cursed its predecessors. True to its sporting nature, there is a flat-bottomed steering wheel; two seating choices, one for comfort an the other for performance; and a center console-mounted grab bar for the passenger.
There is a strong chance that the Performance Data Recorder that will debut in the regular Corvette Stingray will also find its way into the Z06. An industry first, the system allows drivers to record high-definition videos — with telemetry overlays — of their driving experiences on and off the track.
Despite making is grand debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show in January, the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is still in the initial stages of development, so it will be some time before we get additional performance figures (it may turn out to be even more of a manly car). The impressive supercar goes on sale in early 2015.