What Is It?
2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
What's New About This Model?
Though it's based on the existing (C7) Corvette platform, the Z06 treatment endows the Z06 with supercar levels of performance. More power, bigger tires and brakes and a new transmission combine with racecar-derived styling to make this the most potent Corvette ever. Chevy says the goal for this car is to better the performance of the outgoing ZR1 model.
When Does It Go on Sale?
Chevrolet said it expects to have the Z06 in dealers in early 2015.
How Much Does It Cost?
No official pricing has been released yet, but Chevy insists pricing will be similar to the last Z06 which started at $76,595. Intuition tells us this car's ZR1-like performance will drive the cost at least a bit higher, however.
What Kind of Engines and Transmissions Does It Have?
The Z06's LT4 V8 engine uses the same block as the LT1 in the base Stingray, but a supercharger and new internals boost output to a minimum of 625 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque, according to Chevy. Still 640 horsepower seems a more likely number, however, as GM is notoriously conservative in its early estimates and there is little point in offering a new supercharged Corvette with less power than the outgoing supercharged Corvette. Two transmissions are available — a seven-speed manual and a new eight-speed automatic, which we expect to see in the base Corvette soon.
Why Supercharge the Z06?
A normally aspirated engine couldn't meet the power, durability and emissions/efficiency requirements Chevy targeted for the Z06, according Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer. The only way to make anywhere near this kind of power with a normally aspirated engine is to rev it well beyond 7,000 rpm. That, however, is not possible with the Active Fuel Management hardware which improves efficiency but also increases valvetrain weight.
Will It Top the ZR1?
In at least one important way, it already has. As of early December 2013, the new Z06 had already broken the existing lap record at GM's Milford Road Course where these cars are developed. That was using a base suspension calibration that had no development. It only bettered the record by 0.1 second so there's still ample work to do, according to Juechter.
How Much Does It Weigh?
Expect this Z06 to be heavier than the outgoing ZR1, which weighs 3,366 pounds.
Will the Roof Be Removable?
Yes, the Z06 shares the base car's structure and will also share its removable carbon-fiber roof.
What Unique Features Does It Offer?
The 2015 Chevy Corvette Z06 will offer the Performance Data Recorder, which records onboard video and audio and offers the ability to overlay a multiple channels of data including engine speed, vehicle speed, track mapping as well as lateral and longitudinal acceleration. Video can be played back through the car's 8-inch touchscreen or on a computer. MyLink, which integrates smartphone connectivity with pre-loaded apps, is standard.
What Standard and Optional Performance Equipment Is Available?
Chevy's magnetorheological dampers and the electronic differential from the Stingray are standard. Super-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires and carbon ceramic brakes are available as part of the Z07 package.
The Z06's styling is driven solely by performance and features wider bodywork and more prominent ducts and vents. Three levels of aero treatment are available and can include an adjustable wickerbill rear spoiler and an aggressive front splitter with vertical end caps which increase downforce. It is one of the most radical-looking Corvettes ever.
What Kind of Standard and Optional Safety Equipment Is Offered?
Front and side-impact airbags, a rearview camera, OnStar, daytime running lamps as well as stability and traction control are standard. Performance Traction Management, which enhances both safety and performance on the track, is optionally available.
What Models Will It Compete Against?
Ford Mustang GT500 Coupe: The GT500, too, isn't the Z06's equal on a track, but when it comes to outright fun, it's hard to beat. And its engine is the most powerful production V8 ever built, so it's no slouch.
Porsche 911 Turbo S: Though the Corvette has no direct competitors, the 911 is probably its closest contender in spirit. The 911 Turbo's similar performance is overshadowed by a much higher price, however.
SRT Viper: Less refined, harder to drive and ultimately not as quick in most hands, the Viper is nonetheless a serious performance car that deserves to be in this conversation.
Should You Wait for It?
If you must have the fastest Corvette ever built then, yes, the 2015 Z06 is probably worth the wait. If you can settle for an extremely rapid and satisfying-to-drive sport coupe that's available right now, a Stingray with the Z51 package should meet your every need.