2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Shiftin' For The Sake Of Blippin'
January 11, 2011
There are cars that make you want to shift just for the sake of shifting, because they do it so well. Cars like the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Honda S2000 come to mind, both possessing super-short throws and ultra-positive gates.
Our long-term Corvette Z06, with its long, notchy (and sticky, in the lower gears) throws, isn't a car about which you're likely to hear the phrase: "Goes through the gears like a hot knife through butter." But you still want to work its 6-speed manual as much as possible anyway. Why?
Because every time you downshift and stab the throttle for that appropriate throttle blip and accompanying smooth clutch release, you get to hear one of the angriest engine notes ever. A 5.7-liter V8 with an aggressive-from-the-factory exhaust has that effect. It's music to an enthusiast's ear, and you don't care one bit about the balky shifter; you just want any excuse to downshift so you can belt out another raunchy yelp from the pushrod V8.
Of course, full-throttle runs through first, second and third gears, with the rear tires spinning and squirming from the force of 405 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, ain't a half bad experience, either.
Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 56,066 miles