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2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Friendly on the Road, Monster on the Track

Capable of chasing down just about anything with four wheels

  • We drove the new high-output Z06 model
  • Flat-plane crankshaft V8 develops 670 horsepower
  • Docile in the city, but you've got to be at full attention on the track

What is the Corvette?

While the previous-generation Corvette (internally referred to as the C7) was an absolute gem, high-octane variants like the Z06 and ZR1 made it clear that Chevrolet engineers could only go so far with the front-engine setup. In short, there just wasn't enough traction to make the most out of the ample horsepower. That's why the switch to a mid-engine platform for the current C8 was such a revelation — not only could owners of the base Corvette enjoy more predictable handling, but the new configuration opened up the possibility for a lot more headroom in terms of usable power. And now that possibility has turned into reality with the 2023 Corvette Z06.

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Under the engine cover is an all-new, rather exotic V8 with a lofty redline. You also get a number of aero and mechanical upgrades to make the most of the prodigious horsepower on tap — especially if you opt for the Z07 track attack package. The result is an American sports car that can finally go toe to toe with automakers like Ferrari or McLaren.

What's under the Corvette's hood?

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

The standard Corvette will continue to be powered by a 6.2-liter V8 mounted in the middle of the car, just behind the driver. Its 490 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque is quite potent, affording the base Corvette a 3.3-second 0-60 mph time in Edmunds' testing — quicker than both the previous-generation Z06 and ZR1. The importance of the switch to a mid-engine layout cannot be overstated.

This is why we're so excited to get behind the wheel of the new Corvette Z06. Its new LT6 5.5-liter engine is actually down on displacement compared to the normal Corvette, but it's far more powerful. Chevy keeps the engine naturally aspirated but switches to a flat-plane crank like you'd find on exotic supercars. The 2023 Z06 produces 670 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque and redlines at 8,600 rpm, or 2,100 rpm higher than the standard Corvette. Power will continue to be sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, but the Z06 has a shorter drive ratio for even quicker acceleration. Chevy estimates the Z06 will rocket from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.6 seconds, which would make it one of the fastest cars in the world.

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Other Z06 enhancements include wider tires, which measure 275 mm in the front and 345 mm in the rear — an increase of 30 mm and 40 mm, respectively. The staggered 20-inch front, 21-inch rear wheels are wrapped in the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires that also put power down in the base Corvette with the Z51 performance package. A unique front and rear end, large adjustable spoiler, adaptive suspension dampers, and larger Brembo six-piston front and four-piston rear brakes round out the performance upgrades for the Z06.

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

The track-focused Z07 package adds even more performance bits. It starts with a carbon-fiber aero kit — consisting of a prominent front splitter and fixed rear wing — unique suspension tuning, carbon-ceramic brakes with a larger diameter than the "normal" Z06 stoppers, and Michelin Sport Cup 2 R tires. Opting for the Z07 package also opens the door to carbon-fiber wheels, which Chevy says reduce unsprung mass by 41 pounds.

How does the Corvette Z06 drive?

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Depending on where you're driving the Z06, it can be as docile and friendly as the standard Corvette or an absolute monster, capable of chasing down just about anything with four wheels. On the road, it's definitely the former. The Z06 can be driven with a light touch thanks to nicely weighted steering and an intuitive brake pedal. Even with the optional carbon-ceramic brakes, the Z06 can be slowed predictably and gently with none of the grabbiness you can sometimes get with carbon-ceramic brakes.

But when you turn the Z06 loose on a racetrack, you should really know what you're doing. The throttle response in the Z06 is arguably the most immediate and responsive of any car we've driven in recent memory. The digital tachometer cracks like a whip to the engine's stratospheric 8,600 rpm redline and a delicate touch is needed to keep the Z06's 14-inch-wide rear tires from spinning up at the wrong moment. The steering response is just as immediate but also demands a delicate touch as the Z06 will go right where you point it, right now.

Grip levels are immense, but the mid-engine layout of the C8 Corvette prefers that you do most of your braking in a straight line in order to keep the back wheels of the Z06 behind the front ones. Highly skilled drivers can be a bit more aggressive with their inputs, but smoothness is still the name of the game. Any fast track will see the Z06 clearing 150 mph without a problem. Thankfully, the Z06 continues to use Chevrolet's much-loved, and -appreciated, Performance Traction Management (PTM) system. It allows the driver to select diminishing levels of stability and traction control intervention as they become more comfortable with the car, the track, the conditions or all of the above. It's extremely well engineered and can be enjoyed by drivers of all skill levels.

How comfortable is the Corvette Z06?

As extreme as the Z06 might be in terms of performance, it maintains almost all of the standard Corvette's on-road comfort. Its adaptive suspension can be relaxed and allows the Z06 to eat up hours of highway miles without unduly punishing its passenger. Bumpy roads are a bit bumpier than in the standard Corvette but we see any extra ride stiffness as a more than fair trade-off for the insane levels of grip the Z06 delivers on track.

Like the ride, the majority of the Z06's creature comforts carry over as well. The climate control works well, and the seats can be had with both heating and ventilation. As you might expect, noise levels are a bit higher in the Z06. Under normal driving conditions that's down to the much wider tires. But when you turn up the wick, the Z06's howling exhaust note permeates, not only the interior but your brain as well. If you love it, as well you should, you will never mind the sound of that engine.

How's the Corvette's interior?

This eighth-generation Corvette's interior was a massive step forward compared to the last Corvette, which in turn was significantly more luxurious than its predecessor. The C8 has a driver-focused interior with a touchscreen canted toward the driver and an arching control panel that clearly separates the driver and passenger compartments.

The cabin hasn't changed much for the Z06. You still get an interior decorated in leather and faux suede, though there is a new carbon-fiber package that adds copious amounts of the racy lightweight material throughout the cabin.

Edmunds says

The promise of the C8 Corvette's mid-engine layout has been fulfilled by the 670-horsepower Z06. Packing more power, more grip and more capability than any other Corvette in history, the Z06 is poised to take on Europe's best supercars for half the price.

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06