Z51, the Buyer's Dilemma - 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Long-Term Road Test

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Long-Term Road Test

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray: Z51, the Buyer's Dilemma

March 14, 2014

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

My friend Scott was interested in buying a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. He contemplated getting the Z51 performance package, since it has made all the headlines and helped the Corvette put up some big numbers on the track.

But it seems as though everyone in the market for a Corvette has the same idea and consequently, supply is low on Z51-equipped cars. Scott was told that going for a Z51 would add an additional five weeks to his delivery time. Plus, it added $4,000 to the price of the car. This raised the question: Do you really need the Z51 package?

First let's take a look at what exactly comes in the Z51 package. From the Chevrolet Web site:

• Larger 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels
• Dry sump oil system
• Electronic Limited Slip Differential
• Larger front brakes (13.6 inch vs. 12.6 inch) with black calipers
• Specific shocks, springs and stabilizer bars
• Differential and transmission cooling
• Unique Aero Package that reduces lift for high-speed stability
• Michelin Pilot Super Sport ZP summer-only tires that are aggressively tuned to provide outstanding handling, grip and road-holding capability
• Available Magnetic Selective Ride Control and Performance Traction Management
• HD Cooling
• Slotted Brake Rotors
• Performance Gear Ratios

There's plenty of content in the package, and if you ask enthusiasts, I'm sure they'd say these are all "must have" items. But Scott has no plans to take the car to the track. He's just a regular guy who wants a good-looking sports car with a "big American V8," (He's British, BTW). By passing on the Z51, he could get the car sooner and save $4,000.

We haven't had the chance to test a non-Z51 Corvette, but I'm going to assume it has a softer ride since it is more tuned for the road than all-out performance. Our Corvette has Magnetic Selective Ride Control (MSRC), a $1,795 option only available on the Z51. A Corvette forum poster (so take this with a grain of salt) has likened the ride in a base to that of a Z51 with MSRC set to Touring. If that's the case, it's a good thing. Touring is the mode that a number of the Edmunds editors use, myself included.

I also wondered if the car would have better resale value with the Z51 package. After a brief talk with our pricing analysts, I learned it isn't much of a factor. Z51-equipped cars would have greater value in years to come, but only if the package were rare. It's not, at least not for the 2014 model year.

What would you do, wait the five weeks for the Z51 or go without it?

Ronald Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor @ 15,355 miles

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