The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is second only to the fire-breathing ZR1 model in the Corvette lineup and is widely regarded as one of the best performance bargains on the planet. Although not inexpensive, the Z06 offers the kind of performance normally reserved for cars costing twice as much.
At the heart of the Corvette Z06 is a 7.0-liter LS7 V8 motor. Born out of Chevrolet's racing program, each engine is hand-built at the GM Performance Build Center in Wixom, Michigan and features a dry-sump lubrication system, titanium valves and connecting rods, a forged-steel crankshaft with six-bolt main bearings and a high-profile cam.
The result is a Society of Automotive Engineers-certified 505 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. This enormous engine and the resulting power enable the Z06 to blast to 60 miles per hour in a scant 3.7 seconds. The only transmission is a traditional six-speed manual. Despite its massive amount of power, the Corvette Z06 does not incur a federal government gas-guzzler penalty; efficiency is rated at 15 mpg in they city and 24 mpg on the highway.
The Z06 package also includes several other performance features. To keep weight down, the Z06's front fenders, wheelhousings and floorboards are made of carbon fiber. To further trim weight, Chevrolet gave the Z06 an aluminum body structure -- shaving off 136 pounds from a Corvette Coupe -- and a magnesium roof structure and engine cradle.
The weight-savings measures give the Corvette Z06 a power-to-weight ratio of, besting the Ferrari F430 and Porsche GT3 RS.
Massive six-piston front and four-piston rear disc brakes provide more than enough stopping power to haul the Corvette Z06 down from speed.
The interior of the Corvette Z06 remains relatively unchanged from the standard coupe, but does offer specific badging and a few unique styling cues.
Optional Performance Packages
For those looking for an even tighter-handling Z06, Chevrolet offers a number of packages designed to enhance the car's responsiveness.
The F55 package includes Magnetic Selective Ride Control (MSRC) with Performance Traction Management, Michelin PS Cup Tires and black Cup wheels. MSRC uses valve-less damping and Magneto-Rheological fluid technology in its shock absorbers to control resistance. Essentially, the system can magnetize particles to change the flow resistance on the fly and adjust the ride from hard to soft, or soft to hard.
To those features, the Z07 package adds Brembo Carbon Ceramic Brakes that cut down on stopping distances and provide nearly fade-free performance, making them an ideal feature for those planning on running their Z06 on the track for extended periods.
Finally, the carbon fiber hood and carbon Fiber Package option renders the roof, splitter and rockers in lightweight carbon fiber to cut down on weight.
60th Anniversary Design Package
New for the latest model year is a 60th Anniversary Design Package that includes an Arctic White exterior along with an Blue Diamond leather-wrapped interior with suede accents. Upping the style quotient is a ZR1-style rear spoiler, special badging, gray-painted brake calipers and a "60th" logo on the wheel center caps, steering wheel and seat head restraints. An optional graphics package adds full-length racing stripes in Pearl Silver Blue.
All Corvette models come equipped with dual front and side airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.
The Porsche 911 Carrera S, Nissan GT-R and the less-track focused, more luxurious BMW M3 can all be cross-shopped against the Corvette Z06.