The ZR1 is the quickest, most powerful and most expensive Corvette model ever made. It boasts 638 tire-shredding horsepower, the same Brembo carbon ceramic brakes used by the Bugatti Veyron and a sophisticated suspension system employed by a number of Ferrari models.
A 6.2-liter "LS9" V8 motor produces 638 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 604 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm, thanks in part to a four-lobe Eaton supercharger. Hand-built in Wixom, Michigan, the big V8 teams up with a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox with a new high-capacity clutch designed for the increased power. The twin-disc 260mm design provides plenty of clamping power, while maintaining a relatively easy clutch action.
All that firepower equates to a zero-to-60 mpg time of just 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph. Fuel economy, rated at 14 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway, is actually fairly reasonable given the car's power.
GM used the Z06 chassis as a starting point, but further tuned the front and rear independent suspension to work with the ZR1's ultra-wide tires for increased grip. According to GM, the car achieves 1g cornering grip.
Exotic looks, exotic materials
The use of carbon fiber is pretty extensive throughout the ZR1. The wider fenders are made of the material, as are the hood, roof panel, roof bow, front fascia splitter and rocker moldings.
The roof and front fascia splitter have a raw carbon fiber appearance with a protective clear coat. The hood is painted like the rest of the car, but the underside is exposed carbon-fiber-weave for increased novelty.
Another standout feature of the hood is a clear polycarbonate "window" that provides a view of the top of the engine's intercooler, with embossed "LS9 Supercharged" lettering.
Brakes, Tires, and Wheels
The ZR1 has the largest wheels ever of any production Corvette -- not just in diameter, but in width also. The rims measure 20 inches in rear diameter and 19 inches up front. Rear width is a whopping 12 inches, while the front wheels are nearly as massive at 10 inches of width.
In terms of wheel finish, a bright silver paint coat is standard and a chrome version is optional.
The matching Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires measure P285/30ZR19 in front and P335/25ZR20 in the rear. While Michelin's PS2 tires are offered on many vehicles, these were engineered specifically for the ZR1, GM says.
The car's braking system features Brembo carbon-ceramic rotors measuring 15.5 inches up front and 15 inches at the rear- the same units used on the Bugatti Veyron supercar. GM says the rotors are so durable they should not requiring replacement for the life of the vehicle.
Squeezing the discs are six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers, painted in ZR1-exclusive blue.
The ZR1 comes with a Magnetic Selective Ride Control (MSRC) suspension system. Similar to the technology used on a number of Ferrari models, the MSRC shocks are automatically adjusted based on driving conditions and vehicle dynamics (cornering, braking, etc) for optimal handling. The system is adjusted every milisecond to provide sharp handling during spirited driving, and a smooth ride while cruising.
While the ZR1 is overall a more aggressive sports car than the Z06, it is actually less harsh over bumps, thanks to the MSRC technology. The damping control of MSRC allowed for front and rear springs that have a slightly lower rate than the Z06, which enhances the car's ride quality.
An optional interior package includes power-adjustable leather-trimmed sport seats, leather-wrapped interior elements (including the dashboard), a navigation system, and Bluetooth connectivity. The interior leather treatments are available in four colors.
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.
As the king of Corvettes, the 638 horsepower ZR1 competes against expensive exotic machines like the Porsche 911 Turbo S, the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 and the Audi R8 GT.