2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
A few years ago, during the darkest hours of the GM bankruptcy, Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter found himself on a conference call with company execs and government overseers. A conversation on the bolts and screws of bailing out GM suddenly halted when one of the federales, a Corvette fan, wanted to know the plan for the C7. â€œAt the time, there was no plan,“ recalled Juechter as we stood trackside at Road Atlanta this past October. â€œWe were at full stop.“
So much has happened since then. Flash-forward to 2014 and the scene of our own technical director, Don Sherman, banging on the door of Juechter”s home like some marauding zombie early one summer Saturday, intent on hand-delivering our October issue, which featured an exposÃ© on the C8 Corvette. (Juechter neither confirms nor denies our story.) And to our later meeting at Road Atlanta, where the new Z06 sat freshly unwrapped and awaiting its ritual molestation by car writers. Whatever satisfaction an engineer derives from his or her ideas becoming realized, from seeing mere talk and drawings evolve into a finished product, must increase tenfold in the Corvette program, once an idle afterthought in the mayhem of a bankruptcy and now a full line of highly acclaimed vehicles.
Nothing to see here. Just the shortest-stopping, most tenaciously gripping production car we've ever tested. Oh, it has a kind of powerful engine, too.
A line that includes a 650-hp thunder wagon with the sophistication and poise of the world”s best sports cars. There, we said it. The Z06 must be ranked among the world”s best. You know that we here at Car and Driver are not idle flatterers, our job being to find the faults for you in haste, before you have to live with them at leisure over 72 months of payments. However, the Z06 completely fulfills its mission to be a super Corvette. It is an accessible American fantasy intended to inject joy and fascination and, let”s face it, a healthy dose of awe into the driving experience, such that there”s not much left to shout about except details.
Details such as a 60-mph nuking of three seconds flat, set by a Z06 equipped with the Z07 Performance package and an automatic. This car tore the quarter-mile a new one at 11.1 seconds at 127 mph, scorched the skidpad with 1.19 g”s of grip, and stopped from 70 in an astonishing 128 feet, the latter two figures setting C/D records for a production car. We also tested a slightly less potent manual-trans Z06 [see bottom of page 2].
Please pause here for an important message about tires. If you”ve followed our preview coverage, you already know that there are now a lot of Z06s to choose from. There are coupe and convertible body styles. There are two transmissions, a seven-speed manual with automatic rev matching and an eight-speed automatic. And there are three trim levels, dozens of options, and three separate aero packages. Then there”s the mega Z07 Performance package that further weaponizes the car with carbon-ceramic brakes, a carbon-fiber aero package, a slightly revised suspension tune, and different tires. The Z07”s run-flat Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer almost-slicks replace the base run-flat Michelin Pilot Super Sports and are, to borrow from Mark Twain, the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.
Back to the test numbers: Um, holy crap. Riding a Z06 through the first four gears feels like putting a saddle on Superman, though the Z06 is 200 pounds heavier than the old ZR1. Obviously, there”s a squidge more power, but this is down to the race tires and the fact that today”s automatics are often faster than manuals in a straight line. We didn”t even use launch control, a simple flat-foot drop in full auto mode being all that was needed to produce these fireworks from the test equipment.
The Z06 we photographed was fully loaded with the Z07 package, Stage 3 carbon aero trim kit, and optional carbon-kablooey interior. As you can see, there”s a Z06 for, well, if not exactly everyone, then a wider swath of humanity”s more impatient Âdrivers, all of whom will be swamped by admirers at parties. Prepare for the eager smiles of your audience to droop slightly when you say you bought the automatic, as up to 70 percent of Z06 buyers are expected to do. This is a natural, instinctual disappointment, conditioned by the expectation that real sports cars have sticks, mounting evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.
We drove both the manual and the automatic Z06 and feel that the stick, with its notably soft and seamless clutch takeup, is still the best choice. Rev matching sounds like a hateful automation of the heel-and-toe skill until you get used to it. Then you wonder why all manuals don”t have it. Or just turn it off. Or use it to learn proper rev matching and then turn it off.Read Source
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