Detroit Auto Show: 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

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Corvette-Z06-2015What is it?

We’ve had a year to digest the seventh-generation Corvette Stingray,┬ádespite very few of them on the road. In that time, the iconic American sports car — the overwrought word “iconic” truly belongs to the 61-year-old Corvette — has scooped up awards left and right, including the North American Car of the Year at this year’s Detroit show.

The Z06, naturally, is a fortified, racier, more powerful and more extreme Corvette Stingray, and features technology General Motors has never before used on its flagship coupe.

Why should you care?

GM claims there is “at least” 625 hp from the supercharged 6.2-liter V8, which is miles ahead of the naturally-aspirated 7.0-liter V8 from the last Z06, and 635 lb-ft of torque. But it doesn’t end there. In addition to the regular Vette’s 7-speed(!) manual, GM is crafting its first-ever 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters, which promises to make the Z06 more refined and easier to drive. With an electronic limited-slip differential, huge brakes, lightweight carbon fiber parts and an updated version of GM’s superb magnetic suspension (so awesome, in fact, that Ferrari had to copy it), the 2015 Z06 will no doubt be as fast as the last great Corvette, the 638-hp ZR1.

What’s not to like?

Some people are turned off that the Z06, once a track day special, comes with an automatic and a lift-off targa roof. But really, what’s wrong with a Corvette acting like a European luxury GT like the Porsche 911? The cartoonish styling, like on all Corvettes, is a bit overdone by our tastes, with the four exhaust pipes in the center and all these lines and scoops chasing each other around the body. Behind the wheel, we imagine we could get over that.


How much?

Standard auto show practice is to introduce a model that will be on dealer lots in a few months, but the Z06 won’t be on sale for more than a year from now. What gives, Chevrolet? Expect it to base at $90,000, minimum. There are too many expensive parts on this machine to demand less.

Clifford Atiyeh

Clifford Atiyeh

Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Based in Connecticut, he writes for BestRide, Car and Driver, The Boston Globe and other publications.