Chevrolet’s hardcore Z06 Corvette is breaking with tradition starting in the 2015 model year.
Historically sold as a coupe with a manual transmission and meant as a performance focused model geared toward enthusiasts, the 2015 Corvette Z06 will also be sold as a convertible. From the beginning, Chevrolet engineered the C7 chassis to be easily adaptable for both coupe and convertible applications. In fact, the brand claims this car is still 20 percent stiffer in convertible form than the coupe model it follows.
The top can be raised at up to 30 mph thanks in part to a tonneau cover that stays flat when it raises rather than tilting up. Chevrolet says it should still be able to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, meaning it boasts the same time as its hardtop sibling. In fact, everything that Chevrolet offers Z06 hardtop customers is also there in the open air variant.
The same 6.2-liter supercharged V8 sends “at least” 625 hp and 635 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via either a seven-speed manual transmission with rev-matched downshifts or an eight-speed automatic transmission. If you’re keeping score, that means starting in 2015, customers will be able to buy a convertible, automatic Z06. Heresy? Hardly, because with the increased stiffness and Chevrolet’s dual-clutch beating claims about the new eight-speed (fast shifts), the convertible should be one heck of a sports car.
Of course, it will still give up track day credibility by virtue of losing the roof structure because many courses won’t let cabriolets out to lap without some sort of roll bar. Paradoxically, the car is still available with the crazy Z07 performance package that includes massive aerodynamic downforce add-ons shown in the pictures here. Chevrolet says it decided to leave the options sheet open to its customers, even if some of the packages could be interpreted as contradictory. Why? Why not.
All of the same cooling ducts are at work with the convertible, although the vents that suck air in to chill the differential and transmission had to be transplanted to allow for the folding canopy compartment.
A release date hasn’t been announced yet for either the coupe or convertible Z06, but both will arrive next year. Chevrolet is still testing the cars at its Milford Proving Grounds, which is why the engine output numbers are still unofficial. A company spokesman said the convertible will follow in typical product cadence roughly a couple of months after the coupe and will probably be ready in time for next spring.
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GALLERY: 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible Live Photos
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