2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Review

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Review

The first time I saw the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, I couldn’t wait for the day to come when I’d be able to finally drive one.

As the months went by, specifications began to surface. The new Z06 would get a supercharged V8, a choice of transmissions, the most downforce ever applied to a street car by Chevrolet and some of the stickiest street-legal tires known to man. My anticipation grew and I began to wonder if there’s any way the new Z06 could live up to my expectations? The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray with the Z51 package is so good, how much better could the Z06 really be?

It was finally time to answer those burning questions. I was whisked away to Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch to sample the 2015 Z06 where it belongs. In a few short laps I had my answers: there is no disappointment in the Z06’s performance and it’s in an entirely different league than the Stingray.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Blackout Inducing Brakes

Forget the massive horsepower or excessive downforce, it’s the Z06’s brakes that blow my mind the most. Or more accurately, it’s the brakes that are trying to squeeze my brain out of my nostrils with a g-force riddled violence I’ve never experienced before. The Corvette Z06’s official theme song should be Kurtis Blow’s 1980 hit “The Breaks”.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is a Race Car for the Street

The two piece steel rotors that come standard on the Z06 do a tremendous job scrubbing off speed. But upgrade to the Z07 performance package and those brakes are replaced by carbon ceramic rotors that grow nearly an inch front and rear. Chevrolet officially claims these brakes will stop the Z06 in less than 100 feet from 60 MPH which is phenomenal.

LT4 = Horsepower Explosion

Having insane braking capability is a good thing for a car with maniacal amounts of horsepower. A 6.2-liter supercharged LT4 V8 sits under the Z06’s swoopy hood and generates 650 HP and 650 lb-ft of torque. Yes it’s a 16-valve pushrod engine, but it’s also crammed with leading edge technology like direction injection and cylinder deactivation.

And then there is the sound. A deep, frenzied bellow emits from the Chevrolet’s four trumpet exhaust tips that is unmistakably American. When the secondary exhaust bypass valves open, everyone within 20 miles will hear the Z06’s snarl. It’s that loud.

Seven or Eight Speeds?

Like the regular Corvette Stingray, the Z06 uses a seven-speed manual transmission with rev match technology. Unlike the past few Z06 models, the 2015 edition can now be had with an automatic transmission as well: Chevy’s new eight-speed.

With the automatic transmission, a 0-60 MPH run happens in less than three seconds while the quarter mile is a sub-11 second blur. These are some serious numbers and the Z06 feels fully capable of them. On the main straightaway of the Spring Mountain track, speed builds at alarming rates. it only takes a moment to reach and surpass 100 MPH while the Corvette continues to pull and pull.

Heroic Rubber

The Z06 comes standard with 285/30R19 front and 335/25R20 rear Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. If that’s not enough grip, opt for the Z07 performance package that upgrades the tires to Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s. I’m no engineer, but I’m pretty sure these tires are made from a combination of glue, tree sap and gum. What else could explain their ability to pull 1.2 g’s of lateral force?

Basically a street-legal racing slick, the Sport Cup 2 tires feature minimal tread and maximum levels of grip. On the track the Z07 package’s adhesion limits feel endless. Best of all, the tires behave predictably and never allow the Z06 to get upset. The limits of the standard Pilot Super Sport tires are lower, but the tire will last much longer and are better suited for daily driving duties, especially when it rains.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Review

The rest of the Z06 mechanics have been revised as well to match all the other performance upgrades. Magnetic selective ride control, performance traction management and active handling are all standard. The electric power steering can be adjusted from 12.0:1 to 16.4:1 ratio depending on drive mode. The one item missing from the Z06 is a mechanical limited-slip rear differential as it retains an electronic rear differential like the Stingray.

Down with the Force

Available now as a coupe or convertible, at first glance the Z06 may look like a regular Stingray, but is actually wider all around. The front fenders are over two inches wider while the rear fenders grow by over three inches. The easiest way to spot the Z06 from a normal Stingray is by the taillights that are now roughly three inches further apart. Failing that, look for copious amounts of vents, wings, spats and spoilers applied to the Z06.

Yup, the Z06 is all about that downforce. Three packages are available for the new car including the most extreme Z07 package that adds a more aggressive front splitter and spats, larger side sills and an adjustable see-through center portion to the rear spoiler. Even the redesigned front grille works with the larger hood vent to create more downforce.

Livable, But Not Perfect

Unlike most of the supercars Chevrolet has its sights on, there is still a generous amount of cargo space in the Corvette. In coupe form, the rear hatch can swallow 15 cubic feet of gear. As well, the Z06 can be had with either the GT or more aggressive competition seats, depending on how much comfort vs. support is required.

As with any car, there are a few issues with the Corvette. Despite Chevrolet’s best efforts to keep weight in check, the Z06 tips the scales at 3,524 lbs. for the base coupe, which isn’t just a hefty increase over the previous generation Z06, but also heavier than the last Corvette ZR1. Some of the exterior body panels were slightly out of alignment on the few Z06s I sampled as well.

The Value

But some of that can be forgiven when the issue of price comes up. The Z06 coupe starts at an unbelievable $79,990 after destination charges. Let me put that in perspective for you. The Dodge Viper starts at over $85,000 and can’t match the Z06’s performance. Upgrade to the Z07 package and the price is still just $91,000.

That should put the Z06 at least as capable, if not more so, than the $150,000 Nissan GT-R Nismo, the $130,000 Porsche 911 GT3 or the $183,000 911 Turbo S. And then there are the super pricey exotics that may have more than their hands full with the 2015 Corvette Z06 at local track days.

The Verdict

Call it old-school, dated or traditional. If you own a Z06, you won’t care. Instead you’ll be too busy setting blistering lap times. It’s stupid fast and the capabilities of this machine are ridiculous. There is the new super ‘Vette and it’s out for blood.

Discuss this story on our Chevrolet Corvette forum

  • Those “misaligned” panels belong to pre-production versions because those cars that belong to the hands of owners have no issues with that.

  • Gandhi

    It “sadly” has an electronic LSD? You do realize that the e-LSD is faster reacting and performs better than the mechanical LSD correct?

  • Mark S

    Great video and review of an amazing car. I say amazing because a buyer is getting a whole lot of bang for their buck. It is way too much car for the road – the base with Z51 pack and magnetic ride is plenty. I prefer manuals but interested to know if the new GM automatic is up there with the competition? Should early buyers who got the old automatic box be a little annoyed that GM has already launched a better unit?

  • ChenoaCorkseki

    just as Troy explained I didn’t even know that anyone can earn $7457 in four weeks on the internet . try this site

  • Mike Schlee

    If I were an early buyer, I would be upset as the new unit is much better. But, most knew the eight-speed was coming when the Stingray launched, so it really was the buyer’s decision I feel.

  • Mark S

    For this kind of car, I agree a buyer should be/ would expect to be do doing their research about their (fun) car they are going to spend >50k on. Still though, if you knew a great step up in tech was in the pipeline, why not wait? I recall reading sometime back that GM was pleased with the high uptake of manual C7 (@40%) when the car was first launch, so at least there should be a good number of manuals in the used market one day.

  • Gary G

    Yes the Z06 is quick, but when put up against a Hellcat Challenger in a live video run starting at highway speed, the Hellcat Challenger simply pulled away from the Z06 right from the start and the Hellcat went upwards of 160 to 170 mph speed and had left the Z06 hundreds of feet behind. Sure it has 57 more horse power then the Z06, but it also is over 1000 pounds heavier then the Corvette. Not to mention the Z06 can only go a top speed of 185 mph and the Hellcat can reach at least 200 mph. So sorry GM, but I think you better go back to the drawing board with your supercharged Corvette…

  • Mark S

    One is a great muscle car though and one is a great value sports car. One will be great in a drag race and one great at the track….not really apples to apples?

  • Gary G

    Yes Mark, but you missed the point, the Z06 could have been a great muscle car and a great value sports car if they would have a engine that performs like the Hellcat. Also, both them cars have exactly the same cubic in motors (376 cubic inch) and 6.2 liters. So if we wanna compare apples for apples, why don’t they take the extra 1000 pounds the Hellcat weights over the corvette and put it onto the Z06 and see just how slow it would be then. Or how about putting that Hellcat engine in the Dodge Viper and match up with the Z06 and watch the Z06 get beaten terribly. Apples for Apples, cubic inch for cubic, the Corvette supercharged engine does not perform anywhere near like what the Hellcat engine does. So, again I say GM needs to go back to the drawing board with there lack luster supercharged engine and I think I have a strong case here. It is not that I don’t like the Corvette as I have a modified Grandsport Corvette, it is just that I am really disapointed in Z06’s straight line performance which should have been a mid 10 second quarter mile car and top out at well over 200 miles per hour instead of this wimpy 185 mph and only low 11 second quarter mile times. Also, the new Z06 is a whole 20 mph slower on top end than the old ZR1, need I say anymore…

  • Mark S

    I am more into how a car handles than straight line speed. I want to see what the Z06 round Laguna Seca more than what it does in the quarter mile. Plus also I have admitted in another post, I would happy with a base C7 plus Z51 pack and the magnetic ride, more than enough car for my needs and meagre skills. That said, if straight line speed is what you are looking for cannot argue with your facts and figures.

  • Mike Schlee

    The Z06 produces a lot of down force over 100 MPH which affects straight line performance and top end speed, but also makes for incredible cornering.

  • meebula

    ok///you are a mopar guy…good for you. Just try to appreciate an American sports car for what it is. Mopar and GM, Ford, so glad the horsepower is back. You can bet it will not be here long

  • And I am sorry, but you n too will go back to the drawing board because YOU ARE A BULLSHIT AND I AM BIASED WITH THE C7 Z06!!!!!!! AND ALSO THE C7 Z06 HAS A TOP SPEED OF 3000 MPH!!!!!!!!!!!

  • and YOU ARE A BULLSHIT AND I AM BIASED WITH THE C7 Z06!!!!!!! AND ALSO THE C7 Z06 HAS A TOP SPEED OF 3000 MPH!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mark S

    That was a big win for GTR and MT were checking and doubling checking their stats on this one, they were surprised. I am not knocking the Vette too much, the GTR is great track and has been shocking us for years with great 0-60 runs and track numbers.

  • Jonathan

    “unstable” is relative, we are still talking about one of the best cornering vehicles you can buy anywhere for any price;

    The GTR is more stable and can accelerate better due to it’s all-wheel-drive and better stability control. But in the end it’s only fractions better. AND it costs $150,000 while the Z06 is $79,000 (52% of the cost) and even the z07 package is only $87,000 which is still $63,000 less than the GTR.

    Chevy could also help the z06 with some active aero on the tail (wouldn’t add much to the cost)

    So, compared to the GTR, the corvette offers 95%+ of the performance at 52% of the price.

    That’s a GREAT DEAL

  • Jonathan

    At highway speeds, weight has a much smaller effect as compared to lower speeds;
    The Hellcat is nowhere in the same class of vehicle, It’s very fast in a straight line, but it’s nowhere near a true sports car in the realm of the Corvette, 911, GTR, etc… It’s more of a Touring car

  • worldbfree4me

    @Jonathan Not sure where you can actually pick a Z06 up for $80K at (In my neck of the Woods, dealers are asking that for the Standard Stingray) but you are right, the value proposition is definitely there right now as rumors have begun to only get louder that a Mid Engine Vette is currently in the works. I think my point is, the current Corvette Platform has reached it’s limit. GOD MOTORS could give the Vette a 1000 ponies and they’d have the same problem with stability. A car with an engine hanging over the front axle simply does not have the ability to put power down as efficiently as a car with its engine located behind that axle. Nissan will run into a similar wall soon enough. But their tourqe vectoring AWD does allow them to correct the car naturally wanting to Understeer at the moment. Porsche, while not the value it once was, would be an excellent example, of a very good track car less AWD. The NEW GT4 (mid engine) handles just as if not better than the GT3 (rear engine). But overall, all Pcars handle well because of where that engine sits. Good day

  • Jonathan

    You are right, at the moment the dealer markup is insane on the z06; But in reality, you will be able to buy one at $80,000 as soon as the “hype” dies down. And, yes the z06 is fractions less stable compared to the Nissan and probably to the Porsche. However, we have to remember what class of cars we are talking about. The least stable super car is unbelievably stable at high speed compared to lesser sports-cars.

    What I am unsure of is if Corvette SHOULD try and beat Porsche or the GTR, what I mean is: I think that the corvette is in an unique position: 95% of the performance of “super cars” at 50% of the price(or less)

    Now, the Corvette could turn into a full super car, and I’m confident that GM’s engineering could easily compete with the top cars out there, but I fear that it will then it will command a full “Super Car” price! And I’m not sure that is the “best” thing to do…

  • And you are a BULLSHIT because I am biased with the C7 Z06!!!!!!!!!!

  • dwill

    One you saw one video but i can link multi videos of the c7 z06 beating the hell call…and same hel cst getting beat by a 14′ gt500..hellcat is just a 700hp box..and fast in a straight line..but guess what the world is flat and you eventual have to turn..

  • dwill

    Like you said 1000lbs more and a little more then 50hp more isn’t enough..you kind of proved what you said to be a lie all in one paragraph..the video you speak of was a video needing a driver mod for the vette..its more videos up now and hellcat is loosing in them all

  • Cameron Jones

    I’m gonna have to call BS on that video. They tested the GT-R with an automatic and the Corvette with the 7-speed, which, although more manly, has been established as underperforming compared to the 8-speed. The Nissan numbers are 2.9 and 11.0. This article says the Vette will do under 3 seconds to 60 and under 11 through the quarter. Put a stick shift in the Nissan and it won’t outrun the Corvette.

  • Mark S

    If this is about the MT article, they later found out that the Z06 had alignment issues and when retested it just beat the GTR. That said, take nothing away from the GTR it is still an awesome development to have done so well for so long in this game.The Zora though will the real Vette to beat in the future – sounds like GM is gonna go for it like never before.