Engine: 6.2 L supercharged V8, 650 HP, 650 lb-ft of torque.
Transmission: Seven-speed manual, eight-speed automatic
Fuel Economy (US): 13 MPG city, 23 MPG highway (automatic)
Fuel Economy (CDN): 17.7 L/100 km city, 10.2 L/100 km highway (automatic)
Pricing (US): Corvette Z06 Coupe starts at $79,990 after destination charges, the Convertible begins at $84,990.
Pricing (CDN): Corvette Z06 coupe starts at $86,995 after destination charges, the convertible begins at $92,495.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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