The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Is a Gamechanger… Apparently

The new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is currently the darling of the automotive media, so we thought we’d take a closer look at why.

When the C8 Corvette was first launched, its new midship platform got the purists foaming at the mouth. However, in Z06 guise, it’s become the talk of the town for all the right reasons instead.

Before we get into why everyone seems to be singing its praises though, let’s take a step back and bring you up to speed with what exactly the Z06 specification brings to the C8 party.

Well, as has always been the case with previous Z06s, this is a much more track-focused, no-nonsense car compared to the normal Corvette Stingray. So, it’s packed full of all sorts of goodies.

The biggest surprise has to be the engine. Forget what’s in the standard Corvette; this Z06 has a brand-new power unit: namely, a naturally aspirated 5.5-litre V8, complete with 8500rpm redline and a flat-plane crankshaft. So, instead of a low American burble, this car erupts into a high-pitched, European-esque symphony of combustion once you plant your foot onto the loud pedal. You better not get too carried away once you do though, as underneath that right foot, there’s 670hp and 460lb ft of torque at your disposal.

To go along with the epic new engine, a reworked version of the standard eight-speed DCT transmission has been added too, featuring a shorter final drive. It’s a good system, however multiple accounts suggest that it can occasionally be a bit stubborn to downshift. The chassis, meanwhile, has been strengthened in order to preserve the car’s stability under a more demanding set of conditions.

The eye-catching interior also reflects the Corvette’s newfound speed. The seats, for instance, are ventilated and extra-supportive, which will no doubt be welcome on a spirited drive.

However, to get the ultimate Z06 experience, you’ll need to opt for the additional ‘Z07’ performance package. As part of the deal, you’ll get wider, grippier Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tires, upgraded suspension, and ceramic brakes sourced from Brembo, but you’ll also have to have the mandatory carbon aero package added on as well. This sprinkles the Corvette with features like a new rear spoiler and various splitters and canards. Oh, if we must…

With these boxes ticked, the Z06 tips the scales at 1560kg – almost an identical weight to the newly announced Audi R8 GT RWD. Now, this is where the hype around the Corvette starts to make sense. Yes, it’s comparable in weight to Audi’s finest, but it’s also significantly more powerful than the R8 and will cost around £60,000 less (even with the optional extras included). Admittedly, that R8 is a limited-edition model, but run a similar comparison alongside track-focused Porsche 911s – or even the BMW M4 CSL – and the numbers tend to point in favour of the Chevy.

The Corvette’s off to a great start then, but what’s it like in practice? Well, if the first flurry of reviews is anything to go by, this Corvette certainly hasn’t got any performance anxiety…

We’ll have to defer to the opinions of our Stateside friends for now, but whichever way you slice it, the Z06 must be pretty good for the likes of Road & Track to describe it as “an unbelievable car… an inherently special thing.”

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

As far as we can gather, the Z06 essentially unleashes the potential of the C8’s mid-engined platform in a way that the common Stingray base model never quite could. It’s responsive without being twitchy, and that allows you to release all of its power in good confidence that it won’t bite back at you (unless you’re being a real donut). Then, when driving normally, it won’t make your life a misery, as many stripped-back sportscars would.

In fact, first impressions of the Z06 were so good that Road & Track suggests it provides “more value, theater, and excitement” than its closest European rivals. Quite a claim, that!

They aren’t the only ones who feel that way, either. MotorTrend headlines its own review by claiming that the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is “the best American sports car ever made… that leaves you wanting nothing but more seat time.”

So, after decades of throwing jokes at the ‘wannabe supercar’ from the other side of the Atlantic, should us Europeans be worried that the jokes are now on us?

Well, let’s not get carried away just yet. As good as the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 may be, it’s yet to arrive on our shores, nor has it gone head-to-head against any of the established old guard. Mind you, when that eventually happens, we wouldn’t mind being there to witness it…

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