Supercar, supercar, are you as fast as they say you are? That's what inquiring minds want to know about the forthcoming 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, which by the numbers is the most powerful car General Motors has ever made.
By the numbers, GM is referring to 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, emanating from a supercharged 6.2 liter V-8, the most horsepower ever wedged into a Corvette, let alone any GM vehicle.
On the surface, and in the wallet, $78,995 might seem to be an extravagant price of entry into the supercar class. But other cars that GM sees as competitors such as the McLaren 650S and the Ferrari 458 Italia will dwindle bank accounts by around $250,000 each. The price of the new Z06 is only 2 percent greater than the 2013 Z06 that it replaces. That 2 percent hike is assuaged by almost a third more power than the older model, though.
The Z06 will also be available as a convertible, with a starting price of $83,995. The Z06 is also the first Corvette Z06 to offer a supercharged engine, paddle-shift automatic transmission and a removable roof panel for the coupe.
The convertible's electronically controlled top can be operated with the key fob. It also can be opened or closed at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. This is the first Z06 to offer a convertible top since 1963, made possible with the new car only by recent technological advancements, according to Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter.
"Simply put, until recently it was not possible to create an open-roof structure strong enough to meet Corvette's highest performance levels. It required advancements in computer-aided engineering, metallurgy and manufacturing -- many of which did not exist five years ago -- to make a frame strong enough for a Z06 convertible," Juechter said.
All of that muscle now rides on a stronger aluminum frame than the previous Z06. The 2015 Z06 rides on 12-inch wide wheels that can be rendered motionless by available carbon ceramic brakes.
If the Z06's standard performance envelope makes you yawn, buyers can opt for the Z07 add-on package that makes the Z06 more formidable at the track. The package adds adjustable front and rear aero components that significantly increase aerodynamic downforce, keeping the Z06 firmly planted on the track -- an important consideration for a car that has a top speed in excess of 200 miles per hour. The Z07 package also includes Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup tires that ride on 19-inch wheels. Brembo carbon ceramic-matrix brake rotors are in the package, improving braking, naturally, but also boosting handling by reducing unsprung weight.
The 2015 Corvette Z06 will also feature GM's revamped Valet Mode and Performance Data Tracking surveillance and computer system, for monitoring the safety of the vehicle in the hands of other drivers and providing statistical feedback on the car's performance on the road or at the track.