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2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06:
main facts

The previous Corvette has been very capable but a little...simple sports car, and the old 500-hp Z06 has been even more capable supercar but a simple one still.

All this "cool but simple" cliche has been left behind with the release of the all-new C7 Corvette, featuring tons of modern technologies like aluminum frame, highest in model`s history power, lots of state-of-the art electronics and premium-quality interior materials and equipment. Now the Corvette is capable to compete with close-priced Porsche, Mercedes and Jaguar cars proving comparable quality but much more power. The sales also tripled, rising to 26,000 C7 Corvettes sold in 9 months.

And now the top-of-the line Corvette Z06 is about to become by far the most powerful supercar for under $90,000 (and actually for under $150,000 as well). Here are the main facts...

1) Incredible power: 650 hp, 650 lb-ft of torque

Even the standard Corvette is one of the best sports cars for under $60,000: with 466-hp 6.2-liter engine, acceleration to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and 178 mph top speed, plus tons of state-of-the-art driving electronics, premium interior and the choice of the newest 8-speed automatic and 7-speed manual transmission.

But the Corvette Z06 provides another-dimension performance thanks to the monstrous supercharged 650-hp, 650-lb-ft V8 engine which propels the new Corvette to the territory of elite supercars.

Now the Z06 has huge power advantage over equally-prices cars like Porsche 911 Carrera S/GTS (430 hp), Jaguar F-Type R (550 hp), Mercedes-AMG GT (460-510 hp).

And what is more, the new super-Corvette is capable to compete even with twice- and even thrice as more expensive supercars like the Porsche 911 Turbo (520 hp,from $150,000), Ferrari 458 Italia / California (550-570 hp, from $200,000), Mercedes SLS (from $230,000)... Though, of course, those cars are about a little more than just power. But still...

2) Acceleration to 60 mph in 2.95 seconds, and quarter mile in 10.95 seconds

The announced performance specs of the new Corvette Z06 are totally incredible: 2.95 seconds in 0-60 acceleration, 10.95 seconds to pass a quarter mile. Again, it`s significantly faster than the direct competitors (Porsche 911 Carrera S/GTS, Jaguar F-Type R, Mercedes-AMG GT etc). In fact, its faster than the elitest hypercars of recent past, like $1 million-dollar Ferrari Enzo...

The only nuance is that such performance of the new Z06 is provided only on performance Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, which come with the $8,000 Z07 Performance package (which also provides carbon-ceramic brakes and aero body kit with maximum downforce).

Also the best acceleration is achieved with launch control, which provides ultra-fast transmission shifts and perfect engine revs at the start.

Oh, and for the first time, the best performance is achieved with the new 8-speed automatic transmission, not the manual one. So if you`re looking for the ultimate speed, the automatic is probably the best choice.

3) New 8-speed automatic transmission and 7-speed manual (but the automatic is faster)

The Corvette has always been a classic car with front engine and rear-wheel drive (the gearbox is also in the rear for better weight distribution). The big news is that for the first time in history Z06 too has choice of 7-speed manual and 8-speed automatic gearbox - and the latter is not some "rookie driver`s choice", but the instrument of ultimate performance.

The GM 8L90 automatic`s speed of shifting has surpassed not only manuals, but shifts, as the GM claims, provdes even faster upshifts than Porsche`s dial-clutch PDK transmission...

The 7-speed manual remains, as well as the new Corvette`s Active Rev Matching system which automatically adjusts engine`s revs to provide smooth and fast acceleration and deceleration. But still manual is not as fast as the automatic: it takes 3.2 seconds to accelerate to 60 mph, and 11.2 seconds quarter mile time.

4) First-in-history Convertible Z06 or a coupe with a removable roof panel

Also for the first time in history Corvette Z06 is available as not only coupe but also a convertible. And what is more, the convertible provides virtually the same weight, body stiffness and performance of the coupe - thanks to the fact that the Corvette was developed as a convertible from the beginning, and then as a coupe.

The Z06 Coupe too features superlight carbon removable roof panel, still providing 20% higher rigidity of the body than the previous Z06.

The weight of the new Corvette Z06 has remained relatively low, in spite of higher power, body rigidity, and lots of premium equipment inside: it weights about 3525 pounds as a coupe and about 3580 as a convertible.

(It`s still 200-300 pounds heavier than the standard Corvette Stingray and especially previous-gen Z06, but with its power. obviously the weight hasn`t prevented him from record-breaking performance)

Besides heavyweight boxer`s punch power, new transmission, increased body stiffness and premium equipment, the new Corvette used a lot of weight-cut technique in order to keep its weight in the lightweight (well, probably middleweight) division:

- the frame is made of aluminum, being both lighter and 20% stiffer than its predecessor`s steal one

- many parts of the suspension, steering, transmission and even seats` frames are of magnesium

- carbon hood, roof panel and optional aerodynamics elements are made of carbon.

Another curious high-tech fact is that also the thermal insulation of the center tunnel is NASA-developed Aerogel, which is one of the lightest and one of the most thermal-insulating material in the world (consisting 99,8% of air).

5) State-of-the-art driving electronics with e-differential, e-suspension, racing-oriented stabilization system, launch control etc

As well as the standard Corvette Stingray, the Z06 features all the progressive supercar`s features:

- Electronically-controlled rear differential (eLSD)

- Magnetic ride suspension dampers adjustable both automatically or from the cabin`s selector

- Performance stabilization system (called Performance Traction Management - or PTM - in GM`s version), which work on putting the car through corners, not choking the engine

All electronic components are combined into unified system controlled with 5 general modes selected via the selector on the center tunnel.

And besides the above-mentioned components, there are 9 more adjustable components:

- Transmission shifts speed and mode (for the automatic gearbox)

- Throttle response and engine`s mode (performance, "weather", fuel-efficient etc)

- Launch control mode

- Steering settings (normal/sport)

- stabilization system modes and

- performance traction modes (assisting in corners)

- Traction control modes (normal/ track/ weather)

- exhaust modes ("quite" normal, "loud" sport/track etc)

The center tunnel`s selector provides quick shifting between 5 general modes:

- Track - the most aggressive, intended for race track (also the launch control is available only in this mode)

- Sport - a little softer

- Tour - normal mode for daily driving

- Eco - fuel-efficient mode intended for boring trips (especially long ones)

- Weather (for rain or for winter driving, for the brave ones )

The interior electronics includesas many as three displays: two standard, 8-inch ones (one in the center console and another in the dashboard), and a color head-up display. Besides standard info, they can how currengt tires pressure, engine temperature, current gear etc.

Finally, the emergency brake is also electronically-controlled via a switch on the center tunnel. And even the doors are opened from inside via electronic buttons.

6) Wider, lighter body with the highest downforce in Corvette`s history

The Corvette Z06 is significantly wider than the base Corvette Stingray: the body is about 2 inches wider in the front and more than 3 inches wider in the rear (the resulting width is about 74 inches, with 177 inches length and about 48 and a half inches height).

The Z06 rear fascia is also new and 3 inches wider than the Stingray`s.

The wider fenders are needed to accommodate huge Michelin Super Sport ZP tires: P285/30ZR19 in the front and 335/25ZR20 in the rear.

The other body changes are focused on increased cooling required by monstrous powertrain, as well as increased downforce to keep in on the road:

- redesigned center intake reorganizes air flow to the intercooler`s heat exchanger, and to the front brakes

- larger front fender vents

- air blades over the inlets on the rear fenders to cool the transmission and differential.

Speaking about aerodynamics, as many as three body kits are available, with different levels of down force:

- stock

- $3K Carbon Fiber Ground Effects package with carbon front splitter, rocker panels and larger rear spoiler

- $8K Z07 Performance Package with even larger front splitter and rear wing, as well as carbon-ceramic brakes by Brembo and Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup tires

7) integrated "dash cam" video recorder with g-meter, GPS, and video export function; and 4G internet, too

The Z06 keeps the new Corvette`s "gadget" feature: the integrated video recorder ("Performance Data Recorder", PDR) which is capable to make videos with videogames-style overlay info. The info includes the speed, acceleration, and location of the car upgraded 5 times per second.

the resulting videos look totally like the Gran Turismo (or The Need for Speed) game, and are saved on a standard SD memory card (32 gigabytes are good for about 13 hours).

The PDR system has 4 modes featuring different overlay information, including 0-60 acceleration time, quarter mile acceleration etc. Also the PDR can record standard videos without any overlays, like another dashcam.

Also there is professional data-analyzing software coming with the Corvette.

The Cosworth toolbox program provides second-by-second analysis of speed, acceleration, cornering force and location of the car at every given moment, with the car`s trajectory shown over satellite map.

The PDR comes together with the available navigation system.

Also starting from 2015 there is OnStar 4G LTE modem intergrated into the Corvette, allowing to connect upto 10 devices via Wi-Fi.

8) Premium interior with lots of comfort features

The new C7 Corvette`s interior now features high-quality materials like Nappa leather (supplied by the German Dräxlmaier corporation) or sueded microfiber, real carbon and aluminum, and soft-touch other surfaces.

There are also two types of seats available: standard "GT" seats and race-oriented "Competition" ones.

Both feature power adjustments and lightweight magnesium frame.

The GT sears also heating and ventilation.

Speaking about personalization, there are five color options for the interior: Kalahari, gray, red, Jet black, and Brownstone

On sale spring`2015, starting from about $79,000 for coupe and about $84,000 for convertible

The base Corvette Stingray is one of the most inexpensive 450+hp sports cars, costing from $54,000 MSRP.

And when the Corvette Z06 goes on sale next spring (the coupe hits showrooms in the first quarter and the convertible in the second), it`s gonna be the most inexpensive 600+hp supercar on market:

- from about $79,000 for the coupe

- from about $84,000 for the convertible version.

- plus about $8,000 for the Z06 Performance package.