With 650 horsepower and 881Nm of torque screaming their way to the wheels through a seven-speed manual transmission, hurtling from 0 to 100kph in a neck-snapping 3.8 seconds, and decked out with a Z07 track pack, the Corvette Z06 is one of the best performance cars on sale today. It has the performance, the looks and the dynamic capabilities to challenge supercars that cost three times more.
It comes as no surprise in a car that was co-developed with the C7.R racecar and shares many features and components with the latter.
It comes as no surprise in a car that was co-developed with the C7.R racecar and shares many features and components with the latter such as the carbon-fibre roof and bonnet, the dry-sump oil system, titanium intake valves, composite floor panels and the hydroformed aluminium frame. With the Z07 Performance Package that our tester is specced with, it looks suitably menacing too. The base Z06 with the standard Aero Package itself comes with a front splitter, vents around the front wheel openings, a large vent on the carbon fibre bonnet and a rear spoiler for more downforce. The mid-spec Carbon Fibre Aero Package adds a front splitter with aviation-inspired end plates and rocker panels made of carbon fibre, and a larger rear spoiler that further increases downforce. But if you choose the track-focused Z07 package, it gives you all the goodness of the carbon pack along with larger end plates to the front splitter, an adjustable Gurney flap on the rear spoiler and beefier carbon ceramic brakes. And in this guise the Corvette Z06 boasts the most downforce ever produced by any car made by General Motors.
It’s very easy to court extra-legal velocities in this car, as the superb aerodynamics is abundantly complemented by the 6.2-litre supercharged V8. The torque delivery is linear, relentless and at times brutal. The Z06’s clutch is long but delectably lightweight and ploughing through the seven-speed manual is a pleasure thanks to the well-defined gates. The steering wheel has paddles mounted on either side, but they are there just to let you switch the rev-matching feature on and off. While it looks more like a decision made to let GM use the same steering wheel unit on both manual and automatic transmission models, it does work well, and it’s a delight to listen to the crackles, bangs and pops that emanate from the quad exhaust pipes on downshifts, especially with the convertible top folded down. The steering is also reassuringly heavier and more precise than the Stingray’s. Thanks to the C7’s new aluminium chassis that’s 20 per cent stiffer than the previous-generation’s, the convertible Z06 does not need any additional structural reinforcements. Adding to the Z06’s dynamic abilities is the Magnetic Selective Ride Control, which remains one of the most advanced damping systems around.
For all its extreme performance credentials, the manual Corvette Z06 is not a car that’s difficult to live with on a daily basis, provided you don’t get stuck in traffic. The cabin is well-built and the seats are supportive and reasonably comfortable at the same time, although with the top up it could get a bit claustrophobic for occupants of above-average height. However, if you’re buying a Z06 mostly for road use, and as a daily driver, go for the coupé with an automatic transmission. In my opinion it looks much better than the convertible with its fabric top, and better still, the coupé’s carbon fibre roof panel is also removable.
The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 offers more power, more performance, and more fun than most of us would ever need in a car.
The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 offers more power, more performance, and more fun than most of us would ever need in a car. Even more incredible is the price, which starts at Dh265,000, which is the kind of money you’d happily part with to buy a mid-size premium family saloon. However, I must point out that speccing it up with the Z07 track pack and the rest of the trinkets will inflate this figure to a considerably higher Dh459,000. But even that won’t seem a prohibitive ask when you see that the Z06 is a supercar in every sense of the word, and is capable of giving you thrills that only a handful of cars many times its price can.