The Chevrolet C8 Corvette gets its first high-performance version in the Z06, and you might wonder: What do you get for about a $30,000 premium over the base Stingray coupe?
The major difference between the Z06 and the base Stingray is the entirely new engine, taking the Corvette from 490 to 670 horsepower and its redline up from 6450 rpm to a wild 8600 rpm.
There are other ways in which the Z06 is just bigger: body width, wheels and tires, brakes, and rear wing are all upsized.
Chevrolet has a few high-performance C8 Corvette models coming out within the next couple of years. The Z06 is the first to arrive, and we expect it to provide pure driving enjoyment. There are some big differences between the Z06 and the base C8 Stingray, and even some small ones, too, but we'll get into all of them to explain how the Z06 ups the ante on the mid-engine sports car.
New for 2020, the C8 Stingray debuted the Corvette's first mid-engine platform. It uses a naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 that produces 490 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque (495 hp and 470 pound-feet with the Z51 Performance package), paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. In our testing, it launched the C8 Stingray to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds on the way to a 11.2-second quarter-mile clocking 122 mph. Chevy installs an entirely new engine in the Z06: a naturally aspirated double-overhead-cam 5.5-liter V-8 with a flat-plane crankshaft. It produces 670 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, making it the most powerful free-breathing V-8 engine ever installed in a road car. It routes all that power to the eight-speed DCT, but it has a shorter final-drive ratio. It gets better. The 5.5-liter, dubbed LT6, revs all the way to a screaming 8600 rpm. The Stingray's 6.2-liter has its fuel cutoff set at 6500 rpm. The coming ZR1 variant is expected to bolt a pair of turbochargers to the LT6, increasing power to over 800 horsepower.
Chevy specifically tunes the control-arm suspension for the Z06, and magnetorheological dampers come standard. They cost $1895 on the Stingray. An electronically controlled limited-slip differential, also an option on the Stingray, comes standard, too.
The Z06's brakes are 1.2 inches larger than the Brembos included in the Stingray's Z51 package, and the front calipers on the Z06 are six-pistons compared to the Stingray's four-piston brakes. Carbon-ceramic rotors are included in the Z06's track-focused Z07 package.
Corvette Stingrays have tires sized 245/35 up front and 305/30 in the rear, while the Z06's rubber is sized 275/30 in the front and 345/25 out back. The C8 Stingray's optional Z51 Performance package includes Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires and Brembo brakes. Z06 cars come with 20-inch front and 21-inch rear aluminum wheels wrapped in Pilot Sport 4S rubber standard, though carbon-fiber wheels are available, as are Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires that were specifically designed for the Z06. The Z06 measures 3.6 inches wider than the C8 Stingray to fit those larger tires.
You'll notice a large rear wing on some Z06s. Those cars are equipped with the Z07 package, which includes not only numerous other performance options but aerodynamic tweaks such as the wing, as well as a front splitter and canards that help with cornering and stability. Cars not equipped with that package have a smaller adjustable spoiler. A unique front fascia allows air to feed to a center heat exchanger that better cools the powertrain, there's also more brake cooling, and the rear is different than the Stingray's, too, with center quad-exit exhaust tips. Its side air intakes are also larger.
Like the Stingray, the Z06 is available in both coupe and convertible configurations. We can expect the same for the ZR1, which was available in both forms in the previous generation, but with even more aggressive aero.
Overall, the Z06's interior is the same as the Stingray's, and there are three seat choices, too. However, there are numerous other trim options including two levels of carbon-fiber options along with the choice of aluminum trim. That includes a carbon-fiber steering wheel and carbon paddle shifters. You can also get a fully red interior along with six other options. They can be paired with 12 exterior color choices and seven wheel choices with different finishes and six brake caliper color choices.
The base 2022 Corvette Stingray coupe starts at $62,195. Pricing for the 2023 Corvette Z06 has not yet been released, but we estimate it should start around $90,000.
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