HOME | LUXURY | STYLE | AUTO | TRAVEL | GEAR | LIFESTYLE

Corvette ZO6 debuts in Detroit

The folks at Chevrolet made quite a splash last year when they introduced the seventh generation Corvette with the all-new 2014 Corvette Stingray. It was a stunning achievement with a beautiful design to go along with the performance we’ve come to expect with the Corvette. I had the opportunity to drive the new Corvette at Pebble Beach and then the convertible in Palm Springs and both experiences cemented the impression that the Corvette belongs in the discussion with sports cars that cost two or three times as much.

Now the Corvette team is building on this triumph with the introduction of the all-new 2015 Corvette ZO6 for those hard core enthusiasts who want to race on the track and push beyond the impressive performance levels achieved by the new Stingray.

With the track-focused Z07 performance package, the 2015 Corvette Z06 delivers faster lap times than the 2014 Corvette. The new ZO6 is the most track-capable Corvette in the brand’s history and pushes into the supercar territory. The performance level for the Corvette is pushed even further with significant levels of aerodynamic downforce, at least 625 horsepower from an all-new supercharged engine, and an all-new, high-performance eight-speed automatic transmission. All of this builds on the advanced driver technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray that I was able to experience on my drives.

The look of the ZO6 is very similar to the beautiful Stingray, but there are minor differences you’ll observe on close inspection. The ZO6 is a little wider in the rear and has a number of adjustments to accommodate the push for performance.

“Virtually every exterior change served a functional purpose, as this beast needed more of everything,” said Tom Peters, Corvette design director, “The flared fenders accommodate larger, wider wheels and tires for more grip. The larger vents provide more cooling air to the engine, brakes, transmission and differential for increased track capability. The more aggressive aerodynamic package generates true downforce for more cornering grip and high-speed stability.”

To cover the wider tire tread, the fenders of the ZO6 were extended by 2.2 inches at the front and 3.15 inches at the rear, giving the ZO6 a wider, lower appearance with adjustments to the rear fascia. It incorporates the same taillamp assemblies as the Stingray, but on the Z06 the taillamps are pushed approximately three inches farther apart, toward to edges of the body.

Cooling was also a very important issue. The mesh pattern on the front fascia was designed to deliver the most possible airflow to the supercharger’s intercooler heat exchanger, providing even more air into the engine bay than with the grille completely removed. The grille also features dedicated brake-cooling intakes and wider grille outlets on the bottom serve as air diffusers. The grille is complemented with a larger hood vent, which not only vents hot air from the engine compartment, but contributes to downforce by allowing air driven through the grille to exit through the hood rather than being forced under the car, which could create lift. Additional cooling elements include larger front fender vents and unique air blades over the inlets on the rear fenders, which force about 50 percent more air into the cooling ducts for the transmission and differential coolers than those on the Stingray. To cope with the additional airflow, the Z06 has also has larger rear-fascia openings than the Stingray.

The technical improvements are too long to list, and performance aficionados can do their own research on the engineering advancements made with this vehicle. But most car lovers will appreciate the engine. The 2015 Corvette Z06 features an all-new LT4 6.2L supercharged V-8 engine, making it the first supercharged ZO6. It will deliver an estimated 625 horsepower and 635 lb.-ft. of torque and leverages the same trio of advanced technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray: Direct injection, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and continuously variable valve timing.

For most buyers, the base Corvette Stingray or the Z51 will be more than you’ll ever need in terms of performance and luxury, even if you’re looking to bring it to the track. With the multiple drive modes including Sport and Track, the Corvette Stingray offers a thrilling ride every time. You’ll also be impressed with the comfort and luxury offered by this vehicle, let alone the gas mileage you’ll get even when pushing the Corvette to the limit. You can drive this car for hours and feel just as comfortable as you’ll feel in many luxury sedans. If you’re into sports cars, make it a point to text drive the Corvette Stingray and compare it to what you’ve been driving.

The ZO6 on the other hand pushes the performance envelope for serious drivers. Corvette has been pushing the performance envelope for years and the 2015 ZO6 delivers another triumph.