Corvette Z06 packs on the perks with a 505-hp V-8

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Posted: June 20, 2008

What’s more fun than a 430-horsepower Corvette? Try a “Velocity Yellow” Corvette Z06.

As if 430 horsepower in a 3,200-pound car isn’t enough to strip your gears, Chevy packs a 505-horsepower, 7.0-liter V-8 into the Z06.

You’ll pay dearly for a car that goes from 0-60 in 3.7-seconds and can reach a top speed of 198 mph. That’s 0.4 seconds quicker than the base ’Vette, and 8 more mph.

While a base Corvette LT1 Coupe starts at $46,100, the tested Z06 lists at $70,175.

The Z06 has a lot of other goodies to justify its price, and we really should compare it to the LT4 that packs on a variety of extras and pushes the cost to $54,105.

So what else do you get for a price difference equivalent to the cost of a small, fuel-efficient car?

The list includes an aluminum frame with one-piece hydroformed rails and magnesium engine cradle to cut weight; two-mode performance exhaust; four stainless steel exhaust outlets; carbon fiber fenders; larger brakes; larger antiroll stabilizers; anti-lock brakes; and less wind resistance. Visually you get a taller rear spoiler, which could actually be important if you're driving more than 190 mph; a cold air scoop in front to help the engine; and 10-spoke wheels with 18-inch tires front and 19-inchers in back.

Acceleration is neck-jerking quick. Tromping the pedal will push you back hard into the well-formed leather seats. And with a six-speed manual that shifts this easily, it's a cinch to put the car's power to use, any way you want. The clutch is heavy, as you'd expect in a race-oriented machine.

Steering is heavy, but racy and fairly precise. This is not BMW mega-precise, but is sharp as you drive into turns, although when you punch it at the apex of a turn the rear wants to waggle a bit. Fun if you're on a track; less advisable on the freeway.

These wide performance tires and Corvette's tight suspension make the car feel stiff and can create a punishing ride. The suspension also gives the car a nervous feel over manhole covers and on rough, off-camber roads.

Brakes are massive with 6-piston front and 4-piston rear cross-drilled brakes. Just looking at them is exciting.

Z06 also sounds like a racer. It has a guttural growl that permeates the interior, especially at low speeds. I found it hard to leave the windows down and hear the radio because of engine and tire noise. Still, you don't buy a Vette for the radio.

Inside this looks much like any other Vette. Some could argue that there should be some additional special features here, for the price bump.

The leather is a higher grade, Chevy says, and certainly everything looks good, just no more special than a base model. Plus the test car had a few electronic bugs.

Most disturbing, the car wouldn't always start. It has an electronic fob that need only be on your person when you press the start button to start the engine. But it insisted there was "no fob detected" at various times and just clicked as I pushed the button. After exiting the car and pressing the lock and unlock buttons again, it usually would start. That's a bad system.

An annoying rattle in the rear end also bugged me, especially on the bumpy roads.

Gas mileage also was stellar, for a V-8 rocket. I averaged about 19 mpg and got as high as 25 mpg on a highway run.

Mark Savage welcomes your questions and comments regarding new vehicles at Savageonwheels@yahoo.com.