DRIVERS LOG: 2008 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

2008 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
IN FLEET: Aug. 22-Sept. 2
AS-TESTED PRICE: $81,170
DRIVETRAIN: 7.0-liter V8; RWD, six-speed manual
OUTPUT: 505 hp @ 6,300 rpm, 470 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
CURB WEIGHT: 3,162 lb
FUEL ECONOMY (EPA/AW): 18/13.2 mpg

SENIOR EDITOR KEVIN A. WILSON: The ZR1 makes a good argument for the Z06. If I work really hard at it, I can find places where I can give this Z06 a workout, using about 80 percent of its abilities for a short while. Where besides a racetrack can I go to use another 133 hp, even more grip, even better brakes? Unless I'm bound for track-day glory, then I'm better off with the $24,000 difference in my pocket for gas money. I think I'd like a Corvette with better steering, but I'd be reluctant to jack up my monthlies by 30 percent to get it. Won't those improvements trickle down to the rest of the range? Such calculations are foolish, of course. No one says Porsche shouldn't have made the Carrera GT because the Turbo was fast enough or that Ferrari should have passed on the Enzo because no one can drive an F430 to its max on the highway.

MOTORSPORTS EDITOR MAC MORRISON: Coming right off the ZR1 test, I was happy to find that the Z06 feels plenty fast. Wilson is spot-on. As megatastic as the ZR1 is, the Z06 is more than you can reasonably use on the street. And yes, the 2009 Z06--and every other Corvette--will have the same mechanically variable steering rack as the ZR1, so you don't have to pay extra for it. But there is a place for both models. Three years since its launch, the Z06 remains a great performance value. It's a world-class performance car that will hang with virtually anything on the road or the track. It can be tricky to drive at the limit, so you need both talent and care, but it's a rewarding machine. It doesn't have the same panache as more exotic cars, but worry about that after you've smoked them down the road.