The new Chevrolet Corvette C7 Z06, an uprated version of the Corvette C7, has been unveiled at the Detroit motor show.
Chevrolet’s high-performance Z06 moniker first appeared on the C2 generation of Corvette, in 1963. It was followed, decades later, by the C5 Z06 and C6 Z06.
This generation of Z06, however, is the first with a removable roof, optional eight-speed automatic transmission and – more notably – a supercharged V8 engine.
Power comes from Chevy’s new supercharged 6.2-litre ‘LT4′ V8. It utilises direct injection and variable valve timing to help produce “at least” 625bhp and 635lb ft.
In line with its high-performance nature, the LT4 in the Z06 benefits from a dry sump oiling system, ensuring the correct oil pressure is maintained in strenuous conditions.
Other notable design features of the engine include a 10:1 compression ratio, titanium intake valves, forged aluminium pistons and machined connecting rods.
Thanks to the use of a compact 1.7-litre Eaton supercharger, the LT4 is only 25mm taller than the standard LT1 engine. This helps keep the Corvette’s centre of gravity low, improving its handling characteristics.
Chevrolet is yet to announce any official performance statistics for the C7 Z06, but it’s likely that it’ll perform in a similar fashion to the 638bhp ZR1, which accelerates from 0-60mph in 3.4sec and can reach a top speed of 205mph.
No official fuel consumption figures have been released either, but the use of cylinder deactivation should help the Z06 return acceptable figures. The standard naturally aspirated C7 is currently claimed to average 28mpg, while the outgoing supercharged ZR1 returns 19.2mpg.
In classic Corvette style, the Z06 retains the C7′s standard transverse-mounted composite springs, while magnetorheological electrically adjustable dampers serve to reputedly improve both handling and ride quality. Double-wishbone suspension is used all round, with cast aluminium control arms helping reduce weight.
A ‘Driver Mode Selector’ offers customisable stability control, launch control, variable traction control and adjustments to the way the electronically controlled limited-slip differential locks up.
Braking power is provided by six-piston aluminium front calipers, four-piston rear calipers and steel disc brakes. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 run-flat tyres are standard, mounted on 19×10 alloys at the front and 20×12 alloys at the rear.
Drive is sent to the Z06′s rear wheels via a seven-speed manual gearbox or a rapid-shifting eight speed automatic. The seven speed features active rev matching, like that found on Nissan’s 370Z
The eight-speed gearbox is a new addition to the Corvette range, and benefits from wheel-mounted paddle-shifts for faster manual control. According to Chevrolet, the torque-convertor-based automatic can “deliver shift performance that rivals the dual-clutch/semi-automatic transmissions found in many super cars”.
The company claims, for example, that its eight speed can perform full-throttle upshifts up to eight-hundredths of a second quicker than that of Porsche’s PDK.
“The new Z06 delivers levels of performance, technology and design that rival the most exotic supercars in the world,” said Mark Reuss, president, General Motors North America.
“It leverages the engineering expertise of GM, offering the choice of two world-class transmissions, supercar performance without supercar fuel consumption and technologies that make it easier to fully enjoy the incredible experience of driving it.”
Buyers can also opt for a track-focused ‘Z07′ performance pack that adds upgraded Super Sport Cup tyres, Brembo carbon-ceramic brake discs and tweaked aerodynamic components. A carbonfibre aerodynamic package will also be available.
The Z06 also features cosmetic and aerodynamic changes. Tom Peters, Corvette design director, said: “The flared arches accommodate larger, wider wheels and tires for more grip.
“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.”
Interior upgrades, compared to the standard C7, include unique colour schemes and a flat-bottomed steering wheel. Two seat options will be offered, a conventional GT seat or a more aggressively bolstered ‘Competition Sport’ seat. Both feature magnesium frames, for weight-reduction purposes.
According to Chevrolet, the new Z06 is reputed to deliver “faster lap times” than the outgoing range-topping 2013 Corvette ZR1 – a car capable of lapping the Nürburgring in 7:19.63, quicker than many more costly rivals.
The new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 will go on sale in early 2015. Pricing and exact performance data is yet to be announced;