Detroit Auto Show: Corvette Z06 debuts with 600-plus horsepower

The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 will have "at least" 625 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque from a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine. Other highlights include either a seven-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic, as well as a removable roof panel, a first for the Z06.

Chevrolet pulled the covers off its all-new Corvette Stingray Z06 -- with “at least” 625 horsepower and track-ready tuning -- at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Just a year after the base version of the seventh-generation Corvette debuted in the automaker’s hometown, this high-performance Z06 variant bowed to the world here Monday. Chevy called the Z06 the most capable Corvette it’s ever built.

“The new Z06 delivers levels of performance, technology and design that rival the most exotic supercars in the world,” Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America said in a statement.

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The all-new Z06 blends the best elements of the sixth-generation ZR1 and the current Stingray coupe. This means a supercharged V-8 and a removable roof panel.

Horsepower and torque are in the neighborhood of stupendous, which is generally what happens when you strap an Eaton supercharger to a 6.2-liter V-8. Chevy says to expect to expect at least 635 pound-feet of torque to go along with the similar horsepower figure.

Despite all that gusto, the Corvette’s maker insists there are degrees of efficiency built into the all-aluminum motor, which is internally dubbed the LT4. These bits include cylinder deactivation -- which Chevy says is a first on a supercharged engine like this -- and variable valve timing.

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Channeling all this power to the rear wheels will be either a seven-speed manual transmission with the same rev-matching downshifts as the base Stingray. Or an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters.

While a gearhead’s knee-jerk reaction may be to dismiss such an automatic transmission in such a car as lame, Chevy says that 60% of Corvette buyers actually choose the automatic. And the the one bolted to this new Z06 isn’t exactly a slouch, according to the automaker.

Though it’s a full automatic (not an automated manual or dual-clutch setup favored by many performance cars), Chevy insists that its shifts under full throttle are actually eight-hundredths of a second faster than the Porsche 911’s breathtakingly quick PDK. Pity the guy who had to verify that fact.

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This new Z06 also benefits from the base Stingray’s aluminum frame. Chevy was able to stiffen it to such a degree that, for the first time on a Z06 model, the roof panel will be removable. Even with the carbon-fiber panel off, the Z06 is 20 percent more rigid than its predecessor. Snap it in place and stiffness is up 60 percent.

Other performance goodies that are optional on the base Stingray now come standard on the Z06. This includes the car’s electronic limited-slip differential, and the third-generation magnetic ride control suspension.

Buyers can add extra carbon fiber via the optional aero package that includes a front splitter, rocker panels and a large rear spoiler.

A track-oriented Z07 package will also be optional. This adds ultra-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires, Brembo carbon-ceramic brake rotors and various bits to the car’s exterior to provide additional downforce. With this setup, Chevy says the 2015 Z06 is faster around a track than the earlier ZR1, a Corvette that sold for more than $100,000, and one that was positioned above the Z06.


While pricing on the Z06 hasn’t been announced, Chevy said that buyers who could afford the sixth-generation car will be able to afford this new, seventh-generation model. The previous Z06 started at $77,590. This will make the Z06 one of the better supercar bargains on the market when it goes on sale at the end of 2014.