The oldest and most beloved owner of the hairy-chested 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 – 650-horsepower, 0-92 km/h in 2.95 seconds – is an 80-year-old retiree living in Scottsdale, Ariz.
"He uses it as his everyday driver," says 'Vette chief engineer Tadge Juechter, who has devoted most of his career to General Motors' flagship super sports car.
The pensioner in question is a former fighter pilot who works out with a personal trainer and regularly climbs the mountains around his sunny home. And he's Juechter's father, who gave his son a personal order for the car.
The new supercharged Z06 may be a beast on the race track, but it's also as grocery-getting friendly as a Chevy Malibu. I know its track skills because I just spent the morning at Spring Mountain Motorsport Ranch – among other things, home to the 'Vette driving school run by Canadian Ron Fellows.
"You're not asking enough for this car," I tell Juechter, post-track. The $85,095 base price, which morphs into $95,892 with the Z07 package – front/rear aero bits, Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup tires, lightweight Brembo carbon ceramic-matrix brake rotors – seems like chump change compared with the $168,000 Audi R8 5.2 or the $208,500 Porsche 911 Carrera Turbo S.
True, the Germans are all-wheel-drive with premium pedigrees. That said, the Z06 has all the driving nannies you'd want to keep you between the lines and make screaming around a track as safe as possible. When you can buy two loaded Z06s and a Malibu for the price of one 911 Turbo S, it's hard to deny this car is undervalued by Chevy. It might not get its deserved respect.
Juechter bristles. He's not big on these "value" discussions.
"We want people to judge the car on its merits, not its price," he says.
The Z06 has a history dating back to 1963, but forget the past. This latest car lives up to every GM claim about it being the best performance car in company history. It flies, holds its line to the tune of 1.2Gs in the corners and will stop from 100 km/h to nothing in 100 feet. And it's comfy, user-friendly and quiet.
Buy one and you can drive it past your 80th birthday.
- Base price: $85,095; as tested (Z07 package): $95,892
- Engine: 6.2-litre V-8, supercharged
- Transmission: seven-speed manual
- Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 15.7 city/10.6 highway using premium fuel.
- Alternatives: Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, Dodge Challenger SRT/SRT Hellcat, Porsche 911 Turbo S, Porsche Cayman GTS, Audi R8, Dodge Viper SRT, Nissan GT-R, Ferrari FF.
- Looks: 9
Okay, not everyone loves the exterior, calling is everything from contrived to uninspired. From here, the Z06 – with the bad-ass Z07 package – is a delicious, all-American package of aerodynamics and tasty details. GM should celebrate this.
- Interior: 8.5
Lots of head and shoulder room, but the seats seem light on side bolstering when you’re pushing hard through a corner. I found myself slipping about. On the gizmos side of things, the Performance Data Recorder is easy to program and interesting to use. Simple-to-use electronic controls allow you to dial up suspension settings, steering, throttle bits and all sorts of things.
- Performance: 9.5
The supercharged V-8 is rated at 650 horsepower/650 lb-ft of torque. You read that correctly. And 0-100 km/hour is about 3 seconds. The car will pull 1.2Gs in a corner, too. The steering is so sharp, you can slice soft tomatoes with it. If you want comfort, you can dial up Touring settings for the Magnetic Ride control. The chief engineer’s 80-year-old dad uses one for his daily driver in Scottsdale, Arizona.
- Tech: 9.5
From the high-definition video with telemetry overlays to the super-smart ride control, satellite radio, dial-up chassis controls and more, this car is a technological tour de force.
- Cargo: 6.0
There’s a hatch in back and it will hold a small carry-on and a briefcase.
The high score reflects in part the value offered here. You want a super car for less than $100,000, one that is unlikely to break and can be your daily driver, this is a smashing option.
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