ROAD TEST EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: I’ve been waiting to drive this car for a few months now, and I have to say it’s nearly everything I expected, except for the eight-speed auto, but I’ll get to that in a second.
From the outside, this Z06 is about as wild as they come. Screaming yellow paint, black wheels and stripes, the back end looks like a KISS mask to me. I love the wickerbill spoiler. It looks like a race car. As for the overall styling of the C7, I’m not completely sold, but this Z06 with Z07 package is the best it can look. It has to be a cop magnet though. Who are they going to pull over, the beige Camry doing 84 mph or a yellow ‘Vette?
Inside, it’s as good an interior as we’ve seen in the model. The stitching looks clean and straight, the gaps are consistent, if a little wide, and all the center console and glove box doors close smoothly.
I love the seats, they offer great support, both laterally and front to back, and they have lots of adjustment to get that perfect driving position. The nav and radio setup are easy to learn and easy to use.
So, obviously the V8 is a monster. After a few turns it revs loud on startup before dropping into a mean-sounding burble. It may wake the neighbors. Throw a few revs at it and it barks angrily, scaring anyone within earshot not paying attention. At full bore through a tunnel it literally hurts your ears when the top is down. Still, that didn’t stop me from doing it a few hundred times. The exhaust really opens up at 3,500 rpm or so.
Pull is strong and violent from the moment you drop the clutch, and these tires were already so worn that they spun anytime you get close to the loud pedal. I worried--even hitting the gas at 70--that the back end might just take off.
I really appreciate the supercharger, no lag, no muss, just power, and smoky tires.
The shifts from the eight-speed aren’t as fast as I remember them in the basic Stingray. I don’t know if it’s a different version of the trans or different programming logic, or if I’m just imagining things. I emailed Chevy to find out. (UPDATE: Same transmission, different tuning.) The changes are quick, but not as quick as dual clutch by any means. It doesn’t give you that kick in the back like it should. Unless I’m missing something.
A modern cockpit helps make the Corvette a serious competitor.PHOTO BY CHEVROLET
EDITORIAL INTERN JOE GROVE: I’ve only ridden in a convertible once or twice in my life, and never driven one. So when I was given a chance to take the Z06 convertible on an airport run, I grabbed the keys and ran -- well, walked swiftly.
Just over an hour doesn’t give much time to truly assess a vehicle, but I was able to get a good feel for how the ’Vette works. Top up, the cabin is a bit claustrophobic, but top down, it’s an open air dream.
Highway speeds with the top down drown out the radio but it’s still easy to have a conversation, given that you’re not going under an overpass or driving next to a semi truck. It’s also a little surreal to look over and notice that your head is barely cresting the window of a Taurus.
The supercharged 6.2-liter V8 lets out a wonderful exhaust note, and when you hit the pedal it responds with a whir, rumble and then you’re gone. I didn’t open it up other than to reach a merging speed, but it was a glorious sound when I did.
The fender flares are all you can see out of the front and the high rear blocks a lot of rear view, but you always know where the Corvette is. Handling is what it should be, crisp and tight. The summer tires that are on our Z06 make loud slapping noises at every expansion gap which is weird at first, but quickly fades away.
On the interior, I found the sport-style seats to be extremely comfortable. My only gripe is the location of the top operation button which is hidden from easy view to the left of the steering wheel.
I’m glad the Z06 was my first experience driving a convertible. Just remember your sunscreen, I got a bit of a burn.
On the other hand, driving it around in touring and automatic mode, it’s simple to control and not too punishing. This morning on the way in I was just cruising, without too much thought. It won’t really bite you in the ass unless you provoke it.
The brakes are top notch carbon ceramics, they squeak a little bit, but it’s worth it for that no-pedal-travel, stop-on-a-dime feeling.
Giant tires and a quick ratio make steering just about perfect, with good weight and feel, though it will grip the grooves road if you’re not paying attention. But keep your hands on that wheel tight, and there won’t be any problems.
I really want to drive the coupe, with a manual, to get the purest experience, but this is damn close. And with the top down, very enjoyable. I got a ton of looks, including people who wanted to race, and others that just wanted to hang out in my blind spot and gawk. I think a triple black look would cut down on that a little.
It’s a Ferrari beater at half the price, just like the old one. Now you can get Z06, with a convertible top, with an automatic, AND the adjustable suspension. What more could a retired enthusiast ask for?
Options: 3LZ Premium Equipment Group ($8,650), Z07 Ultimate Performance Package ($7,995), Carbon Fiber Visible Package ($3,995), competition sport seats ($2,495), eight-speed automatic ($1,725), gas guzzler tax ($1,300), carbon fiber interior package ($995), Velocity yellow tintcoat ($995), custom caliper color – yellow ($595), carbon flash hood stripe ($500), Z06 black aluminum wheels ($495), carbon flash painted spoiler and outside mirrors ($100)
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