Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Bimmer325

TopGear Bashes the C6 Corvette

Recommended Posts

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

It took Chevrolet five years camping in the world's most famous race tracks (and a whole lot of investment) to come up with their fastest road car ever, the new Corvette Z06.

Named after a rare racing version of the 1963 Stingray, this über 'Vette will be on sale across Europe by the end of the year. It boasts some impressive stats, courtesy of the largest displacement small-block V8 ever produced by Chevrolet: try 3.7 seconds 0-60mph and a top speed of 198mph.

On this first and rather exclusive encounter with the Z06 - both on a track in Virginia and on the public roads around it - it soon becomes apparent that this is a more visceral Corvette than previous cars.

The larger grille opening makes this a front breather, whereas the regular C6 'Vette takes its intake air from below. Then there are the wider, carbon-fibre front wings, wider quarter panels to house the larger rear wheels, the quartet of trumpet-like machined exhaust outlets and the duck-tail spoiler to further reduce lift.

Other than that, it is pretty much the conventional low, long-nosed Corvette shape.

Once inside, the good news is that the steering wheel has shrunk 2cm in diameter, but the bad news is the lack of improvement in materials and finish. Considering that in this rarefied market segment, we Europeans will hardly settle for anything poorer than a few soft touch plastics and an excess of hand-stitched leather.

Still, a headup display, keyless entry and pushbutton ignition are standard, while a DVD satnav system (the first satnav offered in a Corvette), and seven-speaker Bose hi-fi are options.

There's fairly good in-car stowage in the doors and centre console, plus a whopping (for a supercar) 640-litre boot. In fact, by combining this functionality with the relatively discreet sound effects produced by the engine below 3,000rpm, Chevrolet has created a supercar that can almost be used as a daily commuter.

Moreover, because economy verges on respectability (again for a supercar, at least), it's the first such extreme fun car to escape the American 'gas guzzler' tax, which adds $6,400 to the cost of owning a Lamborghini Gallardo, for instance.

The relatively light clutch pedal makes this a disarmingly simple car to drive too, and the steering is quick and communicative, but never frenetic. On the other hand, the weighty but precise shift action of the Tremec six-speed gearbox needs some getting used to, but to be fair, it is engineered to deal with the massive loads of torque on offer.

This is coupled to that Chevy small-block, now expanded to 7011cc and generating 512bhp and 470lb ft of torque - or 108bhp and 67lb ft more than the already very swift standard 'Vette has to offer.

The engine is nicely upgraded thanks to a co-development with the Corvette C6R Le Mans racer. That explains the titanium connecting rods and intake valves, and other lightweight components that help it now rev up to 7,000rpm.

The acceleration borders on cataclysmic: the Z06 blasts to 100mph in just over seven seconds and approaches the double-ton barrier like no product of the GM empire has ever done before. Keep your foot held down and the engine shows no sign of relenting.

The chassis provides an overall balanced feel, progressively releasing grip at either end, depending on how you play with the pedals. The car flows well over uneven asphalt and stays settled over corner bumps.

The conventional cross-drilled, ventilated brakes feature vast six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers and are convincing too, with no sign of fade. Ceramic brakes were considered too costly to fit as standard; as is the case with a Porsche 911, but these may be made available in the future (albeit for around £2,000 extra).

Defying commonly held perceptions of such large and fast, all-American sports cars, the Z06 combines a degree of precision and refinement to the way it handles. What helps significantly is the fact that at 1,421kg, this is a relatively light car - especially impressive given the size of its engine.

The use of aluminium and carbon-fibre structural components in place of the steel of the regular 'Vette, plus a magnesium engine and suspension cradle, all assist weight reduction efforts and give an improved distribution of weight, too. The battery was even shifted back to the boot for this cause.

On the race track, it covers distance quickly, while retaining a reasonable margin of safety. The stability control system can be shut off or you can select a 'competition' mode that allows more slip before intervening than the fully active mode.

I start the first couple of laps round the 3-and-a-bit mile circuit with all the electronic aids on and then - as the knowledge of both the track and the car rise - turn it off, and then disengage the competition mode. Even the trickiest sections are handled with no major scares. And after a few hot laps the Z06 continues to feel stable and keyed in, all the way through.

Did I say 'hot laps'? Well, that's how it feels just after crossing the finish line a dozen times, already imagining headlines announcing a lap record pulverized by a non-professional driver and obviously a wasted talent.

But things are put into perspective after I sit next to Johnny O'Connell (Le Mans GT1 class winner with Chevrolet this year and involved in the production development of the Z06) and realise I had been barely doing warm-ish laps before he took to the wheel.

This ultimate incarnation of the Corvette provides its driver with the best of several scenarios. It's planted enough to massage the egos of most potential owners and their abilities, yet is comfortable enough to consider driving regularly in town.

And there's one further good reason for those with the means to seriously ponder buying one: the £60,000 price tag. Driven back to back with a Lamborghini Gallardo or a Ferrari F430, the Z06 would be every bit as rapid; yet you could buy yourself two of these for the price of either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats what they said about the ZO6.

Hey GM I think they got the clue now that people dont like plastic.

funny that every mag in the states loves the thing. 2 years straight C&D 10 best. MT title: ZO6 sell the Ferrairi.

They bash any thing not made in europe have you noticed that yet?

But again like they metion you cant beat the price!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most British auto magazines are worth nothing more than toilet paper. This video is filled with smartass remarks not based on sound analysis. It often smacks of anti-American in their approach to American cars. They are pompous morons, still smarting over losing the empire. Facinating coming from a people that virtually has no domestically owned auto industry left and when it existed produced utter crap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like how they say "colonies" too.

Its not our fault you stood in a line holding a drum and wore bright red, now is it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a huge Top Gear fan so I'm aware of the show's compexities and biases that make it all so entertaining. That would be considered a positive review, and for cars they like, they always present the problems first, and then end up with a strong, positive conclusion. Jeremy Clarkson, the tall one, is the strongest presenter of the three, and IMO, he is best characterizing and almost humanizing cars. I disagree with him at times, and factual/technical knowledge seems to confuse him (or he couldn't be bothered to get it right), but it's all part of his irreverent, laid-back, opinionated character. Top Gear is still by far one of the best and most controversial motoring shows I've seen.

Edited by empowah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Top Gear is more of an entertainment program than informative. It's not a knock on the show, it's just the way it is. The UK show Fifth Gear is the more "factual" program, if you will.

This isn't to say TG's opinion is worthless but they have a tendency to play to the British audience. There are some foriegn cars they do like (GTI, Ferraris, MX-5) and some British cars they don't care for too much (some Rovers).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed, the "colonies" comment bit at me some.

Wow, the British seem to be, umm, polite idiots.

Disgusting overall.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last I knew, the Vette had IRS.... where do they get leaf springs from???

The Vette has 4-wheel independent suspension, and uses transverse mounted, fiberglass leaf springs, instead of a coil spring at each corner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Vette has 4-wheel independent suspension, and uses transverse mounted, fiberglass leaf springs, instead of a coil spring at each corner.

Boy they really stretched the truth then (top gear). They made it sound like it had the rear end of a 1950's chevy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoticons maximum are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  



About us

CheersandGears.com - Founded 2001

We  Cars

Get in touch

Follow us

Recent tweets

facebook

×