- New supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8 engine
- Manual or automatic transmission, the latter with paddle shifters
- Minimum of 625 horsepower, 635 lb.-ft. of torque
- Stronger race-ready aluminum frame
- Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension
- Available removable carbon fiber roof panel
- Generates more downforce than any car GM has ever tested
At the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Chevrolet unveiled the 2015 Corvette Z06, a performance-tuned version of the Corvette Stingray that takes the legendary sports car's capabilities to new heights.
"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, during the new Corvette Z06 model's introduction. "The Z06 leverages the engineering expertise of GM, offering...supercar performance without supercar fuel consumption and technologies that make it easier to fully enjoy the incredible experience of driving it."
The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is scheduled to go on sale in early 2015. Prices and specific performance attributes will be released closer to the car's arrival in showrooms.
Chevrolet says that the Corvette Z06's exterior design changes stem only from requirements related to powertrain cooling and performance targets in terms of acceleration, cornering, and stopping.
"Practically every exterior change served a functional purpose," said Tom Peters, Corvette design director. "The flared fenders accommodate larger, wider wheels and tires for more grip. The 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."
Shod with wider tires than a standard Corvette Stingray, mounted to lightweight, spin-cast wheels designed to showcase the upgraded braking components, the 2015 Corvette Z06 required broader front and rear fenders to cover the tire tread, as well as additional aerodynamic downforce to maximize grip at high speeds. A Carbon Fiber Aero package is optional--in black or with exposed carbon fiber--to improve upon the standard downforce numbers, while the optional Z07 package takes everything a step further, giving the new Corvette Z06 the most downforce of any production car that GM has ever tested, according to the automaker.
As for cooling, the standard carbon fiber hood includes a large vent to release hot air from the engine compartment and, in effect, increase downforce. The mesh pattern embedded into the front fascia is designed to channel more air into the engine bay than if it were completely removed, and the Z06 is equipped with dedicated air intakes for the front and rear brakes, larger front fender vents, and air blades over the rear fender intakes that are designed to direct more cool air to the car's transmission and differential coolers.
Visual changes to the Corvette Z06's interior are not as dramatic. The Z06 gets a unique flat-bottom steering wheel and color combinations not offered for the Stingray. Additionally, the Z06's cabin is wrapped in soft-touch materials, and Chevrolet offers premium leather, manufactured suede, aluminum, and carbon fiber as options.
A GT-style seat is standard equipment, while a Competition Seat with more aggressive bolstering is optional. Both seats employ magnesium frames for weight reduction and greater rigidity.
In addition to a removable carbon fiber roof panel, which marks the first time that the Corvette Z06 has been offered with one, many buyers are likely to choose the optional Z07 Performance package. This upgrade adds additional aerodynamic downforce, Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 performance tires, and Brembo carbon ceramic-matrix brake rotors for improved stopping capability and reduced unsprung weight. According to Chevrolet, the new 2015 Corvette Z06 with the optional Z07 Performance package turns faster laps on a track than the previous Corvette ZR1.
Under the Hood
The heart of the new 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is its direct-injection, supercharged, 6.2-liter LT4 V-8 engine with continuously variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management gas-saving technology. Equipped with rotocast aluminum cylinder heads, titanium intake valves, forged aluminum pistons, machined connecting rods, a 10:1 compression ratio, stainless steel exhaust headers, and a dry-sump oiling system, this new LT4 engine is estimated to make a minimum of 625 horsepower and 635 lb.-ft. of torque.
Chevrolet offers two different transmissions for the Corvette Z06. A 7-speed manual gearbox with Active Rev Match is equipped with a new dual-mass flywheel and dual-disc clutch. A new 8-speed automatic transmission is available with the LT4 engine, equipped with paddle shifters for manual control. Tuned for "world-class" shift times, the Corvette Z06's automatic transmission executes wide-open-throttle upshifts faster than the Porsche 911's PDK dual-clutch automated manual gearbox, according to Chevrolet. This new 8-speed automatic is also lighter and more fuel-efficient than the 6-speed automatic currently offered in the 2014 Corvette Stingray model.
Additional hardware highlights include an aluminum frame that is, according to Chevy, essentially unchanged from the Corvette C7.R racing car that also debuted in Detroit. A Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension is standard, offering settings that range from Touring comfort to Track-ready performance via the Driver Mode Selector.
Using the Driver Mode Selector, the Z06's owner can also activate or adjust the car's Launch Control, Active Handling, and Performance Traction Management systems, as well as the electronic limited-slip differential.
Chevrolet previously announced that it would offer a next-generation OnStar connectivity and communications system in its 2015 lineup of vehicles. Automatic Crash Notification is among the services provided by OnStar, and General Motors has also introduced a new Teen Driver service that measures how a car has been driven in the hands of a person who has borrowed the vehicle. The system is locked using a PIN set by the car's owner.
Additionally, the Corvette Z06's traction control system offers a Weather Mode, accessed via the Driver Mode Selector. This feature adjusts the powertrain for driving in rain or snow.
In addition to premium audio and navigation systems, the new Corvette Z06 is likely to offer 4G LTE connectivity through its next-generation OnStar system, complete with mobile Wi-Fi hotspot capability.