As the fastest, most technologically advanced production model in Corvette’s 54-year history, t he 2007 Corvette Z06 offers an unprecedented level of capability and technology, making it one of the best performance values on the market. And with an exterior design incorporating aerodynamic features that were co-developed with the Le Mans winning C6.R racecar, the ’07 Z06 has a visual attitude that always looks ready to demonstrate Corvette’s winning attitude to any challenger around the globe.
The Z06’s LS7 7.0L engine delivers 505 horsepower (377 kW) in a 3,132-pound (1,421 kg) package – a combination that delivers 0-60 performance of 3.7 seconds in first gear, quarter-mile times of 11.7 seconds at 125 mph and a top speed of 198 mph (as recorded on Germany’s Autobahn). It also provides maximum lateral acceleration of 1.04 g and 60-0 braking in 111.3 feet; it also circuited Germany ’s famed N ü rburgring in a time of 7:43. Along with astounding performance, Corvette Z06 also returns surprising fuel economy of 26 mpg on the highway and avoids the gas guzzler tax common on the world’s supercars.
Inside the LS7
The LS7 reintroduced the 427-cubic-inch engine to the Corvette lineup. Unlike the previous 427 engine, which was a big-block design, the 7.0-liter LS7 is a small-block V-8 – the largest-displacement small-block ever produced by Chevrolet and GM, and a tribute to its 50 years as a performance icon.
The LS7 is easily identified under the hood by red engine covers with black lettering. The LS7 shares the same basic Gen IV V-8 architecture as the Corvette’s 6.0-liter LS2, but it uses a different cylinder block casting with pressed-in steel cylinder liners to accommodate the engine’s larger diameter, 104.8-mm-wide cylinder bores. Compared with the LS2, the LS7 also has a different front cover, oil pan, exhaust manifolds and cylinder heads – among many other components.
Internally, the LS7’s reciprocating components make use of racing-derived lightweight technology, including titanium connecting rods and intake valves, to help boost horsepower and rpm capability. The rpm fuel shut-off limit is 7100 rpm. The LS7’s details include:
- Dry-sump oiling system
- Unique cylinder block casting with large, 104.8-mm bores and pressed-in cylinder liners
- Forged steel main bearing caps
- Forged steel crankshaft
- Titanium connecting rods with 101.6-mm stroke
- Cast aluminum flat-top pistons
- 11.0:1 compression
- High-lift camshaft
- Racing-derived CNC-ported aluminum cylinder heads with titanium intake valves and sodium-filled exhaust valves
- Low-restriction air intake system
- Hydroformed exhaust headers with unique “quad flow” collector flanges.
One of the clearest examples of the LS7’s race-bred technology is its use of titanium connecting rods. They weigh just 464 grams apiece, almost 30 percent less than the rods in the LS2 V-8. Besides being lightweight, which enhances high-rpm performance and rpm range, titanium makes the rods extremely durable.
The LS7’s CNC-ported aluminum cylinder heads are designed to meet the high airflow demands of the engine’s 7.0-liter displacement, as it ingests approximately 100 cubic feet more air per minute than the Corvette’s 6.0-liter LS2 V-8 – an 18-percent increase in airflow. Consequently, a hydraulic roller camshaft with.588/.593-inch valve lift is used to allow plenty of air to circulate in and out of the engine.
To ensure optimal, uninterrupted airflow, the LS7’s heads have straight, tunnel-like intake runners. Very large by production-vehicle standards – even racing standards – they are designed to maintain fast airflow velocity, providing excellent torque at low rpm and exhilarating horsepower at high rpm. The heads feature 70-cc combustion chambers that are fed by huge, 56-mm-diameter titanium intake valves. The lightweight titanium valves weigh 21grams less than the stainless steel valves used in the LS2, despite the valve head having 22 percent more area.
They are complemented by 41-mm sodium-filled exhaust valves, vs. 39.4-mm valves in the LS2. To accommodate the large valve face diameters, the heads’ valve seats are siamesed; and, taken from experience with the engines of C5-R racecars, the LS7’s valve angles are held at 12 degrees – vs. 15 degrees for the LS2 – to enhance airflow through the ports.
The LS7 has a dry-sump oiling system designed to keep the engine fully lubricated during the high cornering loads the Corvette Z06 is capable of producing. An engine compartment-mounted 8-quart reservoir delivers oil at a constant pressure to a conventional-style oil pump pick-up at the bottom of the engine. The pressurized oil feed keeps the oil pick-up continually immersed in oil at cornering loads exceeding 1 g.
Oil circulates through the engine and down to the oil pan, where it is sent back to the reservoir via a scavenge pump. The large-capacity reservoir, combined with a high efficiency air-to-oil cooler, provides necessary engine oil cooling under the demands of the engine’s power output. With the dry-sump system, oil is added to the engine via the reservoir tank – which includes the oil level dipstick.
Z06 drivetrain and chassis
The Corvette Z06’s powertrain and drivetrain systems are matched to the LS7’s performance capability. The light, four-into-one headers discharge in to new, close-coupled catalytic converters and through to new “bi-modal” mufflers. The mufflers each feature a vacuum-actuated outlet valve, which controls exhaust noise during low-load operation but opens for maximum power.
At the rear of the LS7 engine, a single-mass flywheel and lightweight, high-capacity clutch channel torque to the rear transaxle. The six-speed manual transmission has been strengthened to handle the LS7’s increased torque load. The transmission includes a pump that sends transmission fluid to the front radiator for cooling. Upon its return, the fluid removes additional heat from the differential lube before returning to the transmission. The six-speed transmission connects to a limited-slip differential, with enlarged ring and pinion gears. Stronger axle half-shafts with tougher universal joints transmit power to the rear wheels.
The Z06 has a unique aluminum body structure for optimum stiffness and light weight for the fixed-roof bodystyle. Perimeter rails are one-piece hydroformed aluminum members featuring cast suspension nodes, which replace many welded steel components on other Corvette models. Other castings, stampings and extrusions are combined into the innovative structure with state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies.
Advanced structural composites featuring carbon fiber are bonded to the aluminum structure. The wider front wheelhouses, for example, are carbon composites and the passenger compartment floors combine carbon-fiber skins with an ultra-lightweight balsa wood core.
The Z06 has a new magnesium cradle that serves as the attachment point for the engine and some front suspension components. Magnesium is lighter than aluminum yet incredibly strong. The magnesium cradle helps improve the front-to-rear weight distribution, as do carbon-fiber front fenders and wheelhouses. Engineers also moved the battery from underhood to a position in the rear cargo area, behind one of the rear wheels.
The mass reductions are offset by some added performance enablers, including dry-sump lubrication, exhaust system with outlet valves, larger wheels and tires, larger brakes and larger roll stabilizers.
Suspension and brakes
The Z06 retains the 105.7-inch (2686-mm) wheelbase of other Corvette models, as well as the short-long arm suspension and transverse leaf spring design, but it rides on all-new wheels, tires, brakes, as well as its own rear spring and roll stabilizer.
The firmer suspension works harmoniously with large 18 x 9.5-inch cast-spun aluminum wheels and 275/35ZR18 tires in the front, and 19 x 12-inch cast-spun aluminum wheels with 325/30ZR19 tires in the rear – the largest wheel-and-tire combination ever offered on a Corvette. The tires use the latest extended-mobility technology from Goodyear to provide a satisfactory ride, but still allow the vehicle to achieve lateral acceleration of more than 1 g. The extended-mobility tires eliminate the need – and weight – for a spare tire and jack or inflator kit, while also reducing the chance of a sudden loss of handling capability.
Complementing the suspension system and large rolling stock is an equally capable four-wheel disc brake system, consisting of 14-inch (355-mm) vented and cross-drilled front rotors and 13.4-inch (340-mm) vented and cross-drilled rear rotors.
The front rotors are acted upon by huge, red-painted six-piston calipers that use six individual brake pads. Individual brake pads are used because they deliver more equalized wear compared to what would otherwise be a pair of very long single-piece pads. For the rear brakes, four-piston calipers with four individual brake pads are used. A Delphi four-channel ABS system is standard, as is a very competent active handling system – complete with a Competitive Driving mode.
The Z06 has an unmistakable and aggressive appearance, with design cues that include:
- A wide front fascia with a large, forward-facing grille opening, a splitter along the bottom and wheel opening extensions along the sides to provide aerodynamic downforce
- A cold air scoop in front of the hood that integrates an air inlet system for the engine
- The trailing edge of the front wheel opening is radiused to achieve improved drag, but protects the body finish with a tough molding, and a large air extractor is located behind the wheel
- A fixed-roof bodystyle optimizes body rigidity and mass
- Wider rear fenders with flares cover the massive rear tires and a brake cooling scoop in front of the wheels visually balances the fender extractor
- A tall rear spoiler houses the CHMSL on the top of the rear fascia
- 10-spoke wheels (18-inch, front; 19-inch, rear)
- Four larger stainless steel exhaust outlets
- Z06 badging on the carbon fiber front fenders
For 2007, an available enhanced acoustic package is designed to reduce road noise in the cabin.
The aerodynamics of the Z06’s exterior were shaped by the experiences of the Corvette racing program, where high-speed stability and cornering capability are paramount. And while the race cars use large rear wings, the Z06’s elevated spoiler provides sufficient downforce to balance the road-worthy front splitter without adversely affecting aerodynamic drag. The Z06’s Cd is.34.
For all its race-inspired functionality, the Z06 is designed to be a daily driveable high-performance vehicle. To that end, comfort and convenience are held to a very high standard. High-Intensity Discharge lighting, fog lamps, leather seating, dual-zone air conditioning, cabin air filtration and head-up display (HUD) with track mode and g-meter are standard.
The Z06 gauge cluster displays the Z06 logo on the 7000-redline tachometer and has a readout on the oil pressure gauge to reflect the higher standard pressure of the dry-sump oiling system. The seats feature two-tone leather surfaces, with Z06-logo embroidery and contrasting stitching.
Z06 options include a Bose audio system with an in-dash six-CD changer, polished wheels, a telescoping steering wheel, heated seats, side-impact air bags, a navigation system with GPS, universal home remote, OnStar (new for 2007) and XM Satellite Radio.