Breaking news, ladies and gentlemen! Chevrolet has just unveiled that one of its three premieres for the New York Auto Show is the 2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible. If that’s not good news, I don’t know what is!
The big deal about it is that this is the first factory-built Corvette Z06 Convertible since 1963, when Chevy introduced the said package as a performance update for endurance racing. It was actually called "RPO Z06" and included a larger-diameter front anti-roll bar, a vacuum brake booster, a dual master cylinder, larger shocks and stiffer springs.
Because it also came with a gas tank that was nearly double the size of standard 20-gallon tank, the package was only available on coupe models at first. However, the manufacturer says that one convertible was fitted with the Z06 bundle that year.
Getting back to the newly-revealed model, Chevrolet claims the Z06 Convertible represents "the culmination of more than four years developing an all-new, all-aluminum structure." You see, because the new structure is much more stiffer than the previous Z06, the drop-top sports car needed no structural reinforcements, which means its curb weight won’t be affected by missing a fixed roof.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible.
The electronic top, which includes sound-absorbing padding and a glass rear window, can be lowered remotely using the car's key fob.
Aside from its ragtop, the 2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible is identical to its coupe brother as far as design is concerned. This means it won’t miss the more aggressive front end, the carbon-fiber hood or the rear spoiler that helps it stay glued to the track. Also, the drop-top Z06 will become available with the carbon-fiber aero package and the Z07 package that will be offered with the Coupe.
The electronic top, which includes sound-absorbing padding and a glass rear window, can be lowered remotely using the car’s key fob. It can also be operated while on the move, but only at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. The top will be provided in four different colors, which will be announced at a later date.
2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible - Exterior Dimensions
|Height, Overall||48.8 In|
|Length, Overall||176.9 In|
|Track Width, Front||65.2 In|
|Track Width, Rear||64.85 In|
Inside, the only noticeable difference between the Z06 Stingray and the Z06 Convertible is that the latter had to be fitted with carbon-fiber panels behind the seats
Inside, the only noticeable difference between the Z06 Stingray and the Z06 Convertible is that the latter had to be fitted with carbon-fiber panels behind the seats so that the vehicle’s flowing design isn’t affected when the top is folded.
Other than that, customers will get to enjoy the same premium cabin with soft-touch materials, magnesium frame seats (either standard GT or optional Competition Sport) and flat-bottomed steering wheel. Naturally, Nappa leather and aluminum, carbon-fiber and micro-suede inserts are up for grabs on certain trim levels.
All that power is to be directed toward the wheels by a standard seven-speed manual transmission or the all-new, available eight-speed automatic
Nothing new under the hood, but that’s far from being bad news, because the Z06 is powered by an all-new, supercharged, 6.2-liter, V-8 engine fitted with direct injection, active fuel management and cylinder deactivation.
Final performance figures have yet to be revealed, but Chevrolet claims the mill will generate at least 625 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque.
All that power is to be directed toward the wheels by a standard seven-speed manual transmission or the all-new, available eight-speed automatic which is operated by paddle shifters placed behind the steering wheel. The latter is also set to make its way into the less furious 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray .
Chevy claims that the Z06 Convertible will hit 60 mph in under 3.5 seconds
|Type||LT4 6.2L supercharged V-8 engine|
|Horsepower||625 HP, Est.|
|Torque||635 LBS-FT, Est.|
|Transmission||seven-speed manual transmission|
|Acceleration (0-60 MPH)||< 3.5 Sec.|
Suspension and Brakes
the SLA-type suspension specifically tuned for track performance, as well as the new, adjustable Magnetic Selective Ride Control dampers and the electronic limited-slip differential are standard
As you might have already guessed, the SLA-type suspension specifically tuned for track performance, as well as the new, adjustable Magnetic Selective Ride Control dampers and the electronic limited-slip differential are standard on the 2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible too.
For braking duties, the rag-top Z06 relies on the same large Brembo brakes and two-piece steel rotors that measure 14.6-by-1.3 inches up front and 14.4-by-1 inch out back. The units are fitted with six-piston calipers up front and four-piston calipers around the back.
The standard lightweight, aluminum wheels come wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, while the optional Z07 package switches them with Sport Cup 2 rubber for enhanced grip.
The 2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible won’t go on sale until 2015, which means prices will be announced later this year.
The 911 Turbo Cabriolet is available in two 3.8-liter inline-six flavors, each boasting less power than the 2015 Corvette Z06. The base model churns out 520 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque, which translate into a 0 to 60 mph time of 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 195 miles per hour. The Turbo S model offers 560 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, which cut about 10 percent off the 0-60 mph spring, leaving it at 3 seconds. The latter tops out at 197 miles per hour.
Both versions return respectable fuel economy for what they host under the rear hood, being rated at 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. As far as pricing goes, the 911 Turbo Convertible retails from $160,700, while the 911 Turbo S Convertible wears a 193,900 sticker. The Corvette Z06 Convertible will likely be far cheaper that the base 911 Turbo, but the Corvette is not as luxurious nor it is the raw driving machine of the 911.
Powered by a 4.5-liter, V-8 engine connected to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the Ferrari 458 Spider benefits from 570 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and 400 pound-feet of torque at 6,000 rpm. The Italian supercar accelerates from naught to 62 mph in about 3.4 seconds before reaching its 198-mph top speed. Combined fuel consumption sits at around 17 miles per gallon (not that anyone cares).
The 458 Spider is priced from $257,000, which is probably more than double than what the 2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible will retail for. On the other hand, we can’t ignore the fact that this supercar comes with a Ferrari badge, which pretty much speaks for itself. And let’s not forget about that awesome exhaust note.
I’m not the one to fall for automaker-made braggadocio, but this time I have to go with what Chevy had to say about the Z06 Convertible. We’re looking at one of the most capable drop-tops on the market. A sports car — damn near a supercar — that will let wind blow through your hair likely for less money than its competitors. Bring it on!
- No structural reinforcement-added weight
- Same output figures as the Coupe
- Makes hair brushing useless
- Still have to wait for it
- Likely very, very expensive
Corvette Z06 History
The "Z06" name made its first appearance in the Corvette lineup in 1963, but not in the way we know it today. This was actually the RPO Z06 package, which included a large front anti-roll bar, a vacuum brake booster with dual master cylinders, sintered — powder-based — metallic brake pads, a 36.5-gallon fuel tank, power rear drum brakes with vented backing plates and updated shocks and springs. It was because of the gas tank that the Z06 package was a late addition to the convertible Corvette — the gas tank was left off of these builds, as it would not fit under the convertible.
Only 199 of these Z06 models were produced, and Chevy built them specifically for SCCA competition.It included a 360-horsepower, 327-cubic-inch, V-8 engine.
Gallery Chevrolet Corvette Z06
The Z06 returned in 2001 with a 5.7-liter, V-8 powerplant that pumps out 385 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque — a 35-horsepower and 25-pound-feet bump over the base 2001 Corvette. Chevy tweaked the 5.7-liter to 405 ponies and 400 pound-feet of twist the following year, and it carried that setup through its final year — 2004.
Gallery Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (C5)
Along with the debut of the C6 corvette in 2006 came an all-new Z06 with a 7.0-liter, V-8 engine with 505 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. The following year brought the introduction of the 427 Limited Edition Z06 that featured special graphics and exclusive, titanium-colored leather interior. In its final year — 2013 — the Z06 had an optional, 427 Collector Edition.
Gallery Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Chevrolet today introduced one of the most capable drop-tops on the market: the 2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible. With at least 625 horsepower, and 635 pound-feet of torque, the Z06 is also the most powerful convertible ever produced by Chevrolet.
“The Z06 Convertible is a world-class supercar in every sense,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development. “Only a handful of convertibles in the world bring more than 600 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. Even fewer can match the advanced technologies, aerodynamic design, and visceral driving experience of the Z06 Convertible.”
This is the first Z06 Convertible offered from the factory since 1963 when the Z06 option package was introduced for endurance racing. Records show only 199 Corvette orders with a Z06 package that year, including one convertible.
Recent technological advancements enable the building of a modern Z06 Convertible, said Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter.
“Until recently it was not possible to create a lightweight, open-roof structure strong enough to cope with the braking, cornering, and acceleration of Corvette’s top performance models,” Juechter said. “The frame for the Z06 convertible leverages advancements in computer-aided engineering, metallurgy, and manufacturing techniques – many of which were not available just five years ago.”
The aluminum structure is 20 percent stiffer than the previous, fixed-roof Z06. As there are no structural reinforcements needed for the Z06 Convertible, its curb weight is nearly identical to the Z06 Coupe. They also share the same chassis tuning, powertrain output, driver technologies and equipment options – including the Z07 Performance Package, which adds Brembo carbon-ceramic matrix brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires and adjustable front- and rear-aerodynamic components.
“The most impressive aspect of the Z06 Convertible may be its performance bandwidth,” said Juechter. “Very few cars on the market can match its combination of extreme, supercar levels of performance; the flexibility for daily driving and long-distance commuting; and the 360-degree, open-air driving experience only true convertibles can offer.”
All-aluminum, high-tech foundation
The Corvette Z06 Convertible represents the culmination of more than four years developing an all-new, all-aluminum structure for the seventh generation Corvette. That structure, built at General Motors’ Bowling Green Assembly plant, was designed to the specifications of the Corvette Stingray, Corvette Z06 and the Corvette Racing C7.R.
“We wanted a frame that was lighter than the steel frame of the previous Corvette, yet strong enough for both a 600-horsepower convertible and a 24-hour endurance racer,” said Ed Moss, engineering group manager for Corvette structures. “That would not have been possible without improvements in computer-aided engineering software, which allowed us to model more than 17,000 frame iterations, with each iteration improving strength and stiffness, while reducing mass.”
The team used nearly 186,000 computational hours of modeling to develop the frame. It features main rails composed of five customized aluminum segments, including aluminum extrusions at each end, a center main rail section and hollow-cast nodes at the suspension interface points. The gauge of each segment varies in thickness from 2mm to 11mm, tailored – along with the shape – to meet the strength and stiffness requirements for each frame section with minimal weight.
These components are assembled using many advanced manufacturing processes, including:
439 spot-welds using a GM-patented process that uses a unique electrode designed specifically for aluminum
188 Flowdrill-machined fasteners installed by a high-speed drill that extrudes the frame material to create a strong, integral collar tapped for bolt-on fasteners
113 feet of structural adhesives used in conjunction with welding and fasteners to increase overall frame stiffness
37 feet of laser welds, which join frame sections via a precise beam of high energy that minimizes heat beyond the weld area for improved structural accuracy.
The only structural differences between the Z06 Coupe and Convertible are provisions for mounting the power-folding top, and repositioned safety-belt mounts.
Like the structure, only minor design changes distinguish the Z06 Coupe from the Convertible. The Z06 convertible features an electronic top that can be lowered remotely using the car’s key fob. The top can also open or close on the go, at speeds of up to 30 mph (50 km/h).
With the top up, the Z06 Convertible is designed for a refined driving experience. A thick fabric top, offered in four colors along with sound-absorbing padding and a glass rear window, contributes to a quiet cabin and premium appearance.
Behind the seat backs, dual accent panels – either Carbon Flash-painted or available with exposed carbon fiber – enhance the character lines of the tonneau cover. Corvette Stingray’s signature “waterfall” design originates in the valley between the nacelles, bringing the exterior color into the interior.
The power-operated tonneau cover necessitated moving the air intakes for the differential and transmission coolers from the rear quarter panels on the Z06 Coupe to the underbody of the Z06 Convertible.
Otherwise, both models share the same, performance-driven aesthetic.
“Practically every exterior panel serves a functional purpose to meet the performance goals of the Z06,” 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.”
Both Z06 models are fitted with Michelin tires (Pilot Super Sport tires for the Z06; Sport Cup 2 tires with the Z07 package): P285/30ZR19 front, and 335/25ZR20 rear.
The tires are mounted on lightweight, spin-cast aluminum wheels (19 x 10 inches in front and 20 x 12 inches in the rear). Their open, ultralight design showcases the massive Brembo brakes, which contribute to the design:
The Z06 features two-piece steel rotors, measuring 14.6 x 1.3-inch (371 x 33 mm) front and 14.4 x 1-inch (365 x 25 mm) rear, with aluminum six-piston and four-piston fixed calipers, respectively
The Z07 package adds larger, 15.5 x 1.4-inch (394 x 36 mm) front and 15.3 x 1.3-inch (388 x 33 mm) carbon ceramic-matrix brake rotors for consistent performance lap after lap. They collectively save 23 pounds over the standard Z06 rotors.
Both Z06 coupe and convertible will be available with one of three, increasing levels of aerodynamic downforce:
The standard Z06 features a front splitter, spats around the front wheel openings, a unique carbon-fiber hood with a larger vent, and rear spoiler
An available carbon-fiber aero package delivers aerodynamic downforce four times greater than the standard Z06. It adds a carbon fiber front splitter with aviation-style winglets, carbon fiber rocker panels, and a larger rear spoiler with a fixed wickerbill – a small, vertical tab at the edge of the spoiler that significantly increases downforce. The package is available in black or a visible carbon-fiber finish
The available Z07 package adds larger winglets to the front splitter, along with an adjustable, see-through center section on the rear spoiler enabling customers to tailor the aerodynamics to their preference.
Compared to the Corvette Stingray, the Corvette Z06 fenders are 2.2 inches (56 mm) wider at the front, and 3.15 inches (80 mm) at the rear. Those extensions give the Corvette Z06 a wider, lower appearance further emphasized by a unique rear fascia. It incorporates the same taillamp assemblies as the Stingray, but on the Z06 the taillamps are pushed approximately three inches farther apart, toward to edges of the body.
The exterior design also reflects the increased cooling required for the new Corvette Z06. For example, the mesh pattern on the front fascia was designed to deliver the most possible airflow to the supercharger’s intercooler heat exchanger, so much that the mesh grill directs more air into the engine bay than if the grille was removed.
The unique grille also features dedicated brake-cooling intakes and wider grille outlets on the bottom serve as air diffusers. A larger hood vent allows air driven through the grille to exit through the hood rather than being forced under the car, which could create lift.
Standard front and rear brake-cooling ducts, including Z06-signature rear ducts integrated in front of the rear fender openings, are also part of the functional design changes.
The Z06 benefits from interior details designed for high-performance driving, first introduced on the Stingray, including a steel-reinforced grab bar on the center console for the passenger and soft-touch materials on the edge of the console, where the driver naturally braces during high-load cornering.
Like the Stingray, the Z06 comes with two seating choices: a GT seat, for all-around comfort, and a Competition Sport seat with more aggressive side bolstering, which provides greater support on the track. A magnesium frame structure for both seats provides greater rigidity and strength compared with steel frames.
Unprecedented attention to detail and build quality complements the Corvette Z06’s performance. All models feature a fully wrapped interior, with every surface covered by premium, soft-touch materials. Available materials, depending on the trim level, include Napa leather, aluminum, carbon fiber and micro-suede.
The interior also features a flat-bottom steering wheel with a carbon fiber center spoke. The Z06 comes in five interior colors, including two that are unique to Z06 – blue and dark gray.
Supercharged, efficient performance
The heart of the 2015 Corvette Z06 is the all-new LT4 6.2L supercharged V-8 engine, expected to deliver at least 625 horsepower (466 kW) and 635 lb-ft of torque (861 Nm). To balance performance and efficiency, the LT4 leverages the same trio of advanced technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray: Direct injection, Active Fuel Management, or cylinder deactivation, and continuously variable valve timing.
These technologies – combined with the fuel-efficient multi-speed transmissions, aerodynamic design and lightweight construction – help make the new Z06 surprisingly fuel efficient.
“The supercharged LT4 engine delivers the greatest balance of performance and efficiency ever in the Corvette,” said John Rydzewski, assistant chief engineer for Small-Block engines. “It is one of the world’s only supercharged engines to incorporate cylinder deactivation technology, enabling it to cruise efficiently on the highway with reduced fuel consumption, but offer more than 600 horsepower whenever the driver calls up its tremendous power reserve.”
The supercharged LT4 comes with a standard seven-speed manual transmission with Active Rev Match, or an all-new 8L90 eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission designed to enhance performance and efficiency. The seven-speed manual incorporates rev-matching technology for upshifts and downshifts. A new dual-mass flywheel and dual-disc clutch deliver greater shift quality and feel through lower inertia.
The eight-speed automatic is tuned for world-class shift-response times. Smaller steps between gears keep the LT4 within the sweet spot of the rpm band, making the most of the output of the supercharged engine for exhilarating performance and greater efficiency.
“There’s no trade-off in drivability with the new 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmission – it was designed to deliver performance on par with dual-clutch designs, but without sacrificing refinement,” said Bill Goodrich, assistant chief engineer for eight-speed automatic transmissions. “It is also the highest-capacity automatic transmission ever offered in a Chevrolet car.”
Featuring four gearsets and five clutches, creative packaging enables the GM-developed eight-speed automatic to fit the same space as the six-speed automatic used in the Corvette Stingray. Extensive use of aluminum and magnesium make it more than eight pounds (4 kg) lighter than the six-speed. Along with design features that reduce friction, the 8L90 is expected to contribute up to 5-percent greater efficiency, when compared with a six-speed automatic.
The 2015 Corvette Z06 Coupe and Convertible leverage the technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray, with unique features and calibrations tailored for its capabilities.
“Our mission with the seventh-generation Corvette was to make the performance levels more accessible, enabling drivers to exploit every pound-foot of torque, every ‘g’ of grip and every pound of downforce,” said Juechter. “It’s a philosophy we introduced with the 460-horsepower Corvette Stingray – and one that’s even more relevant with an estimated 625 horsepower at your beck and call.”
The new Z06 retains the SLA-type front and rear suspension design of the Corvette Stingray but uniquely calibrated for the higher performance threshold. The third-generation Magnetic Selective Ride Control dampers, adjustable for touring comfort or maximum track performance via the standard Driver Mode Selector, are standard on Z06.
Like the Stingray, the Driver Mode Selector tailors up to a dozen features of the Z06 to suit the driver’s environment, including:
Launch control: Available in Track mode for manual and automatic transmissions, providing maximum off-the-line acceleration
Traction control: Weather mode tailors traction control and engine torque for driving in inclement conditions
Performance Traction Management: Available in Track mode and offers five settings of torque reduction and brake intervention for track driving
Electronic Limited Slip Differential: Adjusts the rate at which the limited slip engages, balancing steering response and stability in different driving conditions with more aggressive performance in Sport and Track modes.
The smart electronic limited-slip differential, or eLSD, is standard. It features a hydraulically actuated clutch capable of infinitely varying clutch engagement. The system enhances all aspects of performance by constantly tailoring the clutch-pack engagement based on a unique algorithm that factors in vehicle speed, steering input and throttle position to improve steering feel, handling balance and traction.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.