The Z06 model line is a big deal for Chevy and it has always stood for top-tier performance from the Corvette brand. However, it has taken GM a while to bring the latest C8 generation-based Z06 to fruition. Nonetheless, the wait is finally over as the highly anticipated 2023 model is finally out. It’s been close to six years since the C7 Z06 came out, back in 2015, and with this latest iteration, the C8 Z06 is truly looking to be a game-changer.
While styling is subjective, most people will agree that the base C8 stingray is already a handsome car. Some people still aren’t convinced about the mid-engined layout, however, I’m sure that the C8 has grown on people since. The Z06 carries a far more aggressive stance when compared to the standard model. You’ll find a revised front facia with a larger air intake, that allows the engine to breathe better.
Go for the Z07 package and expect to find a more aggressive aero in the form of a bigger wing, an aggressive-looking front splitter, and other tweaks that will help the Z06 corner better. Trick aerodynamics will also help in cooling the brakes. The exhaust unit is also very different from the one you find on the Stingray, and would you just listen to that exhaust note.
On the inside, the Z06 is quite similar to the Stingray. However, this being the performance model, you get some special materials which include carbon fiber, found on the steering wheel and the paddle shifters, Alcantara, and aluminum. Overall you have a plethora of permutations and combinations (over 1000) to play with, with one of the garish options being a red interior.
The powertrain on the C8 Z06 definitely has to be its highlight. It features the naturally aspirated 5.5 DOHC V-8 LT6 engine that employs a flat-plane crankshaft, and it produces 670 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, up from the Stingrays 490 horsepower. The Z51 package on the Stingray, adds an extra five horsepower taking it up to 495.
With that, the new LT6 is the most powerful V-8 engine to ever be fitted to a road car. This engine also redlines higher to 8700 rpm as opposed to 6500 on the Stingray. Power is sent to the wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Ride and Handling
Chevy worked long and hard to perfect the way that the C8 Z06 drives. It gets better dampers and an upgraded suspension setup, when compared to the Stingray. You’ll get significantly better six-piston brakes, about 1.2” larger than those found with the Z51 package. Stepping it up to the track-focused Z07 package will add carbon-ceramic rotors.
You’ll also find wider and stickier rubber at both ends. The Z06 20” 275/30 section upfront and 345/35 at the rear, are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber. One also has the option of adding carbon-fiber wheels that wear Pilot Cup 2 R tires, that were designed exclusively for the Z06.
Will the price premium be worth it?
Well, that totally depends. Apart from the obvious, i.e the superior performance, where you’ll really benefit from the Z06 is with the car’s exclusivity and resale value. For the foreseeable future, expect General Motors to churn out limited numbers of the car. Also, Z06’s tend to retain their value far better in the long run and will be more desirable as time goes by.
When the C8 Corvette debuted, it most certainly caused a stir, but the big takeaway really was the price, in the region of 60 grand. We anticipate that the C8 Z06 will be priced somewhere close to $90,000. While that might be steep, do keep in mind that the new Z06 offers supercar rivaling performance, at a fraction of the cost of something similar from Europe, and in that regard, it definitely seems like a bargain. For those who seek the latest and greatest, the Z06, really is a no-brainer.