The first turbocharged Corvette in history will arrive in 2020

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The 2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06 is an upcoming, higher performance version of the eighth-generation Corvette. The C8 Z06 will be the first model of its kind with a mid-engined layout and, much like its predecessor, it will slot between the regular C8 Stingray and the upcoming C8 ZR1. Rumors about the new-gen Z06 have been flying around for quite some time and we already know that it will have a more aggressive body and a more powerful engine. The latter will be twin-turbocharged and related to the mill in the race-spec C8.R. But let’s find out more about that in the speculative review below.

2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06 Exterior

  • Slightly more aggressive Stingray
  • Race-inspired features
  • Bigger front splitter
  • Unique wheels
  • Bigger rear wing
  • Sportier rear diffuser
  • Black front hood insert
  • Special badges
2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06 Exterior High Resolution
- image 850615
The front end will remain unchanged for the most part, but the bumper will be revised to accept slightly bigger vents

Just like the C7 Z06, the C8 Z06 will be a more aggressive version of the standard C8 Corvette Stingray. It will even borrow some features from the race-spec C8.R, mostly in the aerodynamic department. However, the Z06 won’t be as wild as the range-topping ZR1, due to arrive last.

So what will set the Z06 apart from the C8 Stingray? Well, the front end will remain unchanged for the most part, but the bumper will be revised to accept slightly bigger vents for enhanced cooling and a bigger splitter. The front hood will most likely feature a raised center section finished in black, just like the old Z06. This element is no longer necessary with the engine mounted behind the seats, but Chevy will probably keep it for a dramatic effect.

2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06 Exterior High Resolution
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The Stingray's "high-wing spoiler" will be replaced with a proper wing

The Z06’s profile won’t change much compared to the C8 Stingray. Chevy will probably drop the ride height, but it will be less than a half-inch and hardly noticeable. Look for sportier side skirts, a unique wheel design, and special badges on the front fenders.

The rear section will carry over with the same fascia, but the "high-wing spoiler" will be replaced with a proper wing. This aero element will likely be based on that seen on the C8.R, but it will be smaller. While the regular spoiler generates an additional 400 pounds, the Z06’s wing should provide at least 600 pounds at higher speeds. A carbon-fiber wing should be optional on the Z06. Look for a more aggressive diffuser as well, but don’t expect an overly wild element, as Chevy will probably save the race-bred unit for the range-topping ZR1. The quad-exhaust pipe layout will remain the same, although Chevy will probably add bigger end pieces.

2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06 Interior

  • Similar to standard Corvette
  • New upholstery
  • Extra standard features
  • Bespoke display menus
  • Standard Competition seats
  • Standard Performance Data Recorder
  • 12.6 cubic feet of luggage room
  • Roomier than most competitors
2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06 Exterior
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Chevy will add a few exclusive features and some optional gadgets as standard

The Z06’s interior will remain virtually identical to the C8 Corvette, so be prepared for the same layout and similar technology. However, Chevy will add a few exclusive features and some optional gadgets as standard. The C8 Stingray sports quite the cool interior, as it features a tall center console that’s slightly angled toward the driver’s seat. The lower center console is surprisingly clean and includes just the gearshift lever and the mode selector, plus a storage compartment with a stylish lid.

A unique approach here is the way Chevy placed all the buttons on the right-side edge of the console. It might not look very practical for the driver, but it cleans up the console nicely. The dashboard is flatter than before and it has thin, horizontal A/C vents and a clean design on the passenger side. A 12-inch digital instrument cluster displays vital performance information. The dashboard extends into the door panels to form a cool wraparound design and every surface on these areas, including the seats, feature high-quality materials and contrast stitching.

2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06 Interior
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Other extras should include new upholstery combinations of leather, Alcantara, and contrast stitching

There’s not much that can be improved to be honest, but Chevy will probably go with a slightly revised steering wheel and a bespoke display for the instrument cluster. The Stingray’s optional carbon-fiber trim for the center console, dashboard, and door panels could become standard for the Z06, as could the Competition Sport seats. These seats have bigger side bolsters and come wrapped in full Nappa leather. They also feature carbon-fiber trim on the backrests and durable textile inspired by Kevlar vests. Despite their track-focused nature, these seats also feature modern convenience features like heating and ventilation.

Other extras should include new upholstery combinations of leather, Alcantara, and contrast stitching. Also, look for custom displays for the infotainment system and extra menus for performance-related functions. Tech should be about the same, but Chevy could add an extra driving mode specifically tailored for the Z06, as well as the Performance Data Recorder as standard.

Luggage room will remain unchanged, so the Z06 will be able to carry a total of 12.6 cubic-feet of luggage in the front and rear trunks, which is enough for two sets of golf clubs. That’s 2.4 cubic feet less than the old Z06, but the Corvette will offer more space than the competition, except for the McLaren GT.

2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06 Drivetrain

  • Twin-turbo V-8
  • Flat-plane crank design
  • Based on Cadillac Blackwing engine
  • Around 700 horsepower
  • 0 to 60 in 2.7 seconds
  • Top speed close to 200 mph
  • Dual-clutch automatic
  • Quickest Z06 ever
Here's a Closer Look at the 550-Horsepower Blackwing V-8 from the 2019 Cadillac CT6 V-Series: Video
- image 818650
It turns out that Chevrolet is actually working on a brand-new engine for the beefed-up coupe

While previous reports claimed that the Z06 will feature a twin-turbo version of the 5.5-liter V-8 in the C7.R, it turns out that Chevrolet is actually working on a brand-new unit for the beefed-up coupe. Surprisingly enough, it will be a flat-plane crank engine instead of Chevy’s traditional pushrod design. It will also have a dual-overhead-cam design, another significant departure from previous Corvette V-8 engines.

The same inside information claims that the Z06’s engine will share most components with the mill inside the upcoming Corvette C8.R. The race car was spotted testing on the Sebring track recently and the exhaust note is entirely different from the C7.R and more consistent with a flat-plane-crank design. It has a higher-pitched exhaust note, it revs higher, and it takes longer to for the transmission to shift into a superior gear, all typical characteristics of the flat-plane crank design.

Why is Chevy shifting to a flat-plane-crank design? Well, it has to do with increasing performance. These engines have smaller and lighter crankshafts that can spin up faster and lose less power to rotational inertia than cross-plane-crank engines. They also benefit from enhanced combustion efficiency due to the different firing order and better exhaust scavenging. The dual-overhead-cam design comes in to help the engine rev higher than the old engine, which peaked out at 7,000 rpm.

 Leaked CAD Images Showcase the new LT7 V-8 that Will Power the 2021 Chevy C8 Corvette Z06 – Here's What We Think We Know
- image 850302
All hints point toward a design based on the Blackwing V-8 found in the Cadillac CT6-V

So what is this mysterious new engine? All hints point toward a design based on the Blackwing V-8 found in the Cadillac CT6-V. Although GM claims that this engine is unique to the luxury brand, the 4.2-liter V-8 will share some components with the Corvette Z06. Since the Blackwing is built at the Corvette factory in Bowling Green, Chevy likely sourced the block and some components in order to create a new version of the engine. But the changes will be significant, as Chevy needs to switch from the cross-plane-crank and hot-vee design in the CT6-V. It also has to redesign the unit for mid-ship use.

Chevy will also change the location and size of the turbochargers and bore the engine cylinders in order to improve performance. This means that the Z06’s mill will be larger than Cadillac’s 4.2-liter design. Displacement is unknown as of this writing, but Chevy will probably keep it smaller than 5.0 liters. My bet is on 4.5 or 4.7 liters.

2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06 Exterior
- image 850597
The C8 Z06 will be the first turbocharged Corvette from the factory ever!

This design will make the C8 Z06 the first turbocharged Corvette in history. It will also be the first Z06 that ditches supercharging in favor of turbos. Will performance suffer because of this? By no means! If anything, the new Z06 will deliver even more power. While the 4.2-liter V-8 in the Cadillac CT6-V cranks out 550 horsepower, Chevy version of the turbo unit will generate well in excess of 600 horses. The old C7 Z06 features a supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8 that cranks out 650 horsepower and Chevy is surely looking to improve on that figure. Expect the C8 Z06 to arrive with almost 700 horses, if not a bit more.

2018 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Cadillac CT6-V 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Engine Supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8 4.2-liters Twin-Turbo V-8 4.2-liters Twin-Turbo V-8
Horsepower (HP @ RPM) 650 @ 6,400 550 HP 700 HP (est.)
Torque (LB-FT @ RPM) 650 @ 3,600 373-410 lb-ft TBA
Top Speed 205 MPH, Est. 192 mph (est) 200 mph (est.)
0 to 60 mph (Auto / Manual) 2.95 Seconds / 3.2 Seconds 3.5 Seconds (est) 2.7 seconds

It should also be notably quicker than its predecessor. The new mid-engined design made the C8 Stingray a half-second quicker than the old C7 and put it on par with the C7 Z06 at around 2.9 seconds. The C8 Z06 won’t be a half-second quicker than its predecessor, but it will definitely hit 60 mph in around 2.7 seconds. That’s as impressive as it gets and puts the Z06 above competitors like the Ferrari F8 Tributo and Lamborghini Huracan Evo.

The Z06’s top speed should also be superior to the C8 Stingray. The old Z06 was rated at 185 mph, which is nine mph slower than the base C8 Stingray. The C8 Z06 should hit almost 200 mph, which will account for a 15-mph increase over the previous model.

Transmission-wise, the Z06 could feature the Stingray’s eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, but some rumors claim that it may have a 10-speed gearbox instead.

2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06 Price

2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Stingray
- image 852838

Pricing information for the upcoming C8 Corvette Z06 obviously isn’t available right now, but we can figure it out based on how much Chevy is asking for the outgoing C7 Z06. The latter retails from $80,900, which comes with a $25,000 premium over the base C7 Stingray. With the C8 Corvette Stingray priced from $59,995, it’s safe to assume that the C8 Corvette Z06 will cost at least $86,800 before options. All told, expect the C8 Z06 to cost around $7,000 more than the outgoing C7 Z06.

The beefed-up sports car will be unveiled sometime in 2020 for the 2021 model year. The coupe will be joined by a convertible model.

2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06 Competitors

Ford GT

2017 Ford GT Exterior
- image 610231

The new mid-engined layout enables the C8 Corvette Z06 to compete against the Ford GT. While the base Corvette isn’t powerful enough for the GT, the Z06 will have plenty of oomph to give Ford’s supercar a run for its money. Unveiled in 2016, the current GT is the second modern incarnation of the mid-engined sports car. Its design goes back to the first-gen GT from the mid-2000s, as well as the original GT40 race car from the 1960s. Built by Ford’s racing division, the GT features a carbon-fiber monocoque bolted to aluminum subframes covered in carbon panels. Construction-wise, this sports car is quite modern. It has a race-ready suspension system and a Gorilla Glass windshield. Power comes from a 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine that cranks out an impressive 647 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque. The GT needs three seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start and hits a top speed of 217 mph. Needless to say, the GT will be slower and less powerful than the upcoming Z06. The Ford GT starts from $450,000, which makes it significantly more expensive than any Vette that Chevy will launch anytime soon.

Read our full story on the 2018 Ford GT.

Ferrari F8 Tributo

The 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo Joins Ferrari's Lineup as a Successor to the 488
- image 826522

A replacement for the 488 GTB, the F8 Tributo isn’t a brand-new model, but it’s a significant evolution in just about every department. Its exterior design is more aggressive, while the interior boasts new elements and Ferrari’s exceptional craftsmanship. The technology is very similar to the 488 GTB, but the F8 Tributo features new engine software, a revised Side Slip Angle Control traction system, and an electronic program for managing drifts that can now be used in the Race drive mode. Powered by the same twin-turbo, 3.9-liter V-8 engine from the 488 Pista, the F8 Tributo comes with 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet on tap, which should be a bit more than the C8 Corvette Z06. The sprint to 60 takes around 2.8 seconds, while its top speed is rated at 211 mph. Pricing for the F8 Tributo should start from around $300,000, notably more than the upcoming Z06.

Read our full review of the 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo.


2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06 Exterior
- image 850632

Although GM has yet to confirm any of the info above, various leaks provide strong hints that a new-generation Corvette Z06 is underway with a twin-turbo engine. And while some may consider the idea blasphemous, a twin-turbo Z06 will be a big step forward for the nameplate. Not only more powerful than before, it will also be quicker than any other Corvette, and it will enable Chevy to compete with more powerful and more expensive competition. If the rumors above prove to be true, the C8 Corvette Z06 will be a big blow to the supercar market.

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    • Not much is known right now
    • Release date unknown

Further reading

2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06 Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 850622

Read our full review on the 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Stingray.

2021 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06
- image 850862

Read our speculative review of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Zora ZR1

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 High Resolution Exterior
- image 538131

Read our full review on the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06.

Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert -
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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