I heard a request for more 2006 Corvette Z06 coverage and I am happy to oblige since I feel that the 500 horsepower "big stick" is one of my Detroit show favorites. If only the lottery fairies would shine down on me! Corvette engineers knew that the new 2005 C-6 was to exude the same performance numbers as the previous gen Z06 when outfitted with the Z51 package, so they had to take a big leap forward.
That leap was performed by first replacing the hot-rodded 350 in the 2004 car with an all new 7.0 liter 427 small-block V-8. The engine block is a completely different casting than the 6.0 liter found in the base Corvette stretching the cubic inches to the fabled number of Corvette?s past. I?d have to buy a ?427? decal to place on each side of the hood power bulge just to pay homage. The lightweight titanium connecting rods and intake valves try to offset the weight added by the dry-sump oiling system. GM decided to use the racing staple to ensure proper engine lubrication under cornering loads in excess of 1 g. which is easy to tell by the g-readout on the heads-up display.
The Corvette team followed the weight savings through to the chassis. That LS7 engine sits in a new magnesium cradle that is lighter than aluminum, yet very strong. Flared front fenders and wheelhouses are actually made of carbon fiber to further reduce the front weight bias. Corvette showed the first sign of painted carbon-fiber panels on last year?s Commemorative Z06 which featured a carbon-fiber hood.
New seats that feature redesigned side-bolsters (to hold your butt in at 1 g.) are lighter than stock and some of the sound deadening material was removed. After all this work to remove weight, why then is the Z06 only 49 pounds lighter than the base car? Lots of performance upgrades.
The dry-sump system adds weight as well as the larger wheels and tires, brakes and chassis parts. Large 18 x 9.5-inch front and 19 x 12-inch rear wheels have extended mobility Goodyear Supercar tires wrapped around them and ready to grip the road.
To stop a monster, you need monster brakes. At the nose, the Z06 employs 14-inch vented and cross drilled rotors flanked by red-painted six-piston calipers loaded with six individual brake pads that equalize wear more efficiently than single pads. The rear system is no slouch either with 13.4-inch vented and cross-drilled rotors, four piston calipers and four pads. I can?t wait to see a 0-100-0 number on this one.
Outside the Z06?s nose is a little longer and pointier to house the cold air scoop. Close up pictures show the skirts added in front of the wheels for improved airflow. While the past Z06 was a ?hardtop? with no hatchback, the ?06 keeps the hatch, but does not have a targa roof that can be removed. This is done to keep the car tight and reduce flex. Rumors point to signs that a Z06 convertible is on the horizon. The entire rear flank is widened to cover the massive rear tires giving the Z06 the same double-take stance that the ZR-1 did in 1990. Looks like a regular Vette, but there is something different. The rear spoiler is a bit bigger and exhaust pipes are more exaggerated.
A mid 3-second 0-60 car with all the amenities of its more pedestrian version. Stopping power that could rearrange some internal organs and a price that will be in the $60,000 - $70,000 range. I can?t help but to be enamored with this car.