• Sep 15, 2008
Click above for high-res gallery of the 2009 Corvette ZR1

Let's not beat around any shrubbery with this: Top Gear magazine has reviewed the Corvette ZR1, and the quotes you need to know are, "The dynamics are better than an Aston DBS...," and "...[M]ake no mistake. What we have here is one of the truly great supercars."

Of course, there are caveats: it looks like a Corvette, the interior doesn't match those of its supercar rivals and the steering could use more feel. The latter quip is why you get other critiques like "...you don't get the precision of a 599." To have a UK magazine critique a Corvette against a 599 is probably the opposite of the insult it might appear to be on the surface. But don't take our word for it, follow the link and read for yourself how the ZR1 has "the performance and the chassis to match an SLR 722." It's not a bad way to start the week...


[Source: Top Gear]


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  • 58 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well the interior isn't on par with cars costing $100k more. Really? You're kidding right? This car will hand those cars their ass on a platter at the track and I'm supposed to really care about the interior? Yes, in-block cams are the best in my opinion for package size and if you don't think so shall we compare to size of a LSx engine to a Ford 4-valve 4.6 and see who wins that? Ford is topped out at 5.4L for their over sized mod motors and GM is 7.0 in production with the LSX block going up to 511ci. This car is great when compared to any other car in the World today, but only certain people can admit it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Zr1 looks good!
      I passed a Black ZR1 driving on I-81N here in PA last week and its looked Bad Ass. I thought it was just a modded Z06 at first while i was coming up behind it. I just kept looking at it as i passed him and ZR1 badge.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Torrent. I normally don't post but I had to regarding your comment. The vette is a nani-mobile. The viper is what you are describing. While the Viper offers no nannys, the interior is significantly more solid feeling. The vette has one of the cheapest interiors of any sports car I have been in. The Mustang is doing better IMO. It may not have the gadgets but it feels more solid.

      Regardless fanboys. The viper ACR destroyed your beloved ZR1 without even trying, and there aren't 3 different models of the exact same body. "Supercar" should be reserved for the LP640 and up. No 599, no F430, no gallardo and DEFINITELY nothing below that. Those are not supercars. They are exotics. If you can't afford one don't claim you have one.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Who cares about what TopGear says about american cars? I mean they're fun to watch and I love to watch this show, but when it comes to judging american cars I couldn't care less about TG-guys' opinion...
      No, I'm not American; yes, I have huge respect for Corvette (and even more for Ford GT :)...
        • 6 Years Ago
        British press still treats Ford Focus and Vauxhall/Opel Astra as British cars although they are essentially German. They don't like Japanese if they are not made in Swindon and they would always write that Mazda3 is built on "future Focus" platform instead of writing that Focus will be built on current Mazda3 platform. Ford Duratec 2.0 will be perform solidly, whil Mazda MZR 2.0 will be average although in both cases it's an Mazda MZR engine.

        But believe it or not, Top Gear's opinion DOES matter and, for some reason, Britains motoring press does matter although the only British car maker is London Taxi Company. Even Lotus is owned by Malaysian Proton. And uses Toyota engines.

        I do have respect for Vette and for Mustang as well, in terms of their historical and historic values and their iconic status. I do adore Stingray and Coke Bottle Vettes.

        But their current reincarnations have little-to-none relevance, there's nothing new, no new technology, nothing. Let's face it, if you took the same cars without those legendary badges, would they be hailed in any terms? I doubt that.

        This souped-up Vette is not supercar, it's, well, a souped-up Vette. Super-Vette, perhaps. Still, as I said before, not really there.

        What GM did with ZR1 can be done to any car out there, on the same budget with similar results. There are scores of similar "supercars" built in farm sheds with even less money. But it doesn't make great.
        • 6 Years Ago
        finally....somebody gets it. Thanks Yaro!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Amazing car but I can understand their comments about the look, especially from a UK perspective where not everyone is familiar with the corvette. It's not like this car shares any actual panels with the regular vette - they are all carbon fiber vs. fiberglass, right? Since you're already making new ones, why not mix it up a little and give the ZR-1 its own look? Even with the same chassis hardpoints they could have come up with something...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Could the average American tell the DB9 from the DBS?

        Aston Martins coupes all look similar, even though they range from ~$100K ---> ~$300K

        Corvette really isn't committing an original sin by looking like its base model.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Cause the car looks great as-is.

        I think at $105K it's quite justified to look like a regular Corvette. At £100K it's not so easy to forgive.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree about the steering. It's not awful, but in a car that is otherwise very good, the average steering feel sticks out.

        The Brits don't seem to like their Civic SIs either, they also have electrically boosted steering and the same feel issue.

        GM maybe can tough this out, as the entire sports car industry goes to electric steering (like F1 and Le Mans cars), but it will do them no good, they'll still be ripped on for it even if everyone else does it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Because the aerodynamics of the current 'vette have already been developed and tweaked by Chevrolet and the C6.R team so much already. It would make little sense to have to reinvent the wheel when they already have something so well developed.
        • 6 Years Ago
        the truth is if the vette had amazing interior and it fixed the tiny things like (feeling in the steering) then i hope gm would sell it for far more then just 100,000. it is less then half the price of the other cars it was put up against. everyone always wants more and more for nothing. and has anyone been in a enzo ok now tell me it has a great interior.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Um - because it's a Corvette and not something else?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Nobody doubts this is a good car, but whether is appeals to European buyers is quite something else.

      Bang for buck doesn't count for much here, unlike the US (just look at the car companies for that kind of indication).

      I do think the ZR1 looks a bit better than the other Vettes but for christ's sake, NO MORE CHROME RIMS PLEASE!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Now, for some minor upgrades to the interior, and a slightly more up-market exterior, and the whole package will be totally unbeatable and unimpeachable.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Praise from Top Gear? Be still my little heart.

      It baffles me how much these forums care about what those attention whores think.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hmmm.....I wonder what kind of laptime can the Stig put down on the Top Gear test track. Hopefully they will feature the car on the show this season.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Hoepfully when they test it, they wont have the track wet or lightly damp for that matter.
      • 6 Years Ago
      All this really shows is GM does the big things right. They tend to suck at the details though. With the Malibu's new interior, I'd imagine the next 'Vette will likely close the gap to the Brits and Italians further.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sit down and justify spending another $300,000+ for a nice interior and you'll understand why this car is so epic.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Comparisons with the Enzo, Carrera GT, 599, and SLR 722. The ZR1 is a definite winner.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "There's fancy electronics in the ZR1's chassis. The stability controls do a silky smooth job of containing your goof-ups, and if you drive properly they'll let you use pretty much the car's full scope."

      "'I like to drive a car, not to be driven'"

      Where are all the electronic nanny-haters now? Just a few months ago that was the excuse to hate the best of cars which will remain nameless. But oh no, not when its on the car we like. Then its ok.

      Seriously, its ok to like a car with a bit of computer technology between you and the machinery. Driving fast requires skill. More driver-aids means you can go faster. The skill develops at the same rate with practice.

      You learn the quickest by dying the least.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Of course anyone can drive a manual, that doesn't mean they are any good at matching RPMs at full braking and finding the right gear 100% of the time.

        F1 cars are built to be expensive and at the pinnacle of technology, though, I believe traction control is being taken away (or at least that was being considered). I didn't argue that the electronics weren't of benefit for faster lap times, only that those who are purists don't like the car to do things for them.

        Besides, if your so interested in just going faster around the track, why don't you just sit passenger with a better driver? After all, that will get you around the track faster- but it won't be much fun now will it?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Re-read my post genious.

        Seems you think I'm critiquing the existence of technology on the ZR1, when I am clearly denouncing the 'raw sports car fans' hatred of electronic gizmos... except when they are on the Vette.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm fairly certain you could teach an ape to shift through 6 gears to get a banana. I've owned 5 manuals and it doesn't give me a superiority complex. Its just not a skill worth bragging about. Maybe back in high school...

        An F1 driver drives with paddles and an E-diff because if he didn't he'd have to slow down (or die). And because the car gives them the ABILITY to maneuver at great speed, they learn HOW to maneuver at even greater speed. Thats the learning curve. The drivers that see scenery move past faster develop the fastest reactions.

        You are mistaken. In the car I believe you are talking about, the same 'off' switches exist. You can drive without the 'helpers', but you'll skid all over and likely just drive slower. But at your liesure, its there.

        You are making these coupes out to be much more different than they actually are. If you want raw, the Dodge dealership is right down the road.
        • 6 Years Ago
        if you dont like the electronics on the car go ahead and reach your chubby little fingers and hit the switch to turn them off. but i dont think you could handle it
        • 6 Years Ago
        "I didn't argue that the electronics weren't of benefit for faster lap times, only that those who are purists don't like the car to do things for them. "

        Precisely. This isn't about skill, its about the more 'pure' driving experience. Last I checked, the racecar driver that finishes the quickest in the same car is the most skilled.

        And that is typically the person who has the most practice. Hence, how did you come up with this:

        "Besides, if your so interested in just going faster around the track, why don't you just sit passenger with a better driver?"

        That actually made sense to you? That's scary. I think the more logical thing to do would be track the car you're in, and learn how to drive it faster.

        Why is it hard to understand that the easy car is the one that gets pushed the hardest? And hence can be driven the fastest?

        The ZR1 is an easy car to drive quickly. As easy as any other car putting down 7:20-something 'Ring times. Read Edmunds' review of it. "Pussycat" is the word thrown around in that article.

        If they weren't identically easy to drive fast, they wouldn't get nearly identical lap times. If one were easier than the other, the skilled driver would just push harder and GO FASTER.

        If you want to do a useless task in the cockpit of your favorite auto, go right ahead. But don't pretend driving stick adds any more useful experience than learning how to apply makeup while driving.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Its perfectly valid. I figured I'd get voted down and all types of excuses would show up, but your argument of 'design philosophies' is false.

        There's no artificial speed. Traction control, stability control, yaw control all serve the same function: increase traction along vehicles' (and drivers') intended vector.

        As in everything, including the number of drive wheels is just a traction aid to 'prevent catastrophe'. Increasing the limits of traction w/ any of those things is the same as adding downforce, or limited slip, or... you name it.

        Without ____________, the ZR1 would crash if driven past the limit of human reaction.

        Without ____________, car X would crash if driven past the limit of human reaction.

        There is nothing 'pure' about one technology over another. Its only different in your head.

        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Big

        Your point isn't really valid. The difference between the two philosophies is that one car has electro nannies to prevent catastrophe but does nothing to give false speed to an incompetent driver. The other vehicle relies on these systems to produce it's speed whether in the hands of a baffoon or a pro. You'll see much faster lap time variation that is dependant on driver skill in a ZR1 than you will in "that other car".

        I'm not saying one way is wrong or right but there is a difference here.
        • 6 Years Ago
        An F-22 is a plane with greater limits than man can physically achieve, but the more skilled pilot achieves more. Discovering new and radical maneuvers.

        The P-51 pilot has no concept of such maneuvers. They haven't even been developed yet because the machinery limits the AoA before the pilot has reached his limits.

        Therefore, he never learns how to dogfight with an F-22. Or even fly and corner at that speed. The feeling will be totally alien and require years more training.


        The F1 driver can drive the car until he/she just can't keep up with how fast it is cornering, braking, accelerating.

        That is why they are better than everyone else. They've been that fast. Those who haven't, have no concept of the attention it requires.

        None of the drivers aids in multi-million dollar race cars (and there are a lot of drivers aids) reduce their skill compared to if they had to do it all themselves.

        The skill remains the same, the driver+car that work together better GO FASTER. They don't leach your skill or anything, really.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Go ahead and throw a tantrum. You're 100% off the mark. Typical purist denial.

        Once again, you started on SKILL. But you end with ENJOYMENT. You don't see how you're off the mark now?

        I don't give a rat's @ss whether you enjoy it or not, you're coming up with all sorts of BS arguments to support why its necessary to have a third pedal.

        NONE of your imaginary robotic car is applicable to one that simply swaps a DCG for a 6MT. NONE. You're out in left field making up crap about how certain cars operate. If you imagine that all of that is done for you in any of these, thats bordering on halucination.

        Timing, reactions, and spacial relations make a skilled driver. All of those still apply. When to accelerate, when to brake, when to turn and how hard is something we all do, but some do better than others.

        I already said, if you enjoy it, fine. But just ADMIT that its 100% personal preference and STFU about how cars with paddle-shifters sap the skill of a driver like kryptonite.

        I ENJOY a manual too. But like I said, I don't make excuses for why I need the useless third pedal in my car. Its just for fun.

        Why would I concede that rediculous point? You can type it as many times as you please, but you're in denial.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You don't get it do you, you post is about why people don't have issues with driver aids in this car and they do with others.

        You also don't get that when you take away controls be it shifting, throttle, brakes, etc, you lose some of what those drivers complaining about driver aids enjoy about driving their cars.

        If the car shifts for you, if the brakes determine the best amount of force to apply, if the throttle is limited to allowing the most traction, what inputs are you applying yourself? Steering? Your going to actually sit there and tell me that the best drivers in the world are that way because all they have to do is steer the car and put their foot near the brake and gas?

        Even if that was the case, does that change the enjoyment factor for an average track day driver who no longer feels as connected to the car because certain inputs are inconsequencial? Going around a track with nothing to do is akin to riding shotgun, it's exciting at first but gets boring after a few laps, fast or not.

        Since you never concede a point in these posts, I am done, but you are wrong.

        Sorry
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