First look at the “Big Nasty”: 2015 Corvette Z06

Image courtesy of General Motors Co.

Image courtesy of General Motors Co.

How do you take the already very desirable Corvette Stingray and make it even more drool worthy? Easy, you make it faster, handle better and make having a fixed roof optional. The 2015 Corvette Z06 features a new supercharged 6.2L V8 producing 625hp and 635 lb-ft of torque. As a real bonus, the LT4 motor features the popular General Motors cylinder deactivation technology that allows this fire breathing V8 to purr like a V4 under moments of light load –a truly rare find in a supercharged supercar powerplant.

Mark Reuss, president, General Motors North America presents the new Z06 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Image by Kanishka Sonnadara.

Design of the 2015 Corvette Z06 focused heavily on increasing the car’s downforce and track performance. “Practically every exterior change served a functional purpose, as this beast needed more of everything,” 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.”

Helping convey the supercharged LT4’s power to the ground, the Z06 gets new wider tires which are 285 width up front and 335 in the rear; an increase of 1.5 and two inches respectively. Expect a harsher-than-necessary ride as the car retains Michelin Pilot Super Sport run-flat tires once again for this new car.

Braking comes from Brembo six-piston two-piece solid steel rotors up front and four-piston callipers in the rear. Buyers opting for the Z07 package will be treated to fade-free carbon ceramic rotors which also shave an additional 23 lbs (10.4 kg) from the vehicle’s weight.

The 2015 Z06 comes standard with a seven-speed manual transmission featuring Active Rev Match technology allowing even average drivers to shift like pros. For a more performance oriented option there’s an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle-shifters.

Image by GM Co.

“Unlike most ultra-performance cars, the Corvette Z06 offers customers the choice between two transmissions to suit their driving styles,” said Tadge Juechter, chief engineer for the Corvette. “The seven-speed gives the driver the control of a true three-pedal manual transmission with perfect shifts enabled by Active Rev Matching. The new eight-speed automatic offers drivers the comfort and drivability of a true automatic transmission, as well as lightning-fast shifts and manual control for track driving.”

“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.”

Image by GM Co.

The stiff all-aluminum frame that debuted with the 2014 Corvette Stingray has enabled GM engineers to fit the new Z06 with a removable roof panel. This same frame will be utilized virtually unchanged in the C7.R racecars.

Third generation Magnetic Selective Ride Control dampers come standard on the Z06. Launch, traction and stability control systems along with an electric limited slip differential (eLSD) are also standard on this Corvette.

The new Corvette Z06 goes on sale in early 2015.

 The C7.R racecar: a Corvette for the track. Image by Kanishka Sonnadara.

Kanishka Sonnadara can be reached by email at kanishka[at]oyetimes.com or on Twitter @autoKsS.

 

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