We love the way that the Corvette Z06 cocks its blue collar and thumbs its NACA duct to run with blue-blood sports cars that cost up to four times as much. Skipping an exotic layout, overhead camshafts, induction boosters, and ground-effect bodywork clarifies the Corvette's focus and sharpens its intent. With raw speed as the mission, the Z06 hustles to 150 mph ahead of a raving pack of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Porsches. To beat it, you'll need turbos: four boosting a Bugatti Veyron or only two if you have a Saleen S7 handy.
To exploit all this speed and agility, bring your best driving skills. Those inclined to flick off the Active Handling system do so at the risk of seat stains and Corvette-shaped guardrail dents. Like an F-16 fighter jet, the Z06 is a fly-by-computer craft that works best with all its faculties--electronic and otherwise--up and running. What the government calls "relaxed static stability" means that an F-16 constantly flies at the outer limits of control for optimum maneuverability. The same can be said of the Z06. Powering out of a bend with the throttle down seriously strains the rear Goodyears. As the revs climb and the power swells, timely steering corrections are necessary to manage drift angles. Active Handling's competition mode disables fun-inhibiting traction control while maintaining the bacon-saving stability control.
When your skills are finally worthy of operating this 505-hp, 3147-pound driver-guided missile, you can switch off Active Handling to enjoy the boy-racer mode with nothing but ABS and your preservation instincts to keep you and the Z06 whole. That switch makes this Corvette a true dual-purpose machine--a sports car as well suited to daily commuting as it is to trouncing those expensive blue bloods on track day.
Double-barreled fun for the price of a base Porsche 911 is what has earned the Z06 its second consecutive Automobile Magazine All-Star award.