2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Don Sherman
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Randy G
Full Driver Side View

THE BODY

With an additional 100 hp available for beating back the wind, aerodynamic emphasis shifts from minimal drag to additional downforce. The Z06 has a taller front fascia slot to ram extra cooling air through the radiator plus a central nostril dedicated to engine air. A horizontal surface, called a splitter, extends forward of the fascia to help neutralize front-end lift at speed. The rear portion of the front wheel opening is reshaped, and the side vents are larger to relieve underhood pressure. The rear tires are shrouded by meatier fender flares, and forward-facing slits duct air to the rear brakes. The black spoiler affixed to the center portion of the fascia is more than twice as tall as the one used on standard Corvettes. Wind-tunnel testing is ongoing, but it's clear that frontal area, drag coefficient, and wheel loadings will be increased over C6 figures.

After dabbling with a carbon-fiber-reinforced hood for a few 2004 Z06 Commemorative Edition cars, the Vette team revisited that strategy for its new road warrior. More than five pounds was saved by switching from fiberglass to carbon fiber for the balsa-cored floor panels. Fifteen pounds more was trimmed by molding the front fenders and their liners out of the wonder material.

Vent View

THE INTERIOR

Compared with the aforementioned areas, Z06 interior distinctions are small potatoes. A new three-spoke steering wheel has a one-inch-smaller-diameter rim to enhance agility. Driver's-seat side bolsters are more substantial and not adjustable. To trim weight, passenger-side seat adjusters operate manually, and sound-deadening materials are less comprehensive than in standard models. The standard two-tone leather upholstery is embellished with Z06 embroidery to tell the world this is the genuine article. Dual-zone air-conditioning and a head-up display are standard; Bose audio entertainment, a navigation system, and six other options will be offered.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Adding 100 hp, subtracting 100 pounds, and improving weight distribution in a car that is already an exemplary performer is the sure way to pique the interest of the Porsche devout.

At the unveiling ceremony for the new Z06, chief engineer and vehicle line executive Dave Hill touted a remarkable set of performance stats: 0 to 60 mph in less than 4.0 seconds, 0 to 100 mph in less than 8.0 seconds, quarter-mile acceleration in less than 12.0 seconds, and a top speed of more than 190 mph. He did this with a twinkle in his eye, born of confidence that he is ready for whatever Porsche-or Ferrari-intends to bring to the next supercar showdown.

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