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The Newest Chevrolet Corvette is ZO-Sick!

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On: Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 11:43AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

The Newest Chevrolet Corvette is ZO-Sick!

We would like to send an open letter of thanks to the great folks at Chevrolet. It is not often these days that we begin writing about a new car and then realize we're simply at a loss for words. Not because of any sudden illness, or some unusual drainage of every vocabulary word in our brains, or even a more simple solution like alien abduction. No, this initial loss of words was due to simply being overwhelmed by the sheer awesomeness of the newest badass to roll of the assembly line in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Chevy calls the newest Corvette ZO6 a "Supercar" and we can't find a lick of evidence to argue with them about it. To put the C7Z in perspective and in a nutshell at the same time, Chevy basically picked up where the C6 ZR1 left off, and even managed to make it a little better. So the old ZR1 is the new ZO6, sort of. The only mildly depressing thought about the extinction of the C6Z is the fact that with it goes one of the best sounding, awe-inspiring, and fantasy-inducing V8 engines to ever get dropped between the fenders of an automobile. That's right, the 427 cubic inch aluminum 505-horsepower LS7 is gone, but never forgotten. But the best way to get past an old engine is to get behind the wheel of a new one—And what an engine it is! Based on the C7's LT1 motor, the C7Z is going to sport a supercharged version called (as true Corvette historians will be able to guess) the LT4.

The LT4 is the heart and soul of the C7Z, and it is a healthy one. Borrowing from the outgoing ZR1's book of tricks, the C7Z sports forged pistons, titanium intake valves, variable valve-timing, cylinder-deactivation, direct-injection, a dry-sump oil pump, and, oh yeah, a supercharger running nearly ten pounds of boost. The goal of the C7Z was to match or beat the outgoing ZR1, and Chevy promises "at least" 625 horsepower and 635 lb-ft of torque. Not too shabby for a 6.2-liter aluminum motor, is it? Shifting duties will fall on either a beefed-up version of the Stingray's 7-speed manual or, for the first time ever, an automatic will be offered in a ZO6. Chevy created the Hydra-Matic 8L90 in-house because there simply weren't too many options that would conform to the Vette's very unique rear-mounted style, and also handle the kind of power the LT4 will be putting down. We aren't crazy about this, because the Z is and always has been the more hardcore variant of Corvette and, quite honestly, those who didn't want to shift their own gears needed not apply. But we have since realized that someone with a bad knee, injury, or any number of other issues might still want a serious performance machine, so then why not offer up an auto? But if you don't have some sort of good reason to be driving a 600+ horsepower car with an slushbox, be prepared to take some heat from onlookers and friends—At least until they hear it start up.

The only negative to the new Z that we have seen so far is that weight looks as though it will creep up slowly. While Chevy has promised the C7Z will be quicker and faster around a road course than the C6Z, the added suspension-stiffening equipment does tack on some pounds to the curb weight. At an approximate weight of 3650 pounds, the C7Z will be nearly 400 pounds heavier than the car it replaces. But there is a silver lining to the extra weight. Thanks to that added suspension stiffness, the new Z is also the first of its kind to sport a removable roof panel. Hardcore, meet wind in your hair. Wind in your hair, meet hardcore. You two should get along very well.

Just like the outgoing car, the new Z will offer the ZO7 package. This upgrade takes an already badass ride and cranks up the 'bad'. The top-of-the-line package gives the Z stickier and more track-oriented Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires, and let's not forget the game-changing 15.5-inch front and 15.3-inch rear carbon-ceramic brake rotors. Those rotors get clamped down by six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers and weight about 23 pounds less than the normal brakes, which put the Z on par with the best supercars in the world in terms of stopping ability. Also available are three aero packages that help the Z to be able to boast that it delivers the most downforce of any production car Chevy has ever built. They also give the Vette a very nasty appearance to match its ridiculous performance potential.

GM wanted to make the newest Z a bit less chaotic to drive than its predecessors. They wanted a car that feels secure, connected to the road, and easy to drive fast—Think less Viper and more 911 Turbo. Price for the 2015 Z fully loaded will be less than $100,000 which isn't cheap by anyone's standards, but considering your options in the 600+ horsepower category, getting a ZO6 in the 90k range isn't bad at all. So for its price and at least 625 more reasons we would like to personally thank everyone over at Chevrolet. The words to give praise to the newest hot rod in the stable were not easy to come by; well done Chevy.

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