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Cars We Can't Wait For: 2015 ZO6 Convertible

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On: Wed, Sep 3, 2014 at 11:28AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Cars We Can't Wait For:  2015 ZO6 Convertible

Okay, okay, we already know what you're going to say when we start ranting about the new ZO6 convertible, "They already had one last year!" Oh no they did not!  Granted the C6 427 was a convertible with a ZO6 engine, ZO6 body moldings, ZO6 brakes and chassis, and ZO6 acceleration… What it was not, however, was an actual factory badged ZO6. Now, for those of you whipping down the interstate at 120 mph in a C6 427 or for those of you who just got smoked by the C6 427 whipping down the interstate that may not mean much, but to those crazy Corvette purists out there, "Factory Official" carries a lot of weight when it come to collectibility, and also bragging rights.

The 2015 ZO6 convertible promises to be the fastest and best performing droptop General Motors has ever produced. Following the LT1 nomenclature of the mid-nineties, the next engine designation up the food chain is in fact the LT4. In 1996, the LT4 was used in Corvette Grand Sport models and any base Corvette fitted with a manual transmission. In 1996, the LT4 pumped out an impressive 330 horsepower. Some 19 years later, the new LT4 has upped the ante just a tad… And by tad, we mean nearly double. The newest Vette in the stable uses the same 6.2-liter supercharged V8 as the coupe version, pumping out the same 650 horsepower and equally impressive 650 pound-feet of torque. Take that 1996!

To add more fuel to the fire, thanks to a solid chassis and frame, no added supports were needed for the 'Vert when engineers cut the top off of the standard Z. That means that other than a bit more air resistance, there is no reason the ZO6 convertible should be any less mind-bendingly fast as the coupe. As you might expect, the convertible gets all the same goodies as its roofed brethren: magnetorheological fluid filled shocks, differential and transmission coolers, a carbon-fiber torque tube, gigantic 15.5 inch carbon-ceramic brakes, and even the choice of three different aerodynamic packages (how fast does your wallet want to go?).

The other big news is that the C7 ZO6 will be the first Z to offer and automatic transmission—this applies to the 'Vert as well. Presumably, this additional option is Chevy's version of what seems to be the growing trend among auto manufacturing philosophy: "Leave no stone unturned!" Every car has to be available in every form, and every model needs to be maximized to make sure that even the slightest niche market is accounted for, just in case those few people who may have wanted a 600-horsepower car with an automatic don't need to make a choice. We can hear those purists freaking out now. There are, however, good reasons to offer a Z in automatic trim. Some people just can't drive a manual transmission very well, some live in high-density traffic areas that render shifting nothing more than a leg workout, some people that may not actually be able to use a clutch due to leg injury, and the list goes on and on. What purists are angry about are the guys (or gals) that opt for a Z convertible who simply just don't want to shift, but want to go fast and simply hold the wheel. Those people should have their money taken, then be given a history lesson on the history of the Corvette, slapped, photographed, have their photo added to a wall with other just like them, then handed their keys.

We get it though, other big name car companies offer their hi-po models with automatic transmissions too. Even Ferrari has started making models using only automatic transmissions citing faster shifting speeds and declining demand for manual transmissions. It's a sad state of affairs in some respect; we never would have expected to see a 650-horsepower Corvette with an automatic trans. But if we are being honest with ourselves, a 650-horsepower Corvette is still a 650-horsepower Corvette and this one is "Factory Official". So, if we have to take the good (that much power) with the bad (an auto option), it is definitely still worth it, and we can't wait to see one of these beasts, automatic or not, flying down the highway.

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