The Corvette is Chevrolet's flagship sports car, and it's offered as a hardtop or a convertible. In addition to the base model, which makes more than 400 horsepower, Chevrolet also sells two high-performance variants of the sports car: the 505-hp Z06 and the new-for-2009 ZR1, which is powered by a supercharged V-8 that kicks out a whopping 638 hp. Competitors include the Ford Shelby GT500, Dodge Viper and Nissan GT-R.
(Skip to details on the: Corvette Z06 and ZR1)
New for 2009
The Corvette gains a variable-ratio steering system, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, available Bluetooth connectivity, and new interior and exterior colors.
Low-slung and wide, the Corvette sports swoopy exterior styling and bulging front fenders. The Corvette's body panels are made of composite, and the current model features exposed headlights as opposed to flip-up ones that have been used in past versions of the sports car. Coupes have a glass hatchback and a removable roof; the convertible has an available powered soft-top.
- Optional performance exhaust increases horsepower, changes exhaust sound
- Quad taillights
- Large side vent behind front wheels
- 18-inch front wheels, 19-inch rear wheels
The driver and passenger ride low to the ground in the Corvette and sit in bolstered bucket seats. The sizable center console separates the seats and houses the standard six-speed manual's shifter or optional six-speed automatic's gear selector. Coupes offer an impressive 22 cubic feet of cargo space, but there's just 7.5 cubic feet in the convertible when the top is down.
- Standard dual-zone air conditioning
- Standard leather upholstery
- Optional heated seats
- Optional navigation system
Under the Hood
The Corvette's all-aluminum 6.2-liter V-8 makes 430 hp (436 hp with the performance exhaust system) at 5,900 rpm and 424 pounds-feet of torque (428 pounds-feet with the optional exhaust system) at 4,600 rpm. Chevrolet recommends premium gas for this engine, but it's not required.
- 16/26 mpg city/highway with the manual
- 15/25 mpg with the automatic
- Rear-wheel drive
Safety equipment includes:
- All-disc antilock brakes
- Electronic stability system
- Optional side-impact airbags
The Z06 ratchets up the Corvette's performance capabilities with the use of a more powerful V-8 engine, larger brakes and a firmer suspension. It also features unique styling cues designed to improve performance.
A 7.0-liter V-8 engine, which makes 505 hp at 6,300 rpm and 470 pounds-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm, is the heart of the Z06. It teams exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission, and Chevrolet says it can rip from zero to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. For 2009, the size of the Z06's dry-sump oil system has been increased to 10.5 quarts.
The Z06 is outfitted with 18-inch wheels in front and 19-inch rims in back, and Chevrolet says that the car can pull more than 1 g when cornering. The drilled front brakes measure 14 inches across while the rear ones are slightly smaller at 13.4 inches.
When a car's top speed is 198 mph, as the Z06's is, aerodynamics become even more important; the sports car has a splitter for extra downforce. The slit near the hood feeds cold air to the engine, and scoops in front of the rear wheels funnel air to cool the brakes. Back to top
Yep, this is the super-Corvette you might've been reading about for, oh ... the last three years. Once nicknamed the Blue Devil, the ZR1 is now official and in the flesh for all to see. Weighing in at a scant 3,324 pounds, the ZR1 is based on the aluminum chassis of the Corvette Z06.
It adds a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that's capable of a 205-mph top speed, carbon ceramic brake rotors and standard magnetic ride control, plus a carbon-fiber roof, front fenders, rocker moldings and more. This is no toy. This is a supercar.
We're a bit unimpressed with the look, though. It isn't as subtle as the Z06, but owners might not care. Back to top
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