The two-seat Corvette is Chevrolet's flagship sports car, and it's offered in Targa top, hardtop and convertible body styles. 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 ZR1, which is powered by a supercharged V-8 that kicks out a whopping 638 hp. Competitors include the Ford Shelby GT500 and Nissan GT-R.
(Skip to details on the: Grand Sport, Z06, ZR1)
New for 2012
The Corvette's interior has been updated for 2012 and features new seats with greater lateral support, a new steering wheel and a padded center console and armrest. A Bose premium stereo is available. In honor of Chevrolet's 100th birthday, there's a new Chevrolet Centennial Edition of the Corvette. The package includes unique Carbon Flash Metallic paint, satin-black graphics and wheels, unique badges and cabin trim, and Magnetic Selective Ride Control.
Buyers can also customize the color of their Corvette's brake calipers, which can be painted red, yellow, silver or gray.
Low-slung and wide, the Corvette sports swoopy exterior styling and bulging front fenders. The Corvette's body panels are made of composite material, 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 power soft-top. Exterior features include:
- Optional performance exhaust increases horsepower, changes exhaust sound
- Quad taillights
- Large side vent behind front wheels
- Eighteen-inch front wheels; 19-inch rear wheels
The driver and passenger ride low to the ground and sit in new 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. Interior features include:
- Standard dual-zone air conditioning
- Standard leather upholstery
- Optional leather-wrapped interior
- Keyless entry and starting
- 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 optional performance exhaust system) at 5,900 rpm and 424 pounds-feet of torque (428 pounds-feet with the exhaust system) at 4,600 rpm. Chevrolet recommends premium gas for this engine but it's not required. Mechanical features include:
- Rear-wheel drive
- Standard six-speed manual transmission
- Optional six-speed automatic with shift paddles
- Optional Magnetic Selective Ride Control adaptive suspension
Safety features include:
The Grand Sport is distinguished by special exterior styling and a stiffer suspension. It uses the same 6.2-liter V-8 engine as the base Corvette, and it's likewise available with a six-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic transmission. Like the regular Corvette, an optional exhaust system bumps engine output to 436 hp.
Manual-transmission Grand Sport coupes have a dry-sump oil system and a differential cooler, and the transmission itself features shorter gearing. Automatic models have a shorter final-drive ratio, and the changes lower both models' zero-to-60-mph times by 0.2 seconds, according to Chevrolet, which puts them around 4 seconds.
The Grand Sport's special five-spoke alloy wheels measure 18 inches in diameter in front and 19 inches in back, but the front wheels are 1 inch wider and the rear ones are 2 inches wider than base models. The shocks, springs and stabilizer bars have also been modified, and Chevrolet says it can pull 1 g when cornering.
Hash marks on the front fenders are optional and available in four colors. The front and rear fenders are also larger, and the front fenders feature unique vents behind the front wheels and a Grand Sport badge. Back to top
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.
Like other Corvettes, the Z06 gets interior upgrades for 2012. It also gains an available carbon fiber hood and sees changes to the Z07 Performance Package with the addition of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires, lighter wheels and a full-width spoiler. The package also includes Brembo-brand carbon ceramic brakes.
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. Chevrolet says it can blast from zero to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds.
The Z06 is outfitted with standard 18-inch wheels in front and 19-inch rims in back. Chevrolet says the car can pull more than 1 g when cornering. The drilled front rotors 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 front splitter and wheel-opening extensions 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.
An opportunity available to Z06 buyers is the Corvette Engine Build Experience, which lets customers participate in the assembly of their car's engine at the General Motors Performance Build Center in Wixom, Mich. Back to top
The Corvette ZR1 is America's supercar. Weighing in at 3,353 pounds, the ZR1 is based on the aluminum chassis of the Corvette Z06. With a top speed of 205 mph, the ZR1 is the fastest car ever built by GM.
The ZR1 is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that makes 638 hp at 6,500 rpm and 604 pounds-feet of torque at 3,800 rpm. The engine teams with a six-speed manual transmission. Features include Brembo-brand carbon ceramic brake rotors, Magnetic Selective Ride Control, and a carbon-fiber roof, front fenders and hood. Like other Corvettes, the ZR1 gets interior upgrades for 2012.
Chevrolet says the ZR1 can produce more than 1 g of cornering grip. It features a ZR1-specific gauge cluster with a supercharger boost gauge. The ZR1 also features a launch control system.
An opportunity available to ZR1 buyers is the Corvette Engine Build Experience, which lets customers participate in the assembly of their car's engine at the General Motors Performance Build Center in Wixom, Mich. Back to top
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