The $100,000 Corvette

No, Jay Leno did not modify this Corvette to get the price over $100,000. This is a factory-made — though in small numbers; only 2,000 are expected to be built — 2009 Corvette ZR-1 that was introduced at the 2008 Detroit auto show. It packs a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine with a lot of horsepower — 628 horses, to be exact. And it will cost you $103,300.

Everything about the ZR-1 has been changed to handle that power, from the six-speed manual transmission to carbon-ceramic brakes. Options include chrome wheels ($2,000) and an interior package that adds sport seats, side airbags, Bose audio and a navigation system ($10,000). Add on the gas-guzzler tax of $1,700 and the destination charge, and you’re looking at a $117,000 Corvette.

Now, I’ve tested the little brother to the ZR-1, the Z06, with its 505 hp. You could barely find a road that could contain that car. These extra horses will really need to find a track to be enjoyed even a tiny bit, and we doubt anyone will get near the 205 mph it can reach, even at an airstrip. If Chevy somehow made the ZR-1 half as livable as the Z06, though, then it could be an alluring car for speed freaks and weekend track regulars.

I just don’t think people shopping for $100,000 near-exotics would choose the ZR-1 over an Audi R8 or Porsche 911 Turbo.

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