Competes with: Acura NSX, Audi R8, Porsche 911 Turbo
Looks like: The C7 got a nose job — and more power, obviously
Drivetrain: 755-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 with seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic; rear-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Spring 2018
Confirming (exceeding, actually) rumors that broke last week, Chevrolet parent company GM proclaimed Sunday that the chieftain of Corvettes would return for 2019 packing 755 horsepower and 715 pounds-feet of torque courtesy of a supercharged 6.2-liter LT5 V-8. It goes on sale in spring 2018.
GM says that, on the racetrack, the new ZR1 is the highest-performing Vette in the nameplate's production history. Back in your driveway, it's also the most extreme-looking: An optional massive rear spoiler and wraparound ground effects generate track-smacking downforce, while multiple gaping bumper portals replace the single unit on other Corvettes.
Versus the single-bumper opening on lesser Corvettes (even the Z06), the ZR1 gets three massive openings plus what appears to be a fourth one tucked above the road-hugging splitter. GM says the new ZR1 has four new radiators and 13 heat exchangers in total.
The carbon-fiber hood has a raised center with openings to clear enough room for the engine. The standard rear wing generates a purported 70 percent more downforce than the Z06's standard aerodynamics package; equipped as such, the ZR1 can exceed 210 mph, GM says. That exceeds the prior-gen ZR1 by at least 5 mph.
Nineteen-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels wear P285/30ZR19 front and P335/25ZR20 rear tires, with Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber. Track enthusiasts will want the ZR1's optional ZTK Performance Package, which has a higher, adjustable wing that trades some top speed for about 950 pounds of downforce — some 60 percent more than the Z06's Z07 Performance Package, GM says. The package also gets a unique front splitter, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 high-performance summer tires, and specific chassis and suspension tuning.
The ZR1's leather seats have available microfiber inserts. Other options include heated and ventilated Nappa leather, carbon-fiber portions of the steering-wheel rim, high-performance seats, Bose premium audio and GM's Performance Data Recorder.
Under the Hood
The ZR1 ushered supercharging into the Corvette's wheelhouse nearly a decade ago, and this C7 ZR1 assures it's alive and well. Although its V-8 displaces the same 6.2 liters as the Z06's also-supercharged LT4 V-8, the ZR1's supercharger has 52 percent more displacement (that is, volume) than the Z06 'charger.
In a first for GM, the engine also gets direct and port fuel injection, as opposed to the Z06's direct injection only. The resulting outputs — 755 hp at 6,300 rpm and 715 pounds-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm — are the most in the Corvette's production history, GM says.
That power gets to the rear wheels through a seven-speed manual transmission or, in another ZR1 first, an eight-speed automatic. It's the first time the ZR1 has offered two-pedal driving, but don't groan just yet: GM claims the 650-hp Z06 hits 60 mph and runs the quarter-mile in 2.95 and 10.95 seconds, respectively, with the automatic. The manual is a few ticks slower.
The automaker didn't reveal performance numbers for the ZR1, but it has 16 percent more horsepower and 10 percent more torque versus its supercharged sibling on a car that tips the scales at 3,560 pounds — 36 pounds more than the Z06. Speculate away.
Two-piece carbon-ceramic brake discs measure a massive 15.5 inches up front and 15.3 inches in back. The front calipers employ six pistons; the rears employ four.
Editor's note: This story was updated Nov. 13, 2017, to correct the curb weight of the ZR1.
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