Sep 22

Driven: Corvette Z06

The Z06 Vette is kind of a big deal. When it launched in 2005 it was a world beater. It was impossible to find anything short of half million dollar super cars that could perform like it. At that time the Z06 would run you around $62,000 which is an absolute steal for this much performance. Even today some seven years later the Z06’s performance can only be matched a handful of cars and only one under $100,000. So what’s it like to drive?

I’m no strangers to Corvettes and I think the 6th generation is the best one to date. Even the base model is quick as hell and great performance bang for the buck. Then of course there is the top of the range ZR1 which is like a normal Vette with added insanity. Despite it’s healthy dose of horsepower if you are heading to the track, auto x, or just want to carve corners the Z06 is the one you want. Coming in at a dry weight of just 3,064lbs and making 505hp from it’s naturally aspirated 7L V8 it’s a monster.

The Z06 also gives you the ultimate driving experience with a 6 speed manual only, which serves to keep yuppies, wanna bees, and house wives away. Not to mention it’s suspension is set up very stiff for corner carving to further drive those who aren’t fully committed from ordering one. Featuring giant brakes, calipers, and huge meat around those rims the Z06 will absolutely rip your face off under hard breaking. It literally hurts when you have to use full pedal because you come to a stop so quick. Braking like this is hard to find.

The biggest complaint of any Corvette is the interior, you will get the usual GM plastic with a smattering of leather here and there. Honestly who gives a rats ass about any of that? Sure you could get nicer interiors for the same price, and if you opt for the GT-R vs the Z06 you can get similar performance too but you will not get the driving experience.

The driving experience is what a Z06 is all about. There is something industrial and visceral about it. It doesn’t have the high tech gadgets like 15 different ride settings, dual clutch gear boxes, and fake piped in exhaust noise. The exhaust has two settings, normal and awesome which is controlled with the throttle. The throttle also has two settings which are normal and space shuttle thruster. The Z06 is a rocket off the line and even at highway speeds a quick shift down a gear or two will easily blast you deep into triple digits.

The gearbox feels great with crisp clean easy shifts. The clutch in typical GM fashion is a bit heavy, but you want it to be because it provides excellent engagement point feel. Steering is precise and crisp not just in the corners but every where, which brings us to another great high note of the Z06 and that is you could drive it everyday. It’s very usable around town and even has a nice amount of cargo room under the hatch. If you care about fuel economy you’ll get around 28mpgs on the highway if you can keep your foot out of it. Good luck with that.

The best part of all of it is that the Z06 is unbelievably affordable. Sure in this day and age a new one will run you something like $80,000. The base price is $75,000 but let’s be honest that comes out to 80k+ after taxes, title, options, etc. That kind of sucks on it’s own, but when compared to other cars that can turn blistering lap times like that it’s actually quite cheap. Where the affordable part for us without trust funds and financial industry jobs comes in is in the used market. Decent mileage examples come in just around $35k. That is unbelievable value for the money and the best part is someone else ate all the depreciation and left you with one of the best performance cars of all time.

We have a saying around the IG offices when someone buys a “performance” car in that 30-50k price range and that is “you know you could have bought a Z06 right?” That sums this whole article up really. The Z06 is an incredible piece of machinery that with tighter fuel, emissions, and safety standards we may never see the likes of again so it’s nice to know that they are out there as the last great bastion of the purist driver who wants a simple car with a manual gear box that will blow your socks off. That is the corvette Z06.