This is the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible. It’s the first drop-top Z06 variant since 1963, and to mark the occasion, GM has pulled out all the stops.
With 625bhp and 635lb ft of supercharged 6.2-litre V8 power on tap, this is the most powerful roofless Chevrolet ever offered for the public road.
Is the Corvette Z06 Convertible all about straight-line numbers – and posing?
Chevy is adamant the Z06 can compete with extreme drop-top supercars like the Ferrari 458 Spider and McLaren 650S Spider. Underpinning that confidence (and the car itself) is the C7-gen Corvette Convertible’s aluminium chassis, which is 20% stiffer than the old hard-top Corvette.
Chevrolet claims the structure, also designed to underpin the C7R endurance racer, is so strong that no stiffening measures have been required for this soft-top Z06. As such, weight increases over the hard-top’s (approximate) 1560kg mass are down to a minimum, says Chevy.
Okay, but for argument’s sake, what are the numbers?
Activate the Z06’s ‘Track Mode’ Launch control and you’ll rattle off 0-60mph in 3.5sec. The as-yet unquoted top-speed is thought to be close to 200mph, at which speed the Z06 generates true aerodynamic downforce, pushing those massive 19in front/20in rear aluminium wheels into the road.
Carbon-ceramic brakes and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres are available on the options list to make the most of that titanic performance. An electronically controlled limited-slip differential is standard fit, and varies the aggressiveness of its set-up depending on the driving mode selected. Insert your usual ‘weapon of mass (tyre) destruction’ gag here.
How about the posing aspect?
You’ve seen the bodykit before – the vents, splitter and spoiler are straight from the Z06 revealed at the 2014 Detroit motor show. The fabric roof, complete its glass rear window, retracts at speeds of up to 30mph; its automatic tonneau cover meant Chevy had to move cooling ducts for the car’s differential and gearbox to the car’s underbelly, so the styling’s actually less fussy.
For ultimate ease of cruising, you’ll want the optional eight-speed automatic gearbox, in place of the standard seven-speed manual. Chevrolet claims the transmission shifts just as fast as a dual-clutch gearbox, but is 4kg lighter and 5% more efficient than a six-speed automatic. Meanwhile, the stick-shift will rev-match its downshifts for you, so that’s pretty much foolproof too.
The drop-top Z06 goes on sale in the US in early 2015, for around $84,000.
>> Has the track-focused Z06 lost its way in offering a soft-top automatic version? Add your comments below