The Corvette ZR1 is back. Affectionately known by GM as ‘King of the Hill’, this range-topping ‘Vette will be powered by a supercharged 6.2-litre V8. And before you complain about the lack of the 7.0-litre V8 from the Z06, you should know that the ZR1’s forced-induction lump will kick out 620bhp and 607lb ft. That’s 108bhp and 137lb ft more than the Z06 and, at 1519kg, it's only 98kg heavier than its 7.0-litre brethren.
The 620bhp comes courtesy of a Roots-type supercharger developed by Eaton. The engine, designated LS9, is hand-built at GM’s Performance Build Centre, while drive is through a six-speed manual. The ZR1 should be the first production Corvette to officially top 200mph.
What else is new on the ZR1?
Twenty-spoke 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels, carbon-ceramic brakes measuring 394mm up front and 380mm rear, and magnetic dampers. There's carbonfibre everywhere: the front spoiler, bonnet and removable roof panel are all made of the black stuff, and there’s a polycarbonate window in the bonnet through which to view the intercooler.
So there’s more power and torque, but is the interior finally up to scratch?
Not by European standards. The changes inside the ZR1 are fairly limited, with ZR1 embossed sills and stitched headrests, and new dials including a boost gauge.
There are only two options: chrome wheels and a luxury pack. The latter ditches the lightweight seats to replace them with electric leather items, and also adds sat-nav.
And how much?
There’s no word yet on price, especially not on this side of the Pond. However, Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager, said: ‘The new ZR1 upends the notion of what an American supercar can deliver, with performance that trumps exotics that cost two, three or four times as much’. So with Chevrolet claiming the ZR1 betters the power-to weight ratios of cars like the Ferrari 599, expect a price of £100,000 should the super ‘Vette ever reach the UK.
The ZR1 will be unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show later this January, before going on sale Stateside in summer 2008.