Chevrolet today unleashed a beast that Corvette mavens haven’t seen in more than 40 years: a Z06 Corvette convertible.
The first Z06 drop top available straight from the factory since 1963, its LT4 6.2-liter V8 puts out 625 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque with a zero to 60 time under 3.5 seconds. It is the most powerful convertible the Bow-Tie manufacturer has ever produced.
“The Z06 Convertible is a world-class supercar in every sense,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development. “Only a handful of convertibles in the world bring more than 600 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. Even fewer can match the advanced technologies, aerodynamic design, and visceral driving experience of the Z06 Convertible.”
The company hasn’t produced a Z06 convertible in so long – even in ’63 it only made one – because it couldn’t be done until recently.
“Until recently it was not possible to create a lightweight, open-roof structure strong enough to cope with the braking, cornering, and acceleration of Corvette’s top performance models,” said Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter.
“The frame for the Z06 convertible leverages advancements in computer-aided engineering, metallurgy, and manufacturing techniques – many of which were not available just five years ago.”
The aluminum structure is 20% stiffer than the previous, fixed-roof Z06. The company spent four years developing the new structure for this generation of the Corvette.
The stiffer frame means there are no structural reinforcements needed for the Z06 Convertible, and its curb weight is nearly the same as the Z06 Coupe, the company said.
They also share the same chassis tuning, powertrain output, driver technologies and equipment options – including the Z07 Performance Package, which adds Brembo carbon-ceramic matrix brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires and adjustable front- and rear-aerodynamic components.
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The new model comes standard with a seven-speed manual transmission, but an eight-speed paddle-shift automatic is available.
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The eight-speed automatic is tuned for world-class shift-response times. Smaller steps between gears keep the LT4 within the sweet spot of the rpm band, making the most of the output of the supercharged engine for exhilarating performance and greater efficiency.
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The new Z06 keeps the SLA-type front and rear suspension design of the Corvette Stingray but it is calibrated for higher performance. The third-generation Magnetic Selective Ride Control dampers, adjustable for touring comfort or maximum track performance via the standard Driver Mode Selector, are standard on Z06 tailors up to a dozen features of the Z06 to suit the driver’s environment, including:
- Launch control: Available in Track mode for manual and automatic transmissions, providing maximum off-the-line acceleration
- Traction control: Weather mode tailors traction control and engine torque for driving in inclement conditions
- Performance Traction Management: Available in Track mode and offers five settings of torque reduction and brake intervention for track driving
- Electronic Limited Slip Differential: Adjusts the rate at which the limited slip engages, balancing steering response and stability in different driving conditions with more aggressive performance in Sport and Track modes.
The smart electronic limited-slip differential, or eLSD, is standard. It features a hydraulically actuated clutch capable of infinitely varying clutch engagement.
Perhaps the most impressive is the top for the Z06 convertible, which can be lowered remotely using the car’s key fob. The top can also open or close at speeds of up to 30 mph (50 km/h). The thick fabric top is available in four colors.