Born as a method to evade a ban on factory-sponsored racing, the Corvette Z06 emerged in the 1963 production year. Equipped with upgraded suspension, brakes, reinforced rollbars and enlarged gas tank, the first Z06 was the performance Corvette to have. When the 2001 Z06 rolled off the Bowling Green, Kentucky production line, the Z06 badge advertised Chevrolet’s high-performance reputation and the newly modified 385 hp LS6 V8.
As a result of its titanium exhaust, thinner window glass, reduced sound-proofing material and lightweight alloy wheels, the Z06 was 83 pounds lighter and significantly faster than the standard Corvette. In 2002, the Z06 further benefitted from a performance increase to 405 hp, allowing it to smash a 3.9 second 0-60 mph time and a top speed of 170 mph.
In 2005, the third generation of the Z06 made its way into production with the largest displacement small-block V8 produced by general motors, the 7.0 liter LS7 V8. Pumping out 505 hp naturally aspirated LS7, the Z06 shredded its 0-60 mph time to 3.6 seconds pushed to a new top speed of 198 mph. Visually separating itself from the standard Corvette, the 2005 Z06 convertible and coupe featured wider carbon fiber front and rear fenders, an air inlet in the front bumper for improved airflow to the brakes and side mounted Z06 badge. Interior options included premium sports seats and redesigned side-bolsters to keep passengers stationary in severe cornering conditions.
For the 2015 model year, the completely redesigned C7 Corvette became available with the lauded Z06 option. Having broken properly into supercar territory from the realm of the American muscle sports car, Corvette’s Z06 2015 featured a supercharged 6.2 liter LT4 V8 and a myriad of aerodynamic enhancements to improve downforce and reduce drag.
With an interior clad in premium luxury materials like Napa leather, carbon fiber and aluminum accents, the 2015 Z06 exhibits some of the best build quality ever seen in a Corvette. In comparison to the European sports cars it rivals, the Z06 stands on its own as a serious and high quality contender in the elitist area.
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