By KBB.com Editors
Since the 1997 C5 (fifth generation) models, most agree that Chevrolet's Corvette has evolved into the world's best sports car anywhere near its relatively affordable price. It got even better with the C6 generation and better still with substantial upgrades for 2008, and today's ultra-performance Z06 model is the fastest, most powerful and most technologically advanced production Corvette in the car's 55-year history. Measured in terms of performance value -- capability vs. price -- it is easily the best high-performance sports car value on the market.You'll Like This Car If...
Whether you're a long-time Corvette enthusiast or never considered one before, if a brutally fast yet civilized two-seater tops your want list, and this best-ever ultimate high-performance Corvette is within your reach, you can't go wrong with the 2008.You May Not Like This Car If...
If your needs include an occasional back seat and/or a prestige German brand name, you may be happier in a BMW M5, a Mercedes AMG or a Porsche 911 Carrera. Or you might prefer Dodge's more powerful but more expensive and less refined Viper, or the coming 620-horsepower 2009 Corvette ZR1.What's New for 2008
"Mid-cycle" upgrades and improvements for 2008 include a host of exterior and interior refinements that raise all Corvettes' levels of luxury and craftsmanship.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2008 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is a well-refined car of extraordinary capabilities that can be comfortably driven every day, but its stunning performance is best experienced on a track. It can rocket from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, in first gear -- which is certainly not recommended on public roads. With a professional driver it is capable of cornering at over 1.0-g lateral acceleration (or cornering force) and stopping from 60 mph in just slightly over 110 feet. Its top speed (on a speed-unlimited section of German Autobahn) has been measured at 198 mph. Its firm yet surprisingly supple suspension rolls on 275/35ZR18 front tires on 18 x 9.5-inch aluminum wheels and 325/30ZR19 rear tires on 19 x 12-inchers -- the largest wheel and tire combination ever on a Corvette. Its four-wheel disc brakes are huge 14-inch vented, cross-drilled rotors with red-painted six-piston calipers with six individual brake pads in front, and 13.4-inch vented, cross-drilled rotors with four-piston calipers with four individual pads in the rear. And both its steering and shifting feel and precision are much improved for 2008.Favorite Features
Carbon Fiber Fenders and Aluminum Structure
Lightness is critical for a sports car, and Chevy's Z06 benefits from numerous weight-reduction measures to enhance its performance. Two major technological features that contribute to this light weight are carbon-fiber fenders and one-piece hydroformed aluminum perimeter frame rails with cast aluminum suspension nodes, which replace welded steel components on other Corvettes.
7.0-liter LS7 V8
It cranks out a muscular yet civilized 505 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of tire-shredding torque. Its reciprocating components use racing-derived lightweight technology to boost both power and rpm capability, and its "dry-sump" oiling system keeps it fully lubricated during high cornering loads.
For all its racer-like performance, the Z06 is designed to serve as a comfortable daily driver. As in all 2008 Corvettes, there's a new wrapped console trim plate with bright surrounds for the shifter and cupholder. The instrument panel and doors are trimmed in faux padded leather, and high-quality materials, functionality and craftsmanship are apparent throughout. There's a Z06 logo on the 7000-rpm-redline tachometer and the oil pressure gauge reflects the dry-sump oiling system's higher pressures. The two-tone leather seats have contrasting stitching and embroidered Z06 logos.Exterior
The Z06's aerodynamic shape draws from Corvette racing experience, where high-speed stability and cornering are paramount. The low splitter under the wide-mouth grille provides stabilizing front downforce, while the elevated rear spoiler (like a racer's rear wing) holds the rear end tight to the pavement. Other exterior features that set the Z06 apart from standard Corvettes include a functional cool-air scoop ahead of the hood, large air extractors behind the front wheels, wide flared fenders over the huge 19-inch rear tires and rear brake cooling scoops.Notable Standard Equipment
All 2008 Chevrolet Corvette Z06s boast standard features that were previously optional, including high-intensity discharge headlamps, fog lamps, leather seating, dual-zone air conditioning with cabin air filtration and a head-up display (HUD) with track mode and g-meter. Also standard are oil, transmission and rear-axle coolers, power heated outside mirrors, a six-way power driver's seat, GM OnStar with available Turn-By-Turn Navigation, AM/FM audio with CD player and audio input jack, XM Satellite Radio and a new keyless access fob with integrated key. Standard safety features include four-channel ABS brakes, "active handling" stability control with a "competitive" driving mode and advanced front airbags.Notable Optional Equipment
Major options include Bose premium audio with in-dash six-CD changer, Z06-specific chrome or polished gray wheels, a power telescoping steering wheel, heated seats, side-impact airbags, GPS navigation and universal home remote. All 2008 Corvettes offer a new custom two-tone leather-wrapped interior package, a Preferred Equipment Group combines all of the above and Personal Audio Link is available as a dealer-installed option with navigation.
The Z06's 7.0-liter V-8 reintroduces 427 cubic-inches of displacement to the Corvette, but it's the latest high-performance iteration of Chevy's legendary "small block," not a much larger, heavier "big-block" as in early Corvettes. Race engine-like details include dry-sump lubrication, titanium connecting rods, forged steel crankshaft and main bearing caps, 11.0:1 compression ratio and CNC-ported aluminum cylinder heads with titanium intake and sodium-filled exhaust valves. A single-mass flywheel and a lightweight, high-capacity clutch send torque to the six-speed manual rear-mounted transaxle, which transmits it to the wheels through a limited-slip differential with enlarged ring-and-pinion gears.
505 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
470 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/24
The 2008 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 carries a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just over $72,000 . Its closest competitor is Dodge's Viper, which offers 95 more horsepower from its massive V10 engine but is 300 pounds heavier, delivers two mpg worse fuel economy and transacts nearly $15,000 higher. Porsche's base 911 Carrera retails for about the same as the Z06, weighs slightly less and gets two-to-three mpg better fuel economy, but, with 180 less horsepower from its horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine, it delivers nowhere near the Z06's stunning performance. Audi's new R8 brings 420 V8 horsepower and sensational mid-engine handling dynamics but sells for some $9,000 over its $115,600 MSRP. The Z06 should return an excellent residual value after five years, higher than the Carrera, Viper and R8. Be sure to check Fair Purchase Prices to see what people are actually paying in your area.