Code Breaker

Also from Issue 61

  • The 1964 coupe
  • Best Corvette Buys for $8K
  • GM’s Performance Build Center
  • 1968 Big-block Coupe
  • 1966 Coupe
  • American Le Mans Series Report
  • How-To: Tie-rod Ends
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However, be forewarned that the black paint on the CFZ pieces scratches easily when cleaned without a loving touch. Also, the front splitter is below and forward of the front fascia, so it will be the point of first contact with parking-lot curbs, steeply pitched driveway aprons, road kill, NYC manhole covers and other similarly situated heartbreakers. Unlike the Corvette’s flexible rubber front spoiler lip that often scrapes on things without doing any real damage, the crunch you hear when a Z07/ZR1 front splitter kisses the enemy will ruin your day.

Aside from the Z07 and CFZ packages, there is not much that’s different for the 2011 Z06. Engine output from the free-revving 7.0-liter LS7 V8 remains a stout 505 horsepower, and the 6-speed manual transmission—Chevy doesn’t offer an automatic Z06—keeps its aggressive gearing, with first through third ratios of 2.66, 1.78 and 1.30. This translates into a 0-60-mph sprint of just 3.7 seconds, a quarter-mile pass in 11.7 seconds at 125 mph and a top speed of 198 mph.

The raw stats may speak for themselves, but they don’t tell the entire story. Every time I get into a Z06, it feels as though I’m strapping on a lethal weapon. This Corvette is truly exhilarating. Its prodigious power and relatively light weight (3,175 pounds with or without the Z07 package—the Z07’s heavier wheels, tires and shocks are offset by its lighter carbon-ceramic brakes) make standing starts and freeway merges sweet indeed. The Z06 is breathtakingly fast.

The quality and comfort of the Corvette’s interior have been widely criticized over the years, and more than a few pundits still consider it the car’s weakest link. I have no complaints about the materials used or the quality of its fit and finish, and with one exception find it very comfortable. That one exception is the configuration of the left armrest; my elbow rests right on the junction where the padding meets the door pull, which becomes annoying during long drives. (Not sure how I’d remedy this if I owned the car, but I’d definitely have to do something.) My only other complaint concerns the less-than-intuitive functionality of the outdated satellite navigation system.

It will be interesting to see how the Z07 and CFZ option packages perform in the marketplace. Combined, they add $13,490 to a 2011 Z06’s $74,305 MSRP, bringing the total with the inevitable $950 destination charge to $88,745. That is real dough for an average bloke, but at the same time it’s more than $22,000 shy of the ZR1’s price tag. In terms of raw acceleration and top speed, the ZR1’s extra 133 horsepower more than make up for its extra girth, but the Z07-equipped Z06’s lighter weight should give it an edge in handling and braking, and Chevy engineers admit that it is the most track-worthy Corvette on offer. Factor in the $22,000 in savings, and a Z07/CFZ-optioned Z06 makes a mighty strong argument for itself. These alphanumeric codes deserve a place in Corvette history.