The Corvette Z06 was developed alongside the Le Mans GT1 class-winning Corvette C6.R race car and benefits directly from an extensive transfer of motorsport technologies, engineering know-how, and advanced materials to deliver blistering performance.

Under the bonnet, the hand-built 512ps 7.0-liter V8 power plant features unique components fashioned from advanced lightweight titanium and a dry-sump lubrication system. The lightweight yet exceptionally strong aluminum backbone chassis provides outstanding rigidity, while carbon fiber body and floor panels keep weight to an absolute minimum. A dual-mode exhaust balances the needs of quietness and power, while large, powerful cross-drilled brakes provide immense stopping power.

The interior features a number of unique elements that accentuate this Corvette’s performance credentials, but also ensure a luxurious and comfortable driving experience. Drivers benefit from a head-up display and cruise control and both occupants can enjoy the premium Bose sound system and heated leather seats embroidered with the Z06 logo.

Astounding engine and transmission

With a maximum output of 512 ps at 6300 rpm (up from 505 ps in 2007) and maximum torque of 637 Nm at 4800 rpm (up from 635 Nm), the 7.0-liter LS7 V8 powering the 2008 Corvette Z06 is the most powerful passenger car engine available from GM in Europe. With that immense power available, the 1418 kg Z06 catapults from a standing start to 62 mph in just 3.9 seconds and to a top speed of 198 mph.

The LS7 engine is painstakingly assembled by hand at GM Powertrain’s Performance Build Centre in Wixom, Michigan, using manufacturing techniques associated with the building of racing engines.

Although sharing the same basic V8 architecture as the Corvette C6’s LS3 6.2-liter engine, the LS7 incorporates a number of unique components with race car origins. Bespoke cylinder block, exhaust manifold, and aluminum cylinder head designs and lightweight titanium connecting rods, intake valves, pushrods, and valve springs are each carefully engineered to reduce weight while increasing performance and durability.

A dry-sump system keeps the engine fully lubricated during the highest cornering loads. And the exhaust silencers each feature a vacuum-actuated outlet valve that controls exhaust noise during low load operations, but which opens for maximum power when required.

At the rear of the engine a single-mass flywheel and lightweight, high-capacity clutch transmits torque to the rear-mounted ‘transaxle’. The six-speed short-throw manual transmission is rear-mounted integrally with the limited-slip differential for optimum weight distribution and traction.

Fine-tuned suspension, wheels, tires and brakes

The Corvette Z06 builds on the traditional strengths of the overall Corvette design philosophy, with its low-weight, high-strength backbone structure, cored composite floors, enclosed center transmission tunnel, rear-mounted gearbox and differential, cast-aluminum short-long arm (double wishbone) suspension and transverse leaf spring design. These are combined with a unique rigid aluminum body structure, and exclusive wheels, tires, brakes, and rear anti-roll bar, to deliver race-bred handling.

The Z06 retains the 2686 mm wheelbase of other Corvette models but features a wider track – increased by 30 mm at the front and 38 mm at the rear – for even greater high-speed handling potential. Upgraded springs and optimized suspension and steering geometry, along with harder directional control arm bushings, increased castor angle, and an added rear roll stabilizer, result in a faster car that is also easier to drive, with more body control, better traction and more stability in corners.

The Z06 is fitted with 10-spoke cast-spun aluminum wheels, 18-inch at the front, and 19-inch at the rear. Wide tires (275/35 ZR18 front and 325/30 ZR19 rear) maximize the contact patch on the road for optimum grip and traction. The Goodyear Extended Mobility run-flat tires reduce the chance of a sudden ‘flat’ but still allow the vehicle to achieve lateral acceleration of more than 1 g.

Complementing the suspension system is an equally capable braking system with ventilated and cross-drilled discs at each corner. The 355 mm front discs have six-piston calipers that use six individual brake pads, while the 340 mm rear discs have four-piston calipers, also with four individual brake pads. These powerful brakes give exceptional stopping power. With intelligent cooling thanks to the Z06’s bespoke air ducting, they provide excellent fade resistance and pad life, even on the track.

Four-channel ABS anti-lock braking, along with traction control and Active Handling (ESP) operate together to provide a strong, but unobtrusive safety net during spirited driving.

The aggressive exterior expresses performance credentials

The exterior styling of the Corvette Z06 combines the unmistakably distinctive design cues of the modern Corvette with an aggressively poised stance and a sprinkling of practical, modern refinements. For example, the exposed front headlamps feature Xenon HID technology. And the clean, low-drag lines are helped by the exclusion of mechanical door handles in favor of keyless electronic access and the integration of the radio antenna into the windscreen glass.

The Z06’s sharply defined front wings and short front overhang contribute to a taut, purposeful front-end design. A wide front bumper, large grille opening, low-mounted splitter, and ‘Gurney flaps’ along the sides provide aerodynamic downforce.

Meanwhile, the trailing edge of the front wheel arches are contoured to reduce drag and large air extractor vents are located behind the wheels.

Bold, simple rear-end styling emphasizes the short rear overhang. The Z06 has a subtle elevated spoiler which still provides sufficient downforce to balance that generated by the front splitter without adversely increasing aerodynamic drag.

Wide rear wings with flared wheel arches encompass the massive rear tires. A brake cooling air scoop in front of the wheel arch visually balances the rear bumper outlet, while four round tail lamps and four large circular stainless-steel exhaust tips, integrated into the rear diffuser, neatly complete the circular theme.

Superior interior comfort for everyday driving

The Corvette hallmark dual-cockpit interior design features high-quality craftsmanship and functionality. Efficient packaging and a relatively long wheelbase (2686 mm) ensure generous interior space and class-leading luggage capacity (634 liters).

Race-inspired, the interior is designed to ensure the Z06 is still a car for every day driving. Its lightweight seats, shaped to firmly secure the driver and passenger when cornering, are leather-clad and heated. A customized full leather interior pack is optional (£2650). Dual-zone climate control, cruise control, and powered driver’s seat with preset memory are standard features.

Another advanced technology included as standard is the menu-selectable head-up display (HUD) – projected on to the windscreen – which enhances safety by allowing drivers to focus on the road while still monitoring vehicle speed and other critical information. The two settings, ‘Street’ and ‘Track’, are each pre-programmed to display information relevant for each respective situation.

The Z06 also boasts a Bose seven-speaker audio system with an in-dash six-CD changer and controls mounted on the power reach adjustable steering wheel. A GPS navigation system is available as an option (£1600).

Safety from advanced structures, materials, and electronic driving aids

The Z06 features a unique aluminum fixed-roof body structure combined with advanced lightweight materials for optimum stiffness and low weight.

Perimeter chassis rails are one-piece hydroformed members featuring cast suspension mounting points, while other structural components are produced with state-of-the-art casting and extrusion manufacturing technologies.

Advanced structural composites featuring carbon fiber are bonded to the aluminum structure. The wider front wheel arches and wings, for example, are carbon composites and the passenger compartment floors combine carbon-fiber skins with an ultra-lightweight balsa wood core.

A subframe in magnesium – lighter than aluminum yet incredibly strong – cradles the engine and serves as the mount for front suspension components.

In addition to exceptional structural security, occupants also benefit from a range of passive safety systems. A number of advanced but unobtrusive handling safety systems, including traction control, Active Handling (ESP), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Cornering Brake Control (CBC) contribute to maintaining sure-footedness on the road. Finally, ‘smart’ dual-stage front airbags and seat-mounted side curtain airbags are also standard.

Other routes to acquiring the Corvette dream

For Corvette enthusiasts looking for a less ‘hard-core’ driving experience, the sixth-generation model, the 2008 C6, offers customers a choice of coupe or convertible left-hand drive models. Both versions deliver legendary American supercar performance with great style and quality – plus even better value, with ‘more for less’ pricing starting at £45,995, a reduction of £1,600 from last year, despite the significant engine upgrade.

For 2008, a larger 6.2-liter V8 delivers 437 ps (up 9.2%) and 575 Nm peak torque for an incredible performance that is discreetly managed by advanced Active Handling (ESP) and Traction Control systems. Both the Coupe and Convertible models are capable of 186 mph and can accelerate to 62 mph in just 4.3 seconds with the manual and 4.4 seconds with the auto paddle-shift transmission. Two models are available from £45,995 to £55,495 (on-the-road).