With a redline north of 7,000 rpm, a six-speed manual transmission, three-inch diameter exhaust pipes, and a curb weight of 3,130 pounds, the 2006 Chevy Corvette Z06 is equipped with plenty of firepower to produce sprints to 60 mph in a blistering 3.7 seconds, making it directly competitive with not only the Dodge Viper SRT-10 Coupe but a variety of exotic machinery priced well into triple digits. Chevrolet predicts that 100 mph will arrive before the eight-second mark, and that the Z06 will cover the quarter-mile in little more than 11 seconds on the way to a top speed that exceeds 190 mph. A dry-sump oiling system ensures vital fluid flow even at cornering forces exceeding 1 g.
Chevrolet used a hydroformed, all-aluminum chassis combined with magnesium bits and carbon fiber pieces to keep the weight off. For example, the Z06's front fenders are carbon fiber, as are portions of the balsa wood sandwich floor panels. The new Z06 comes as a coupe only, with the standard removable roof panel permanently affixed for improved structural rigidity.
Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar run-flat tires are two inches wider in back at 325/30ZR19, tucked beneath quarter panels flared an extra 1.5 inches so that they'll fit. The Z06's butt is three inches wider than standard, an undesirable attribute on American bodies but a damn sexy feature on this American sports car. Helping the tires to keep the Z06's power from overwhelming its driver are Sachs monotube shock absorbers that replace the standard Corvette's available Magnetic Ride Control Suspension dampers, stiffer springs, and heavier duty struts. Red-painted, six-piston brake calipers clamp down on cross-drilled 14-inch front and 13.4-inch rear rotors to scrub speed.
Styling differences include a revised front fascia with a larger air inlet and a functional hood scoop, new side vents, a rear lip spoiler that increased downforce at speed, and unique wheels. Inside, the Z06 loses its power passenger's seat and the electric seat bolsters to save weight, but still comes standard with dual-zone air conditioning, two-tone leather upholstery, and a head-up display. Options that add price and poundage include a Bose stereo, side-impact airbags, a navigation system, and other goodies. Polished wheels are also available at extra cost.