Introducing the Corvette Stingray Z06

The latest rendition of the Corvette, called the C7 by Vette Enthusiasts for the seventh generation, has been a roaring success both on the sales front and from the auto critics. Unlike some earlier editions, the C7 is wrapped in a distinctively different body and a much-improved interior.

The exterior still says Corvette, but with the abandonment of the circular taillights and the additions of lots of innovative twists and tweaks elsewhere.

Not left alone were the powerplant and transmission departments. With the standard 455 horsepower from a 6.2-liter V-8 engine performance was not forgotten. Upgraded were both transmissions with added gears placed in the stick and automatic. With the standard transmission, seven speeds are now offered. For those who prefer shiftless driving, an eight-speed automatic is available that can be manually controlled with paddles.

For many, it was about time that Chevy ungraded the interior, and fortunately that criticism was answered. Instead of a rather dark and bland look, the new Stingray has leather with obvious stitching on the comfortable and high bolstered seats. Further, the dash received lots of attention and now has two big (as in 8-inch) video screens. In the center of the dash is a screen that can be hidden on command and shows the typical stereo choices and other features.

Instead of gauges, the second screen in the dash pod has video renditions of a tach, speedometer and other instruments. Another clever addition is a heads-up screen shown in the windshield indicating speed and other data. But the ultimate add-on is a gauge that denotes the legal speed limit on the road you are driving on!

The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 with the available Z07 package

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The old days of either a rough ride for handling or an absorbing suspension for everyday driving is no longer the tough pick that has to be made. The Stingray has a dial that lets the driver choose between five ride/handling settings… everything from touring to track and in between.

Both hardtop (with a removal top) and convertible body styles are available. With the hardtop, a rear hatch can be opened for some real storage room.

The ride in the standard Corvette at the touring setting is surprisingly comfortable without any significant jarring on rough surfaces. Handling is clearly sports car no matter what the suspension setting.

As is Corvette tradition, the Z06 model is now being introduced. Think of this version as the racecar rendition of the Stingray. As expected with the addition of a supercharged and multiple engine modifications, the V-8 jumps to 625 horsepower and for the first time the Z06 can be ordered with the automatic transmission.

Even the exterior on the Z06 receives substantial changes … all in the name of greater performance. The fenders are flared more to handle the larger and wider wheels and tires. The front and side air ducts are enlarged all around for greater cooling and more down force.

And much like the base model, there is a launch control system to provide maximum acceleration. And speed there is, with a 0-60 time of 3.4 seconds and top speed of 205 miles per hour.

Now with its new styling and the addition of the super performance Z06, the already successful Stingray should even hit higher notes. Added to the equation is reasonable pricing compared to the other super-performance sports cars.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

POWERTRAIN: 6.2-LITER SUPERCHARGED V-8 WITH 625 HORSEPOWER, 7-SPEED MANUAL OR 8-SPEED AUTOMATIC

PERFORMANCE: 0-60 TIME: 3.4 SECONDS, TOP SPEED 205 MPH

SUSPENSION AND WHEELS: MAGNETIC SELECTIVE RIDE CONTROL WITH 19-INCH FRONT WHEELS AND 20-INCH REAR WHEELS

SOUND SYSTEM: 10-SPEAKER BOSE CENTERPOINT SURROUND SOUND

PRICE: $80,000

Photos courtesy © GM MOTORS