The 2014 North American International Auto Show is well underway, and one of the most talked about stories is the 7th generation version of Chevrolet’s Z06 Corvette. This car is faster than the previous generation, and potentially a better all-around car than it ever has been. In order for the Corvette to be taken as a global sports car (or a supercar), it needed to make some changes. The newest, fastest ‘Vette makes some positive changes towards that goal.
Ferrari has long been the target for the Corvette racing team. Talk to anyone on the team, and they will boast about how the took the sports car fight to the Italians and defeated them at their own game. All of this is true, and helped the Corvette be recognized as a global sports car brand. However, the actual vehicle in execution was still lacking.
The C7 Corvette changed a lot of that. While some people still view the looks as controversial, the car has arrived with worldwide acclaim. Loyalists be damned, Chevrolet wants to sell more Corvettes. The C7 is in Porsche 911 land now, but with Porsche there are tiers of the 911. There is a basic Carrera, there is a track-focused GT3, and there’s the bullet train Turbo.
When buyers look at Porsche, they can purchase their vehicles with a variety of comfort and convenience features. The track-focused Z06 Corvette is now catching up with many of those features. For the first time ever, the Z06 will have a removable roof panel. The vehicle will also be available with a 8-speed automatic transmission. Chevrolet claim, but we will have to see, that the automatic in the Z06 will shift 8-hundredths of a second faster than Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch transmission. Unlike in the 911 GT3, a driver of a Z06 can still opt for a manual-transmission.
The Z06 will be available with Chevrolet’s award winning Performance Data Recorder. Co-developed with Cosworth and the Corvette racing team, this system allows for a driver to record all aspects of his or her lap, and share that data if they choose.
Also available is the latest version of MyLink with OnStar, 4G LTE connectivity, and AppShop access. Porsche does not skimp on infotainment, and neither will Chevrolet with the Z06.
Carbon ceramic brakes, a larger dry sump lubrication system, and better tires complete the performance enhancements on the Z06. For purists, these extra luxury items take away from what the Z06 is about. That maybe true. But personally, what is wrong with building a super car that could sell well globally for General Motors? The more money the General makes on the Corvette will equal more money spent on Corvette. Like the new Mustang, the Corvette needs to adapt to the changing tastes and desires of a global car market. For me, it’s one thing to know the Corvette is better than what the Germans and Italians make, but it’s an entirely different victory to convince them to seriously consider a Corvette as their next car. That’s why I believe this Corvette will ultimately be a big win for the company, even if they do lose some loyal fans along the way.