Folks, it's finally here. After what seems like years of waiting, Chevrolet has introduced the mid-engine 2023 Corvette Z06 to the world. And judging by the specs, it's set to be the coolest car to come out of America in a long, long time.
The star of the show is, of course, the engine. Gone is the 6.2-liter pushrod LT2 V-8 found in the standard C8, replaced by an all new 5.5-liter dual-overhead cam unit dubbed the LT6. A version of the engine that's been powering the C8.R race car since 2019, it uses a flat-plane crankshaft and a comparatively short stroke, allowing it to rev all the way to an 8600-rpm redline. An aluminum block with forged aluminum pistons and forged titanium connecting rods is paired to heads with CNC-machined combustion chambers and intake ports, with dual-coil valve springs and sodium-filled exhaust valves made from titanium. There's also a new split intake manifold with twin 87-mm throttle bodies and a six-stage dry-sump oiling system with individual crank bay scavenging, ensuring you'll never oil-starve the engine during hard cornering. The result? An incredible 670 hp at 8400 rpm and 460 lb-ft of torque at 6300 rpm, all without forced induction. Pretty crazy once you consider the outgoing C7 Z06 needed a supercharger to make 20 fewer horses.
The LT6 will be hand-built alongside the rest of the Z06 at Chevy's Bowling Green assembly plant in Kentucky, featuring a plaque on the intake manifold displaying the signature of the technician who assembled the motor. Like on the normal Stingray, power gets to the rear wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch transaxle. A shorter 5.56 final drive ratio and the electronically limited-slip differential from the C8's Z51 package will come standard, allowing for infinite adjustment on corner entry and exit.
It's not just the engine that's received an overhaul from Chevy engineers. The whole car has been reworked for greater performance, starting with the exterior. The fenders have been widened by 1.18 inches up front and 1.57 inches in the rear to house forged aluminum wheels measuring 20 by 10 inches up front and 21 by 13 inches in the rear. Michelin Pilot Sport 4S ZP rubber will come standard, measuring 275/30ZR20 up front and 345/25ZR21 in the rear. They shroud larger brakes with Brembo rotors measuring 14.6 inches up front and 15 inches in the rear, with six-piston calipers up front and four-pots in the rear.
That wider stance means more venting, which means more air to cool the drivetrain and brakes. The new front fascia, inspired by the C8.R, is designed to funnel cool air into a central heat exchanger. The Z06 gets a new front splitter and a specific rear spoiler with a fixed wickerbill. Chevy claims 365 pounds of additional downforce over the normal C8 at 186 mph. There's also an optional carbon fiber aero package that includes a larger splitter, dive planes, a bigger wing, and underbody aero strakes for even more stability. Out back you'll find a new bumper with a center-mounted four-pipe exhaust exit.
The latest version of Magnetic Ride Control is paired to specific suspension tuning for the Z06, with Chevy's full suite of traction management software, including launch control.
Those who plan to visit the track with their Corvette Z06 often should consider optioning the Z07 package. A must-have for performance-obsessed enthusiasts, it comes included with the aforementioned carbon fiber aero pack along with specific suspension tuning and Michelin Sport Cub 2 R tires developed specifically for this platform. Z07-equipped Z06s also get Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes with larger, 15.7-inch front rotors and 15.4-inch rears. Buyers can additionally option a set of carbon fiber wheels developed by Carbon Revolution, cutting unsprung mass by 41 pounds versus the standard wheels.
The Z06's cabin uses the same basic layout as the standard C8, but higher-quality materials are used throughout to give buyers the impression they're driving something even more special. There are plenty of leather and suede touchpoints throughout, as well as a litany of carbon fiber trim options available. There are three choices of seat design, seven interior colors, and six seatbelt colors to choose from.
Chevrolet expects production of the 2023 Corvette Z06 to begin in the second quarter of 2022; pricing has not yet been released. Overseas buyers will be pleased to learn Chevy plans to sell the Z06 to global markets, with both left- and right-hand drive variants available with exhaust particulate filters as needed to pass local emissions regulations.
We can't wait to get behind the wheel of this thing.
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