There are those individuals out there in the car world that advocate that a true sports car must have a manually shifted gearbox and thereby, a foot-operated clutch, but that’s a lot of “Hooey”. Solid proof that the stick shift philosophy is indeed erroneous, is strongly evidenced by the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette ZO6. Adios ZR1.
Of course, you can get the ZO6 with a more traditional manual transmission (a 7-speed with active rev-matching by the way), but why would you want to, since the Ferrari fighter is also available with an electronically controlled 8-speed paddle shift automatic overdrive transmission with a torque converter clutch (not the dual variety), that’s unquestionably quicker than the manual gearbox. The ZO6 is without a doubt the most capable Corvette ever.
The transmission issue having been cleared up, the most impressive feature is of course the powertrain that is truly incredible. The ZO6’s energy comes from an LT4 6.2-liter OHV, 16-valve, supercharged V-8 that delivers an impressive 650 horses at 6,400 rpm, while developing a like amount of torque at 3,600 rpm with direct injection fuel delivery. Redline comes at 6,600 rpm. Motive force is directed from the longitudinally mounted front engine to the rear wheels as God intended. If you want to race, and the basic ZO6 doesn’t live up to your expectations, there’s an optional ZO7 Ultimate Performance Package available for roughly another $8,000 that includes vented and drilled carbon-ceramic brakes, a third stage aero package and stickier tires. Or, you could even go for the C7R road-racing version with a limited production of 500.
The Chevy Corvette ZO6 Convertible tips the scale at 3,582 pounds – 58 pounds more than the Coupe, and it rolls on Michelin Pilot Super Sport run-flats mounted on 19×10-inch wheels up front and 20×12-inch ZO6 5-“W”-spoke satin Black alloy wheels, sporting a Red outer stripe.
Suspension componentry consists of Short/Long Arm (SLA) double wishbone with cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, a transverse-mounted composite spring front and rear with adjustable monotube shock absorbers. There’s also Magnetic Selective Ride Control and Stabilitrak electronic stability control for active handling and traction control.
Visually, the exterior of the ZO6 projects a more sinister aura than your base ‘Vette Stingray. The aggressively wide and extremely low front splitter mandates paying strict attention to curbed parking spaces and even modestly sloped driveways. The rear image also projects a super wide stance, sporting 20×12-inch wide rubber. Up front are 19×10-inchers on special ZO6 multi-spoked Black painted alloy wheels. Out back, some die-hard traditionalists still “Pooh-Pooh” the switch from old school round taillights to the new, somewhat Camaro-like units. The raised decklid spoiler adds to the “take no prisoners” mission statement.
Inside, the attention to functionality and the enhanced comfort of the Sport seats are complemented by a more sophisticated and upscale treatment of the cockpit with a vast improvement in fit and finish and lustrous carbon fiber trim accents.
My test 2016 Chevrolet Corvette ZO6 Convertible came with the 8-speed paddle shift auto tranny and without the ZO7 Ultimate Performance Package. It wore a Torch Red exterior finish with Black finished spoilers front and rear, wheels, windshield surround, slotted hood vent, front and rear quarter vents and taillight surrounds. The top and interior were also done in Black. The base sticker was set at $ 83,400., with the final sticker rising to $110,850., after adding for the options, which included the Premium Equipment Group, Ceramic brake rotors, Black Suede Design Package, Carbon Fiber Package, the 8-speed auto transmission, gas guzzler tax and Destination Charge.
SUMMARY: Get in and settle into the supportive and comfortable seats and turn punch the ignition button – a few cranks when cold and then the mighty mill roars to life, making its presence known to all within earshot. Rap the accelerator and the engine literally barks, really opening up at around 3,500 rpm. Twist the console mounted Mode Select wheel to the desired level of operation, turn off the Traction Control with the centrally located button in the center of the Drive Mode Select wheel if you dare, release the electronic Park brake and you’re ready to rumble.
The Drive Mode Select offers five settings: Weather for slipperier Winter conditions; Eco for a more sedate operation; Touring for cruising, Sport for stepped up performance and a more rewarding exhaust note; and finally, Track for the optimum performance experience. I must confess, I never tried the first two settings, and seldom utilized the Touring mode. Sport and Track serve up the most driving fun.
Nail the throttle when underway in Track mode and be ready to react quickly as the ZO6 rips the rear tires, slipping sideways. Recovery is simple – just lift briefly and resume in the proper controlled direction. Pull is powerful through the range, with no lag, thanks to the supercharger
Bottom line, the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette ZO6 Convertible is capable of delivering a completely satisfying and heightened level of performance on par with that of a Ferrari at less than half the price. The Convertible is my pick of the litter over the Coupe, for its ability to provide open air, wind in your hair and face enjoyment of extra vitamin D at the touch of a switch, which is unfortunately hidden from the view of taller drivers behind the left side of the steering wheel. It’s clearly the most potent and best looking Corvette available off the showroom floor. Is it worth the price? Depends entirely upon your perspective and your bank account. If you can afford it, go for the gusto, otherwise, settling for a base Corvette Stingray convertible would certainly not be a disappointing option.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2016 Chevrolet Corvette ZO6 Convertible
|Price as Tested:||$110.850.|
|Engine Type and Size:||LT4 6.2-liter OHV, 16-valve, supercharged V-8|
|Horsepower (bhp):||650 @ 6,400 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||650 @ 3,600 rpm|
|Transmission:||Paddle-shift eight-speed, electronically controlled automatic overdrive with torque converter clutch.|
|Drive Train:||Longitudinally mounted front engine / Rear-wheel drive.|
Front – Short/Long arm double wishbone, cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite spring and monotube shock absorbers.
Rear – Short/Long arm double wishbone, cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite spring and monotube shock absorbers.
Magnetic Selective Ride Control, and Stabilitrak electronic stability control.
|Brakes:||Power-assisted front and rear discs with two-piece steel rotors, fixed six-piston aluminum front calipers and fixed four piston aluminum rear calipers (carbon ceramic matrix rotors with ZO7 package).|
|Tires:||Michelin Pilot Super Sport Run-flat P285/30 ZR19 front / P335/25 ZR20 rear mounted on ZO6 5-“W”-spoke satin Black alloy wheels.|
|Length Overall:||177.9 inches|
|Curb Weight:||3,582 lbs.|
|Fuel Capacity:||18.5 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||13-mpg city / 23-mpg highway|
|0 – 60 mph:||2.95 seconds / 11.4 second ¼ mile @ 127 mph|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.