Best Corvette— For Now

Automobile - - Contents - By Andy Pil­grim

How does Chevy’s lat­est big-power ZR1 stack up in the pan­theon of best Corvettes ever? We take to the track with what’s likely to be the last front-en­gine Corvette to prompt that ques­tion.

TTHE FIRST TIME Teddy Roo­sevelt’ s words ,“Speak softly and carry a big stick,” oc­curred to me as I re­viewed a car was while driv­ing a 2009 Chevro­let Corvette ZR1. Now, af­ter test­ing the new 2019 ZR1 on a cou­ple of race­tracks within the span of a few days, “Speak rudely and wield a re­ally fat club” might be more ap­pro­pri­ate.

Af­ter my first laps at the limit around Road At­lanta in the lat­est ZR1, the words of Gen­eral Motors ex­ec­u­tive VP of global prod­uct devel­op­ment Mark Reuss, who was on hand, rang true. “Things haven’t changed at GM as far as stretch­ing the tech­nol­ogy en­ve­lope,” he said. “ZR1 has to set the up­per lim­its of per­for­mance and be a tech­no­log­i­cal bea­con in chas­sis, de­sign, and ma­te­ri­als.”

Oh, and don’t for­get the en­gine. Corvette en­gi­neers were not con­tent with the kid­ney-flat­ten­ing su­per­charged LT4 V-8 that kicks out 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque in the Z06. The new ZR1 has a su­per­charged LT5 V-8 spit­ting 755 horse­power at 6,300 rpm and 715 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm. Cer­ti­fied top speed is 212.49 mph, which came from a two-way av­er­age (215 mph/210 mph). Chevy re­stricts the ZR1 to a top speed of 215 mph to be within tire-safety stan­dards. Base price for the coupe is $122,095 when you add the $2,100 gas guz­zler tax. The con­vert­ible starts at $126,095. Hey, you only need one kid­ney, any­way.

The ZR1 is a heav­ily track-fo­cused per­for­mance car, but I did drive it for sev­eral hours on the road. Corvette crit­ics will note noth­ing par­tic­u­larly dif­fer­ent about the ZR1’s in­te­rior or con­trols com­pared to other C7­gen­er­a­tion mod­els, which is no sur­prise be­cause this is the end of the plat­form’s life cy­cle. How­ever, changes to the sus­pen­sion and mag­netic-ride shocks are note­wor­thy; they pro­vide bet­ter ride qual­ity and com­pli­ance over road im­per­fec­tions, no­tice­able im­prove­ments com­pared to a Z06. That said, new C7 Z06s now re­ceive the same shock pro­gram­ming as the ZR1.

In to­day’s do­mes­tic au­tomaker land­scape, it would be rea­son­able to won­der if there was any push­back from within GM about the mer­its of build­ing a 755-hp street mis­sile. But ap­par­ently not on Reuss’ watch. “The Corvette

Red and yel­low cars with op­tional match­ing in­te­rior stitch­ing and the man­ual trans­mis­sion also get col­orsyn­chro­nized rev-match pad­dles.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.