Going Topless

One surefire way to start a fight: tell a gearhead that the newest generation of Chevrolet Corvette might challenge the sports car supremacy of the Porsche. It’s the type of argument that will probably end with a tire iron to the head. It’s also true. The new generation of Chevrolet Corvettes have ushered in a whole new approach to building the American sports car.
The best time of the year to experience the new Corvette is the summer, when you can drop the top and feel the wind at an eyelid-peeling 150-plus mph. Corvette offers three topless options: The Coupe with removable roof panels, the one-touch Convertible, and the king of the Corvette convertibles—the new Z06.

The Corvette has always been about speed, and the new Z06 edition includes a 7.0-liter, 505-horsepower engine that goes from 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds on the way up to a top speed of 190 mph. The engine comes mated with a revamped six-speed manual transmission or an automatic trans with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for electronic shifting.

To handle all that speed, the Z06 body is five inches shorter than the previous edition. Designers shed the front and rear overhangs and used superstrong, lightweight carbon fiber fenders. Those design elements, coupled with enormous engine power and impressive body stiffness, lets the Z06 hug turns at high speeds.
Pounds aren’t the only the thing the new Vette lost. Designers also dropped the Corvette’s signature hideaway headlights. The Z06 is the first Corvette with fixed headlamps since 1962. It’s far more attractive, lightens the load, and makes way for the brighter HID Xenon system with low-beam projector-beam lens and a tungsten-halogen high-beam projector lens.

The longstanding complaint that the Corvette interior was just warmed-over plastic is also a thing of the past. Thanks to an innovative design that sets the cockpit deep into the chassis, the Z06 has a much cooler low-slung profile, and a blend of metal-type and carbon fiber finishes on the trim gives the Corvette cockpit a cool flair as you hit hyperspeed.

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