After its debut last year, Chevrolet has tweaked the Corvette and improved on it, all while adding a monster at the very top of the lineup. The Corvette Z06 is available for 2015, with a supercharged version of the already very potent 6.2L V8 found in the more pedestrian Stingray. New refinements across the lineup for 2015 include an 8-speed automatic transmission, built in Wi-Fi hotspot technology, an available performance data logger and a couple of new design packages.
Now in its seventh generation, the rear-wheel-drive 2015 Chevrolet Corvette continues to push the envelope for what is possible from an affordable, efficient, made-in-America sports car.
Styling is excellent and sharp, purposeful lines give the car a slippery .29 drag coefficient. Body materials include a carbon fiber hood and roof panel, while the doors, fenders, quarter panels, and rear hatch all benefit from lighter density sheet molding over the previous car. On convertibles, the power convertible top is operable at speeds up to 30 mph. The Corvette features an aluminum space frame that is 99 pounds lighter than its predecessor yet 57% stiffer, while a carbon nano-composite floor pan replaces the heavier balsa sandwich construction of the previous generation.
Inside, the Corvette boasts a cockpit that puts it on par with some of Europe's best. The driving position is near-perfect, and the seats are vastly improved over previous generations, with increased comfort and better support for hard driving. An 8-inch touchscreen dominates the center console, while soft-touch materials are abundant. Finally, the car offers 15 cubic-feet of cargo room under the rear hatch -- enough to hold luggage, golf clubs, or the bag full of money you saved by not buying a Porsche 911.
The heart of the Corvette, of course, is its powerplant. The 6.2L delivers 455 horsepower and 460 foot-pounds of torque. It is coupled to a standard 7-speed manual transmission that features Active Rev Matching, which blips the throttle during up- and down-shifts, eliminating the need for heel-and-toeing by the driver during braking. The combination is good enough to propel the Corvette from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.0 seconds, while also returning 17 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. An 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters is optional, as is a performance exhaust, which increases output to 460 horses.
Coupes and convertibles both come in standard models and high-performance Z51 guise, which allows for a 0?60 mph time of 3.8 seconds. The Z51 Performance Package adds larger wheels (19-inch front, 20-inch rear vs. 18/19- inch) with Michelin Pilot Super Sport ZP summer-only tires, a dry sump oil system, electronic limited slip differential, larger front brakes (13.6-inch vs. 12.6-inch) with slotted rotors, performance gear ratios, special suspension components, differential and transmission cooling and an aerodynamic package to reduce lift and improve high-speed stability. Chevy's trick Magnetic Selective Ride Control is optional on the Z51.
The 1LT, or base, trim offers a 9-speaker Bose audio system, rear vision camera, keyless access with push-button start, power tilt/telescopic steering column, 8-way power leather seats, two 8-inch HD color displays, and a Driver Mode Selector, which allows drivers to customize the driving experience by selecting one of five distinct modes -- Weather, Eco, Tour, Sport and Track. Each mode adjusts steering, throttle, traction and more.
2LT-specced Corvettes get heated and ventilated seats with Corvette emblems, an upgraded Bose sound system, auto-dimming mirrors, Chevy's color Head-Up Display and SiriusXM satellite radio with a one-year subscription. Finally, 3LT cars offer all of the above plus a custom leather-wrapped interior with Napa leather seating, navigation and color-matched instrumentation to the interior.
New for 2015 is the Z06 package. Like the standard car, the Z06 has a 6.2L V8. But in the Z06, this engine is fitted with a supercharger, resulting 640 horsepower and 650 foot-pounds of torque. Chevrolet claims that 0-60 runs are achievable in less than 3 seconds in the Z06. Available as either a coupe or a convertible and with either an automatic or a manual transmission, the Z06 has the necessary performance to rival just about any vehicle on the road.
Standard safety features in all Corvette Stingrays include stability and traction controls, a rearview camera, driver and passenger front and side airbags and a 6-month subscription to OnStar.