2001 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 new car reviews

Every time we got into the Corvette Z06, it was hard not to say "I'm Batman" as we peered over the gargantuan, bulging hood line. From behind the steering wheel, the 2001 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 exudes power and not a little bit of style. Unfortunately, there's almost too much style and too much power for everyday use.

Think of the Z06 as the "ACR" version of the Corvette. Chevrolet engineers started with the lightweight hardtop body, and added another 30 horsepower to the already stout 350-cubic-inch, LS1-spec powerplant. With 380 horsepower and 385 lb.-ft. of torque to carry around only 3115 pounds, the Z06 rips off consistent low-four-second 0-60 times, about half a second quicker than the garden-variety Corvette coupe.

Additionally, its shorter drive ratios help the Z06 squirt out of corners like a spider monkey on crack. When you add more power to a vehicle that is already one of the fastest production cars on the planet, you'd better make sure that the handling is up to snuff. The engineers at Bowling Green, Ky., did just that, with a new alphabet-soup suspension code, FE4, indicating stiffer anti-roll bars, stiffer springs and even stouter shock damping. Coupled with one-inch-wider wheels (17x9.5-inch front, 18x10.5-inch rears) that are wrapped with Goodyear F1 SC tires, the Z06 has handling limits that are almost impossible to reach while traveling under the posted speed limit.

With proper R-compound tires, the Z06 has finally put the long-time Solo II Super Stock champ, the third-generation Mazda RX-7, in its place, posting impressive wins this year at National Tours and ProSolo competitions. The track or autocross course is one of the few places you can enjoy the limits of this car on dry pavement. Even on a rainy day, with traction control turned on, it would take a major bonehead maneuver to unsettle this beast.

Priced at $48,946, the Corvette Z06 is about $6000 more than the base-model coupe. This is not unreasonable for the amount of performance that is gained, but it is disappointing considering that the base hardtop (now discontinued) was a value leader when it was priced under the Coupe. Now if only Chevrolet would stop fitting the Corvette with dash and stereo controls that are more at home in a Cavalier.

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