Let’s make the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 better

Just 48 hours ago we named the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 the Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2024. The sports car has claimed top honors each time it qualified for the competition, winning Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2017 and Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2019. This time it won our team over with its exotic engine, intoxicating exhaust note, and world-beating driving dynamics. The vote from our editorial team was unanimous.

But the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 isn’t perfect. No vehicle is. It could be better. Here’s how.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Give it a manual transmission

The C8 Corvette’s notable lack of a manual transmission still stings. However, the 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is a gem that cracks off lightning-quick shifts. In a 0-60 mph sprint or on a track, it would absolutely smoke a version with a manual. But from a driver engagement standpoint, the option to #GiveAShift is still the wish of many. We bet the take rate would be pretty high, too. Imagine being able to run this flat-plane crank V-8 engine up to 8,600 rpm before grabbing the next gear. Porsche knows no third pedal option on its GT3 was a mistake. What do you say, Chevrolet?

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Does this look like a Corvette?

Years after the C8’s debut, Editorial Director Marty Padgett is still adamant that the C8 doesn’t look like a Corvette. The Z06 amplifies the C8’s exotic shape with bulked-up bodywork giving the car a wider body. It’s all in the name of function to feed more air into that wild engine. But the short hood and long rear end borne out of the mid-engine powertrain layout connote Ferrari more than Corvette. But it’s not as elegant as a Ferrari, with harsh lines that give it a dude-racer attitude. Some softer lines would help. 

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Upgrade the interior

The Z06 is a $100,000-plus supercar. The loaded test car we hauled around a track and back country roads cost $160,595, but it didn’t have an interior to match that price. It might sing like a Ferrari, but the interior clearly hails from GM. The materials are nice enough, but this isn’t top-shelf leather, the stalks and head-up display buttons might as well be out of any other Chevy, and the dozen-plus Chiclet-like buttons cascading down the center console wall for the climate control system are both hard plastic and set within a poor design. They’re also confusing and hard to use while driving. At least there are buttons and knobs for some key climate and infotainment controls.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Challenging for the New Balance crowd

Seems I’m getting old. The groans and creaks that came from me as I climbed in and out of the C8 Z06 would make my friends laugh. The struggle will be real for the New Balance and jean short crowd that is likely to buy the Z06. The C8 Corvette is hard to get in and out of with that raked A-pillar, low ride height, and mid-engine roofline, and that’s exacerbated by the Competition bucket seats our tester featured. The 911 is easier to get in and out of. 

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Improve the brake feel

Most of the editorial team liked the brakes on the Ford Mustang Dark Horse more than the carbon-ceramic brakes on the C8 Z06 during final Best Car To Buy 2024 testing. Senior editor Kirk Bell noted the Z06 brake pedal felt a bit wooden due to the brake-by-wire implementation. Everyone on the team noted the brake system required us to recalibrate where the initial bite came in. This caused Kirk to brake too late for the first turn during two different sessions. He got used to it after that, but nobody complains about the brake tuning of a Porsche. That isn’t to say these carbon ceramics aren’t strong. They are more than capable of hauling the Z06 down from triple-digit speeds in the blink of an eye; they simply lack the initial bite we desire.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

This much for a Chevy?

When a Corvette’s price of entry breaks $100,000 we raise our eyebrows. The Corvette is America’s perennial sports car, and it’s always stood for value. With a starting price of $113,190, it’s far more than the $106,395 it cost a year ago. But it’s a two-sided argument because even at that price, it can embarrass cars that cost twice that much on a racetrack. At an as-tested price of $160,595, the Z06 lacks the cachet that comes with the Lamborghini, Ferrari, or Porsche badges, but its performance per dollar simply can’t be argued here. 

The C8 Z06 will probably go down in history as one of the most special cars to ever wear the Corvette badge. Corvettes that come after this, including the twin-turbo C8 ZR1 and then the electrified version to be called the Zora, will be faster and more powerful but that might not make them more special. This is a benchmark in history for the Corvette and that makes a great Best Car To Buy winner, despite some minor flaws.

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