New Chevrolet Corvette Z06 gets naturally-aspirated 5.5-litre V8

For now, the Z06 will be the most powerful version of Chevrolet’s new mid-engined Corvette

The latest Chevrolet Corvette is the first to use a mid-engined layout, but there’s still plenty of crossover with older Corvette models for traditional fans to get excited about, such as a more performance focused Z06 variant. 

The Z06 name first appeared on the second-generation Corvette in 1963 as a performance package, returning on the fifth generation model and going on to become a popular trim level of Chevrolet’s sports car. The new Corvette Z06 will offer more power than ever before, with plenty of upgrades to the chassis to help it compete with the likes of the Porsche 911 GT3 and BMW M4 CSL. 

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The C8 Z06 adopts a new, more aggressive front bumper than the standard car which incorporates a pair of ‘fangs’ and three deep air vents into the bodywork. The headlights of the Z06 are unchanged and the wheel arches are wider to incorporate the increase in track width.

There’s also a new set of wheels – a staggered set up with 20-inch items on the front and 21-inch at the rear, all wrapped in Michelin Cup 2 tyres. Chevrolet offers carbon fibre wheels as an optional extra. The C8’s distinctive side vents which cool the mid-mounted V8 have grown. The extra airflow is necessary to feed the larger radiators for the all-new V8, which replaces the standard car’s 495bhp 6.2-litre unit.

The engine cover has also been revised for the track-ready Z06 model, with a new, deeply sculpted design that features additional heat ventilation. There’s also a larger rear spoiler that can sit in two different positions depending on how much downforce is needed. 

The engine itself is actually smaller than the standard car’s 6.2-litre V8. The Z06 uses a 5.5-litre V8 which pumps out 670bhp and 623Nm of torque, making it the most powerful naturally-aspirated V8 ever fitted to a production car. It’s essentially a development of the same flat-plane crank engine seen in the C8-R race car.

Power is sent through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission to the rear wheels and Chevrolet says the Z06’s 0-60mph is 2.6 seconds. While it’s more powerful than the regular car, it’s just 1mph faster at the top end due to the extra aerodynamic downforce, topping out at 195mph. 

The central exhaust system we can see in these images won’t make it over to Europe. Due to emissions regulations, it needs extra piping which wasn’t feasible with a central outlet so UK cars will get quad-exhaust corner exits instead.  

There’s no word if the most extreme version of the C8 Corvette is being developed for right-hand drive, but it will be available in Europe. Currently, there’s just one licensed Chevrolet dealership in the UK, which is located in Virginia Water, Surrey. 

Pricing for the new Z06 starts from $106,395 in the US, which is roughly £96,640 – although after import fees you can expect that figure to rise significantly higher.  

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