Where else on Earth where you can walk into a dealership, plunk down $72,125, and drive away in a car capable of 12-second quarter-miles and mid-24+ mpg on the highway when you pedal softly?
Nowhere, that's where. Is this is a great country or what?
It's no secret that I like Corvettes and am amazed by what an effective, affordable (relatively), and easy-to-use tool they are. (I wrote as much in the review you'll find here
.) Driving the new 2008 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 only affirms everything I feel about Chevy's plastic wonder.
While my mileage estimate was unscientific (observing the average mpg function on the trip computer), it was clear that in the flatlands of southeast Michigan, with the speedometer under 70 mph, the loafing seven-liter LS7 V-8 consumes little fuel relative to its size. On the way to Milan Dragway, an hour west of Detroit, my highway economy was better than 25 mpg.
Of course, once at the drag strip, mileage dropped to near single digits, but the Corvette was consuming quarter-mile chunks of pavement in bursts of 505 horsepower. The car was impressively consistent, with nearly a dozen runs scattered within a few hundredths of 12.1 seconds at 122 mph.
The runs weren't perfectly smooth, however, as my Z06 coupe didn't take kindly to powershifting. While I banged out quick 1-2 shifts, there was always some wheel hop from the passenger side. More disturbing was the reticence of this car to approve of 2-3 powershifts. Discretion being the better part of avoiding flatbed trailers, I made the 2-3 shift with a distinct throttle lift. (Saving your equipment to ensure you have a ride home is worth giving up a couple tenths if you're not racing for fame and fortune.)
Chevrolet PR puts the Z06's quarter-mile times at 11.7 seconds with a terminal velocity of 125 mph. I consider this completely reasonable from an example with a few more miles (mine had only 1,200) and less recalcitrant gearbox linkage.
The performance of 2008 Z06 Corvette at Milan Dragway further proves that this 'Vette is an impressive piece of performance hardware that provides a rare combination of explosive performance with fuel economy a nonmillionaire can live with.--Rex Roy