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PERFORMANCE | 10 out of 10
The 2009 Corvette ZR1 is the best car ever made
Base models are available with GM's Magnetic Selective Ride Control
Exotic-car performance for real-world money
For 2009, the Chevrolet Corvette enters the rarefied world of hyperexotic automobiles thanks to the debut of the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. Even without this homegrown supercar, the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette is quite possibly one of the most engaging and exciting cars on the road.
Throughout the lineup, the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette has very high power ratings for the price. Edmunds reviewers say that even the base Chevrolet Corvette coupe and convertible "feature a 6.2-liter V8 that makes an impressive 430 hp and 424 lb-ft of torque," while "the optional dual-mode exhaust adds another 6 hp and 4 lb-ft." Moving up to the even more potent Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Cars.com reports that an "LS7 V8 engine that generates 505 hp at 6,300 rpm and 470 pounds-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm" rests under the hood. New for this model year is the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, which boasts "an otherworldly 638 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque" courtesy of its 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine, states Edmunds. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that all the available engines are incredibly potent, and ConsumerGuide rates even the base Chevrolet Corvette a 10 out of 10 for acceleration. ConsumerGuide proclaims that those "base Corvettes are plenty quick by any measure, with strong power from a stop and during highway passing and merging." Kelley Blue Book observes that the base "6.2-liter V8 delivers abundant power throughout its speed range," and impressions of the Z06 and 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1's engines are even better. Edmunds contends that while the "base coupe [goes] from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds," a Chevrolet Corvette "Z06 will knock that down to 3.9 seconds." ConsumerGuide reviewers are stunned to find that the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 "will do 0-60 in a scorching 3.4 seconds," which ranks it among the quickest cars in the world. Not only is the big supercharged engine powerful, but it's quite refined as well. Jalopnik attests that "it feels like something that belongs in a big German luxury car," since "it makes driving effortless."
The 2009 Chevrolet Corvette lineup features two transmissions to harness the power of the V-8s that sit up front. Edmunds reviewers report that "all 2009 Chevrolet Corvettes have a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while a six-speed paddle-shifted automatic is a no-cost option for the base coupe and convertible." Reviews of the manual transmission are glowing, with Jalopnik claiming that "a twin-disc clutch leads to easy pedal throw" on manual-transmission versions, "while a precise gate makes finding gears simple." Comments regarding the automatic transmission aren’t quite as positive. ConsumerGuide says it "shifts smoothly, but downshifts often require a deep stab of the throttle"; however, "manual shifting via the steering-wheel paddles helps."
Despite the abundant power that the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette delivers, fuel economy is surprisingly high. The EPA estimates that base Chevrolet Corvettes will get 15 mpg city and 25 mpg highway with the automatic transmission, while the manual bumps each of those numbers up by 1 mpg. The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 also gets 15 mpg city and 24 mpg on the highway, while the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 boasts 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. ConsumerGuide finds that "these figures are impressive given Corvette's power."
Chevrolet Corvettes have always been able to go fast in a straight line, but the latest generation also boasts very capable handlers. Motor Trend states that "three suspension choices allow drivers to choose the setup that best suits their driving style," while "the optional Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension features magnetic dampers able to detect road surfaces and adjust the damping rates to those surfaces almost instantly for optimal ride control." The result, says Edmunds, is that "on a deserted twisty road, the driver will likely run out of talent before the Corvette runs out of capability." When reporting on the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, Jalopnik claims that "despite all the headline numbers, this car isn't about power, it's about handling." The ride is also commendable for such a capable vehicle, with ConsumerGuide finding that "base models with the standard suspension ride surprisingly well" and "convertibles have impressively little structural shake and body quiver." If you put the suspension "in the touring mode [Corvette] soaks up road harshness like a large luxury sedan," according to Kelley Blue Book. All the power available in the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette can get drivers into trouble in a hurry if there's no easy way to harness it, though fortunately, Edmunds reviewers claim "the brakes are strong and fade-free and there's massive grip from the tires."
No other sportscar on the planet offers the daily drivability and sheer performance potential of the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette.