2013 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 review notes: The ideal Corvette track star (2024)

2013 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 drive review gallery

2013 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 review notes: The ideal Corvette track star (1)

NEWS EDITOR GREG MIGLIORE: I normally would not select a bright yellow sports car as my commuter machine, but this 2013 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 sure came in handy on a foggy, murky morning broken up by random splashes of sunlight. The yellow hue actually felt like a safety feature, and the black wheels are really growing on me. I’m a big fan of sinister rollers, which when executed properly look even meaner than chrome, in my opinion.

The Z06 is a rocket on the expressway. Merging in third gear is a breeze, and the power and sound are exhilarating. The V8 rumbling at idle is magic enough, and that only intensifies during acceleration. This car is rock solid -- and the driver feels every bump and road bruise. That’s to be expected, but the ride is almost jarring at times, and there’s an occasional vibration communicated through the steering wheel.

I’m a fan of the looks. The Corvette has sharp lines, beautiful curves and sexy flared fenders that are attractive from the driver’s seat and when viewed from the road. The C6 has a pitch-perfect appearance to my eyes: It’s edgy, almost spaceship-like, but it still looks like a Corvette. I hope the C7 doesn’t get too rounded or softer in appearance. This is a menacing machine, and it exudes confidence.

The six-speed manual is tight and true, and the throws are short and satisfying. I like the feel of the weighed pedals, and the steering is generally heavy without being overdone. The cabin -- outfitted with yellow stitching and carbon-fiber trim -- actually looks pretty sweet. After panning the Vette’s interior for years, I really like this dressed-up version. The “trunk” area is accessible and works well for storing things, such as a blazer and overnight bag. Corvettes have plenty of practical elements, which is a bit underrated.

Overall, it’s a Z06. It’s a great car. There are some flaws, but it’s intense behind the wheel and attractive. I’d take one in black.

ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: I got up early this morning to get a few extra miles in on this Z06 -- and I’m extremely glad I did. My way home from work was predictably terrible, and I swear I’m never taking the main expressway again.

The Tour suspension mode does a good job soaking up the bumps and slows that rebound feel that really jars your back. I had no trouble getting comfortable in the seats, which are plenty sporty for this Corvette, a car that could be the deal of the century.

I said almost the same thing about our recent Nissan GT-R, but I still stand by it. If you want to spend $100,000 and get the purest sports car on the road, go with the Z06. If you need something with a little more tech but the same performance, go with the GT-R. I don’t think anyone would be disappointed.

The slick tires will break loose with every stab of the throttle, even through second and third gear. The bonus is the traction control lets the tires spin a bit but keeps you pointed straight. I know this has five settings for the safety feature, but I wish I’d had more time to play with each one.

It feels as fast as either the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 or Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. That’s mostly due to the car’s low curb weight of 3,199 pounds. The problem is that you can’t get anywhere near the car’s limit without a racetrack or at least a long airstrip.

Oh, and yellow with black wheels and black trim, that’s exactly how I would order my Z06 Corvette.

ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: Yes, the new C7 is just around the corner, but the C6 is still a heck of a car, especially in Z06 trim. It’s always been my favorite Corvette in the lineup. The supercharged insanity of a 638-hp ZR1 is nice and all, but there’s just something about the naturally aspirated LS7 with its 7,000-rpm redline. I adore this engine for its all-motor rumble and sensational throttle response.

And it’s the best balanced Corvette to make it ideally suited for track work. We had one a year and half ago for a magazine cover story where we had it along with a Porsche 911 GT2 RS and Lexus LFA. With the performance package that adds the Brembo carbon ceramic brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires and then the magnetic ride suspension, it wasn’t even a couple of ticks off the $380,000 Lexus when lapping GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Mich. There’s certainly no shame in that.

One of the biggest improvements Chevy made to the C6 was to offer sport seats that finally feature sufficient side bolstering. It’s been my biggest beef with the Corvette, and I’m ecstatic that they finally took the steps to remedy it. People have also been harping about the interior for its subpar plastics and central tunnel that gets extremely hot, but that stuff doesn’t bug me too much. I’ve never found the materials to be that offensive. Either way, something tells me things will be drastically different in the C7.

What things are important to me? The aforementioned LS7 engine, slick six-speed manual gearbox, comfortable driving position, well-placed pedals for easy rev-matching for downshifts, responsive steering (which gets magnified with the aggressive Michelin rubber) and its unmistakable looks with slick carbon-fiber exterior trim pieces borrowed from the ZR1 on our test car. And then, as mentioned above, you can soften the suspension, and it’s comfortable enough on the road. I would be weary of driving this thing in the rain, though, with the tires.

Like many people, I’m looking forward to the new car, but I’m going to certainly miss the C6 Corvette Z06. Well, maybe at least until they release a C7 Z06 model.

2013 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Base Price: $76,575

As-Tested Price: $101,265

Drivetrain: 7.0-liter V8; RWD, six-speed manual

Output: 505 hp @ 6,300 rpm, 470 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm

Curb Weight: 3,199 lb

Fuel Economy (EPA City/Highway/Combined): 15/24/18 mpg

AW Observed Fuel Economy: 16.6 mpg

Options: 3LZ premium equipment group including memory package, frontal and side impact airbags with passenger-sensing system, power bolster and power lumbar seat adjusters, leather bucket seats, luggage shade and cargo net, red brake calipers, tilt and telescoping steering column, navigation system with AM/FM and CD player, universal home remote, Bluetooth for phone, additional nine months XM radio ($8,860); Z06 ultimate performance package including Brembo ceramic brakes, PS Cup tires ($7,500); Carbon-fiber package ($3,995); magnetic selective ride control ($2,495); Velocity yellow tintcoat paint ($850); yellow brake calipers ($595); and custom leather with yellow stitching ($395)

2013 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 review notes: The ideal Corvette track star (2024)
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