At 12:01 am this morning, the embargo was lifted and those lucky magazine and blogger stiffs who were invited by GM to the Milford test track (also known as the Lutzring) were free to post their experiences of driving the new 638 hp supercharged Corvette ZR1. And what a drive it must be. The four reviews that we link to after the jump toss around short missives like “best ever” and “total pussycat”. Taking a poll of the reviewers found that they were “surprised”, “shocked” and “blown away” by the driving experience the new Corvette ZR1 delivers, not only on the test track, but on the public roads as well.
The 2009 Corvette ZR1 is the best car ever made. It redefines what performance cars are capable of, not by its numbers (the 0-to-60 in 3.3 seconds and a 205 MPH top speed figures are no longer noteworthy north of $100,000), but by how it makes those numbers so accessible. Simply put, the ZR1′s most remarkable achievement is how easy and unintimidating the chassis makes exploiting the car’s 638 HP.
The ZR1 may well be the best supercar bargain in the world, while at the same time being as mechanically sophisticated as any of the best supercars from Europe or Asia. Unlike most engines, the ZR1 doesn’t really have a torque curve. It’s more like an electric motor — massive torque is everywhere. In fact, it has so much twist you almost don’t need shift. Put the gear lever in third and roll on the throttle until you’ve accumulated enough speed as your license can tolerate and then lay on the brakes as hard as you please.
Okay, so we’re shocked (and more than a little proud) that America’s sports car established a lap-record at the Nurburgring. We’re awed by its high handling limits and overall tractability. And 15 or 20 hot laps of a circuit like the Lutzring could probably convince any skeptic that $30K worth of hardware value has been added to the already impressive Z06.
Possibly the only thing more surprising than the existence of a $100,000-plus, 638-horsepower factory-built Corvette is that the car is a total pussycat. Don’t get us wrong, this 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 can kill you quite completely dead. We mean like augured-in, test-pilot kind of beyond-recognition dead. It is capable of such stunning velocity in such a short distance that if things go wrong at even a fraction of its ultimate speed, it’ll tear a ragged hole in just about whatever it encounters.
The Jalopnik test drive article was our favorite review of the four and should be read first. Reviewer Wes Siler approaches the Corvette ZR1 drive from an enthusiast’s point of view and really takes you inside the emotions of driving Chevroletâ€™s new supercharged 638 horsepower halo car.
The only downside we read from the reviews is the same tired old argument about the interior not being on par with cars costing 2-3x as much. As with every new Corvette introduction we prefer to challenge these statements by spinning it as part of the “Chevrolet” experience. Who buys a Corvette for the interior anyway?