For just $2,800 more, about three-fourths of the people lucky enough to be buying a 2014 Corvette Stingray are checking the box for the Z51 package.
And while they’re at it, about half of the folks who choose the Z51 are also going for the Magnetic Ride Control suspension, too. The all-new 7-speed manual transmission, which includes specific close-ratio gearing for more aggressive driving, is likewise an early hit.
That’s not really surprising considering that Chevy has said all along it expected early purchasers to go all out on the option list before the rush settles down and folks “settle” for fewer options.
The numbers are even higher for the hard-core Corvette enthusiast. An analysis of the first 100 orders placed by Corvette Forum members shows that 81% ordered the Z51 package. 67% of buyers also have the Magnetic Selective Ride Control and a whopping 93% of the orders have the NPP Performance Exhaust. Those that have ordered the Z51 package are also overwhelming selecting the MSRC as well with a take rate of 85%.
So what are these Z51 buyers getting for the extra money?
Well, the first things you’ll notice are the unique rear spoiler, brake-cooling ducts, and additional air deflectors for enhanced track capability, but the package is so much more than that.
The base Corvette Stingray rides on new 18 x 8.5-inch front and 19 x 10-inch rear wheels, but the Z51 rolls on 19 x 8.5-inch front and 20 x 10-inch rear forged aluminum wheels. New Michelin Pilot Super Sport run-flat tires developed specifically for the seventh-generation Corvette deliver comparable levels of grip than the wider tires of previous models. As a result, the track-oriented Corvette Stingray with the Z51 Performance Package is capable of 1g in cornering acceleration – comparable to the 2013 Corvette Grand Sport. Significantly, that is achieved with narrower and lighter wheels and tires. The reduced “footprint” reduces rolling resistance, steering effort and road noise, contributing to a more nimble feel, more immediate steering response and greater touring comfort and efficiency.
The Z51 also includes 45mm-piston Bilstein dampers for more aggressive body control and track capability as well as dry-sump oiling system and a better cooling system.
Also featured on the Z51 is an electronic limited-slip differential, or ELSD, which continuously makes the most of the torque split between the rear wheels. The system features a hydraulically actuated clutch that can infinitely vary clutch engagement and can respond from open to full engagement in tenths of a second. It shifts torque based on a unique algorithm which factors in vehicle speed, steering input and throttle position to improve steering feel, handling balance and traction.
You also get better brakes – dual-cast, slotted 13.6-inch (345 mm) front rotors and 13.3-inch (338 mm) slotted rear rotors. They have 6 percent more swept area than the previous-generation Grand Sport and are cooled front and rear for improved track capability. Consequently stopping distance is improved 5 percent.
It all adds up to some impressive numbers for the Z51, which can go from 0 to 60 in 3.8 seconds and do the quarter-mile in 12 seconds.
What isn’t different about the Z51 is the engine, which remains the same 6.2-liter V8 that serves up 455 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque in the base Stingray.
But who’s complaining?