The C8 Corvette Z06 vs The Competition: By The Numbers

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The C8 Corvette Z06 vs The Competition: By The Numbers

Photo Credits: Chevrolet


It is finally here! The C8 Z06 broke cover this week and simply put, it is spectacular! Performance car builders, the world over, have officially been put on notice that GM is playing for keeps with this one! The most important thing to keep in mind is that the C8 Z06 and its LT6 “Gemini” engine have entered a class of their own. Coming up with a head-to-head match-up for the new Z in the current automotive landscape is an exceedingly difficult task, and that is by design.

The reason GM benchmarked the decade+ old Ferrari 458 Italia instead of the newer 488/F8 Tributo or something like the McLaren 720S is that they were chasing an experience, not necessarily lap times or spec-sheet bragging rights. They wanted a lightweight motivator that delivered power linearly with instant throttle response and made un-muffled, hair-standing sounds that turbocharged powerplants can’t match. With that in mind, here is how the incredibly visceral Z06 stacks up in the current and recent supercar hierarchy.

The C8 Corvette Z06 vs The Competition: By The Numbers


The new Z06 uses a 5.5L flat-plane V8 that revs to a stratospheric 8,600 rpm redline, hitting peaks of 760 horses and 460 lb-ft of torque on the way. A mile-per-minute arrives in 2.6 seconds, and the thing can handle too, with claimed lateral grip exceeding 1.2 g. As this superb Hagerty piece speculated, the LT6 is a record-breaking engine. Its 5.5 liters give the “big block of FPCs” the highest displacement of any flat-plane crank V8 in history, besting Ferrari’s biggest entrant by a full liter and out voodooing Ford’s sole FPC by .3 of a liter. While the torque number is giving a lot of small-block traditionalists one thing to gripe about (though the LT6 produces 98% of the torque of the legendary LS7, which nobody ever complained about as being light on that sweet, twisty stuff), 460 lb-ft is also happens to be a record for FPC V8s. The most twist that Ferrari ever squeezed out of a naturally aspirated FPV bent-eight was 398 lb-ft, while the GT350’s dearly departed mill threw down 429 lb-ft. The redline doesn’t quite match the 9,000 of previously mentioned Ferrari or the 911 GT3, but 8,600 RPM IS still a record for any American performance car, regardless of engine layout or aspiration method.

The C8 Corvette Z06 vs The Competition: By The Numbers


The significance of making 670 horses without resorting to forced induction can’t be overstated, either! As has been trumpeted from the rooftops, 670 is a record for any production V8… from any manufacturer… ever, and it’s not even close. Ford’s Voodoo motor (the only American engine that has tried this layout, earning it multiple mentions here) made 526 ponies. The hopped-up version of the Ferrari 458, the Speciale, held the FPC V8 HP record since 2014 by sending 597 horses to its rear wheels. When you include cross-plane V8s, the record, which has been in place for almost a decade, was the “M159” 6.2L from the wicked Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series. That monster, which trades for around half of a million dollars these days, made 622 HP. Our new hero has also unseated the fifth-gen Viper as the most powerful NA production performance car ever built in the western hemisphere! The Viper employed a massive, 8.4L V10, to the tune of 645 HP, which is now firmly in the Z’s rear-view mirror. Finally, by milking a 5.5L V8 for 670 ponies, Chevrolet has set a new specific horsepower record for domestic naturally aspirated motors. Tadge and Friends extracted 121.81 horses per liter! That is ten shy of the all-time mark of, you guessed it, the Ferrari 458 Speciale, but still astronomical and unheard of from something built in the land of the free. The new Z even makes more power per liter than the C7 ZR1, which supercharged its way to 755 horses from 6.2 liters of displacement (121.77 hp per liter), which is massively impressive; bordering on unbelievable!

So, what could possibly compete with the Z in today’s downsized, turbocharged, hybridized sports and supercar scene? Read on to find out!

Tier I: Can compete with the C8Z in performance AND personality:

Just two cars come to mind when thinking about performance cars that even have a prayer of hanging with the C8 Z06 in both numbers and driving engagement. These are the real competitors to Chevrolet’s moonshot.

992 Porsche 911 GT3

992 Porsche 911 GT3

Photo Credit: Porsche.com


The obvious place to start, and the car that will likely act as the primary foil (or the other half of the most desirable 2023 two-car garage on any enthusiast’s list) for the Z in the coming years, is the latest 911 GT3. We scouted the 992 GT3 like an opposing defense, but now that the Z has come out of its camo’d shell, the naturally aspirated media darling of the vast 911 lineup is more relevant than ever. On paper, its 4.0-liter flat-six matches up better with the LS7 of C6 Z06 fame. The only non-turbo 911 left on sale produces 502 horses (125 per liter!) and 346 torques. Not exactly headline-grabbing stats in 2021, but what it achieves with such pedestrian-sounding power numbers makes the GT3 a worthy adversary, indeed. According to our friends at Car and Driver, Germany’s most driver-centric vehicle rockets to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds, 100 in 6.5 seconds, and is traveling 129 mph when it stops the quarter-mile clock at 10.9 seconds. Even more impressive is the GT3’s E.T. at the world’s benchmark racetrack (the Nürburgring). At the Green Hell, it turned in a 6:59.927 time slip. This makes it faster than any American car on its home turf and the least powerful sub-7 car in history. Still, where the Z needs to win customers away from the GT3 is in the engagement, feel, and overall enthusiasm categories. The GT3 has already earned gold stars for steering and brake feel, along with throttle response. Its killer apps, though, are an available manual transmission, a svelte 3,222 lb. curb weight, and a howling 9k redline. With a starting price of $163,450 and a notoriously expensive list of options that can easily balloon nice builds over $200k, the GT3 is significantly pricier than we expect the Z to be (though we sadly won’t flinch when dealers start asking $200+ for the pleasure of buying a Z06 from them). Also on the horizon from Porsche is the most extreme little brother in 911 history, the Cayman GT4 RS. A car that just notched its own remarkable 7:09.3 at the ‘Ring. Keep your eyes peeled for more official info on the nimbler member of the “Rennsport” family while the GT3’s hard-core RS variant gestates.

Lamborghini Huracán Evo

Lamborghini Huracán Evo

Photo Credit: Lamborghini.com


The only other free-breathing supercar left standing hails from the exotic land of Italy and makes use of an atmospheric 5.2L V10 worthy of sonnets. The Evo hits its rev-limiter at 8,500 on the tach, rips to a mile-per-minute in 2.4 seconds, curtesy of AWD launches, and 631 ponies. It also reaches the century mark a full second faster than the vaunted GT3 (5.5 seconds) while covering 1,320 feet in just 10.3 seconds. Chiefly, and unlike the “more show than go,” Wolf of Wall Street Lambos of yore, the Huracán, in its many forms, is assembled with motoring enthusiasts in mind. It was crowned Motor Trend’s Driver’s Car of the Year last year (the model’s second nod), in a test where it won over more journalist hearts than the C8 Stingray, MT favorite, Cayman GT4, and its previously alluded to cross-town rival, the F8 Tributo. The “mainstream” Raging Bull comes with a not-so-pedestrian price tag; Italian V10 fury starts at $268,000.

Tier II: Maybe faster, but definitely less lovable

We all know that the Corvette Team benchmarked the sublime Ferrari 458 when they were making the C8Z, but the most telling thing we heard/read after the reveal was that during that six-year development window, they also purchased an example of the 458’s twin-turbo successor, the 488 GTB. They ended up trading that newer, more powerful Ferrari in to get their hands on another 458. Outright speed isn’t the C8 Z06’s primary function; being inherently great to drive is what it is going for. (The second most telling thing was that the words “golf” and “clubs” weren’t uttered a single time during the reveal, an excellent sign!)

McLaren 720S

McLaren 720S

Photo Credit: McLaren.com


Making the Lambo look affordable with an entry price of $301,500 is the belle of the YouTube “Mexico” street racing ball, the 720S. Now we are getting into twin-turbo territory with the 710-HP alien that hits 145 during its 10.2-second quarter mile and tops out at 212 mph! The 720’s engine, like the ones found of most performance cars these days, displaces four liters flat, but those semi-laggy, sound-killing turbos do help it make a nice bit of torque, not like we are used to with a Chevy small-block, but 568 lb-ft is more than adequate. Tipping the scales at just 3,161 lbs. and making 1.1 g on the skidpad makes the 720 more than a straight-line animal. It might have missed out on winning Best Driver’s Car honors in 2018, but it did snag R&T’s Performance Car of the Year crown in a completely stacked field that same year. This car is more of a tier 1.5 on this list but wound-up batting leadoff in tier II for two reasons: 1. It will be more of a ZR1 competitor, and 2. The fine print in R&T’s wrap-up above. First, the mighty 720S lost out on two first-place votes to the Corvette’s outstanding ($75,000) sibling, the Camaro ZL1 1LE, in the competition. Two quotes also stood out like a fly on a wedding cake; “If the Lamborghini is pure theater, the McLaren is pure purpose,” and “[the McLaren is] the friendliest, least intimidating supercar I’ve ever experienced.” That sounds nice, and all, but the people who the Z06 is courting want their mid-engine exotic to bring heavy doses of drama each time they hit the start button.

Ferrari F8 Tributo

Ferrari F8 Tributo

Photo Credit: Ferrari.com


The 458’s grandchild is the second in the lineage of “entry-level” mid-mounted V8 cars from the Prancing Horse to resort to downsizing its engine and adding a pair of turbos. It equals its British rival’s outputs to a T with 710 ponies and 568 lb-ft. Fishy, no? It will also rip your face clean off with 60 mph sprints around two and a half seconds on its way to 100 in just 5.2 ticks, a top speed of 211, and a screaming 10.1 second quarter! That screaming tends to be the only gripe that reviewers have with the Ferrari that is strangely light on media attention (a lot of people think the 488 is still on sale), as it doesn’t sound nearly as good as the brand’s greatest hits. The F8 is apparently a fantastic vehicle, but it seems to have been supplanted by the 720S as the go-to ride of the influencer, for better or worse.

992 Porsche 911 Turbo S

992 Porsche 911 Turbo S

Photo Credit: Porsche.com


The Z06 has always had a difficult undertaking on its hands when it comes to lining up with Porsche’s trademark rear-engine sports car. It has to stand face to face with the livewire GT3 in the canyons and racetracks of America, then be able to instantly put on its comfortable road missile hat to match wits with the Turbo S a car that saw Chevrolet’s threat coming and became more potent than ever. For just over $200,000, Porsche will sell you their best all-around product, which makes a staggering 640 HP from its 3.8L TT flat-six, and, unlike the last two iterations, comes “packed with character to match its colossal performance,” per EVO. Word to the wise; know the difference between your 911s, and don’t challenge one of these to a battle between stoplights! They get to 60 quicker than any internal combustion car Motor Trend has ever tested (2.348 seconds!). It’ll also trap 132 during a 10.3-second quarter mile but is surprisingly set up for grand touring. Good thing Chevrolet went all out with the interior materials, fit and finish if it wants any prayer of wooing anyone away from a Turbo S order book.

Tier III: Might as well call it a day now that the C8Z is here

We will close with a quick list of the vehicles that don’t make much business sense now that the pure experience of the 670-horse Z can be had. These cars all share one thing in common; they charge huge premiums and offer less-than exotic hearts.

Acura NSX

Acura NSX

Photo Credit: Acura.com


Honda’s ME effort gets a boost to 600 HP and 492 lb-ft for ’22 with the new Type S trim. That grunt goes to all four wheels via three electric motors and a 3.5L V6 that is force-fed atmosphere at a rate of up to 16.1 psi by pair of snails. Starting at $171,495 and doing battle in the 3,800-4,000 lb weight class, with acceleration and handling stats that wouldn’t scare off a Stingray, we aren’t sure where Acura plans on finding 350 people that want to put this limited edition in their garage.

Ford GT

Ford GT

Photo Credit: Ford.com


Besides people who only see cars as investments that have seen their money double on Ford v. Ferrari nostalgia, how silly do third-gen GT buyers feel today? At MSRP, they blew half of a million and, if they didn’t make the cut after Ford’s stringent and elitist interview process second-hand, many spent seven figures on a (admittedly cool-looking) car with an uninspired “EcoBoost” V6 midship that, even in upgraded 2022 spec, makes less power than the naturally aspirated V8 in the ¼-price Z06. With ‘22 serving as the final year of GT production, it won’t share any model years with the new Z, but it did already have its hands full with the C7 version!

McLaren Artura/Ferrari 296 GTB/Maserati MC20

Ford GT

McLaren Artura/Ferrari 296 GTB/Maserati MC20

Photo Credit: McLaren/Ferrari/Maserati


Where the “Put on Notice” film really hit a home run is that it aired just as most supercar manufacturers are begrudgingly trading in their V8s in compliance moves. McLaren has a V6/plug-in-hybrid with a combined 671 horses coming to take the recently vacated place of the 570S “sports series” model for $225,000. Ferrari is shooting a bit higher with their 296 GTB, but the idea is the same: 2.9L turbo bent six paired with electric motors for a total of 819 horses at an eye-watering price of $320,000. Finally, Maserati is getting into the mid-engine game, just as the game gets kind of dull. They also arrived at a 2992cc twin-turbo V6 (unrelated to Ferrari’s new mill), but they are working their way up to marrying with an electric motor. Horsepower for the gas version comes in at a respectable 621, and it starts around $215,000 (and will go up with the addition of batteries). Again, who in their right mind would buy any of these “tier III” cars (especially these three) when a Z or a used Tier I/II vehicle is still legal!?! If I’m sitting on the board at any of these traditional supercar manufacturers, watching the Z06 reveal, I am feeling awfully unsure about my future!


Related:
Corvette Dominates the Luxury Sport Market with 51 Percent Market Share in 1st Quarter 2021
[VIDEO] Scouting Report: 2022 Porsche 911 GT3
Chevrolet is Going All-Out for the C8 Corvette Z06

 



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16 COMMENTS

  1. Why is everybody obsessed withes giant spoilers that look awful. These are road cars. The big wing make sit look less classy and more like the big wing Porsche (squashed toad) or a Subaru that looks like a Subaru. Why are we demeaning the greatest new car of all time. I ordered no Z51 cause its a smoother ride and the wing wrecks the look.

  2. Thanks Alex for this well written detailed review. Hybrid Supercars are condemned to weight penalties unless the entire car is made of carbon fibre aside from the engines/transmissions or batteries. Thererfore they become $M hypercars.
    The Z07 at 3400 LBS dry will be excellent Bang for the $ for a track car < 180 mph. Can you imagine the LT6+ trans in a SL-C at 2500 Lbs (http://www.superlitecars.com/slc )!

  3. Th Z06 is copying it’s competition. Benchmarking is one thing, directly imitating is another story completely. The C8 is trying to be something it never was… an exotic. The Corvette design team and developmental team would study the competition but never directly copy them, they would retain what a Corvette was but with similar performance parameters. Now all they did was create a version of the Z06 that is a wannabe Ferrari 458/488 and a McLaren 675/720. Any identity that the Corvette had is gone. The C7 ZR1 was the last genuine Corvette that represented what a Corvette truly was, America’s version of what a sports car should be. Now it looks and sounds like every other sports car from Europe which is disappointing to see.

  4. The rest of the world may never fully acknowledge that Corvette now builds the best ICE available anywhere. Better than anything from Europe. But we know the truth. And future versions of this engine (with twin turbos and electric assist) will put it even further ahead of anything anyone else has to offer. It’s a stellar achievement. Way to go, GM. You’ve put America back on top. And made every Corvette owner very proud indeed!

  5. Nice, let’s see KG you don’t get it so go spend more money on an import and get used to seeing tail lights and Esaw you really don’t get it. You really think the aero packages are just for looks?? Sounds like you should be driving a Passat.

  6. Kevin Williams, the Corvette will never have the allure of a Ferrari, a McLaren, or a Lamborghini no matter how much performance it has. Exotics are on a completely different level! And if you don’t believe me get behind the wheel of one sometime.

  7. Typical GM, announce a car, plenty of hype but no car until????? C8’s are still in demand, now with cars for Japan, China, Australia, etc when will the Z06 actually appear? Bowling Green can’t fill the current demand, now add another product. Will another line be added? Let’s hear what those of you in the know can add to the discussion.

  8. Alex very nice article as it clearly defines an array of super cars presently available with the specs of each one spelled out so anyone in the market to purchase can make their own informed decision using this article as a starting point.

    I am sure Chevrolet also appreciates you finding an additional 90 ponies that they didn’t know the LT6 possessed: “The new Z06 uses a 5.5L flat-plane V8 that revs to a stratospheric 8,600 rpm redline, hitting peaks of 760 horses and 460 lb-ft of torque on the way.”

  9. Good eye, Jon, that’s twice this week; way to go!

    K.G., to your multiple points: The Z06 is such a big deal because Europe no longer makes anything like it. The “old world” supercar manufacturers peaked during the last decade and have been downsizing, turbocharging, and electrifying ever since, to the detriment of the driving experience. The Corvette team noticed a vacant throne and made their play to fill it.

    I am with you that it would have been nice to see a front-engine C8 or an updated C7 sold alongside the ME lineup to keep the original formula alive (especially when the Camaro is sent to pasture), and I honestly haven’t been too enamored with the Stingray up to this point, but this Z changes everything. Chevy is about to be the maker of the most desirable vehicle in the world, and that is exciting, as you know what!

    I am also curious about how BG plans to fulfill demand once a second (then third, fourth, and fifth) model comes into the fold. They have already struggled mightily to get ’20 and ’21 orders filled at a reasonable rate. Maybe it is time to fire up another St. Louis factory while they are still allowed to sell V8-powered cars? The more C8s on the market, the better; I need some depreciation!

    Thank you all for regularly reading CB; we love and appreciate all of you guys!

  10. Alex Sommers, Europe is not making anything like that? Europe is making it and it’s called a Porsche 911 GT3 that is naturally aspirated and has a manual transmission option which the Z06 doesn’t even offer.

  11. Jackson, excellent point! GM and Bowling Green can’t even meet the customers demand with the standard C8 Stingray. When and how the hell will they be able to incorporate the Z06 into the mix as well?!

  12. KG, obviously I know about the GT3, see the article you are commenting on. But, a rear mounted NA flat-six isn’t the same as a free-breathing V8 between the driver and the back axle, completely different driving dynamics. Ferrari bowed out of the ME NA V8 space after the 458 ended production, leaving many of their fans feeling abandoned, like you are now. GM is stepping up with an update on the 458, a car that Tadge called “the best sports car of all time.”

    I miss the third pedal dearly too and am still holding out some hope for that “clutch-by-wire” tech to come to fruition.

  13. Since us working class Americans can’t be dripping in overseas oil to be able to afford the c8z06 European competitor vehicles. I applaud GM for making a real effort to create something outside of the box, or maybe within the box, at a reasonable price.

Comments are closed.