It seems that VehicleVoice, along with most other publications, are becoming overindulgent with conversations on how skyrocketing fuel costs are destroying our lives. On my way in to the office Friday, I heard oil broke the $140 mark. The situation isn’t getting any better.
But, though I may be alone, I’m tired of talking about high gas prices. Really, really tired of the subject. Eye-wateringly-high gas prices are likely here to stay. We all know this, and new-car buyers are dealing with it. Most either by delaying a new-vehicle purchase or by buying something more fuel efficient, both options that add to the woes of a difficult industry, but the subject has been beat to death.
Was a $100,000-plus Chevrolet inevitable?
I’m pretty sure we’ll talk about gas prices again, but this week we take a break from that painful subject. This week, Exhaust Note looks at the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, specifically at pricing of the supercar from America’s heartland. We haven’t driven it, but we can talk about pricing. This 638HP beast gets a base price of $103,300. Not including $1700 gas-guzzler tax but including destination charges. Really and truly. A Chevrolet with a base price above $100,000. And I bet you thought the Z06 had a notably significant base price when it launched for 2006MY at $65,800.
More Power Always Appreciated for Chevy’s Star Sports Car
Though Chevrolet is not yet releasing information on the long-rumored 700HP Corvette SS, the 2008MY Corvette does get a notable dose of horsepower. The 6.0L LS2 V8 is set to be replaced by a 430HP 6.2L LS3 V8 in August 2007. At the same time, buyers will also be able to add an optional two-mode exhaust (based on that of the Z06) and get another 6HP. The Z06 carries on with its 505HP 7.0L V8, but does benefit from updates to the Corvette interior. The extra power in the standard car will help stave off competition, as the horsepower wars will never be ended by something so mundane as global warming or increasing fuel costs.
The new engine has a larger-bore cylinder block, high-flow LS7-style cylinder heads, larger-diameter pistons, revised camshaft and timing, revised valvetrain, a high-flow intake manifold, and Z06 high-flow fuel injectors. The transmissions are still six-speed units (manual or paddle-shift automatic), but revised for improved shift effort.
From the outside, the only indication of the basic Corvette’s new engine are some new colors and a new wheel based on that of the 2007 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car, but the Corvette gets some updates behind the wheel as well as under the hood.
Though we haven’t yet had a chance to see the new interior in person, we have seen the improvements in Cadillac interiors of late, and expect that the Corvette update will give the sports car a significantly more luxurious feel, something Corvettes are not typically accused of.
Using some of the processes already applied to the Cadillac XLR, based on the Corvette and built at the same facility, Chevrolet was able to give the Vette’s interior a refreshing update. All three flavors of Corvette (Z06, coupe, and convertible) can be orderd with a Custom Leather-Wrapped interior package. When that box is checked, Chevrolet applies the hand-sewn leather process from Cadillac to the Corvette. The two-tone package includes leather-wrapped upper and lower instrument panel, door pads, and seats; padded door panel armrests; embroidered logo on headrests; and Bias patter for the center trim plate. All 2008 models get a wrapped instrument panel center trim plate, bright surrounds for shifter and cupholder, and new metal-finish door-sill plates. The equipment list is slightly revised, with OnStar (with available turn-by-turn navigation), XM, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and an audio input jack (all radios except navigation-equipped units) all move from optional to standard.
Today’s top of the Corvette lineup is the ZO6. Five-hundred-five horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque from its 7.0L V8 engine. Brembo brakes with red painted calipers showing conspicuously through its spoked 18-inch and 19-inch alloy wheels. This car is the ultimate of the boy racer set. Put on your gold chains and let’s go!
After months of waiting, the fine folks at Chevrolet finally got us a ZO6 for three days of evaluation. We had been on the list four times before, but apparently Southern California journalists don’t know how to drive a car with 505HP and kept pranging the thing. Finally, out of the repair shop (or is it an all new car?), we got our chance at the ZO6.