Untamed Bliss: The C6 Corvette Z06
July 4, 2017 – my friend Alex offered me the driver’s seat in his 2009 Corvette Z06 and it completely changed the way I look at cars. This car warps speed and maybe even time. This car is much more than just another Corvette. Hang around and I’ll explain.
Introduced in 2006, the Z06 package was the highest performance Corvette to date until the C6 ZR1 was released in 2009. The Z06 was produced from the 2006 model year until the 2013 model year. Chevrolet took the already powerful and capable Corvette base model and made it an absolute animal. They called that new creation the Z06. The Z06 featured trick engine modifications and handling upgrades over the base model C6 Corvette along with notable cosmetic upgrades.
I suppose I’ll kick this thing off with the performance numbers, which are almost as wild as the car itself. This car sprints from 0-60 in 3.4 seconds. This is by far the fastest vehicle I’ve ever had the privilege of driving at this point in my life. The fact that you don’t even have to shift out of first gear to hit 60 mph is impressive in itself. The C6 Z06 tops out at 198 mph. I don’t care what you say, this Corvette isn’t just knocking on supercar territory’s door, it’s deep into it. Weighing in at 3,180 lbs thanks to its aluminum frame, the Z06 is within 30 lbs of a Lotus Evora all while making a significant amount more power than it. Redline comes at 7,100 rpm out of a pushrod 7.0L V8 featuring titanium connecting rods and intake valves. An upgraded six-speed manual transmission, clutch, rear axle, brakes and wider wheels help the C6 Z06 make its newfound power a serious weapon on the streets or track.
Imagine the thrill of running from a pack of bulls. That’s pretty much how it feels to drive a C6 Z06 at wide-open throttle. I got out of this car shaking a little bit just because of how brutal and thrilling it is to drive. Corners are your friends in a Z06 so long as you don’t dig too deep into the skinny pedal. This car WILL go sideways if you poke at it too much. But hell, poking it is half the fun! This car begs you to push it much further than you legally should, and I’m honestly surprised every C6 Z06 owner isn’t in county jail right now.
So how does this car warp speed and time? Easy, this car warps speed because it’ll rip from 0-60 faster than you can read this sentence. This car warps time because it takes you back to the thrill of riding in the first “fast” car you ever rode in. Maybe it was your neighbor’s Mach 1 Mustang or maybe it was your brother’s Jetta GLI. Regardless of what it is, this car takes you back to the days of newfound speed. Until this review, I wasn’t aware that a car could surprise me so much.
Some aftermarket modifications to this specific Z06 include a Billy Boat Fusion 3 inch catback exhaust, Kooks long tube headers with hi-flow catalytic converters, Vararam intake, tune and Eibach lowering bolts with a 2-inch drop.
On the exterior, this particular Z06 is finished in Jetstream Blue Metallic Tintcoat. The wide factory chrome finished wheels sit beneath the bulging widebody fenders, which the Z06 was given. The front bumper has a larger grille specific to the Z06 so it can breathe easier. The Z06 also received a small hood scoop, which the base models did not receive. The front fenders of the Z06 have vents diagonally inserted into them to aid cooling of the massive brakes. One big thing that differentiates the base C6 from the Z06 is that the Z06 does not have a removable “targa” top like the base model has due to the structural rigidity of the top and the higher performance intentions of the Z06.
On the interior, the Z06 maintains many of the same features and controls as the base model C6 Corvette. The heads-up display is phenomenal; I’m still not sure why more modern performance cars don’t do something similar. The shifter is notchy, precise, and easy to use. Clutch feel is better than average and is ridiculously light considering this car made over 500 hp when it was new. The seats have pretty good torso support but leave something to be desired when it comes to thigh support. Not that they’re terrible, but considering how good this car is at everything else, I have to find something to complain about. The interior materials are not the best, but at the same time, you don’t purchase a Z06 Corvette to have a luxurious interior.
To me, this car was more than just another review. It was an eye-opening experience that there are far more brutal cars out there than I had imagined. There is no wonder why the C6 Z06 market is holding steady, because it still holds its own against brand-new high-performance cars a decade later. This car showed me the true feeling of terror and happiness that you can experience at the same time behind the wheel of a car.
By the way, did I mention that the roads were wet for most of my seat time?
Nathan Christian lives in Lee's Summit, MO and enjoys daily driving his Laguna Blue Honda S2000. Check out his Instagram account (@speedenthusiasts) to view more of his work.