I was absolutely stoked to score a brand new 2007 Z06 Corvette coupe on my recent trip to Los Angeles for the Long Beach Grand Prix. What better car could there be to cruise the freeways and city streets of southern California? Even better, GM saw fit to provide this hot rod in the most outrageous color you ever saw – “Atomic Orange Metallic.” I immediately named this Corvette the Orange Crusher.
Priced at $69,175 base, $77,980 as tested, EPA fuel economy estimates 16 MPG city, 26 MPG highway.
In a world full of sedate front-wheel-drive family sedans, the Z06 is an statement of defiance, with a 505 horsepower 427 cubic inch (7.0-liter) dry-sump engine mated to a very tight 6-speed manual gearbox with limited slip rear axle. I am delighted to say that this is the only drivetrain combination offered for the Z06 – we’re talking about a true sports car and there is no “stickers and stripes” wannabe version available.
The Z06 is a no-compromises sports car, but it’s also comfortable. This Corvette is nice inside, with state-of-the-art seats and well-designed gauges. The roofline is a tiny bit low for me – I have to duck to see stop lights across the street, but that’s true for a lot of modern sports cars. Tall guys everywhere will know exactly what I’m talking about. But on the other hand, the Z06 has the nifty heads-up display that projects your tachometer and speedometer onto the windshield when you’re driving. This is a high-tech feature worth having!
On the Road
The Corvette Z06 gets larger performance brakes than the standard Corvette.Photo courtesy of General Motors
While you might think that a car with 505 horses and 470 foot-pounds of torque would be jumpy and hard to handle, that’s not the case with the Z06. The Corvette is completely drivable in traffic – and I’m sorry to say I saw plenty of traffic in Long Beach. But then I got away for a day and found a nice long stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway and let the car get up on its hind legs and run. That part works, too.
The brakes are huge, and let me tell you, they work. In fact, that’s the overwhelming impression of the driving experience of the Corvette – from the engine to the drivetrain to the suspension and tires, everything works just as you’d expect in a high-end European supercar.
People at the Long Beach Grand Prix are jaded when it comes to sports cars, but they stopped what they were doing to give me a shout when I pulled up in the Crusher. Over the course of a long weekend, someone commented on the Corvette about once an hour. So if you want to own a Z06, you need to be ready to talk about it. A lot.
Price and Features
Looking at the window sticker, your base cost to own a Z06 is $69,175. Not completely outrageous when you’re looking at the mid-40s or higher just to get some gutless SUV. The car I tested also included the Preferred Equipment Group. For $3485, that gets you the 6-disc CD changer, satellite radio, Bose speakers, power telescoping steering wheel, heated seats, seat memory, auto-dimming mirror, universal garage door opener, side impact airbags, luggage area shade, and stereo controls on your steering wheel. Quite a lot of stuff for not a lot of money!
Also on this car, GM installed the Z06 Chrome Aluminum Wheel package for $1,995 and the DVD navigation system for $1,750 – which actually knocks you back from the 6-disc changer to the 1-disc CD player. The super-groovy Atomic Orange Metallic paint costs $750, plus $825 for shipping and handling brings the bottom line on the Orange Crusher to $77,980 – which is not that high above the base price to trick out your supercar.
The Bottom Line
Looking at the whole package, the Corvette Z06 is the car to buy if you’ve got 200 MPH ambitions, but only a 120 MPH budget. This car will give you the looks and performance you want, and you can actually buy it for less than the price of a house.
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