The ZR1 name returns after a long layoff, and with it comes serious performance. The car comes as a coupe only and is powered by an Eaton supercharged and intercooled 6.2L V8 (the LS9), which makes 638-hp and 604 ft-lb of torque, all of which is capable of propelling the car to a claimed top speed of 205 mph. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard.
Also included in the ZR1 package are larger wheels and tires (19 inches front, 20 inches rear), Brembo ceramic composite brakes, and carbon fiber panels for the roof, front splitter, rocker moldings, front fenders and hood (with a window to the supercharger). Quite simply, the ZR1 is the biggest, baddest production Corvette ever built.
Elsewhere in the Corvette family, the base model is available in both coupe or convertible forms. Each is powered by a 6.2L aluminum-block V8, delivering 430 hp and 424 ft-lb of torque. It can be matched with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or 6-speed automatic with paddle-shifters. Convertible tops can be operated either manually or electronically, depending on equipment. A two-mode exhaust system allows quiet operation during low-speed driving, but opens up to optimize performance (and provide a more aggressive sound) when needed.
The Corvette comes with three suspension choices, which allow it to be everything from a comfortable grand-tourer to an edgy, track-ready machine. The standard suspension is tuned for a balance of comfort and performance. Next up is the Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension, which uses sophisticated electronics and magnetically reactive fluid-filled dampers to provide a comfortable ride but tighten its responses when needed. At the top is the Z51 Performance Package, which brings the most aggressive setup, including larger stabilizer bars, Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar EMT tires, cross-drilled brake rotors and enhanced cooling. A 6-speed manual is the only transmission available.
The 3,100-lb Corvette Z06, now displaced by the ZR1 as top dog, is still no slouch, with performance that bests many exotics costing several times as much. Its 7.0L V8 LS7 engine makes 505 hp and 470 ft-lb of torque, enough to propel the car to 60 mph in only 3.7 seconds, reach 198 mph, brake from 60 mph in only 111 feet, and draw a maximum lateral acceleration of 1.04 g.
Traction control and Active Handling stability control are standard on all Corvettes, as are air conditioning, cruise control, Head-Up Display, one year of OnStar, a CD stereo system, and XM satellite radio with steering-wheel controls.