Corvette C7 Z06 and ZR1 Buyers Guide

When the C7 Corvette Z06 was introduced in 2015, it marked a significant advancement in Chevrolet's lineup, pushing the boundaries of American performance sports cars. The Z06 was designed to be a track-capable version of the already impressive C7 Stingray, integrating enhanced aerodynamics, increased power, and advanced technology to create a truly exhilarating driving experience.

Under the hood of the Z06 lies a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine, known as the LT4, which produces an impressive 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. This powerhouse allows the Z06 to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.95 seconds, showcasing its potent performance capabilities.

The engine is mated to either a seven-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic, providing flexibility for driving enthusiasts.

The exterior of the Z06 features aggressive styling cues that distinguish it from the standard C7 Stingray. These include a larger front splitter, a carbon-fiber hood with a larger vent for improved cooling, and wider fenders to accommodate the larger wheels and tires.

The Z06 also incorporates advanced aerodynamics, including a front splitter, rocker panels, and a rear spoiler, all designed to enhance downforce and stability at high speeds.

Inside, the Z06's cabin is a blend of luxury and performance-focused features. High-quality materials such as leather, carbon fiber, and aluminum are used throughout the interior. The driver-focused cockpit includes a flat-bottom steering wheel, a customizable digital instrument cluster, and a performance data recorder.

The seats are designed for both comfort and support, with options for competition sport seats that provide additional bolstering for track use.

Building on the Z06's foundation, the C7 Corvette ZR1 was introduced in 2019 as the ultimate expression of Corvette performance. The ZR1 takes the Z06's formula and amplifies it, with a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine, known as the LT5, which produces a staggering 755 horsepower and 715 lb-ft of torque.

This makes the ZR1 the most powerful Corvette ever produced, capable of reaching a top speed of 212 mph.

The exterior of the ZR1 features even more aggressive aerodynamic enhancements, including a massive rear wing for increased downforce, a larger front splitter, and additional cooling vents to manage the increased heat generated by the powerful engine. The ZR1 also offers a performance package that includes carbon-ceramic brakes, a higher downforce rear wing, and a track-tuned suspension.

Inside, the ZR1's interior mirrors the Z06's focus on luxury and performance, with additional options for carbon-fiber trim and upgraded seating. The advanced infotainment system, performance data recorder, and customizable instrument cluster are all carried over, providing a high-tech, driver-centric environment.

The C7 Corvette Z06 and ZR1 compete in a segment populated by some of the world's most renowned sports cars. Key competitors include the Dodge Viper, Porsche 911 GT3 and the Nissan GT-R. Each of these rivals offers a unique blend of performance, handling, and technological innovation, making the Z06 and ZR1's achievements all the more impressive within this competitive landscape.

Model Changes (Breakdown by Year)

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

In 2015, the C7 Corvette Z06 made its debut, featuring a powerful 6.2-liter supercharged LT4 V8 engine that produced an impressive 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. This marked a significant leap in performance for the Corvette lineup.

The Z06 was available with two transmission options: a seven-speed manual transmission and an eight-speed automatic, catering to both traditionalists and those seeking modern convenience.

The Z06 came with a comprehensive performance package that included Magnetic Ride Control, Performance Traction Management, and an electronic limited-slip differential. These features ensured superior handling and control, both on the track and the road.

Aerodynamic enhancements were also a key focus, with the car sporting a carbon-fiber hood, front splitter, and wider fenders to improve airflow and stability at high speeds.

Inside, the Z06's cabin was designed with high-quality materials, emphasizing both driver comfort and performance. The interior featured leather, carbon fiber, and aluminum trim, creating a luxurious yet sporty environment. Additionally, buyers could opt for competition sport seats, which provided extra support and bolstering for high-performance driving scenarios.

In 2015, the starting price for the C7 Corvette Z06 was approximately $78,995. 

2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

In 2016, the C7 Corvette Z06 received several minor updates to enhance its appeal and functionality. Chevrolet introduced new color options, giving buyers more choices to customize the exterior of their vehicles. Additionally, minor interior trim updates were made to refresh the cabin's appearance and improve overall aesthetics.

Technological advancements were also a focus for the 2016 model year. The Performance Data Recorder saw improvements, offering more detailed and accurate data for enthusiasts who wanted to analyze their driving performance. The infotainment system was also upgraded, providing a more seamless and user-friendly experience for drivers and passengers alike.

These updates ensured that the Z06 remained at the forefront of both performance and technology.

In 2016, the starting price for the C7 Corvette Z06 was around $79,400.

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

In 2017, Chevrolet expanded the Corvette lineup with the introduction of the Grand Sport model. This new addition was strategically positioned between the Stingray and the Z06, offering a blend of features from both. The Grand Sport borrowed the aerodynamic enhancements and suspension system from the Z06, ensuring superior handling and performance.

However, it retained the naturally aspirated engine of the Stingray, making it a unique and appealing option for those who wanted a balance between performance and practicality.

Alongside the introduction of the Grand Sport, the 2017 Corvette lineup received several cosmetic updates. New wheel designs were added, allowing for further customization and personalization of the vehicle's appearance. Additionally, Chevrolet introduced more exterior color options, giving buyers even more choices to tailor their Corvette to their individual tastes. 

In 2017, the starting price for the C7 Corvette Z06 was around $80,000. The newly introduced Grand Sport model started at approximately $66,445.

2018 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

In 2018, Chevrolet celebrated Corvette's 60th anniversary with special edition packages. These packages were designed to honor the iconic sports car's rich history and legacy, offering unique features and exclusive design elements that distinguished them from the standard models.

 The anniversary packages included special badging, unique interior trims, and commemorative exterior color options, making them highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts.

Additionally, the 2018 Corvette Z06 continued to offer the Z07 Performance Package, a significant upgrade for those seeking enhanced performance. This package included carbon-ceramic brakes, which provided superior stopping power and durability under high-performance conditions. The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires offered exceptional grip and handling, further improving the car's track capabilities.

Along with these components, the Z07 package featured additional aerodynamic enhancements that increased downforce and stability at high speeds, ensuring that the Z06 remained a formidable competitor on both the road and the track.

In 2018, the starting price for the C7 Corvette Z06 was approximately $80,900. The special edition 60th Anniversary Package, which varied depending on specific options and customizations, typically added around $5,000 to $7,000 to the base price. Additionally, the Z07 Performance Package added approximately $7,995 to the base price of the Corvette Z06.

2019 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

In 2019, the C7 Corvette Z06 entered its final year of production. To mark the end of this era, Chevrolet introduced a few minor updates to keep the model fresh and appealing. These updates included new exterior and interior color options, allowing buyers to customize their vehicles with the latest hues and finishes.

As the C7 Z06 reached the end of its production run, these final touches ensured that it remained a desirable and competitive sports car. The introduction of new color options provided a fitting farewell to a model that had significantly impacted the Corvette lineup, blending advanced performance with striking aesthetics one last time.

In 2019, the starting price for the C7 Corvette Z06 was approximately $81,000.

2019 Corvette ZR1 (2019 Only)

In 2019, Chevrolet introduced the ZR1 as the ultimate expression of the C7 Corvette, pushing the boundaries of performance and engineering. The ZR1 debuted with a formidable 6.2-liter supercharged LT5 V8 engine, delivering an astonishing 755 hp and 715 lb-ft of torque. This immense power allowed the ZR1 to achieve a top speed of 212 mph, making it one of the fastest Corvettes ever produced.

The ZR1's design heavily focused on performance, utilizing extensive carbon fiber for weight reduction and improved aerodynamics. The car featured a massive rear wing, a larger front splitter, and additional cooling vents, all designed to enhance stability and cooling efficiency at high speeds. These aerodynamic elements not only improved the car's performance but also gave it an aggressive and distinctive appearance.

Transmission options for the ZR1 included a seven-speed manual transmission and an eight-speed automatic, catering to both purists and those seeking modern driving conveniences. The ZR1 also came with a comprehensive performance package that included a track-tuned suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes, and a higher downforce rear wing, further solidifying its capabilities on the track.

Inside, the ZR1's interior mirrored that of the Z06, with a focus on creating a high-tech, driver-centric environment. Buyers could choose from upgraded materials and advanced infotainment systems, ensuring both comfort and cutting-edge technology. 

The starting price for the C7 Corvette ZR1 was approximately $120,000.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and ZR1 Common Problems

The C7 Corvette Z06 and ZR1 models have faced several common problems that owners should be aware of.

It is essential to keep in mind that all cars, even supercars, can have issues and it is crucial to perform a Pre-Purchase Inspection (PPI) from an authorized dealer or experienced independent mechanic to reveal all issues.

Overheating Issues: One of the most significant problems reported with the early C7 Corvette Z06, particularly the 2015 and 2016 models, is overheating. This issue often arose during track use or extended high-performance driving. Chevrolet initially validated the car to operate up to 87 degrees Fahrenheit, but real-world use pushed these temperatures higher. In response, later Z06 models and the ZR1 were tested to withstand temperatures up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and additional cooling features were added to the ZR1, including extra heat exchangers and improved airflow management.

Transmission Problems: The C7 Corvette Z06 has also faced issues with its transmission. Owners have reported jerky and stiff shifts, leading to excessive vibrations and surging in traffic. This problem was often severe enough to necessitate transmission replacements shortly after the symptoms appeared. Chevrolet addressed this issue by recommending a fluid flush, replacing damaged torque converters, and using Mobil 1 synthetic high-performance fluid to improve shift quality.

Infotainment System Failures: Another common issue is the failure of the infotainment system, where the touchscreen would go black or flicker. This problem is typically due to loose cables in the HMI module or issues with the ECU connector. While these problems can usually be fixed by reconnecting the cables, they are a known inconvenience for many C7 Corvette owners.

Engine Problems: Early models of the C7 Corvette, especially the 2015 and 2016 Z06, have been reported to suffer from engine problems, including blown engines. These issues were primarily linked to quality control and machining problems during production. Chevrolet advised owners to follow a specific break-in schedule to mitigate these risks, but the problem persisted enough to caution potential buyers against these early model years.

Wheel and Tire Issues: Owners of the 2017 C7 Corvette Z06 have reported problems with cracked wheels and flat tires, especially after driving around 18,300 miles. Additionally, issues with power steering assist failure have also been reported, necessitating a recall for this model year to address the steering problems.

Recalls

2016-2018 Chevrolet Corvette vehicles

Steering (Recall no. 19V086000)

The electric power steering (EPS) assist system may fail. Loss of power steering assist would require a higher steering effort, especially at lower speeds, which may increase the risk of a crash.

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 vehicles

Air bags (Recall no. 18V360000)

Hard braking or acceleration may cause the sensing diagnostic module (SDM) to enter a fault state. As a result, the SDM will not provide crash sensing or deploy the necessary air bags in the event of a crash. In the event of a crash, if the air bags do not deploy as designed, the occupants have an increased risk of injury.

2015-2017 Chevrolet Corvette

Air bags, seat belts (Recall no. 17V437000)

While being previously remedied for recall 16V-651, the affected vehicles may not have received the complete software update necessary to remedy the recall condition. Without the update, certain driving conditions may cause the air bag sensing and diagnostic module (SDM) software to activate a diagnostic test. During this test, deployment of the frontal air bags and the seat belt pretensioners would not occur in the event of a crash. A failure of the front air bags or seat belt pretensioners to deploy in the event of a crash necessitating deployment increases the risk of injury to the driver and front passenger.

2015-2017 Chevrolet Corvette

Air bags, seat belts (Recall no. 16V651000)

In the affected vehicles, certain driving conditions may cause the air bag sensing and diagnostic module (SDM) software to activate a diagnostic test. During this test, deployment of the frontal air bags and the seat belt pretensioners would not occur in the event of a crash. A failure of the front air bags or seat belt pretensioners to deploy in the event of a crash necessitating deployment increases the risk of injury to the driver and front passenger.

2015 Chevrolet Corvette vehicles manufactured September 26, 2014, to October 2, 2014

Suspension (Recall no. 15V031000)

In the affected vehicles the toe link outer ball joint on the rear suspension may not have been properly tightened during the assembly process. The Toe link may loosen with the vehicle use and eventually separate. A toe link separation can result in a reduction in vehicle stability and steering control, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash.

2015 Chevrolet Corvette vehicles manufactured August 20, 2014, to August 27, 2014

Air bags (Recall no. 14V570000)

In the event of a driver frontal air bag deployment, the driver air bag module back plate may fracture, allowing the driver air bag to separate from the steering wheel. An air bag that separates from the steering wheel may increase the risk of injury to the driver in the event of a crash.

2015 Chevrolet Corvette vehicles manufactured August 20, 2014, to September 4, 2014

Parking brake (Recall no. 14V568000)

In the affected vehicles, only one of the rear parking brake cables may be fully seated and engaged, resulting in the parking brake only operating on one of the rear park brake drums. Without the parking brake working on both rear wheels, the vehicle may roll away if parked on a steep gradient. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 135, "Light Vehicle Brake Systems." If the parking brake cable isn't fully seated and engaged on both of the rear park brake drums, the vehicle may roll away if parked on a steep gradient, increasing the risk of a crash.

Maintenance and Ownership Costs

EVERY 6 MONTHS OR 7,500 MILES

  • Replace Engine Oil and Filter: Regular oil changes are crucial to maintain engine health and performance, especially given the high-output engines in the Z06 and ZR1.
  • Inspect Tires and Rotate if Necessary: Ensures even tire wear and extends the lifespan of the tires.

EVERY 15,000 MILES

  • Replace Cabin Air Filter: Keeps the interior air quality high by filtering out dust and pollutants.
  • Inspect and Lubricate Body Components: Ensures smooth operation of doors, hinges, and other moving parts.

EVERY 30,000 MILES

  • Replace Engine Air Filter: Ensures proper airflow to the engine, which is essential for optimal performance and fuel efficiency.
  • Inspect Brake System: Includes checking brake pads, rotors, and fluid levels to ensure safe braking performance.

EVERY 45,000 MILES

  • Replace Spark Plugs: Maintains engine efficiency and performance by ensuring proper ignition.

EVERY 50,000 MILES

  • Inspect and Replace Accessory Drive Belt if Necessary: Prevents potential breakdowns caused by belt wear and tear.

EVERY 60,000 MILES

  • Replace Transmission Fluid: Maintains transmission performance and longevity, crucial for the high-powered Z06 and ZR1.
  • Inspect Suspension and Steering Components: Ensures the vehicle remains stable and handles well.

EVERY 75,000 MILES

  • Flush and Replace Coolant: Prevents engine overheating and ensures the cooling system functions properly.

EVERY 90,000 MILES

  • Inspect and Replace Timing Belt if Necessary: Prevents major engine damage from timing belt failure.

EVERY 150,000 MILES

  • Replace Fuel Filter: Ensures clean fuel delivery to the engine, maintaining performance and efficiency.
  • Inspect and Replace Rear Axle Fluid: Maintains the differential’s performance and longevity.

Following this maintenance schedule helps ensure that your C7 Corvette Z06 or ZR1 remains in top condition, delivering the high performance and reliability that these models are known for. Regular maintenance not only extends the life of the vehicle but also enhances safety and driving pleasure. For detailed information, always refer to the owner's manual or consult with a certified Chevrolet service center.

Here's a rough estimate of typical service costs for the C7 Corvette Z06 and ZR1:

Oil Change - At a dealership, an oil change for the high-performance engines in the C7 Corvette Z06 and ZR1 typically costs between $150 and $300. Independent mechanics may offer lower prices, ranging from $100 to $200.

Minor Service - This often includes an oil change, cabin air filter replacement, and engine air filter replacement. The cost for this service at a dealership is generally between $300 and $600. Independent shops might charge between $200 and $500.

Major Service - A major service includes all minor service items plus additional tasks such as spark plug replacement, brake fluid flush, and transmission fluid change. At a dealership, the costs for a major service can range from $1,500 to $3,000, while independent mechanics might charge between $1,200 and $2,500.

Tires - A set of high-performance tires, such as those from Michelin Pilot Super Sport or similar brands, typically costs between $1,500 and $2,500 for the Z06 and ZR1. This price range includes installation and balancing.

Brakes - Brake pad replacements for the Z06 and ZR1, which may use performance-oriented brake pads, can cost between $800 and $1,200 for a full set. If rotors also need to be replaced, the cost can increase significantly, with prices ranging from $2,000 to $3,500 for a complete brake service.

Clutch - Although the manual transmission in the Z06 and ZR1 is designed for durability, clutch replacements can be costly. When needed, the expense for a clutch or flywheel service typically ranges from $2,000 to $4,000, depending on the extent of the work and parts required.

These estimates provide a general idea of the service costs associated with maintaining a C7 Corvette Z06 or ZR1. Actual prices may vary based on location, the specific service provider, and the vehicle's condition. Regular maintenance is essential to keep these high-performance vehicles operating at their best, ensuring both reliability and driving enjoyment.

Options List

The C7 Corvette Z06 and ZR1 offer a wide range of options allowing owners to personalize their vehicles to match their preferences and driving needs. From exterior paint choices to advanced technological features, these options enhance both the performance and luxury aspects of these high-performance sports cars.

For the exterior, both the Z06 and ZR1 come with a variety of standard and premium paint options, including metallic and matte finishes. Special edition colors and bespoke paint options are also available. Buyers can choose from multiple alloy wheel designs in sizes ranging from 19-inch to 20-inch, with options for lightweight and performance-oriented wheels.

To enhance performance, aerodynamic packages are available, including front splitters, side skirts, and rear wings designed to increase downforce and stability at high speeds. The ZR1 offers a particularly aggressive aero package, featuring a massive rear wing.

Inside, the interior can be customized with premium leather, suede, and other high-quality materials. Color options for the upholstery include black, red, grey, and more, allowing for a personalized cabin. Interior trim options include carbon fiber, aluminum, and high-gloss finishes, which add a touch of sophistication and sportiness to the cabin.

Standard sport seats are available, as well as upgraded performance seats with heating and ventilation features for added comfort during both daily driving and spirited track sessions.

The standard infotainment system includes an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto integration. Upgraded audio systems, including a premium Bose setup, are available for audiophiles.

Features such as a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and advanced safety packages provide additional peace of mind during everyday driving. Dual-zone automatic climate control, a heated steering wheel, and customizable ambient lighting enhance the overall driving experience.

Both the Z06 and ZR1 offer adjustable suspension systems, including Magnetic Ride Control for optimal handling and comfort balance. The ZR1 features advanced tuning options for even greater track performance. High-performance braking options include both standard and carbon-ceramic brake packages, providing superior stopping power and fade resistance essential for high-speed driving and track use.

The Z07 Performance Package for the Z06 includes carbon-ceramic brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, and additional aerodynamic enhancements for track enthusiasts. The ZR1 comes with even more extreme performance options, including the ZTK Track Performance Package.

Special editions further enhance the customization options. The Z06 Carbon 65 Edition includes unique Carbon Flash badges, a carbon-fiber rear spoiler, and special graphics. The ZR1 3ZR Package includes upgraded interior materials, advanced infotainment features, and additional luxury touches to complement the ZR1's performance focus.

Key Options

  • Z07 Performance Package

  • Premium Upholstery

  • Infotainment System

  • Carbon-Ceramic Brakes

  • Adjustable Suspension

2018 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 window sticker

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 window sticker

Corvette C7 Z06 and ZR1 Price and Values

The Best C7 Corvette Z06 and ZR1 to Buy

When considering the C7 Corvette Z06 and ZR1, there are several key factors to consider that can affect the car's long-term value and performance. These criteria are divided into a few categories to help buyers make informed decisions.

For those seeking a C7 Corvette that offers the best value and delivers the highest performance, the Corvette ZR1 stands out. It comes with enhanced performance features, exclusive styling elements, and advanced technology that set it apart from other models. 

While the standard Z06 models offer a blend of luxury and performance, the ZR1’s unique features and increased capabilities make it a great option for enthusiasts. The ZR1 also includes various customization options, allowing for personalized touches that enhance the vehicle's appeal and exclusivity. These options include multiple exterior colors, interior materials, and high-performance wheel designs.

When considering market stability for a Corvette, targeting models with advanced performance features and limited production runs is a wise choice. The ZR1's upgrades and exclusivity make it a desirable option, offering not only superior performance but also the potential for higher resale value due to its unique position in the Corvette lineup.

The comprehensive interior updates and advanced technology ensure that the ZR1 remains competitive with the latest high-performance vehicles on the market.

However, all C7 Corvette models, from the Z06 to the ZR1, remain strong purchases. The Corvette’s combination of a powerful engine, high-quality interior materials, and cutting-edge technology make it a great choice for any sports car buyer.

In addition to model selection, the condition and mileage of the vehicle are crucial factors to consider when buying a Corvette. Vehicles that have been well-maintained and have low mileage are more likely to retain their value over time. It is important to conduct thorough research, compare prices, and look for well-maintained cars if you are considering purchasing a Corvette with the goal of maintaining or increasing its value.

Therefore, it's essential to evaluate your needs, preferences, and budget when selecting a Corvette model. Whether you opt for the high-performance ZR1 or Z06, ensuring that the vehicle is in good condition and has been properly maintained will help secure your investment and enhance your ownership experience.

Conclusion

In summary, with starting prices around $80,000 for the Z06 and $120,000 for the ZR1, the C7 Corvette offers an exciting choice for those seeking a high-performance sports car.

While alternatives like the Dodge Viper, Porsche 911 GT3, and Nissan GT-R exist, the Corvette Z06 and ZR1 set themselves apart through their aggressive styling, exceptional driving dynamics, and iconic supercharged V8 engines. The Z06, with its 650 hp, and the ZR1, with its 755 hp, provide unparalleled performance capabilities, making them standout options in the high-performance sports car segment.

For those seeking a blend of American muscle and cutting-edge performance, the C7 Corvette Z06 and ZR1 are excellent matches. Their combination of powerful engines, high-quality interiors, and technological features ensure an exhilarating driving experience that few competitors can match. 

Car Hacking Shortcuts

  • The ZR1 is highly sought after and likely to be a collector's vehicle

  • Look for models with the Z07 Performance Package

  • Spec Matters: Seek out versions with premium upholstery options like leather or suede, and interior trim choices such as carbon fiber or high-gloss finishes for a more luxurious feel.

  • Prioritize Low Mileage: Well-maintained, low-mileage Corvettes retain their value better. Always check for service records to ensure proper maintenance.

  • Performance Upgrades: Models with the Magnetic Ride Control adjustable suspension and optional carbon-ceramic brakes are particularly valuable, offering superior handling and braking performance.


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