2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
The all-new 7th generation Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is a terrific sports car. But, it’s just the beginning to the latest Corvette chapter. No sooner did we drive the Stingray then Chevy started teasing us with their next installment: the Z06! It’s been a year of waiting. But, now the wait is over.
Truth be told, we would have done just about anything to get some track time in the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Turns out all we had to do was say yes to Chevrolet’s invitation and hop on a plane to Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch near Las Vegas, Nevada.
What awaited us there was 650–horsepower worth of torqued up Corvette ready to romp and roll.
Easing up to speed on the track, this Z06 has a familiar feel that any Corvette owner would quickly recognize. As we became more attuned with the track and the car, lap times started falling, tires started protesting, and smiles became perma-blasted on our faces.
There’s certainly a nasty streak within’ this heavily tweaked Stingray that’s more than willing to be unleashed.
The Z06’s aluminum chassis is, for the first time, produced in house at Bowling Green Corvette Central. And, due to its extremely stiff nature, no further updates are needed for the C7.R race car.
The short/long arm, double wishbone, transverse composite spring suspension design carries over from the Stingray, but gets recalibrated; and standard Magnetic Ride Control takes care of the rest.
For those more interested in track time than cruise time, a Z07 performance package elevates things to a whole new level. It includes additional and adjustable aero-elements for greater downforce, carbon-ceramic brake rotors, and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. Helping maintain that unreasonable amount of grip is Performance Track Management and a multi-mode electronic limited slip differential.
Giving power to these random acts of performance is a 6.2-liter LT4 V8 with plenty of extra massaging done by the powertrain professionals at GM’s Tonawanda engine shop. And thanks to a first ever in a Z06 supercharger, output is 650–horsepower and 650 lb-ft. of torque. Expect 0-60 times to be under 3-seconds, of course. You can stick with the standard rev-matching 7-speed manual transmission, or opt for a paddle shifted 8-speed automatic.
You’ll have no problem picking this smooth criminal out of a line-up, as Chevrolet has tacked on a wealth of add-ons in the name of ultimate down-force creation. If you like your performance cars to be a little subtle, look elsewhere. Meanwhile we’ll be taking a 2nd and 3rd look at this ‘vette’s wacked out lines and performance enhancements.
There are new fascias front and rear, a front splitter, unique hood, and rear spoiler. And of course all of those aero elements; some standard, some part of the carbon-fiber aero package, and some part of the Z07 package.
The fenders are extended 2-inches in front, 3-inches in the rear; to cover the wheels wearing 285/30/19 rubber in the fore, and 335/25/20 aft. If you don’t opt for the Z07 Performance Package, you’ll still be happy with the standard 14-inch steel Brembos.
Unlike before, the body is not hardtop only, rather the customary removable roof panel arrangement of the standard Stingray, and even a convertible is available this time around.
Inside, there are the unique colors, carbon fiber treatment, and the flat-bottomed steering wheel embellishments that you might expect; but what you might not be prepared for is the available luxury type amenities like high-end leather, 8-inch MyLink with navigation, and Bose audio.
And by now you’ve probably heard of the available onboard Performance Data Recorder developed by Cosworth. Which consists of a high-def. camera in the windshield header, a telemetry recorder with GPS, and an SD recorder. Essentially, it provides you with motorsports-level telemetry and allows you to record your exploits for bragging rights, or perhaps for evidence.
But even with all of the Z06’s capabilities and track-ready tech, street time is almost equally as rewarding as track time. Ride quality can be smoothed out with a turn of the dial, and seats offer enough comfort to seek out car shows at distant locals.
The 7-speed manual’s Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 15-City, 22-Highway, and 18-Combined will allow you to eat up plenty of miles or laps before pit stops are necessary. The 8-speed auto however, at 13-City, 21-Highway, and 16-Combined will get you a Gas Guzzler tax.
Still, base pricing of $78,995 clearly puts the Z06 in a class of its own, well below its purely exotic rivals. Convertibles sticker for 5-grand more. No other car on the road can even come close to matching this car’s level of performance for the price.
So while the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 may have been the ride we were eagerly looking forward to the most, and Chevrolet was gracious enough to oblige, AND it was everything we hoped it would be; it did get us thinking a bit… how awesome would a new ZR1 be?
- Engine: 6.2 liter
- Horsepower: 650
- Torque: 650 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 2.9 seconds
- EPA: 15 mpg city/ 22 mpg highway
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined