The 2015 Corvette Z06 coupé already features a removable targa roof, but that didn’t stop Chevrolet from unveiling in New York what must be the most extreme open-top variant of the esteemed American sports car ever built – the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible.
This is the first Corvette cabrio to wear the Z06 badge since the lone ’63 unit fitted with the Z06 package, and features the same track-spec enhancements fitted to the coupé. This includes the hardcore aerodynamic package inspired by the C7.R racer – with its assortment of scoops, spoilers and fender flares – as well as lightweight aluminium wheels (19 inches at the front, 20 rear) shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres measuring 285/30 at the front and a massive 335/25 at the rear.
One notable change concerns the intakes for the differential and transmission coolers, which had to be moved from the tops of the rear fenders to the underbody due to the power-operated roof mechanism which, incidentally, can be operated at speeds up to 50 km/h.
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The mechanicals have also been carried over from the coupé, including the 6.2 litre direct-injected LT4 supercharged V8 delivering “at least” 625 hp and 861 Nm, the option of a seven-speed manual transmission or a new eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters, beefy Brembo steel brakes, the electronic limited slip differential and the highly-tuned suspension with standard magnetic dampers.
As with the coupé, there is also an optional Z07 package that can be fitted to the car, which adds even more aggressive aerodynamic addenda, Sport Cup 2 semi-slick tyres as well as carbon ceramic brakes.
Why a convertible now after all these years? Because of the advancements in computer-aided design, metallurgy and manufacturing processes which Chevrolet claims were not available even five years ago, which meant that the open-roofed aluminium structure could remain lightweight without compromising on strength (it is 20% stiffer than the previous coupé-only Z06). Because there was no structural strengthening required, the company claims the weight is “nearly identical” to the coupé.