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The Corvette Battle – 2018 Stingray vs Z06

The Stingray and the Z06 are positioned at the opposite sides of the Corvette lineup – the Stingray being the entry level option and the Z06 the most hardcore version to date. So, which one should you buy?

The Corvette has been one of the most revered sports cars for decades now, with its distinctive styling, powerful V8 engine and well-earned reputation. The latest version of the car comes in several different models and trim levels which can make much of a difference both to the feeling behind the wheel and the cost involved. So, which should you buy – the Stingray or its beefier cousin the ZO6?

If money is not an issue, close this article and go buy the Z06. However, if you are a mere mortal like many aspiring Corvette owners, read on to see if the Z06 is actually worth the extra buck.

Both the Stingray and the Z06 fall under the current, seventh generation C7 Corvette. The C7 marks a major stylistic departure from the previous rounded forms, which upset many a purist. However, it also manages to successfully marry some nods to the old days (including the Stingray name for the first time since the early 1980s) and contemporary design cues inspired by the modern Camaro’s stylistic direction, creating an aggressive and unique body style.

Aside from the new, significantly sharper looks, the new design also advances aerodynamics, air flow and cooling, which inevitably improves the performance and dynamics of the Corvette. But more about that below.

What even the purists don’t mind is the fact that the C7 Corvette also marks a significant improvement in the luxury and comfort of the Corvette interior. The C7 Corvette is simply a lot better than the previous generation. The interior is more driver oriented, covered in fine materials, and with impeccable fit and finish.

The driver’s zone includes a racing-derived steering wheel, clear instruments, MyLink infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a massive, reassuring central console. The passenger enjoys the same levels of comfort and quality, but understandably lacks the control that the driver has. The elements that the passenger can use are the climate control settings for the right side of the vehicle, and a special handle grip for when the pedal goes to the metal.

Speaking of performance, it was expected that we would get more power in the new generation of Corvettes – and we have – but the dynamics of the new car greatly surpassed even the highest expectations. The C7 Corvette provides matching or better driving agility than that of some of the most desirable sports cars in the world. And yes, those sharp cuts on the design front help greatly.

Today we are in 2018 - the fourth model year of the C7. Just like many other stunning creations, it has aged rather well and it is now at that perfect point in its lifespan when its design is still fresh and up to date, while several years of fine tuning experience has made the 2018 model a true work of art.

All of the above stands true for both the 2018 Stingray and the 2018 Z06. But, let’s see what sets them apart.

The 2018 Corvette Stingray 

The 2018 Stingray employs a naturally aspirated small-block, LT1 V8 which produces 455 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque from 6.2 l of displacement. The engine is an engineering marvel – simple, yet modern, highly efficient and screams wonderfully in high revs.

It employs modern engineering solutions such as direct injection for improved fuel efficiency and power; variable valve timing for adaptive camshaft operation improving horsepower and torque over a wider rpm range; seamless cylinder deactivation tech which further improves fuel efficiency in low load conditions… all of this in a package made of heavy-duty, but weight-reducing materials.

The engine is paired with either a 7-speed manual with active rev matching, or an 8-speed automatic with a paddle-shifted manual mode. Both the engaging manual and the lightning-fast automatic work like a charm and complement the engine.

The C7 has a mode selector with 5 distinct driving modes, providing a change in character for the car that’s based on the weather conditions and driving functionality you need. Bad weather? No problem. Low on fuel? Go ECO. Need a boost? Choose the SPORT mode. The TRACK mode goes a notch higher, and turns the already capable machine into a proper beast. Or maybe you just want to cruise. Opt for the default TOUR mode and enjoy the comfort of a daily driver.

All of these features, and many more, translate to a 0-60 time of 3.7 s and an impressive quarter-mile time of 11.9 seconds. With awe inspiring stats like these, what could the more hardcore Z06 possibly bring to the table?

The 2018 Corvette Z06 – A beast on the road, and the track

Z06 is the most powerful production Corvette ever. Slap on the optional Z07 performance pack and it will sprint to 60 in 2.95 seconds, and cover the quarter-mile run in 10.95 seconds.

The improvement comes from a number of features including racing-based dry sump, titanium intake valves and electronic limited-slip differential for improved traction, stability and responsiveness. The Z06 also handles better, thanks to both advanced tech and 56 mm wider front and 80 mm wider rear, which creates a more aggressive stance and improves stability both for cornering and high-speed runs.  Engine, brakes, transmission and differential cooling and aerodynamics are improved through the use of larger, cleverly placed vents and two aero packages. The Z06 also has perfect 50/50 weight distribution, which makes handling even more precise and enjoyable.

Some of these features are available on the Stingray model as optional perks, and yet they do not make it as fast as the figures from above suggest. The main difference lies in something that the Stingray does not have even as an option.

A 1.7 l Eaton supercharger aided by a dual-brick air-to-liquid intercooler makes all the difference. The forced induction results in a massive boost in power reaching a very satisfying 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. That’s well above the base Stingray, making the Z06 a proper track beast – faster, more powerful, more responsive and precise!

Of course, both versions have a number of optional customization features with countless combinations to make your C7 Corvette unique, and tailored to suit your discerning style and needs.

So, with this all in mind, is the Corvette Z06 worth the extra buck? Hopefully this article was helpful, but you won’t truly know until you sit down in one and feel the power for yourself! Come on in to CMP Auto at 1313 – 36 Street N.E. in Calgary, give us a call at (403) 207-1000, or book a test drive today. We’ll make sure you get all the information you need to make the right decision, and drive away in style.


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