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2015 Corvette Z06 is maker's most powerful convertible ever

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Chevy's drop-top supercar

Published: April 13, 2014, 1:00 AM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 2:41 PM

2015 chevy corvette z06 convertible

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Chevy introduced its most powerful convertible ever in New York this week when it took the wraps off the 2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible. With 625 hp (at least) and 635 lb.-ft. of torque, the drop-top Vette is "a world-class supercar in every sense," according to Mark Reuss, executive v-p of Global Product Development. "Only a handful of convertibles in the world bring more than 600 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque. Even fewer can match the advanced technologies, aerodynamic design, and visceral driving experience of the Z06 Convertible." We usually chalk up such nonsense as PR prattle, but hey, it's a Corvette, it's a convertible, and we're already inclined to agree.

The new Z06 Convertible is the first to be offered since 1963, when the special badge was an option package for endurance racing. Only 199 Vettes with the Z06 package were ordered that year, according to Chevy, and only one was a convertible.

Chief engineer Tadge Jeuchter says such a lightweight, open-roof structure that could cope with the braking, cornering and acceleration of the Vette's top-performance models wasn't possible until recently, when contemporary computer-aided engineering, metallurgy and manufacturing techniques paved the way, so to speak.

The curb weight of the convertible is nearly the same as that of the coupe, and no structural reinforcements were needed. It took more than four year to develop the all-new, all-aluminum structure for the seventh-generation Corvette.

“We wanted a frame that was lighter than the steel frame of the previous Corvette, yet strong enough for both a 600-horsepower convertible and a 24-hour endurance racer,” said Ed Moss, engineering group manager for Corvette structures. “That would not have been possible without improvements in computer-aided engineering software, which allowed us to model more than 17,000 frame iterations, with each iteration improving strength and stiffness, while reducing mass.” It took the team almost 186,000 computational hours of modelling to develop the frame.

A unique grille features dedicated brake-cooling intakes and wider grille outlets on the bottom serving as air diffusers. To avoid creating lift, a larger hood vent lets air driven through the grille exit through the hood.

The convertible features a steel-reinforced grab bar on the centre console for the passenger, and soft-touch materials for the driver on the edge of the console, details that first appeared on the Stingray. Like the Stingray, it also comes in two seating choice: a more comfortable GT and a more aggressively bolstered Competition Sport seat for better support on the track.

Under the hood is an all-new LT4 6.2L supercharged V8, and the same direct injection, cylinder deactivation and CVVT as the Stingray.