Corvette ZR-1

Car details navigation

Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1

Road Test

Corvette ZR-1 Coupe

Driven September 2009

Additional Info

Depressed? You need a ZR-1. Guaranteed to banish the blues, lift your mood and plaster a whacking great smile on your face. Life-affirming like you wouldn't believe. You could just burn around for an hour a day and your life would be complete, forget the meds.

Find an open road, use all that throttle and it's in a different league to everything bar a 599. Here in the UK, you've got to watch your speed - 100mph is far too easy. The supercharger whine is the dominant noise below 3,000rpm, but surge past that point and a valve opens in the exhaust to let the V8 dominate - and sets your giggles loose. It's a power trip, a V8 endorphin pill.

For those that need facts to validate the feelings, no problem: 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds with 100mph flashing past in 7.0 dead. Top whack is 205mph. Enough.

All this is courtesy of the 6.2-litre V8 engine that's the same size as in the C6 'Vette, but this time with a supercharger hoiking the power up to 638bhp and the torque to 604lb ft (from 430bhp and 424lb ft). The weight has been kept down a reasonable 1,500kg, so those are some mightily frightening figures. A standing start will see you fry the rears in first, second and even a little bit of third. And that's on a dry road, with rear tyres that are twice as wide as a Golf's.

In an odd way, this is almost a wolf in sheep's clothing simply because the ZR-1 looks so similar to the basic C6, bar that perspex panel in the bonnet. Don't confuse that with a lack of tech on the ZR-1 though. The chassis has been totally re-engineered, so instead of a steel chassis and plastic panels, you get an aluminium and magnesium frame with carbon clothes. That keeps the weight down and where a lot of your £106,605 goes.

It certainly didn't go into the cabin, as this is still clichéd-Americana. Lots of leather, yes, but little in the way of actual sophistication. And there's not a huge amount of headroom, either.

But don't be Euro-snobbish about the transverse leaf spring suspension - it works brilliantly with the Magnetic Selective Ride Control on UK roads. It's genuinely surprising how well it rides and how well it maintains grip - even in Sport there's a compliance and maturity to the ride that'll widen your eyes. Hard cornering is flat and predictable and even though its a wide car and only available in left-hand drive, it's not intimidating to drive quickly because there's enough feel through the seat and steering wheel. It's brilliant. Buy this, chuck the Prozac away.

Piers Ward

Now share it...

Latest road tests

9/10 Corvette ZR-1 ZR-1
October 2008

What do you think?

This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. Please read Top Gear's code of conduct (link below) before posting.

Search Corvette ZR-1 for sale