I recently went to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, in order to see a Corvette. Actually, I should say that Chevrolet flew me to Dubai in order to show me a Corvette. But the point still stands: I flew 12 and a half hours and a few days later, I was in a room with a bright orange Corvette that was making very, very loud noises.
This Corvette is the all-new 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1, and it’s now the most powerful and fastest Corvette in history. Chevy revealed it for the very first time here in Dubai, and now I’m showing it to you — or, at least, I’m showing you whatever I can from the short time I had to poke around the car. Hopefully, a full review will come later. Hopefully, this includes a drive.
I say this because the new ZR1 must be quite impressive to drive. It has a new 6.2-liter supercharged V8, and Chevy says it’s making all of 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque — meaning that it has 117 horsepower more than the previous Corvette ZR1, and 105 horsepower more than the current Z06. Think about that for a second: the Z06 does 0-to-60 in 3.0 seconds… and the ZR1 has 105 more horsepower. Needless to say, I think it’s going to be a bit of a thrill on the roads.
But beyond the obvious — it’s got massive power and it’s going to be incredibly fast — there are a couple of other interesting things worth noting about the Corvette ZR1. I’ll start with the wing: It’s huge. Truly huge. I don’t know how huge, but they’ve lifted it so high it basically stands above the car’s roofline in order to catch wind and truly function properly. Admittedly, this is the optional “high wing” that comes with the ZTK Performance Package; you can also get a “low wing” that’s a lot less ridiculous. But you may want the high wing, because it provides a massive 950 pounds of downforce — and it can be adjusted up to five degrees, meaning that drivers can change its shape to get their ultimate track setup. Unfortunately, this isn’t done automatically, with the push of a button inside the car, but rather manually by loosening a few screws on the wing itself.
Speaking of the ZTK Performance Package, it includes several upgrades: the aforementioned high wing, along with enhanced suspension tuning, a more aggressive front splitter, and improved performance tires for better grip. All Corvette ZR1 models come standard with carbon ceramic brakes and magnetic ride control suspension, regardless of whether you get the ZTK package — and all ZR1 models include a removable carbon fiber roof panel (meaning it isn’t a full coupe) along with standard 7-speed manual and optional 8-speed automatic transmissions.
All ZR1 models also come standard with another cool detail: a hood with a giant hole in the middle. Yes, the hood of the ZR1 is basically one giant donut, and the middle is simply empty — meaning the engine itself sticks up through the hood and out into the open (though it’s topped with a smart-looking piece of carbon fiber). I asked Chevy why they did this, and they told me an interesting story: The most memorable design detail of the prior ZR1 was a little window in the hood so you could see the engine — but everyone made fun of the window, saying the engine cover underneath it looked like cheap plastic. And so, in the words of Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter, “We said ‘the hell with the window’ — we’re just going to let the engine come right through the hood.”
And so they did. According to the folks at Chevy, you can see this part of the engine shaking and vibrating as you drive down the road — more than a little unusual for a modern car, and more than a little cool for a modern muscle car.
So that’s the basic gist of the ZR1 — and unfortunately I don’t know more details to share with you. Chevy hasn’t shared the 0-to-60 time with me, for instance, or the price. What I do know is this thing will surely do 0-to-60 in under 3 seconds (probably somewhere around 2.7), and I suspect it’ll have a starting price somewhere around $120,000, or maybe a little higher, with well-equipped versions likely running into the $140,000 range. That’s a lot of money for a Corvette — but then, this isn’t exactly any regular ol’ Corvette.
Also published on Medium.