Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Review: 2009 'Vette will put a smile on your face
Scott Burgess / The Detroit News
This is one mean machine. General Motors Corp. on Wednesday took the wraps off the much-anticipated 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 -- the fastest production vehicle ever built by GM.
The new 'Vette will be showcased next month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It won't come cheap when it hits the market next year: The price tag is expected to be just under $100,000.
The 620-horsepower limited-edition Corvette is based on the performance Z06 Corvette, but better. Under its carbon fiber hood is GM's new LS9 engine -- eight cylinders of pure supercharged power.
The 6.2-liter small block uses a sixth-generation Eaton supercharger to crank out 585 pound-feet of torque. That torque helps the ZR1 fly from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds.
Tom Stephens, GM North America vice president of Powertrain, said the ZR1 accelerates more like a motorcycle than a car.
"This was the first time I have driven a car that gives me that sport motorcycle feeling," said Stephens. "You can't help but get out of it with a smile on your face."
The technical details of the aluminum LS9 boggle the mind. The 12.5 quart dry-sump oiling system is able to keep the engine lubricated at more than 200 mph. The titanium connecting rods, four-layer steel head gaskets and forged aluminum pistons all help create this power plant.
Those are the details the gearheads will relish.
Everyone else will just love the way it blasts off, handles and looks
"You've got an engine here that puts out like a race car engine, but better," Stephens said.
Without dramatically changing the overall shape of the Z06 -- the front carbon-fiber fenders with ZR1 twin vents were widened to accommodate the 19-inch wheels there -- designers were able to toughen up an already mean-looking racer.
"There is nothing subtle about the ZR1," said Kirk Bennion, exterior design manager. "It is a car that isn't shy about its capability."
While the front fascia is shared with the Z06, the brake cooling ducts were revised to keep the 15.5-inch carbon-ceramic front rotors cool.
The ZR1 features exposed carbon fiber pieces on its roof, rocker moldings and front splitter. They serve a unique cosmetic purpose and also reduce the weight of the vehicle to enhance performance.
Two versions of the ZR1 will be available when it goes on sale next summer: A base model outfitted like a ZO6 and an upgraded interior package that includes unique power-adjusted leather sport seats and Bluetooth connectivity.
Luv that American muscle!!!