Car of the Year 2009: No. 6: Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

  • Photograph by Cordero Studios (www.corderostudios.com)
    Photograph by Cordero Studios (www.corderostudios.com)
  • Photograph by Cordero Studios (www.corderostudios.com)
    Photograph by Cordero Studios (www.corderostudios.com)
  • Photograph by Cordero Studios (www.corderostudios.com)
    Photograph by Cordero Studios (www.corderostudios.com)
  • Photograph by Cordero Studios (www.corderostudios.com)
    Photograph by Cordero Studios (www.corderostudios.com)
  • Photograph by Cordero Studios (www.corderostudios.com)
  • Photograph by Cordero Studios (www.corderostudios.com)
  • Photograph by Cordero Studios (www.corderostudios.com)
  • Photograph by Cordero Studios (www.corderostudios.com)
<< Back to Robb Report, March 2009
  • Gregory Anderson, Paul Dean and Marco R. della Cava

American Beauty
Perhaps General Motors could have avoided its current financial predicament if all of its products had been as stellar as the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. This car can lay rubber in third gear, at 100 mph, using nothing more sophisticated than a supercharger affixed to an old-technology pushrod engine. Performance aside, the ZR1’s low-rent interior is a painful reminder of Detroit’s decline. But slap some Pininfarina body cladding onto this model, add a shiny yellow horse to the steering wheel, and you would swear you were driving a Ferrari. So by all means, buy American; it may be your last chance. —Gregory Anderson

 

Euro-Vette
Chevrolet has built a Corvette with all the muscle, but without all the mindless machismo. Despite a stupendous top speed and crazy quickness from a supercharged 638 hp engine, the ZR1 actually drives smoothly, handles precisely, and stops securely. The interior looks like it was sourced to the lowest bidder, but there is a much higher level of cabin room and comfort. Conversely, the external lines and carbon-fiber accents and diffusers would be at home in an art gallery. Overall, the ZR1 may very well be the best European car built in America today. —Paul Dean

 

The Magic Dragon
The Corvette looms large in the history of the American automobile industry. For nearly six decades, motorists have seen it as more of a fire-breathing dragon than a mere machine that rolls off an assembly line.

The new ZR1 does not offer much in terms of looks; its design is a mild massaging of the basic shape Chevrolet has served up for a few decades now. Yet some drivers—particularly those who worship go over show—will find this Corvette distinct from its more down-market brethren. The comically powerful 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 delivers the instant the accelerator goes down. In fact, hitting the gas and going in anything but a straight line is an occasion for prayer. The dragon, it seems, is as ferocious as ever. —Marco R. della Cava

SPECIFICATIONS:

Configuration Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupe
Engine 6.2-liter supercharged V-8
Transmission 6-speed manual
Power 638 hp at 6,500 rpm
Torque 604 ft lbs at 3,800 rpm
Zero to 60 3.4 seconds
Top Speed 205 mph
Base Price $105,000
Price as Tested $115,000
Robb Report Rating 90
Chevrolet, www.chevrolet.com

From Around the Web...
 Photo by Darin Schnabel ©RM Sotheby's
A 1939 Alfa Romeo Touring Spider and a 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta are priced in the millions…
Jaguar joins the luxury crossover frenzy with the all-new 2017 F-Pace, and we take it for a spin…
Independent designer Paul Breshke reveals his vision for the marque’s next star vehicle…
A 600 hp river monster, the latest themed SUV from Bentley is no fish story…
Photo by Jun Song
The luxury marque and hotel brand team up to offer exclusive driving experiences around the world…
The $244,500 SUV displays design elements inspired by the British gun maker's bespoke firearms...
Collectively, these cars comprise the legacy and legend of the master marque…
Able to travel 19 mph, the cutting-edge cart features touchscreen controls and a refrigerator…
The meticulously maintained roadster is one of only 25 released that year...
One of only four examples built, it was the first to hit 186.4 mph at Le Mans’ Mulsanne Straight…