Yupp, you read the title right. A Corvette is being compared to a McLaren. Nearly twenty years ago, that thought would have been laughable at best, since the Corvette has always been regarded as a performance bargain that lacked the sophistication and specs to be a real supercar killer. But that’s all changed with the seventh-generation Corvette, especially that the C7 Corvette Z06 has been proven to be more than worthy of the supercar title, without the supercar price. We experienced just this first hand during our drive of the beast.
So, Automobile pitted the 2015 Corvette Z06 against the McLaren 650S. The two cars gear up for a classic road trip, where the drivability and performance were measured on city streets and then tested upon arrival at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway. Immediately, it’s apparent the Z06 is not the Z06 it was twenty years ago, hell even ten years ago. As Automobile puts it:
I flattened the gas pedal. And my world… changed. A certain lower abdominal aperture instantly hung out a sign that said, “We’re closed.” My ears fainted. Passing trees melted. Distant farmhouses flew at me as if hurled by Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw. The Z06’s epic LT4 engine evokes all sorts of acceleration comparisons: aircraft-carrier catapult shots, missile launches, paparazzi catching sight of Charlie Sheen. None of them does it justice. This is a burst of speed that’s sudden and fierce.
Not a terrible first impression by any stretch, but supercar killers aren’t just born by speed. They must perform well on the track. And the Z06 does that too, holding its own with grip for days made possible by an astounding suspension and assisted by the Michelin Super Sport Pilot rubber. The Z06 comes off as balanced, with computers cutting in only when things get really sloppy. And the car should feel balanced and in control, because it was born alongside the C7.R. Isn’t it great when racing programs trickle down to passenger vehicles? Why, yes it is.
All of these kind words aren’t to say the McLaren didn’t hold its own. After all, the British high-performance car company does build F1 cars, so there’s a certain level of expectation that their road-going offerings would benefit from years of experience and finesse. Automobile says that the car provides an endless amount of feedback from the wheels, thereby empowering the driver to put the rubber exactly where he or she desires.
So, how does the American underdog do? Well, to be honest, the results are a tad inconclusive. In our society of winners and losers, it’s rare there be a tie. But, the fact a Corvette held its own against a McLaren should be a win in Chevrolet’s books. We won’t spoil the entire writeup, but we hope GM is treating Corvette engineers very well after results like these. Read it all here.