American Exotic: The 2023 C8 Corvette Z06 is an 8,600RPM 670hp Naturally Aspirated V8 Screamer
When Chevrolet debuted the radically redesigned, mid-engined C8 Corvette for the 2020 model year, the consensus was (and still is) that GM had built a more affordable, American take on the mid-engined supercar.
And while the C8 has turned out to be every bit the performance machine we'd hoped, there were some who said its 6.2 liter, 495 horsepower V8 was a bit "vanilla." So today Chevy introduced a higher grade Corvette with a powertrain that more than backs up the C8's exotic shape.
We are talking of course about the 2023 Corvette Z06, a car that GM has been teasing for months now and one that's been surrounded with speculation since the debut of C8 platform back in 2019.
As with previous iterations of the Z06, the C8 version is immediately identifiable as a Corvette, but with one that looks noticeably meaner. Compared to the standard C8 Sting Ray, the Z06 has a stance 3.6 inches wider, more aggressive front and rear fascias, a larger rear wing, unique suspension tuning and larger brakes, just to name a few.
Meet the LT6
But it's in the engine bay where it truly departs from the standard C8. That's where you'll find a brand new V8 engine dubbed the LT6, which displaces just 5.5 liters but takes the 2023 Z06 into a radical new era of performance.
There are no superchargers or turbochargers here. Instead, the dry-sump LT6 uses a flat-plane crankshaft and new DOHC cylinder heads to deliver high-revving, naturally aspirated horsepower with a soundtrack all its own.
The engine makes 670 horsepower, an astonishing figure given its small displacement, along with 460 pound feet of torque. And it has a redline of 8,600 RPM.
Race Car Roots
GM has actually been using a version of the LT6 in its C8.R Corvette race cars for a couple years now, and it's used the data from that program to develop the street version of the engine.
The gearbox for all Z06s will be an eight-speed dual clutch automatic similar to the one used in the Sting Ray, but it has been retuned with shorter ratios to better keep the high-winding V8 in its powerband.
The whole theme of the 2023 Z06 is race track pedigree, and for those buyers looking to take their cars even further there's also a Z07 Package that includes carbon fiber aero parts, different suspension tuning, track-ready tires, Brembo carbon ceramic brakes and optional carbon fiber wheels— 20x10 in the front and 20x13 in the rear.
A Guranteed Sell-Out?
Chevy hasn't announced pricing info for the C8 Z06, but at this point it may not matter. The regular C8 is still subject to long waitlists, dealer markup and other difficulties all made worse by the current parts shortages.
And given just how impressive this car looks and we imagine they will have no trouble moving every Z06 they can build for the foreseeable future, no matter the MSRP.
More From Driving Line
The C8 Z06 looks incredible, but we've still got a soft spot for the C6 Z06 and its massive 7.0 liter engine. Check out this tastefully built example here.