I have to preface this with a disclaimer, that I am already in love with the car, and anything I might say after this might lean towards over-emotional pontificating. However, I will attempt to maintain an impartial perspective. Let’s see how well I do.
I also have to shout to Craig and Robert over at the Earnhardt Cadillac dealership, they were the nicest people to talk to and Robert, who took the test drive with me, had lots of fun stories about various cars at various dealerships, and printed out the technical featureset for the Chevy from his database for me. I told them flat out I wasn’t going to pull the trigger, and they both got this slight grin on their face. I think they knew I might be coming back.
TL;DR The car is insanely good. I’m in love.
Vajazzle Rating: A++
Quoted from the bottom of this:
If the IS-F was a sommelier that never skips leg day, the Z06 is all of Seal Team Six trapped in a gymnast’s body. It radiates power like Thanos while wearing the Infinity Gauntlet. It barks its actions like a samurai in an action anime. It obliterates tires and lap records, cures depression, and tells everyone else you’re either insane or terrified.
What follows is a wall of text formatted in rambling narrative and partial Q&A format.
This is the car. It is a Arctic White 2016 Chevy Corvette Z06 with the 3LZ trim. It’s got a bit over 16,000 miles on it and sitting inside of it, it still looks pretty darn new.
You complained about the C7 base’s interior before. Is the Z06 interior better?
It’s hard to tell from these terrible photos I took, but the 3LZ package adds this faux carbon fiber and Alcatara fabric literally anywhere your arms are, and it actually helps with the cheap feeling that I’d gotten from the base C7 which was a 1LT. They put the carbon fiber on the wheel bottom, above the dash gauges, around the central display screen, and Alcantara everywhere, and it actually helps. I did not think it would matter as much as it did, but it did significantly help the look and feel inside.
Sitting in it, I felt like I was sitting on a position of power. The seat was comfortable enough with the bolsters that it didn’t punish my kidneys, squeeze my pelvis, or destroy my spine. I also had memory seat settings, and upon opening the door to exit the car, the chair did pull back to make egress easier.
The start/stop button and the e-brake button are still both pretty flimsy, but wait until I tell you why I don’t care.
After Robert started the car, I just sat in it for a little while, fiddling with the menu buttons on the touch screen, setting up the driver’s seat for a 5'6" baby-legged toddler-man such as myself.
The non-OEM shift knob is fine. Turns out, in the glove box, I can screw the original one from the car back on anytime I want. The white one actually looks great and fits the car well.
I did notice that somebody scraped up the splitter on the front bumper. The ride height is not high. That’s definitely a wear item, and something I’d have to watch out for. The paint itself I checked for a while all around the car, but I couldn’t find any issue with it. There might be miniscule paint chips on the lower front. The wheels were also perfect, with zero trace of curb rash. So this front splitter is pretty much the only thing that looked messed up. It’s plastic, too, so that might just be able to come off and put on one of the carbon fiber ones if you really wanted to. Honestly, from about 5 feet, you can’t even tell.
I found out later that the car had been used as an event car. That means, that when they have golf tournaments and stuff, this car was loaned out to someone either rich or professionally playing or both while they attended the event. There is literally an entry on the sheet Robert gave me that indicates that the car had never been tracked, so the worst part of it all must have been taken out on that front splitter.
Someone already wore out the original OEM rear tires. Those will have to be replaced.
Did you take pics of the trunk this time?
Yeah, here. The trunk is a shelf behind the seats, and is about a foot deep from the glass’ lowest point.
There’s a neat little cubby hole on the side of the trunk which isa little over half a foot deep also. It would be handy to keep little trinkets or phones or something away from prying eyes.
Is the multi function screen easy to use?
The car has the Mylink Audio system with Nav which I didn’t even try, Bluetooth, USB ports, a button to slide down the screen so you can access the cubby behind it, as well as Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
The car screen menus are still inscrutable to me. Honestly, it’s probably the least important part of the car. The sound system sounds fine but doesn’t come anywhere close to Lexus quality. And you know what - unless you’re on a road trip jamming out to tunes with the top off, don’t bother. The car itself is a symphony of GM small block engine sounds.
I found out that the car also has a 4G LTE signal. I could connect, tunnel in, and actually do work in the passenger seat while Randy Pobst slings me around Road America. That would be a trip!
But does it sound like shit?
The forced induction GM small block sounds pretty darn good. It’s like someone took the Yamaha head based short block 5.0L V8 from my IS-F, made it very angry, sealed it in a cage, and then threw in a Subaru EJ25 engine with UEL headers gone apeshit with adrenaline injections and made them kick box each other. This raging, snarling beast of an engine told me exactly what I thought of it at any time I asked it to cooperate. Pitiful human, it cried. I am the heavens’ charge given form in EXPLOSION. TREMBLE AT MY MIGHT!
To its credit, I did tremble just a smidge every time I gave it a shoeful of throttle.
Weirdly, no matter how much I flogged it, I couldn’t hear the supercharger whine. Which is kind of an odd thing for the car to be choosy about, but the whine is barely present even at full tilt. Like my wife, some people don’t like the whine. I don’t mind it, but I did appreciate that I wasn’t forced to hear it all the time.
Can you see out of it?
Front visibility is impressively good for a modern car. Is it a fighter cockpit like the NSX was? No. But the long nose is decently visually unobtrusive, the A pillars are way thinner than the ones in my Lexus, and you can even see a decent chunk of the road out of the Auto-dimming mirror through the rear window. The hump from the supercharger in the hood does not even affect visibility. You can actually see. It was great.
The HUD is in color and it was amazing. I couldn’t get a clear photo of it. to be honest, seeing through it isn’t as important as I thought it was going to be. Watching the road and figuring out what gear you should be in in order to not explode took much higher precedence.
I do have a mild objection here.
You’re fucking kidding.
The side mirrors are actually pretty small, and there is no blind spot monitoring. Visibility is rather poor if you’re trying to check your blind spot, so your mirror game has to be on point. They won’t fold in automatically, either, so be sure you’re clearing whatever you plan to drive closely around. Sorry I didn’t grab a photo of the mirror while I was driving around, so here’s a linked photo from the internet.
Did you struggle with the manual transmission?
I’m glad that I first tried a manual base C7. The transmission shifts in the Z06 are clearly the same as the shift points on the 7 speed base Z51. 2 and 6 are still slightly longer than the other throws, and I did manage to miss the 1-2 shift once at the beginning of the drive. I do now have the hang of it pretty well, and it’s almost becoming second nature. It is true what they say; it’s just like fucking a bicycle.
This dash will tell you what gear you are in so if you miss a shift you will know for sure visually, not to mention the engine revving suspiciously hard while you go nowhere. The shifts are not gated Ferrari crisp snick-snick, but shifts are solid and reasonably clear. The clutch engagement point is not hard, tall, and smooth. I don’t think I’ll ever stall this car.
Honestly in first gear I don’t know if it’s POSSIBLE to stall this car.
Tell us how it drives, already.
The thing, in a word, is majestic. It is majestic in the same way that a soaring bald eagle is majestic. It is majestic in the way fields of grain on farmland blow in the breeze in a Ridley Scott movie while Russell Crowe dies and some lady sings a wordless dirge.
I put the car in Reverse (first accidentally putting it in 6, reach longer, Padawan!) and the backup camera activated seamlessly. Turning the wheel turns the line track that the backup camera displays, that’s all pretty normal. Nothing remarkable to report there. However, when I shifted back in to first, the front bumper cameras came on, and that was when I realized that I HAD to have them. The center 8" screen splits into 3 parts. Top half shows the bumper and splitter top down view, and the bottom half is split into two for the side cameras that illuminate the edges at an angle. There are guide lines which don’t move, but at this point, if you hit the splitter or front bumper on something, it’s not the car’s fault.
I have to reiterate again, that I need this. I’ve gone without this too long. I deserve this.
Seriously, tell us how it drives, already!!
Robert told me about 4-5 other people (this is heavy season due to Barrett Jackson and other events) had expressed interest in the car and he had a route in Scottsdale all mapped out. Over about 3-5 miles, I went through side streets almost banally, chatting with Robert, and then went on the Loop 101 here and really gave it the beans before coming back the same way we left.
The engine let out a little grumble as I let out the clutch and pulled out of the parking lot. The seats cupped my ass and body in a comfortable way. I turned the wheel and it felt a little lighter than the steering in the Lexus, but I could still feel the road communicating through it. In comparison, the Lexus steering feedback is dead, and the Corvette’s steering was like watching a telegraph start to jump up and down with a signal from a station thought to be long dead. I felt things through my fingertips that I haven’t felt in years.
I felt like a king in the middle of traffic. With the road and day to day Scottsdale traffic in front of me, it was perfectly serene. I was sitting lower in the car than my neighbors in traffic, and I put it in 5th gear and it still had some pull to it, enough that I had to hit the brakes a little harder than usual stopping at a red light. People saw me. They gave me deference. It was an awesome feeling, especially as normally drivers in Scottsdale consider traffic a zero-sum game.
The ride is firm, but it’s actually softer than the IS-F. If you kept it in touring or eco (ha!) mode, and only used a tenth of the throttle, you could almost believe you were driving a lowered modern Civic or something. It was just incredibly chill and relaxed. Idling in traffic with this thing was easier than it was in the STI I used to drive. The turn signals work just like regular Chevy turn signals. Nothing is shouting at you or punishing you for driving around in it.
“No wonder this is such a midlife crisis car,” I mused.
Robert turned on the seat chillers then and my balls immediately dropped in temperature 5 degrees. The response was immediate. We tested the seat heaters as well, and they’re really effective. Keep in mind that the high temp in Scottsdale was 73 degrees F today, in late January and the A/C was strong and the seat heaters fast and warm. This is how I know that my wife will like this car.
Aside from the engine, you still hear the road noise pretty evidently. However, in the right drive mode, you don’t feel it, and that’s the MagneRide working. I can not sell this enough - I don’t think I want to ever drive a street legal sports car without it ever again. I also do not want to see the repair bill from those going out of whack, though.
We turned onto the local 101 onramp, and I put it in 2nd and yelled “I’m gonna push it!” What happened next was an exercise in colonic strength.
I put my foot down on the throttle at around 1800 rpm and in Sport mode, the rear end started to dance, and I just went. Immediately. The HUD and dashboard rev counter flew. I spotted the boost gauge in the corner of the dash just flipping out, scrabbling for the positive flow levels like a cat caught in the shower.
A hoarse “Sweet Jesus!” emerged from my mouth followed by “I got it, I got it.” as the car was still fishtailing. By the time I managed to get these words out I was already at 70 and upshifting to third. I know I short shifted for sure; but it didn’t matter, as I was blowing off my legs in a torque minefield. We cleared the take-your-turn stoplights (not active on the weekends) at the end of the onramp and was doing 110, and I did in 3/4ths of the time of the Lexus would at full tilt.
Let’s keep in mind this all happened in the span of about six or seven seconds. I have never, ever uttered a Sweet Jesus in any other car ride or drive I have ever had, and I’ve driven the gen 2 NSX, a Mustang Terminator, and a previous gen NASCAR. You don’t call a car like this that flirts so dramatically with the supercar universe fast.
What this car does is try to squeeze out your shit and leave it behind through the application of engine crankshaft revolutions.
I braked, merged docilely on the freeway and found some empty space in the three miles or so Robert gave me.
I tried a pull in 3rd. Manic.
I tried a pull in 4th. Epic.
I tried a pull in 5th. Muscular.
This is warp speed. 110 in this car feels like 80 in the IS-F, which feels like 40 in a regular car. The world can be a blur for as long as you keep gas in the tank and the police don’t figure out what you’re doing. This car is wasted on the old men who wind up buying these things.
The manual shifter feels right. The clutch feels pliant and comfortable. The gas pedal has a short but satisfying and controllable travel. You can see out of it. The seat fits you. The HUD works. The cabin feels nice. Put all these things together, and you can use your hands and feet to literally bend spacetime in 5 gears, anywhere.
And if you don’t want to do that, you can drive it like an old man like I see all the other C7s on the road doing. Holy fuck - this is Batmobile shit.
If the IS-F was a sommelier that never skips leg day, the Z06 is all of Seal Team Six trapped in a gymnast’s body. It radiates power like Thanos while wearing the Infinity Gauntlet. It barks its actions like a samurai in an action anime. It ruins tires, cures depression, and tells everyone else you’re either insane or terrified.
By the time I pulled back into the dealer lot, I was completely and utterly smitten. I haven’t felt this good since I met my wife. Even the first drive in the Lexus pales in comparison to what this car can do, and the first ride I had in the IS-F was transformative to my automotive palate.
I really truly feel like this car can do anything. I really truly feel like I can do anything in this car. And in that sense, it is perfect.
Okay, give me the lists.
Things I loved
- The powertrain and stick shift
- the 3LT and Carbon Fiber and Suede packages
- FUCKING SPEED
- The wheels are pretty cool
Things I hated
- Uh..... I guess the inevitable wear item replacement cost?
Things I didn’t like but don’t give a shit about anymore
- Side mirrors are small
- Car entertainment system is complex and fiddly
- Trunk is a bit shallow.
- Side visibility is compromised.
Vajazzle Rating: A++
I WILL buy this car. Now it’s a matter of when.
If you’re here, thanks for reading, Oppo. It was a lot of fun. I haven’t felt this buoyant in years.
Anyone want to buy a 2010 IS-F?