Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2024 finalist

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The quintessential American sports car returns to the Best Car To Buy competition, and finalists’ circle, after the C8 Corvette was named Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2021 and the C7 Corvette ZR1 was named Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2019. Can Chevy go three for three?

The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 features a special engine that acts like it came from an exotic Italian automaker. The new 5.5-liter V-8 elevates the Corvetteto a new stratosphere.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

The flat-plane crank LT6 V-8 is a screamer that produces 670 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. That makes it the most powerful naturally aspirated production V-8 ever. When it was strapped to a dyno, this engine delivered 610 hp and 419 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. 

The power is notable, but it’s the exhaust sound and the way the engine revs that really give the Z06 that something extra. The unique crank helps the engine breathe and rev better, and unlocks its wild scream. It’s thrilling as it winds up to its 8,600-rpm redline. Senior Editor Kirk Bell said it heaps sound and fury on an exotic design.

With a top speed of 195 mph, the latest Z06 can’t match the last-generation Corvette ZR1s 212-mph top speed. But it rockets from 0-60 mph in a wild 2.6 seconds and runs the quarter-mile in 10.6 seconds at 130 mph. For those keeping track, the ZR1 hit 60 mph in 2.85 seconds and covered the quarter mile in 10.8 seconds despite having more firepower.

When the mid-engine Corvette claimed this award in 2021 we noted the chassis felt as if it were designed to handle more power. That’s because it was. The latest Z06 with the LT6 engine fixes that issue.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Some enthusiasts will be disappointed that the Z06 only comes with an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. It’s the same automatic transmission mounted in the Corvette Stingray, but here it has a shorter 5.56 final drive ratio for quicker acceleration. It’s incredibly responsive and keeps power at the ready in any scenario. Unlike the Corvette E-Ray, the Z06 sticks with rear-wheel drive.

The exterior design is wider with larger intakes both up front and on the sides for more cooling and better breathing. Chevrolet lets Z06 owners take a Choose Your Own Adventure path when it comes to carbon-fiber bits, which can be optioned separately and are available painted or unpainted.

It can all be wrapped together with the Z07 Performance Package, which swaps in even more track-ready suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes, and sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2R tires.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Inside, the Z06 differs little from other C8 Corvettes. The driver and passenger are separated by a large center console wall. More than a dozen Chiclet-like buttons for the climate controls line that wall, and it’s confusing at best to use the buttons while on the move. The controls and  touchscreen are angled sharply toward the driver. The steering wheel is a squircle to ensure a clear view of the digital gauge cluster.

The Z06 isn’t perfect, but it’s not terribly far off. It doesn’t have the cachet of a Porsche or a Ferrari, and its interior can’t match their quality. Getting in and out can be a chore for the New Balance crowd because this thing sits low and has steeply raked A-pillars. There isn’t a lot of cargo space, there’s no manual transmission, and while the base price of $113,190 is a flat out supercar steal, it’s far more than the $106,395 starting price a year ago. Our loaded test car cost $160,595, which felt expensive and yet completely acceptable for the performance.

Is an American-made exotic with one of the best sounding exhaust notes on sale today enough to clinch the win? Will a Corvette be the first nameplate to win this competition three times? Will the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 be named Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2024 over America’s muscle car, a Japanese hot hatch, a high-performance electric sedan, and a German sport coupe? Check back Jan. 3 when we reveal the winner, along with the champs from our sister sites, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports.