Corvette ZR1

US bruiser takes fight to Europe’s supercars.

The Corvette has always been fun but it’s never rivalled the best European supercars from Ferrari and Porsche. Well, the ZR1 does just that. It’s a true American muscle car but is also bang up-to-date, with the latest materials and technology – and incredible performance. The only problem is the price, which makes the already extremely capable £60,000 Z06 look like a bargain…

As with the Tesla Roadster, the Corvette ZR1 is a sports car from the land of the stars and stripes – but that’s there the similarities end!

Powered by a 647bhp 6.2-litre supercharged V8, it’s mean, not green. And with a 205mph top speed, it is the fastest Corvette ever. The ZR1 also replaces the usual steel chassis with a super-stiff, lightweight aluminium and magnesium construction.

Carbon fibre panels, ceramic brakes and electro-magnetic adaptive dampers complete the package. The hand- built engine gives phenomenal performance. The ZR1 races from 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds and 0-100mph in 7.0 seconds.

As you are thrown back in your seat, exhaust valves open up at full throttle, releasing a hard-edged V8 roar. The ride is firm, but cruising is good: the combination of that big engine and long gearing means relaxed motorway progress.

Head to the track, select ‘Sport’ and you can really unleash the beast. Grip levels are amazing, as the front end scythes into corners.

There’s no body roll, and the brakes have fabulous stopping ability. The steering is meaty – if not full of feedback – and as a whole the package is extremely good. As usual with Corvettes the cabin is well equipped, but of average quality. All in all, though, the ZR1 is deeply impressive – yet it’s also very expensive, at £100,000. GM expects to sell less than 50 cars a year in the UK!

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