We had a lot of little things to tell you about Chevrolet's updates to the 2018 Corvette, but 2019 brings bigger news -- the return of the ZR1.
That alphanumeric combination is almost mythical in Corvette circles, representing the highest level of performance available in a sports car model that has practically become a brand in its own right. For its latest iteration, the ZR1 boasts a supercharged 6.2L V8 (dubbed LT5) that boasts 755 hp and 715 lb-ft of torque. Yes, that's more power than Dodge's Hellcat models make.
Also notable is the fact that this will be the first ZR1 ever to be offered with an automatic transmission, an eight-speed that serves as an option to the standard seven-speed manual.
Harnessing that power is a trim-specific aerodynamic setup that produces 70 per cent(!) more downforce than the Z06's body, but an optional adjustable wing can add up to another 431 kg of downforce to add high-speed stability and improve track lap times while sacrificing some top speed.
The ZR1 is the cherry on top of what was already a very capable sports car that starts out with Stingray and Grand Sport models (455 hp/460 lb-ft) and also includes the Z06 with its own supercharged V8 good for 650 hp and 650 lb-ft.
Grand Sport trim adds five hp and some chassis bits from the top-end Z06 to create a more track-focused car with better tires, six-piston front brakes, electronically controlled differential and the magnetic ride suspension.
While the ZR1 will be the performance king with a sub-3.0-second 0-96 km/h (0-60 mph) acceleration sprint, the base and GS models are formidable accelerators too, capable of a 3.9-second lunge to that benchmark velocity.
America's answer to cars like the Porsche 911 and any number of much more expensive cars from Italy, Britain and Germany has never been a better performer than it is in this seventh generation, and we'd argue it has also never been nicer to look at. While the standard coupe body style is the one we'd consider best suited to track use, an optional droptop configuration remains a great performer while opening the two-seat cabin up to the great outdoors.
Speaking of track driving, a Z51 package outfits the Corvette with a number of features designed to make it better-suited to that venue, including dry sump engine lubrication to prevent oil starvation when exploring the car's handling envelope. The Grand Sport and Z06 can be optioned with a Z07 package that brings grippier tires, carbon ceramic brakes and adjustable aerodynamics.
Fuel consumption is best in a base model with the seven-speed stick, a car whose estimates are 14.2/9.0 L/100 km (city/highway). And automatic Z06 is thirstiest at 17.6/10.3.