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Illustrated Corvette Series No. 166: 2011 Production Corvette -
"An Awesome Lineup of Options"
When the final sales numbers for 2010 came in, it was no surprise that the Corvette took another sales hit. This time sales were off 28.1-percent from ‘09, and off 51.9-percent from ‘08. Economics aside, if one just looked at the ‘10 line up, the Corvette never looked better. The 2010 Grand Sport was a Z06 without the 427 LS7 engine, yet accounted for 49.6-percent of sales for ‘10. Most surprising was how badly the ‘10 Z06 took it on the chin with only 518 Z06s built, compared to 3,461 units in ‘09. However, the more expensive ZR1 outsold the Z06 just over 3-to-1 - 1,577 ZR1s to 518 Z06s!
All that aside, when one looks at the ‘11 Corvette offering, two things are obvious. First, there are no significantly new hardware additions and no power increases. And second, there have never been so many options available to buyers. And when you factor in the dealer-installed options, it’s mind boggling. Overall, there are six distinctive Corvettes available. The base model coupe and roadster, the Grand Sport coupe and roadster, the Z06, and the ZR1. A big thanks to the Corvette designers for creating a new set of 5-spoke wheels for the base Vette. The slim spokes look great and are very distinctive. Two new colors have been added, Inferno Orange and Supersonic Blue. Dealer-installed options allow buyers of even the basic ‘11 Corvette to personalize their ride.
The Grand Sport is arguably the best performance/visual package ever offered to Corvette buyers. The wide-body Z06 fenders and big wheels and tires with the Z51 suspension upgrade allows the base 430-HP LS3 engine really flex its muscles. Between the coupe or roadster, color options, wheel-finish options, fender strip options, and other assorted personal touches, there will be very few Grand Sports that are alike. But unlike the base Vettes, unless an ‘11 Grand Sport is wearing one of the two new colors, only owners will know that the car is an ‘11 model. Ditto for the King of the Hill, ZR1. New colors aside, everything about the car is a carryover from ‘10. Despite the ZR1’s 638-HP and 595-FT/LBS of torque, some complained, “What, no power increase for the ZR1?” Well folks, that’s what tuners are for.
Chevrolet has been offering the optional Corvette Museum Delivery since ‘01. If that experience isn’t special enough, for $5,800, ‘11 Z06 and ZR1 buyers can enjoy the Engine Build Experience option. This unique big-ticket option gets you a pass into the inner sanctum of the Performance Build Center in Wixom, Michigan where buyers participate with a Corvette engine specialist as their engine is being built. When the engine is completed, the owner applies a custom nameplate to their car’s engine. Pretty cool!
The most interesting development in the ‘11 Corvette line is on the Z06. The ‘11 Carbon Edition was announced in late-winter ‘10. Essentially, this is a ZR1 without the supercharged LS9. For those familiar with the specs on the two cars, the advantage is obvious. The Z06 weighs 158-pounds less than the ZR1. While the Z06’s LS7 engine has 133-HP less than the ZR1, the combination of the lower unsprung weight of the ZR1’s wheels and brakes, plus all of the carbon fiber ZR1 body parts gives the Carbon Edition and the Z06/Z07 Corvette a perfect 50/50 weight distribution. While the Carbon Edition Corvette is scheduled for a 500 unit limited run, the Z07 option is available on any Z06 Corvette. The Carbon Edition has black painted 20-spoke wheels, suede leather interior with special stitching, exterior paint is either Inferno Orange or Supersonic Blue with black mirrors and headlight surrounds, and the carbon fiber ZR1 hood, minus the ZR1’s intercooler opening. The limited edition production run automatically makes the car a collectible. For those not interested in collectibility, the Z06/Z07 gets you everything the Carbon Edition has, except the exotic hood. Hot hardware is never inexpensive. The Z07 package is $9,495 on top of the Z06’s $75,255 price, plus the requited $7,170 3LZ premium equipment option, and $950 destination, for a total in the neighborhood of $93,000. Yes, that’s a lot of green, but it’s $20,000 less than a ZR1.
For a car with no power increases, the Corvette team put together a juicy lineup for ‘11. Will buyers beat down dealers doors to get in line? Let’s hope so.. - KST