The fact that General Motors refers to the 2023 Chevy Corvette Z06 as a supercar should tell you everything you need to know. The Z06 is meant to be a world-class performance car, one capable of going toe-to-toe with the best from Porsche and Ferrari. And when it came time to benchmark the Z06 against a red car from Maranello, GM reportedly ruled out the twin-turbocharged 488 GTB for not having enough character.
As revealed in Motortrend‘s first impression of the Z06 and confirmed to us by a GM spokesperson, the “Corvette team” benchmarked early C8 prototypes against a Ferrari 458, way back when the C8 was wrapped in a Holden Ute body shell. That would’ve been about 2013 or 2014, before the 488 GTB came out. When it did finally drop, GM sold off its 458 and bought one—only to sell the 488 and purchase another used 458. The naturally aspirated Ferrari wasn’t just more analogous to the Z06 than the 488 and its forced induction; the 458 was apparently, as Motortrend put it, “more soulful.”
In retrospect, the connection between the Z06 and the 458—which many consider the greatest mid-engined Ferrari in history—should have been apparent from the second we heard the Z06’s exhaust note. It more than slightly echoes that of the Ferrari, as Chevy’s painstakingly engineered V8 should, seeing as it shares the same flat-plane-crank, overhead-cam design. Since it’s a whole liter larger, though, it could only ever bellow louder and with more bite to back up its bark. The Z06’s 5.5-liter V8 will produce 670 horsepower to the Ferrari’s 562, and trounce it on torque too, rolling out 460 pound-feet to the Ferrari’s 398. Consequently, it’s quicker to 60 as well, taking 2.6 seconds against the 458’s low three-second run.
This isn’t at all a fair comparison, as the Z06 has eight speeds to play with, and the Ferrari only seven, never mind the fact that one’s a boutique supercar that entered production in 2009—and the other, the fastest thing an industrial giant can produce in the early 2020s. Still, the fact that GM tried to best one of Ferrari’s most renowned road cars in a gosh-darned Corvette should make everyone excited to see what the Z06 can do—and zero-mile 458 Speciale owners nervous about their “investments.”
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