It’s no secret that Chevrolet took a close look at the Ferrari 458 Italia when developing the new Corvette Z06. The high-powered ‘Vette’ prototype spotted being tested with Ferrari, and engineers confess disassemble engine 458 to learn the secret. Both share a mid-engine layout, naturally aspirated flat-engine crank, and high-rev stance. So, as with any benchmarking exercise, this all begs the question: did Chevy do its homework?
Now that we’ve attached our test kit to the new Z06, it’s time to see how it can compete with this exotic Italian benchmark in terms of performance. We used the Italian test number 458 from a 2011 comparison of the McLaren MP4-12C and Porsche 911 GT2 RS conducted in the UK. And our Z06 number comes from our recent test of a coupe equipped with the Z07 package.
Engine and Performance
In the great tradition of the American way, the Z06 offers more than anything: 5.5 liter displacement versus Ferrari’s 4.5; 670 horsepower to 562 hp Ferrari; and 460 pound-feet of torque to 398 pound-feet of Ferrari. But the Ferrari engine does scream higher, with a 9000 rpm redline compared to the Z06’s 8500 rpm redline. Both use a dual-clutch automatic transmission, a seven-speed unit in the Ferrari, and an eight-speed gearbox in the Corvette.
It’s no surprise that the significantly more powerful Z06 beats the 458 in a straight line, going 2.6 seconds to 60 mph and a quarter-mile range of 10.5 seconds at 131 mph. But the Ferrari wasn’t far behind, as it hit the same speed trap in the quarter mile and was just 0.4 seconds behind in the run to 60 mph. (Ferrari figures were generated using our old correction method, before we introduced the industry standard 1-foot launch into our acceleration tests.)
The difference in tires between the two cars likely explains the difference in skidpads and braking results. Despite the extra weight, the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R Z06 rubber helps it stop from 70 mph in 139 feet and pull 1.16 g on the skidpad. The Ferrari stopped at 146 feet and gripped a 1.01 g note; it wears less aggressive Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.
Size and Price
The Z06 is a much larger car, weighing in at 3666 pounds, 341 pounds more than the 458. The Corvette is also longer, wider, and taller than the Ferrari. Predictably enough, it offers more cargo space thanks to the front and rear trunks that combine to provide 13 cubic feet of space for the Ferrari’s 8 cubic feet.
Price isn’t the easiest comparison to make, as the 458 ended production last year and was replaced first by the turbocharged Ferrari 488 and then the F8 Tributo which currently serves as Ferrari’s mid-engined V-8 supercar. But the 458 we tested more than a decade ago fetched $332,032, or almost exactly double the price of our 2023 Corvette Z06 test of $166,205. Inflation factor, and the price of a Ferrari will be over $400,000 today, though example used will be much less than that today. No matter how you look at it, the Corvette Z06 is a dynamite and foil worthy value for any of Ferrari’s naturally aspirated models.
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