The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is the fastest and most powerful Corvette ever, and Chevy chose the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show to debut the new convertible version of its most iconic car. It has all the style and power of the recently revealed coupe combined with all the fun of a drop-top, so you can hear its impressive exhaust loud and clear.
The ZR1 has a power top that can be operated either remotely from outside the car or while driving at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Under the hood is a beefy 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine with 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired to either a seven-speed manual or an optional eight-speed automatic transmission and has a top speed somewhere over 210 miles per hour.
As for how fast it’ll get you there, Chevrolet says the Corvette ZR1 will go from 0-60 miles per hour in less than 3 seconds. You’ll want to find a nearby track to test out those performance numbers.
The Corvette ZR1’s incredible performance is due in part to a new, more efficient inter-cooled supercharger that has 52 percent more displacement than the supercharger in the Corvette Z06. It also benefits from GM’s first dual fuel-injection system, which uses both primary direct injection and supplemental port injection.
Taking a coupe and turning it into a convertible often means a significant weight increase, which is something you want to avoid in any car, but especially in a sports car. The Corvette ZR1 convertible did put on a few pounds, but it kept things under control with a mere 60-pound weight gain from the addition of its folding top.
Chevrolet says this is in part because the aluminum chassis was designed to be a convertible in the first place. That means there were no significant modifications to add weight or hamper the performance of the convertible ZR1. A few structural changes to accommodate the convertible top’s presence and repositioned safety belt mounts were pretty much all it took.
The Corvette ZR1’s distinctive performance-styled looks do more than simply attract plenty of attention, especially that big wing in the back. It provides downforce, but was carefully designed to do so without creating additional drag. Two available aerodynamics packages that were tested in a wind-tunnel are available to enhance the ZR1’s on-track performance.
There’s the standard Low Wing, which gives the ZR1 its highest top speed. An optional two-way adjustable High Wing adds 950 pounds of downforce to help achieve the fastest lap times possible on the track. That’s roughly 60 percent more downforce than a Z06 with the Z07 performance package. Regardless of your rear wing choice, there’s a Chevrolet-first underwing to further improve downforce.
Other aerodynamic enhancements include a front fascia that channels air to cool the propulsion system and drivetrain with four new radiators for a total of 13 heat-exchangers. There’s also a carbon-fiber “halo” hood that’s open in the middle to provide plenty of room for the supercharger and intercharger assembly.
A new exhaust system with four settings lets the driver truly enjoy the sound. It includes a stealth mode that’s quieter than what was on the Z06 along with Tour, Sport, and Track modes. Those last three are the ones that will really make that drop-top worth the price.
Inside, the Corvette ZR1 combines its performance underpinnings with a touch of luxury. The cockpit is focused on the driver and has standard leather-trimmed seats with available suede microfiber inserts. Heated and ventilated Napa leather-trimmed seats, a carbon fiber-rimmed steering wheel, competition sport seats, Bose premium audio, and a performance data recorder are also available as optional features.
Although this won’t be a high-production vehicle, it won’t be a limited edition, so you shouldn’t have a problem getting one when it goes on sale this spring. The challenge for most will be the price. The 2019 Chevrolet ZR1 is priced from $119,995 for the coupe and $123,995 for the convertible.