It’s been in the news for three years now, with reviewers and enthusiasts alike referring to it as something a superhero would drive, even comparing it to the Bat-Mobile at times, and while Chevy’s website still has it buried in their list of “upcoming vehicles,” the truth is that the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is about to appear on the horizon.
Once nicknamed the Blue Devil, the Corvette ZR1 weighs in at about 3,350 pounds thanks to a Z06-inspired carbon-fiber roof and frame and lightweight aluminum block that make this car a role model, at least when it comes to construction. It’s also a poster-child for computer modeling, which technique allowed Chevrolet’s engineering team to fine-tune the 6.2 liter small-block engine, allowing it to be 20% stronger than similar engines. Specifically, this supercharged LS9 V8 offers the power of 638 horses and pushes out 604 pounds-feet of torque, allowing speeds of up to 205 mph (on test tracks) and the ability not only to go from zero to 60mph in under 4 seconds, but from zero to 100mph in only seven. Mated to this is a six-speed manual transmission and carbon-ceramic brakes.
Inside the ZR1 special design features include a heads-up display and a boost gauge included in the cluster of dials on the dash, as well as an option for an all-leather interior. Other internal details are yet to be shared (the car is still in pre-production, though Chevrolet quoted a late-summer delivery for a limited number of vehicles – about 150 if estimates are correct – each of which will come with a unique VIN), but when it comes to sports cars, and especially supercars like this one, it’s the exterior lines people really care about.
With its exterior design, the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is drawing mixed reviews. It’s true that the features it comes with are pretty spiffy. Especially worthy of note are the front air splitter, rocker extensions, and dual-cove front fenders, as well as the wheels (19 inches in front, 20 in back), and the domed carbon-fiber hood sports a window to the supercharger that is definitely attractive, but the reviewers at Cars.com felt that the design was “not as subtle” as that of its predecessor the Z06, as if that’s a bad point.
All in all, the 2009 Corvette ZR1 is a supercar, albeit with offering new car prices that are significantly lower than most other super-performing vehicles. Its base price of $103,300 not only includes the $850 shipping fee, but also gets each new owner a ticket to free performance driving classes at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Arizona. Not included is the $1,700 “gas guzzler” tax that also comes with this car, because for all the futuristic technology encompassed within this car, it’s fuel economy is decidedly retro: 14 mpg in the city / 20 on the open road.