Chevy's 625-horsepower blow-dryer

Chevy previewed the 2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible today ahead of its unveiling during the New York auto show next week, its most powerful open-top to date.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible
Chevy follows its launch of the Corvette Stingray Convertible last year with the high performance Corvette Z06 Convertible. GM

There's little in life more exciting than piloting a fast car around a good road course, topping 100 mph on the straights and executing perfect control at the limits of grip in the turns. Now imagine doing all that in a convertible.

Chevrolet released photos and specs for its new Corvette Z06 Convertible, a high-performance version of the Corvette Stingray featuring a convertible soft-top set to debut at the New York auto show next week.

Serious drivers may scoff at convertibles and sunroofs on track cars, but Chevrolet insists the Z06 Convertible is worthy. Unlike most convertible conversions, there has been little structural change to make the Z06 an open-top. Chevrolet asserts that the Z06's aluminum structure was already so stiff that it needed no extra bracing to preserve its rigidity after stripping off the coupe roof. The weight of the new convertible is approximately the same as the Z06 Coupe.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible preview

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Chevrolet's press release includes many details about designing the Corvette's structure, such as the 17,000 virtual iterations designed on the computer. Most notably, chief engineer Tadge Juechter said that technologies used in the new Corvette Z06's frame did not exist five years ago.

Just like the Corvette Z06 Coupe unveiled at the Detroit auto show earlier this year, the Z06 Convertible will get a supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8 that is expected to produce at least 625 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque. That means you'll have very little time to activate the power-operated rag-top, which can be opened at up to 30 mph.

One big change for the Z06 Convertible: formerly rear-fender-mounted transmission cooling intakes move underneath the car, as they were incompatible with the tonneau cover.

The launch of the Corvette Z06 Convertible comes as little surprise. After the launch of the new Corvette Stingray at the 2013 Detroit auto show, Chevrolet followed up with the Stingray Convertible at the Geneva auto show a few months later. Having laid that groundwork, the Z06 Convertible was a logical follow-up.

And think of all that headroom for your helmet.