The first high-performance version of the mid-engine C8 Corvette broke cover almost exactly nine months ago, and now we finally have a starting price for the sublime flat-plane super-Vette internally known as “Project Gemini.” The 2023 Z06 will start at $106,395. That number represents a bare-bones 1LZ coupe. If you want one of the more upscale 2LZ or 3LZ trim levels, you’ll have to shell out $115,595 or $120,245, respectively. Got your eyes on the hard-top convertible like almost 50% of C8 Stingray buyers have since 2020? Then those figures balloon to $113,895, $122,595, and $127,245.
Chevrolet also seems to have taken a page out of a certain German competitor’s playbook because all the options that any red-blooded American will want will cost them dearly. The box next to the Z07 Ultimate Performance Package says $8,995 – this gets you carbon ceramic brakes and super sticky Pilot Sport Cup 2R rubber. Z07 also requires buyers to select between two identical big-wing Carbon Aero Packages; the $8,495 carbon-flash painted version and the exposed carbon fiber setup that’ll set you back an additional $10,495 on top of the Z07 goodies. To complete the carboned-out look, buyers will also have to select the beautiful five-spoke Carbon Revolution wheels. Here, the painted units are listed at $9,995, and putting visible CF at all four corners is $11,995! So, before you add any further convenience and/or cosmetic features like front-end lift or interior carbon fiber packages (to match the exterior of your Z), you’re looking at anywhere between $133,880 ($123,885 if you can live with the standard wheels on your Z07) for a 1LZ coupe with all of the go-fast bits all the way up to $158,730 for the fastest 3LZ convertible smothered in exposed carbon fiber.
Most of Corvette Nation is suffering through a bit of sticker shock from all of this, so to see if Chevrolet’s pricing is truly out of the ordinary, we dipped into our Z06 history books to see how the “most track-ready” version of America’s Sports Car has been priced throughout the years vs. the base model and its predecessors.
Modern Z06 Pricing
C5Z: The Z as we know it was born at the start of the millennium as a 2001 model. Back then, the base C5 Corvette was entering its fifth year of production, and it could be had for a dreamy $40,280 plus destination, giving it a total out-the-door price of $40,475. The Z06 was based on the supremely lithe but slow-selling hard-top coupe that debuted during the party that was 1999. Under the hood, it featured an updated version of the base car’s legendary LS1 that made 40 more horsepower with the help of higher compression, a new intake, redesigned cylinder heads, stronger pistons, a hotter cam, and trick thin-walled exhaust manifolds that exhaled through the industry’s second-ever titanium exhaust system (only the McLaren F1 beat the C5Z to market with this space-age tech). Along with a host of handling upgrades, the resulting vehicle became the lightest modern Corvette, tipping the scales at just 3,126 pounds, and best of all, it only cost $48,055. That is an increase of just 18.7% over a base Corvette coupe. In year two, the ask went up to $50,430, but Chevrolet unlocked an additional 20 horses (a total of 405) for buyer’s trouble. While the base car also got a price increase in ’02, the Z officially eclipsed a 20% upcharge over the car it was based on in 2002.
C6Z: After the sixth-generation Corvette debuted in 2005, we only had to wait one year for the Z to show its snarling face (a trend that we grew quite accustomed to, unfortunately for those who have been waiting for the C8Z). The car that a lot of people still think of when they hear the alphanumeric “Z06” came to market with a 100-horse advantage over its immediate predecessor and 105 more ponies than the new base ‘Vette. All of this came from a bespoke V8 dubbed LS7 that still holds the record for the largest displacement Chevy small block in the powerplant’s 68-year history. This was the dawn of the super-Vette! Aside from its supercar shaming power numbers, the C6Z backed up its spec sheet by hitting 60 in the low 3’s on its way to an 11.8 quarter and a 198-mph top speed. It could also achieve more than a full g in the corners. This world-class monster could be had for $65,800, which was a 48% surcharge over the base ‘Vette that had astonishingly only risen a couple of thousand dollars in asking price since the C5 days to $44,490. The out-of-the-gate price comparison between the C5 and C6 generations reveals the largest generation-to-generation price bump in Z06 history; the bottom line on the 2006 car’s window sticker was some 37% pricier than the one that proceeded it.
C7Z: The 2015-19 Z06 went off script by adding a supercharger and options for a convertible body and an automatic transmission for the first time. That first audible came with another huge HP boost to 650 with an equal helping of torque. Where this one really raised eyebrows, though, was on the skid pad, where its 1.2 g of lateral grip was the highest ever seen by testers at any price point. The most recent Z carried a manufacturer’s suggested price of $78,995. Compared to a no-frills base model, that was $25k and 46% richer. This only represented a 20.1% price hike between 2006 and 2015 Zs, the lowest mark of the group!
C8Z: That brings us to the 2023 models. After wowing the automotive world in 2020 with its sub-60 asking price, the base Stingray has seen its price creep to $64,200. The 8,600 RPM, Z06’s price floor of $106,395, represents a staggering 65.7% increase over the Stingray but only gives it a 34.7% raise from the 2015 model’s starting MSRP, undercutting the C5 to C6 price jump by 2.2% (again, it is important to stress that these numbers don’t take any pricy and hard to resist options into account.
These figures make a few things very apparent: 1. That the standard, LT2-powered C8 remains an unbelievable value, and 2. That the previous iterations of Z06 came to fruition in an America that had inflation rates of 3.36, 3.23, and 0.12%, respectively. This week’s 40-year high of over 9% certainly played a significant role in pushing the Z’s base price over $100k for the first time!
|MODEL||BASE CORVETTE PRICE||BASE Z06 PRICE||Z06 % OVER BASE||Z06 % OVER PREDECESSOR|
|2001 C5 Corvette||$40,475.00||$48.055.00||18.7%||NA|
|2006 C6 Corvette||$44,490.00||$65,800.00||47.9%||36.9%|
|2015 C7 Corvette||$53,995.00||$78,995.00||46.3%||20.1%|
|2023 C8 Corvette||$64,200.00||$106,395.00||65.7%||34.7%|
With $200,000 992-Generation GT3s regularly changing hands for $300,000, the Z06’s eventual market price is another interesting thing to ponder. Chevrolet’s announcement that Z orders will be accepted starting tomorrow, July 28th, means that we won’t have to wait long to see how high the first batch of LT6 screamers can go. We’ve got our popcorn ready!
Pricing for the 2023 Corvette Z06 is Officially Announced! Starting MSRP is $106,395
Chevrolet Announces the MSRP for the 2015 Corvette Z06 Will Start at $78,995
C6 Corvette Z06 and LS7 Total Production Breakdown