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The Chevrolet Corvette has been “America’s sports car” for over 70 years. In that time, base model ‘Vettes captured enthusiasts’ attention and affection. However, some razor-sharp, performance-oriented trims took the “Plastic Fantastic” to the next level. Check out some of the best options for a fast Chevrolet Corvette that might not bust your budget, like the C5 Z06, C6 Z06, and C7 Corvette Stingray.  

How much is a C4 Corvette ZR-1?

Depending on the mileage and model year, the C4 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 is still a performance bargain, despite its rising popularity. A 1995 ZR-1 has a typical listing price of around $49,488. However, eager fans can find earlier models for closer to $25,000. 

A red Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 corners on a banked track.
1989 Chevy Corvette ZR-1 | General Motors

Moreover, with as much as 405 horsepower, the ZR-1’s all-aluminum V8 powerplant matched the later C5 Corvette Z06. Better yet, the Car and Driver says a 1990 model could dispose of a sprint to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, 0.1 seconds faster than a Ferrari F355 Berlinetta.  

Is a C5 Z06 fast?

The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 from the C5 generation is the first production wedge ‘Vette to break the 4.0-second mark to 60 mph. Specifically, the later 2002 to 2004 C5 Z06 models had the potential to hit 60 in 3.9 seconds on their way to a 12.4-second quarter mile. 

The C5 Z06’s savage speed is a 405-horsepower aluminum 5.7L V8 mill with a launch-happy 400 lb-ft of torque. Better yet, with a fair purchase price of $23,456, the C5 Z06 is one of the best performance bargains on the market, regardless of make and model. 

How much HP does a C6 Z06 have?

The Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06 produces 505 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque from the largest-displacement motor in the namesake’s history: a tire-roasting 7.0L V8. The result of that monstrous, naturally aspirated mill? A sixth-generation Corvette Z06 will hit 60 min just 3.6 seconds.

Moreover, a 2008 C6 Z06 has a fair value of around $39,047 for a model with average mileage. Like the C5 version, the C6 Z06 is one of the most capable used performance cars at its price point. For instance, the 2023 BMW M240i xDrive, a new car with the same 0 to 60 mph time, starts at around $48,895. Moreover, the C6 Z06 offers a manual transmission, a feature that modern performance cars like the M240i go without.  

A C6 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 shows off its front-end styling.
A C6 Z06 | General Motors

How much is a C7 Corvette Stingray?

While a used, base-model Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray isn’t at Toyota GR86 levels of affordability, it’s still a top performer at its price point. According to Kelley Blue Book (KBB), a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray has a fair value of $39,720.

Moreover, the C7 Stingray Z51 is the first base model Corvette to hit 60 mph in under 4.0 seconds. Specifically, a C7 with the Z51 package has the potential to hit 60 mph in around 3.8 seconds, granted the driver doesn’t immolate the rear tires. While the supercharged C7 Z06 and ultra-rare ZR1 are still pricey, the C7 Stingray offers world-class performance at a reasonable sports car price point.


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