The 2021 Corvette vs. New Corvette Z06: Chevy Sibling Rivalry

Vehicle comparison highlights for 2021 Corvette and 2023 Corvette Z06

  • The 2021 Corvette is a competitive sportscar at an incredible price
  • The C8 Corvette’s Z06 package boasts an exotic-caliber bespoke engine
  • The new Z06 offers improves straight-line performance, if you can afford the higher price

For the Corvette’s eighth generation, Chevrolet built an all-new sports car. The 2021 Corvette C8 is a V8-powered mid-engine car. The new mid-engine layout improves its balance significantly. Reviewers say this Corvette Stingray’s handling is on-par with a mid-engine Ferrari and that it’s as good in the twisties as a Porsche 911. Better yet, Chevy significantly undercut its European rivals: the world-class sports car started at $60,995.

It seems the only thing that can beat a Corvette is another Corvette. Chevrolet Performance just rolled out the first Z06 version of the Corvette C8. While the 2021 Stingray was a cost-effective sportscar, the 2023 Corvette Z06 is a bargain supercar. GM developed a bespoke engine, which took the record for most powerful naturally-aspirated V8 in any production car. Despite this, the Z06 is expected to go for under $100,000.

2021 Corvette C8 Stingray vs. 2023 Corvette Z06: by the numbers

2021 Chevrolet Corvette2023 Corvette Z06
Price Range$60,995 – $80,000+$95,000 (predicted)
LayoutMid-engine, RWDMid-engine, RWD
Weight3,366 pounds3,434 pounds
Base Engine6.2L cross-plane crank V8 (LT2)5.5 L flat-plane crank V8 (LT6)
Horsepower 490-495670
Torque470 lb-ft460 lb-ft
Automatic Transmission8-speed dual-clutch (Tremec TR-9080)8-speed dual-clutch (Tremec TR-9080)
0-60 MPH2.9 seconds2.6 seconds

2021 Corvette C8 Stingray

The 2021 Corvette C8 and Corvette Z06 boast super car, performance at muscle car prices. | General Motors
Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingray | General Motors

RELATED: The 1964 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Stingray Held A Horsepower Record For Nearly Forty Years

  • Pros: Top-notch performance at a reasonable price.
  • Cons: No manual transmission. No rear seat.

The Chevrolet Corvette has gone from a front-engine car to a front-engine, rear transaxle car, and finally to a mid-engine car. Chevrolet transformed the Corvette into a mid-engine car with grace, style, and muscle car speed. The bowtie had even perfected the Corvette’s driver-centric cockpit. One of the only downsides: there’s no Corvette manual transmission option. In addition, the 2021 Corvette shares its 6.2-Liter V8 (the LT2) with many other General Motors products.

2023 Corvette Z06

These are two 2023 Corvette Z06 sportscars racing head-to-head. | Chevrolet Performance
2023 Corvette Z06s racing on the track | Chevrolet Performance

RELATED: The $60k 2021 Corvette Embarrasses The $100k Porsche 911

  • Pros: Record-shattering bespoke engine.
  • Cons: Low torque. Decorative carbon fiber is divisive.

Jay Leno famously said of the Corvette: it’s not an exotic car without a bespoke engine. GM not only rose to the challenge, but it also upped the ante. For example, Chevrolet Performance adopted a style of V8 usually reserved for exotic cars. The result revs to 8,600 RPM and produces 670 horsepower. The new powerplant breaks the record for the most powerful naturally-aspirated V8 and undoubtedly launches the Z06 into exotic supercar territory.

2021 Corvette C8 vs. 2023 Corvette Z06: performance

This is a convertible 2021 Corvette C8 Stingray, the first mid-engine Chevrolet supercar. | General Motors
Chevrolet Corvette C8 Convertible | General Motors

RELATED: Return of the Chevy 327: The 2023 Corvette Z06 V8 Completely Destroys the Naturally-Aspirated Record With 670 Horsepower

Early reviewers noted that the handling of the new C8 Corvette challenges Ferrari. With the $2,000 “Magna Ride” suspension option it offers a smoother ride than many luxury cars. It is also very fast in a straight line. For example, General Motors claims the sportscar accelerates to 60 MPH in 2.9 seconds. In truth, Edmunds was only able to achieve a 3.4-second 0-60 MPH time in their Corvette C8. Additionally, MotorTrend shaved their acceleration down to 3.0 seconds.

The new Corvette Z06 is even faster than the 2021 Corvette. General Motors claims it will do 0-60 in 2.6 seconds, but this has yet to be verified by tests. The secret to the new car’s power is its flat-plane crankshaft engine. Normal V8s fire once for every 90 degrees of crankshaft rotation. A flat-plane crank engine fires once every 180 degrees. This allows for a lighter crankshaft and quicker, higher revving engine. But the same engine suffers from increased vibration and must be built to incredibly tight tolerances. Chevrolet’s technicians use something like 40 shims to fine-tune each handbuilt powerplant. The result is the largest flat-plane crank V8 ever mass produced.

2021 Corvette C8 vs. 2023 Corvette Z06: interior

These are C8 Corvette Z06s, successors to 2021 Corvette | Chevrolet Performance
2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and Z07 cars | Chevrolet Performance

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The 2021 Corvette offers a surprisingly livable interior. Features include an 8-inch touchscreen and a 12-inch digital instrument panel. In addition, every 2021 Corvette offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Corvette also features Chevrolet wireless charging, though the charger’s placement between the seats makes it impossible to see your phone while it’s charging. Chevrolet advertises the Corvette’s trunk space as 13 square feet, or enough for two sets of golf clubs.

The new 2023 Corvette Z06 wears new fenders and rear quarters, making it 3 inches wider than the 2021 Corvette. But it shares front trunk, rear hatch, and doors with its little brother. Therefore, the interior dimensions of the two cars are identical. Additionally, the Corvette Z06 attempts to raise the bar with its interior build quality. This includes options for a hand-wrapped leather interior and two levels of decorative interior carbon fiber trim. With over 11,000 possible option combinations, it is unlikely any two C8 Corvette Z06s will be identical. But the car’s interior is already proving decisive. Some reviewers found the decorative carbon fiber options tacky and would prefer a more refined interior, befitting the Corvette Z06’s new status as an exotic supercar.

Chevy sibling rivalry

The 2021 Corvette is an incredible car. It offers world-class mid-engine sportscar performance at one of the lowest prices around. It is proudly union-built and showcases the best of American engineering. The only thing that could one-up it is its own Corvette Z06 edition. The bespoke-engine exotic supercar for six figures is also a steal. Whether the upgrades are worth the higher Corvette price tag is simply a matter of preference.

RELATED: The Exotic Car Secret Behind The 670 Horsepower Engine In The 2023 Corvette Z06