FROM PAST TO PRESENT: THE CHEVROLET CORVETTE ZR1

1990-1995 Corvette (C4) ZR-1

The ZR-1 (now with a hyphen) returned in 1990 with the fourth-generation Corvette. Now its own model, the C4 ZR-1 was powered by a Lotus-designed 5.7-liter DOHC V-8 producing 375 hp (increased to 405 hp in 1993). This was a huge increase over the 5.7-liter OHV V-8 that produced 250 hp in the standard C4 Corvette in 1990. Lotus also helped GM develop the standard adjustable active suspension and the upgraded braking and steering systems. The ZR-1’s 180-plus-mph top speed and 0-60 time of about 4.5 seconds were impressive for the time, but the super Corvette carried a high price tag. The C4 ZR-1 lasted until 1995 and almost 7,000 units were produced.


2009-2013 Corvette (C6) ZR1

Model year 2009 saw the return of the ZR1 (now without the hyphen) badge on the C6 Corvette. This time, Chevrolet strapped a supercharger on a 6.2-liter V-8 producing a whopping 638 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque. The roof, hood, front splitter, fenders, and rocker panels were all made of carbon fiber. Magnetic dampers, Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes, and the largest wheels ever placed on a production Corvette (at the time) were all standard equipment. When Motor Trend tested the 2009 ZR1, we were impressed with the supercharged Corvette’s 3.3-second 0-60 time, 11.2-second quarter-mile time (at 130.5 mph), and 97-foot stopping distance from 60 mph—still very impressive numbers today. The 2009 ZR1 was so good it beat the Ferrari 599 GTB in a comparison test. Watch us test the C6 ZR1 here.


2019 Corvette (C7) ZR1

The new C7 ZR1 is the most powerful production Corvette ever thanks to the 755-hp, 715-lb-ft supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 under the hood. Based on the already powerful Z06, the ZR1 adds a larger supercharger, larger front wheels, additional cooling, and more aero including an optional large rear spoiler that produces an estimated 950 pounds of downforce. The 3,600-pound super Corvette is offered with a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. We have yet to test the 2019 ZR1, but we estimate a 0-60 time between 2.8 and 3.0 seconds and a quarter-mile time south of 11 seconds. The $2,995 ZTK package adds stickier Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, increased spring rates, and more aero. The ZR1 coupe starts at $122,095, while the convertible starts at $126,095.