2023 Corvette Z06 is Named MotorTrend’s Best Performance Vehicle of 2023

2023 Corvette Z06 is Named MotorTrend's Best Performance Vehicle of 2023

Photo Credit: Chevrolet

What a week for Tadge & Co. After dramatically pulling the cover off of their history-altering AWD, Hybrid, 10.5-second LaFerrari/P1/918 Spyder-for-the-masses on Tuesday, they’ve proceeded to bring home two Annual Best Performance Car awards in as many days – not bad for a four-day work week! Motor Trend just became the latest major publication to recognize Chevrolet’s 5.5L masterpiece as the best new performance car on the planet… bar none.

“Bar none” became the theme of a superbly written second edition of MT’s massive Performance Vehicle of the Year test that replaced the fan-favorite Best Driver’s Car a year ago when the 911 GT3 was awarded the newest casting of “the Trend’s” famed Golden Calipers. A massive field of 21 vehicles was amassed, tested, and judged based on six criteria; 1. Value, 2. Advancement in design, 3. Engineering excellence, 4. Efficiency, 5. Performance of intended function, and 6. A PVOTY-exclusive category: driver confidence and engagement.

Nine finalists separated themselves from the pack. Along with our eventual champ were some familiar names from yesterday’s R&T test like the five-cylinder Audi RS3, the acclaimed Civic Type R, that Elantra in a throwback Expos uniform, the wicked Lamborghini Huracán Tecnica, the “we don’t really get it, but everyone seems to love it” GR Corolla, and Thursday’s toughest competitor, the Porsche Cayman GT4 RS. They were joined by two new names in a token electric entrant (Kia EV6 GT) and the insane McLaren 765LT Spider.

Even with that final, most impressive hat – short of the ultra-exclusive realm of the hypercar – thrown into the ring, it was the naturally aspirated kid from Kentucky left standing when the dust settled, AND it wasn’t because it earned more points in the “Value” prong of the test either. Try these excerpts (which are sometimes harsh on older ‘Vettes but also reflective of how America’s Sports Car’s biggest detractors saw our baby in the past; acceptance/bettering yourself is always the hardest step, and the Corvette team completely nailed it!) on for size:

From the Prolog: “For nearly 70 years, America’s sports car traded on its “value”—affordable pricing that more often than not begat cheaply executed interiors and tacky design aimed at, let’s face it, Middle American old guys. It was a car designed in Michigan and built in Kentucky, and it looked the part; never mind it was capable of performance equal to or near some of the world’s most pedigreed sports cars… Often head-scratching compromises didn’t just happen to the Corvette like some act of God, like a flood or a tornado or plague of locusts—they were intentional. General Motors wanted the car to be attainable and able to swallow golf clubs. In other words, here’s your world-beating power and handling—hope you can stand floppy seats and funny glue smells, and the ass is huge because, you know, “Fore!”

“That paradigm took a hard left turn with the present C8-generation Corvette’s arrival for 2020. The ultimate versions of the previous Corvette having reached the mountaintop of front-engine, rear-wheel-drive performance, the time finally came to relocate the engine to a more “exotic” midship location. Chevrolet’s engineers could finally unlock a new level of ‘Vette capability. And they did.”

Corvette Z06 LT6 Engine

Continuing into the story, we see the Z’s “bar none” victory become fully cemented with glowing testimonials like:

At 2.8 seconds to 60 mph, the Corvette Z06 was quickest in this year’s PVOTY field, while its 1.16 g lateral grip and 95-foot stop from 60 mph were second-best. The Chevy is no underdog—it’s in benchmark territory for ultimate production car performance. That is but one big reason it is our 2023 Performance Vehicle of the Year.”

This: “Almost entirely on its own, the Z06’s dual-overhead-cam 32-valve flat-plane-crankshaft LT6 V-8 elevates the Corvette to parity with the supercars whose performance it has long come close to matching. Its noise is as exotic as its spec sheet, and it is the most powerful naturally aspirated production V-8 ever. Not for the price, not for an American car—of all time,” and this: “We could run the Engineering Excellence category for the entirety of this story and not cover every last iota of the Z06’s jaw-dropping tech advancements—or even that engine.

There were so many quotes that got us pumped up like a great halftime speech that we could just drop the entire article here and call it a day, but we don’t want to steal too many of the clicks that pay for the continuation of content like PVOTY, so we will leave the rest for you to see for yourself at MotorTrend.com.

Alright, that’s not entirely true, we just have to highlight a few more, but there is plenty of excellence that we are leaving on its home site, be sure to check out the article in its entirety here. Here are the last few quotes that got us genuinely excited. Amazingly, the Z wasn’t even dinged in the “efficiency” category. To start with, its MPG numbers are basically par-for-the-course on a car like this, i.e., very similar to the McLaren and the Lambo, and to take things to the next level, MT argues, “is it not efficiency that allows the Z06 to make 670 hp without turbos or superchargers, beating the also naturally breathing Lambo’s 630 ponies? Or that it turns gasoline and air into a crescendo of decibels as well as or better than the greatest non-turbo engines in history—Porsche’s Mezger-design flat-six in the 911 GT3 included?

Corvette Z06 LT6 Engine

Finally, MT hammers it home that Chevrolet’s halo car wasn’t crowned because it presents a better value than the bonkers McLaren with the following, “Does all of this unqualified praise have you feeling unglued like a delaminated sliver of Chevy’s finest fiberglass? Need “buts” or a “it’s good—for the price” to feel like the natural order of things remains intact? We have none to offer. The Z06 tosses aside the value crutch leaned on by its predecessors. Sure, it is objectively less expensive than, say, a space shuttle—or the McLaren 765LT or Lamborghini Huracán, blue-chip, 600-hp-plus mid-engine supercars that also competed for this same Performance Vehicle of the Year nod. That isn’t why it won.” And this; “Chevy could charge more. For the first time ever, a Corvette teems with the kind of special sauce that makes the car seem worth it regardless of price, a sense of total desirability, the feeling nothing was left on the table. Last year, the Porsche 911 GT3 took home our Performance Vehicle of the Year award after putting on a master class in that sort of gotta-have-it magic. How fitting that the Corvette, the 911’s longtime nemesis, should break through and take over the award by leveraging the same strength.

This is extremely impressive stuff; the only way it could have been better is if Motor Trend brought back Randy Pobst and his Laguna Laps for this year’s episode, but General Motors deserves all possible recognition for turning Zora’s dream a reality with the C8 Z06. Our heartfelt congratulations to everyone that was involved!




The 2023 Corvette Z06 is Crowned Performance Car of the Year by Road & Track

The 2023 Corvette Z06 is a Finalist for MotorTrend’s 2023 Car of the Year Award

The 2022 Corvette Had the Least Issues of Any New Vehicles in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study


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