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2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Review


The ZR1 is the ultimate expression of Corvette’s technology-driven performance legacy.
2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo -2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo -
A supercharged 6.2L LS9 engine and suite of advanced performance technologies, including Performance Traction Management and Magnetic Selective Ride Control, are the elements of the highest-performing Corvette in history, with changes for 2012 designed to make it more comfortable to drive.
2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo
Corvette ZR1 is the fastest production model ever offered by General Motors, with a top speed of 205 mph.
2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo
Capability of the ZR1 is enhanced for 2012 with the new PDE performance package, which is highlighted by new Michelin® Pilot® Sport Cup Zero Pressure tires. When combined with new-for-2012 Performance Traction Management (PTM) technology – which manages torque delivery for maximum performance – the tires are expected to help set new benchmarks for Corvette performance. Engineers estimate an 8-percent gain in maximum lateral acceleration, to more than 1.1g, and improved braking distance.
2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo
The PDE package’s effectiveness was demonstrated with a new lap time of 7:19.63 around Germany’s legendary Nürburgring, which improved on the ZR1’s previous benchmark there by more than six seconds.
Corvette ZR1 also celebrates Chevrolet’s performance heritage with the 2012 Chevrolet Centennial Edition Corvette, which features a sleek black color scheme, unique design elements and Corvette’s sports car technology. The special package is inspired by Chevrolet’s racing-bred foundation and is offered on all Corvette models for 2012.
Corvette ZR1 for 2012 includes interior improvements shared with all Corvette models, including new seats, a new steering wheel design and a new Bose Premium audio system.
Customers who opt for the Corvette Engine Build Experience (option code PBC) can participate in the assembly of their engine at the General Motors Performance Build Center, in Wixom, Mich.
2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo
Corvette ZR1 design
Fixed-roof body style optimizes body rigidity and mass; offered in two trim levels – 1ZR and 3ZR.
Wider, carbon-fiber front fenders with ZR1-specific dual ports.
Carbon-fiber hood with a raised, polycarbonate window – offering a view of the intercooler below it.
Carbon-fiber roof panel, roof bow, front fascia splitter and rocker moldings with clear-coated, visible carbon-fiber weave.
ZR1-specific full-width rear spoiler with raised outboard sections
Four large stainless steel exhaust outlets.
Standard high-intensity discharge headlamps.
Two new exterior colors for ’12: Carlisle Blue Metallic and Carbon Flash Metallic (Chevrolet Centennial edition only). Also offered are Arctic White, Blade Silver Metallic, Inferno Orange Metallic, Velocity Yellow Tintcoat, Torch Red,Supersonic Blue Metallic, Cyber Gray and Crystal Red Tintcoat
New customer-selectable brake caliper colors offered in red, yellow, silver and gray (blue calipers are standard).
2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo
Chevrolet Centennial Edition Special Edition
Offered exclusively in Carbon Flash Metallic with satin-black graphics.
Special badges that signify Chevrolet’s racing history, including a graphic logo featuring an image of Louis Chevrolet on the B-pillars, the wheel center caps and the center of the steering wheel.
The historic Corvette crossed flags badge contains a small adaptation, with “100” in place of the traditional fleur-de-lis symbol in black, only for the Centennial Edition.
Unique Centennial Satin Black wheels with red stripe, sized specifically to the respective Corvette models, including 19-inch/20-inch for ZR1.
Magnetic Selective Ride Control is standard.
Ebony leather-wrapped instrument panel and doors complemented by red stitching also on the steering wheel, seats, console and shifter.
The seats feature microfiber suede accents on seats, steering wheel, shifter and armrests.
Seat headrests carry an embossed centennial logo.
Available on all Corvette models via order code ZLC.
2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo
Corvette ZR1 interior
Corvette’s interior is inspired by the car’s dual-cockpit heritage.
New seats feature improved appearance and larger bolsters on the seat back and cushion areas to provide better driver support, especially in high-performance driving.
Microfiber seat inserts are optional.
New steering wheel with model-specific badges, streamlined switch trim and wrapped spokes.
ZR1-logo sill plates.
ZR1-logo headrest embroidery.
An AM/FM/XM radio with CD player and audio input jack is standard.
New Bose Premium audio system includes nine speakers (vs. seven in 2011), including new tweeters located in the instrument panel and improve Bose Nd next-generation bass performance. It is included with the 3ZR trim.
Steering-wheel mounted audio controls are on all models.
SiriusXM Satellite Radio with a one-year subscription is included with the Bose audio system.
An onboard navigation system with voice recognition is included with 3ZR. It is a DVD-based system that uses a 6.5-inch (165 mm) color touch-screen display.
Head-up display is standard and includes Track Mode with g-meter.
Specific gauge cluster with boost gauge (also displayed on the head-up display) and 220-mph (370 km/h) speedometer readout.
A custom leather-wrapped interior package is standard on the 3ZR trim, featuring a leather-wrapped upper and lower instrument panel, door pads and seats; choice of exclusive colors: Dark Titanium, Ebony, Cashmere or Sienna, with unique color breakup; padded door panel armrests; “Corvette” embroidered on passenger-side dash pad and a unique center trim plate with a gunmetal pattern.
2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo
Corvette ZR1 performance
LS9 supercharged 6.2L V-8 rated at 638 horsepower (476 kW), and 604 lb.-ft. of torque (819 Nm).
The Roots-type supercharger uses a unique, four-lobe rotor design and is augmented with an integrated charge cooling system that reduces inlet air temperature for maximum performance.
Titanium connecting rods.
Cast iron cylinder liners are inserted in the aluminum block and are finish-bored and honed with a deck plate installed. The deck plate simulates the pressure and minute dimensional variances applied to the block when the cylinder heads are installed.
The LS9 is hand-assembled at GM’s Performance Build Center in Wixom, Mich., and incorporates special processes typically seen in racing engines to produce a highly refined and precise product.
Six-speed, close-ratio manual transmission.
High-capacity dual-disc clutch, which spread out the engine’s torque load over a wider area. This enables tremendous clamping power when the clutch is engaged, while also helping to dissipate heat better and extend the life of the clutch.
The rear axle features asymmetrical axle-shaft diameters – 33 mm on the right side and 40 mm on the left – that provide optimal torque management. They are mounted on a more horizontal plane that correlates with the wider width of the ZR1’s rear wheels and tires.
Specific suspension tuning provides more than 1g cornering grip.
Twenty-spoke 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels.
Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires – P285/30ZR19 in front and P335/25ZR20 in the rear – developed specifically for the ZR1.
Brembo carbon-ceramic, drilled disc brake rotors – 15.5-inch-diameter (394-mm) in the front and 15-inch-diameter (380-mm) in the rear.
Blue-painted brake calipers.
Magnetic Selective Ride Control with track-level suspension.
Launch Control system with Performance Traction Management (PTM) technology optimizes traction for greater and more consistent on-track performance. PTM system holds a predetermined engine speed while the driver pushes the throttle to the floor. That allows the driver to quickly release the clutch and the system modulates engine torque 100 times per second to maximize the available traction. The system is capable of approaching a skilled driver’s best effort and repeats it consistently. PTM also integrates the ZR1’s traction control, active handling and selective ride control systems to enhance track driving consistency and overall performance. When full throttle is applied upon exiting a corner, it automatically manages acceleration dynamics.
2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo
Corvette ZR1 chassis and suspension
An aluminum body structure for optimum stiffness and light weight for the fixed-roof body style.
Perimeter rails are one-piece hydroformed aluminum members featuring cast suspension nodes, which replace many welded steel components on other Corvette models.
Advanced structural composites featuring carbon fiber are bonded to the aluminum structure. The wider front wheelhouses, for example, are carbon composites, and the passenger compartment floors combine carbon-fiber skins with an ultra-lightweight balsa wood core.
A magnesium cradle serves as the attachment point for the engine and some front suspension components. It is lighter than aluminum, yet incredibly strong, and helps improve the front-to-rear weight distribution, as do carbon-fiber front fenders and wheelhouses.
Battery relocated from underhood to a position in the rear cargo area, behind one of the rear wheels.
Large wheels, measuring19 x 10 inches in diameter in the front and 20 x 12 inches in the rear. A Sterling Silver paint finish is standard; chrome and Competition Gray versions are optional.
ZR1-specific Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires measuring P285/30ZR19 in front and P335/25ZR20 in the rear.
Brembo carbon-ceramic brake rotors. Made of a carbon-fiber-reinforced ceramic silicon carbide material, these rotors are low mass and resistant to wear and heat. The rotors should never show corrosion or require replacement for the life of the vehicle, when used in normal driving.
The vented and cross-drilled rotors on the ZR1 measure 15.5 inches (394 mm) in diameter in the front and 15 inches (380 mm) in diameter in the rear – making them among the largest carbon-ceramic rotors available on any production vehicle.
Six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers, each painted ZR1-specific blue.
A four-channel ABS system is standard, as is a very competent active handling system – complete with a Competitive Driving mode.
Standard Magnetic Selective Ride Control helps the rear axle remain planted during launch for smooth, hop-free acceleration. It also helps suppress axle movement when cornering on broken or uneven pavement.
PDE Performance Package content
New Michelin® Pilot® Sport Cup Zero Pressure tires, developed by the same Michelin engineers who develop tires for Corvette Racing in the American Le Mans Series and are essentially street-legal versions of a racing tire.
The 285/30-19 (front) and 335/25-20 (rear) tires are matched with all-new aluminum Cup-style wheels in satin black or machined finishes. They are about five pounds lighter (2.2 kg) and stronger than the 20-spoke wheel offered in 2011.
A full-width racing style spoiler for improved aerodynamics.
Close-ratio six-speed manual transmission.
Corvette safety and crash-avoidance features
The Corvette is designed to help drivers avoid crashes, while protecting the occupants in the event a crash occurs.
Four standard air bags include side-impact air bags, which provide head protection for outboard passengers in the event of a side-impact or rollover crash.
Active Handling electronic stability control system helps reduce the risk of rollover crashes by keeping the vehicle in the driver’s intended path by applying throttle, braking or a combination of both.
Standard four-wheel-disc brake system.
Pretensioners minimize forward movement during a collision, and are standard on the front safety belts. Load-limiting retractors cinch the belt more tightly.
Tire pressure monitoring system and run-flat tires are standard on all models.
Standard remote keyless entry with push-button starting.
Strong body structure to absorb crash energy and provide a protective “safety cage” around occupants.
2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 photo
OnStar details
Corvette ZR1 is offered with OnStar as standard on all models. It uses GPS and cellular phone technology to automatically call for help in the event of crash. OnStar subscribers also can use the service to be Good Samaritans by sending help to other motorists, and to call for help in other non-crash emergencies.
OnStar is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services in the United States and Canada.
Six months of complimentary OnStar Directions and Connections service with Turn-by-Turn Navigation for easier route guidance on all Corvette models. The feature is easy to use because all directions are sent to the car by an advisor, without the need to stop.
Stolen Vehicle Assistance helps police track the vehicle.

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