C7 Corvette Comparison: Is Z51 A Better Driver’s Car than the Z06?

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Manual transmissions still have leverage with enthusiast drivers, especially in Corvettes.

Corvettes on the sharp end of the performance spectrum get all the headlines these days. It’s understandable though, especially with the impressive stats of the Z06. Marcus Vandenberg from the Roads Untraveled YouTube channel recently tested a modified one, and, of course, came away impressed, but not before throwing an interesting twist into the review.

Of the Z06, Vandenberg says, “First of all, all this car has done to it is headers, and it is one of the loudest V8’s I’ve ever driven. The throttle is responsive and borderline twitchy but I think it’ll just take some getting used to. I have it in track mode right now which stiffens up the suspension a lot and leaves the exhaust baffles open. On the highway this wouldn’t even be enjoyable, but in the canyons, it’s a good time.” Hard to argue against the pace that 650 horsepower will provide in the Z06.

Z51 Z06 Corvette

California’s canyons make for a great test of the Corvette with a combination of long sweepers and tight hairpins, maximizing on the Z06’s strong points of great handling and immense horsepower. But what if that horsepower was too much? A tall question for sure, but in this environment, the Z51 Stingray makes a great case for itself.


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As a contrast to the Z06, the Z51 allows you to shuffle your own gears, which adds a layer of connection. “This, honestly, this one right here with the manual and the 6.2, has completely sold me on the C7 Corvette. The Z06 is nuts and all, but I would want a C7 with a manual. Controlling that exhaust note with your left and right feet is one of the best experiences you can have in a sports car,” says Vandenberg. He does acknowledge that a manual is on offer with the Z06, but it could just end up being overwhelming and as such, not as engaging.

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Patrick Morgan is an instructor at Chicago's Autobahn Country Club and contributes to a number of Auto sites, including MB World and 6SpeedOnline.

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