FIRST LOOK: Corvette's new Z06 built in Bowling Green

FIRST LOOK: Corvette's new Z06 built in Bowling Green
Published: Feb. 24, 2015 at 6:17 PM EST|Updated: Apr. 10, 2015 at 5:42 PM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, KY (WAVE) - Drivers expect incredible performance when they buy a Lamborghini or Ferrari, but it comes with the incredible price tag of hundreds of thousands of dollars. But how about getting better performance from a Kentucky-built car, for 70 or 80 grand? That's exactly what people will get with the new 2015 Z06 Corvette built in Bowling Green. Never before has a Corvette, since they started building them in 1953, received such accolades from across the world.

About 40,000 Corvettes will roll off the assembly line this year. Everything about the car is getting rave reviews, from the quality control, comfort, speed and handling. That's why you may wait months at the dealership to get one.

"It really is a supercar at a fraction of the price," plant manager Jeff Lamarche said.

So super that it has the best cornering numbers of any car ever tested by Motor Trend and the second-fastest lap time to a rare Porsche selling for about $800,000 to $900,000.

The new Z06 model recently joined the redesigned 2014 seventh generation Corvette. It's the first supercharged Corvette, cranking out 650 horsepower, and it gets special attention at the Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green. The engine is built by one worker from start to finish with their nameplate put right on the block. Its suspension is so impressive, Ferrari now uses it.

"It's really exciting to be able to build, to be a part of building the best engine for the best car at the best plant in the world right here in the state of Kentucky," said Bryan Lee, a supervisor at the Performance Build Center. "It's really exciting to be a small part of that."

Greg Quillen flew in from Fishkill, New York to watch his new Corvette be built from beginning to end - a full day on the assembly line.

"It's the best-handling car, and for the price, you can't touch it," Quillen said.

At Bachman Chevrolet in Louisville, they sell so many Corvettes they get more to sell than most dealerships. Still, it can take a few months to get what a buyer wants.

One of the most surprising things about the rocket on wheels is the mileage.

"I sold a ton of Corvettes last year, and I've got customers who are telling me they are getting well over 30 miles-per-gallon on these cars," said salesman Mike Davenport.

That's because at cruising speeds, some of the cylinders are deactivated and the car is still almost asleep at highway speeds.

But it's not all about performance. After driving Porsches and Ferraris, some customers come into Bachman and love two other things about the Corvette. First, the price. Starting at $55,000, a fully decked Z06 runs just over $100,000. That's far below the European supercars. The other thing: the space behind the driver. Two sets of golf clubs will fit in the space unlike the other sports cars on the market.

People in the market for the top-of-the-line Z06 will have a brand new opportunity starting next month. They can build their own engine at the Performance Build Center and put their names on the engine blocks. It's a $5,000 option. It's perhaps a small price to pay for all the big thrills behind the wheel.

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