Z06... FINALLY I got to drive it in the UK!
No, mine hasn't been delivered...
...but finally I got to drive a demonstrator on Saturday, which was the nicest day (morning, at least) for a while.
Very impressed. Pretty well everything I've read turns out to be true.
The demonstrator's not got too many miles on it so I didn't rev it particularly highly, but nor was there any need to. What an accomplished car.
I'll only be telling some of you what you already know far better than I but here goes:
Acceleration was excellent, from any speed and in (nearly) any gear. 6th really is a toothless overdrive but that's great for its cruising purpose.
The noise that accompanied that acceleration reminded me of a fighter jet launching. If most of the noise at low revs was from the tyres, above 3000 it was very, very different - a real beast.
Comfort levels high and the seats were perfect for the purpose, at least for someone my shape. The Z06 is also clearly a very composed car and high cruising speeds did not feel particularly fast - possibly a dangerous trait!
Tranny rattle a minor annoyance but I found the gearshift positive and clean; certainly not something I would take issue with as some have done.
The cargo space, to my utter delight, not only accommodated my rifles (a key requirement of any car, for me) but also the large black rifle box that can house two of them when going on tour. The only other sports car I can think of that can do that comfortably is the TVR Tuscan that I am selling.
The car was an absolute beauty up close. Yellow is not normally to my taste but the VY demonstrator looked gorgeous in the sunshine outside my house and prompted queries from a neighbour within seconds.
A couple of bits of road (high up on the A3 and on a straight country road) provoked a bit of suspension bounce; but I drove the same stretches afterwards in the Tuscan and the experience was not dissimilar - it's just that you look for these things more critically in a new car. The Z06 also dealt with speed bumps with no more trouble than I'm used to.
Left hand drive (in the UK, remember) was NO problem whatsoever. In town, the only time it was an issue was when trying to see round stopped buses in order to pass them. Otherwise, city driving was fine and kerb-crawling on the first sunny day for ages was made easier by LHD in a RHD country! On dual carriageways, again no problem at all; and, given the propensity for the majority of British drivers these days to hog the outside lane, being able to see more clearly underneath them (i.e. to their left) was no bad thing. The really pleasant surprise was that, after having blasted past a couple of cars on some real twisties, I realised that I hadn't even thought about being on the "wrong" side of the car while doing so. The process just hadn't been any different and I hadn't had to think about it any differently. And on long, straight, single lane roads, one could just hold back far enough to be able to pull out safely to have a look, then go.
Now, those twisties... anyone who knows me will know I've been saving some good stuff until last. The test drive was planned to take us down to a couple of roads that I know very well, each with a series of quite tight bends that you can carry speed through. They are the roads on which I was mightily impressed with the TVR Sagaris a few months ago. The Z06 performed beautifully. It felt very, very planted through the bends and the brakes felt magnificent. My Tuscan was waiting for me at Racing Green, so I was able to drive both cars on the same roads soon after each other. The Z06 had a bit more of a kick to it and felt, I think, slightly more planted than the Tuscan, and speeds through and out of bends were slightly higher. Were they as high as in the Sagaris a few months ago? I'm honestly not sure; that had been the most confidence-inspiring car I had ever driven round those bends by far. But I'm pretty sure the Z's acceleration from corner to corner and its brakes will have made up for any difference in speed through the bends, if indeed there was any.
That said, the ONE criticism I would make of the Z06, which was all the more obvious in that environment, regarded the steering. It was not at all quick enough for such a high performance car. And feedback was nowhere near positive enough. I'd argue the wheel's a bit too large too. But these are not killer points.
I jumped back in the Tuscan afterwards and boy did it feel light by comparison. But it also felt a lot less torquey (despite being much more so than most cars); and the Tuscan's rush from 4000rpm upwards was suddenly a lot more obvious, highlighted by the Z's low end power delivery.
The Tuscan's still a great car but, after this, am I looking forward even more to my LMB Z06 arriving in June? You bet!