Going truly fast in an American sports car means one thing these days: the Corvette. There are muscle cars that aspire to its speed, and a few that come close, but none are the Corvette's equal. That gap is set to widen just a bit for 2012 with a new set of upgrades.
The improvements focus on increasing on-track performance and on-road comfort. We'll handle the fast bits first.
Upgraded Michelin Cup ZP tires, developed by the Michelin engineers that develop the tires for the American Le Mans Series Corvette Racing team. The tires add even more grip in warm/dry conditions, improving cornering speed and bringing lateral acceleration up to an estimated 1.1 g--a very high figure for a showroom-stock production car. That's worth about three seconds per lap at Virginia International Raceway.
To make the most of the tires and improve the car's handling in other conditions, Performance Traction Management will be offered on the Z06 for the first time, as well. The system ties together traction control, active handling, and selective ride control systems to improve consistency on track, even when applying power exiting a corner.
Opt for the Z07 (on the Z06) or PDE (on the ZR1) package to get the Cup ZP tires, and you'll also get a full-width racing spoiler on both cars, plus magnetic selective ride control on the Z06. An optional carbon fiber hood is also avaialble for the Z06. The ZR1 gets revised fifth and sixth gears for a 2 mpg improvement in fuel economy.
Inside, all 2012 Corvette models get a new seat design and steering wheel. Larger bolsters hold the driver in place better, and optional microfiber suede inserts improve their grip. The steering wheel gets model-specific badging and tweaks to the switches and spokes. The center console and armrests get padding, and contrasting color stitching is found throughout when you opt for the leather interior.
Upgraded tech in the cabin comes in the form of a new Bose nine-speaker audio system, a new Technology Package for the 2LT trim that includes Bluetooth phone support, a USB port, navigation and the Bose audio system.
Finally, the look of the 2012 Corvettes can be tweaked with a selection of red, yellow, silver, or gray brake caliper colors.