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“Convertible” and “automatic” are two words that can suck the joy out of a sports car the way fat-free and sugar-free can ruin a dessert. But that’s not quite the case with the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. The Z06 convertible proves that there doesn’t have to be a performance penalty for taking the roof off and adding a conventional automatic. Weight rises by an unnoticed 55 pounds, the structure remains stout enough for track duty, and the quick-shifting eight-speed has one additional gear to play with compared to the manual.
Admittedly, a manual Z06 coupe is a wilder ride than an automatic convertible. It’s the stick shift that makes it so. Sure, the automatic allows you to choose the gears, but most of the time you’ll just end up letting it shift for itself. Both can be had with the track-devouring Z07 package that includes, in addition to various aerodynamic enhancements, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 run-flat tires. Thus outfitted, the convertible epoxies itself to the skidpad with 1.17 g of grip. The front tires break away predictably and the rears stay in place provided your throttle inputs remain smooth and slow. On canyon roads, the grip feels endless and you keep diving into corners faster and faster. The steering wheel dances in response to the cornering pressure, and the rack it controls is quick and accurate.