It also has a sports car suspension. The aforementioned brakes are superb-they're powerful, and the use of a separate pad for each piston provides excellent feel. What was a stiff, sometimes squirrelly ride on city streets becomes balanced and predictable at speed on a winding road. The C6-version Z is nimbler than its predecessor, though it retains that car's neutral steering characteristics. The Z06 inspires driver confidence-it's easy to turn and burn a set of twisties with this thing. In fact, this car may inspire more confidence than is safe with all that power instantly available. The Z06 will reward a skilled driver with an unparalleled ability to get from here to there in rapid fashion; the unskilled and foolhardy are liable to be overwhelmed.

The '06 Z06 is marked by a lack of compromise, which makes the tire choice a bit puzzling. Heeding buyer feedback, Chevrolet equipped the new Vette with its latest generation Goodyear EMTs rather than traditional tires and a flat repair kit. These new run-flats are the best of their kind yet, and the Z06 certainly has plenty of contact patch. In general, they work well, but we can't help but think what an absolute ball this machine would be with a set of ultra-high-performance gumballs mounted up. And to even approach the limits of this capable Corvette, they're a necessity.

Beef with the tires aside, the new Z06 is an amazing car. But what's really amazing is that here and now, in the 21st century, we can buy an 11-second, 500-horse car that also happens to be well mannered off a dealer's showroom floor. What's even more amazing is that we can buy it from Chevrolet. Let's face it: Our favorite marque's lineup is a performance wasteland. But now that we've sampled what's possible, and in stunning form, we have a bit of hope in what's to come-and another fat adrenalin rush to come down from.