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The 2023 Sports Car of The Year Is Actually Pretty Affordable

MotorTrend says it's 'the best American sports car ever made,'
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This has been quite a week for the Corvette.

On Jan. 17, 70 years to the day the beloved sports car debuted as a concept vehicle, General Motors  (GM) - Get Free Report announced its incoming 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray hybrid.

The E-Ray could provide a major challenge to the high end of the green-vehicle industry, particularly to electric-vehicle leader Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Free Report.

That's not a bad way to kick off the week, but things got even better a few days later when the Corvette Z06 was named the 2023 MotorTrend Performance Vehicle of the Year.

The Corvette Z06 was judged the winner from a field of 20 all-new or significantly updated vehicles, including the Honda Civic Type R and Toyota GR Corolla.

The Z06 dates back to 1963 when it was first offered as an option package and directed at those who intended to use their Corvettes on a track.

This was another feather in the cap for the brand, as MotorTrend named Corvette as its Car of the Year in 2020.

Corvette Z06 Excels in Six Key Areas

The Corvette excelled against the award’s six key criteria: driver confidence and engagement, efficiency, value, advancement in design, engineering excellence, and performance of intended function. 

Other longtime Corvette strengths have been retained and improved upon, MotorTrend said, including its suitability for daily driving; when utilizing its Tour drive mode, the Z06’s suspension is all-day comfortable

MotorTrend said the 670-hp mid-engine Corvette beat out formidable competition "thanks to performance that rivaled or topped some of the world’s most pedigreed sports cars, such as the Lamborghini Huracán Tecnica and McLaren 765LT Spider."

Among the highlights of the Z06, MotorTrend cited its "amazing value, as well as an era-capping engine, perhaps the last and likely the best naturally aspirated American V-8 ever." 

At 2.8 seconds to 60 mph, the Corvette Z06 was quickest in this year's field of competitors, while its 1.16 g lateral grip and 95-foot stop from 60 mph were second-best.

Editors Laud 'World-Beating' Handling

“This is the world-beating supercar we have longed for, with the way the engine delivers power until you hit the 8,600-rpm redline and the huge grip levels that encourage ever-higher cornering speeds—this is the best American sports car ever made,” MotorTrend Group head of editorial Ed Loh said in a statement. 

In their review of the Z06, MotorTrend editors lauded the vehicle's engine, supple ride, and "world-beating handling." Under cons, the editors listed the brake pedal feel, busy styling and the squircle steering wheel, which they said was still controversial.

"The squircle steering wheel still rubs some people the wrong way and the Z06's visual updates don't do anything to counter existing opinions about the vaguely chintzy, busy styling," the review said.

The Z06 coupe starts at $110,290 and "pile on every performance option which you can put on the entry-level 1LZ trim level and the cheapest max-performance Z06 runs $138,175." 

"It’s a wonder Chevy doesn’t charge more because for the first time ever, a Corvette tingles with the kind of special sauce that makes the car seem worth it no matter the price, a sense of total desirability, and the feeling nothing was left on the table," MotorTrend said.