Just pick your budget, and there is a Z06 for you.
Even though it's no longer the most potent Corvette on the market - that honor goes to the 755 horsepower ZR1 - the Z06 is still an extremely impressive machine. A new Z06 starts at around $80,000, which is pretty reasonable for a 650-hp sports car. GM often offers huge incentives on Corvettes, so it's possible to get one with as much as $10,000 off sticker price. If that still sounds a bit too pricey for you don't fret, because used Z06 models are a great bargain no matter your price range. Just pick a price, and we'll tell you which Z06 to buy.
Let's start off with the most recent C7 generation, which is obviously the priciest Z06 on the used market. The C7 Z06 is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged LT4 V8, which produces 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque going out to a seven-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic. Though they aren't exactly "cheap," we found used 2015 and 2016 models with low miles for less than $60,000. This is around a $20,000 savings compared to a new one. As much as we love the C7 Z06, there are some issues you should know about before you buy one. For starters, this car is still relatively new, which means it will likely depreciate further than its current $60,000 price range.
The C7 also has an issue with failing engines, though it seems GM has fixed the problem. Lastly, the C7 Z06 has experienced cooling issues on the track, so if you plan to race your Z06, you may be better off with a different car. This brings us neatly to one of the best values on the used market: the C6 Z06. The C6 Z06 was sold from 2006 to 2013, and prices now range from under $30,000 on the low end, to around $60,000 for the rarified 427 Collector Edition Convertible. All C6 Z06 models are powered by a 7.0-liter LS7 V8 producing 505 hp going out exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission.
It is amazing to think that for the price of a fully-loaded Mazda Miata, you can have a 505-hp Corvette that can do 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and the quarter-mile in 11.7 seconds. The C6 generation marks the sweet spot of power (where it isn't as overwhelming as the C7), and interior, (where is isn't as cheap as the C5). Even though the C6 is the one we'd recommend most, it is still out of the price range for some buyers. If you have less than $20,000 to spend on a sports car, you can still find a nice, low mileage C5 Z06. It may not be the fanciest Corvette, but it has its perks.
The C5 Z06 made its debut in the 2001 model year, and was sold until 2004. Powering the C5 Z06 is a 5.7-liter LS6 V8 producing 385 hp. This figure was later increased to 405 hp in 2002. Though it is less powerful than a new Corvette Stingray, the C5 Z06 is no slouch. It could hit 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and run through the quarter-mile in 12.3 seconds with the 385 hp engine. The more powerful 405-hp version could do it in 3.9 and 12.7 seconds respectively. Unfortunately, the interior of the C5 Corvette is pretty terrible by modern standards, though it did have some unique features like a head-up display.
The C5 Z06 also has something no other Z06 has: popup headlights. Though it may seem silly, popup headlights are so cool that we could almost forgive the C5 for its shoddy interior quality. If you are willing to sacrifice a bit of interior quality to enjoy the sweet performance of a high-power V8, then the C5 Z06 may be a perfect option for you. It doesn't matter if you have $15,000 to spend, or $60,000, there is a used Corvette Z06 out there for you. Each has its benefits, and its fault,its pros and cons, but all are great V8 sports cars with a lot to offer.