The 2005 Corvette boasts a Chevy small-block V-8 that's sufficiently revised to warrant the new designation LS2. Changes began with a 2.6-mm bore stretch to 101.6 mm, which increased total displacement to 6.0 liters (precisely 5,967cc) or 364 cubic inches on the same 92-mm stroke. Compression went from 10.1:1 to 10.9:1. A revamped intake system took in 15 percent more air. The exhaust system gained a lightweight thin-wall manifold with 20 percent higher outflow, plus straight-through pipes and new mufflers that reduced back pressure 10 percent.
Standard horsepower jumped from 350 at 5,200 rpm to a beefy 400 at 6,000. Torque swelled from 360/375 pound-feet at 4,000 revs to a stout 400 at 4,400. To put that in perspective, the LS2 is only five horses down on the previous Z06's LS6 engine and makes the same torque at slightly lower revs. Icing the cake, the LS2 weighed 15 pounds less than the predecessor LS1, helped by a smaller water pump and a new, specially designed aluminum oil pan that took a quart less to fill yet ensured superior lubrication at high cornering forces.
This 2005 Corvette prototype was tested at Germany's Nürburgring road course.
As before, the convertible and base coupe offered a choice of six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transaxles. The veteran four-speed got Cadillac-style Performance Shift Algorithm programming, while the Tremec T56 manual boasted a revised linkage with more positive action and a shorter shift lever. And where C5s offered a manual at extra cost, C6s have it standard and offer the automatic at no charge.
Chassis changes abound. The all-independent suspension, for example, is basically the C5 setup, but all components were new, highlighted by increased wheel travel from longer-stroke shock absorbers, plus stiffer antiroll-bar mounts and revised bushings. Spring and shock rates were recalibrated too, and the front caster angle was increased one degree for more stable tracking. The base FE1 suspension adopted Goodyear's new-generation Eagle F1 GS run-flat tires. So did the $1,695 Magnetic Selective Ride Control option, which went from three firmness modes to two, but was otherwise unchanged. The $1,495 Z51 Performance Package substitutes asymmetric-tread Eagle F1 Supercar shoes in the same EEE sizes -- P245/40ZR18 front, P285/35ZR19 rear -- plus the usual upgraded springs, shocks, and antiroll bars. Z51 cars got 13.4/13.0-inch cross-drilled rotors with high-performance pads. Among the few carryover chassis bits were GM's Magnasteer power rack-and-pinion steering and standard Active Handling antiskid/traction control.
The C5 "Uniframe" was already quite light and plenty stiff, but the C6 structure benefited from welded extruded-aluminum members that were bolted and bonded to strengthen the door-hinge pillars. Also added was an under-dash hydroformed brace that tied those pillars firmly to the center chassis tunnel. Ragtops gained rigidity from a new fiberglass tub that formed the trunk as well as a rear cockpit wall. This not only reduced noise and body shake, but protected trunk contents. Priced at $1,995, the C6 power top took up no more trunk space than the manual roof did, weighed a mere 15 pounds, and went from full on to full off (or vice versa) in under 20 seconds. Powered or not, the C6 top -- available in black, gray, or beige -- is shaped to generate less wind noise and is fully lined.
Other first-time Corvette options included GM's useful OnStar system ($695) and XM satellite radio ($325). Convertibles, however, added torso side airbags, which were available for coupes in a 1SA Preferred Equipment Package ($1,405) that also included perforated leather upholstery, a six-way power passenger seat, and a cargo net and cover.
An upgraded 1SB group ($4,360 for coupes, $2,955 for ragtops) added heated seats, seat memory system, power telescopic steering-wheel adjustment, Bose audio with six-disc in-dash CD/MP3 player, auto-dimming mirrors, and a new three-mode head-up display.
Considering all the improvements, it's amazing that the C6 coupe bowed with a base price of $43,710. That's $125 lighter than the final price for the last C5 coupe. Talk about value!
Value is a big reason why the new Corvette made Car and Driver's "10 Best Cars" list for 2005 -- and eked out a one-point win over the redesigned 2005 Porsche 911 Carrera in a comparison test. Over at Road & Track, the C6 came in first in a nine-way sports-car showdown. Road & Track concluded, "[The C6] has no real weaknesses and many strengths. It possesses world-class performance, a high level of comfort and dashing good looks. And it's available for nearly half the price of a Porsche Carrera S ... America's sports car is now back in its rightful place atop the sports-car mountain."
The C6 also continues the C5's perennial place on Consumer Guide magazine's "Best Buy" list. As we noted in our review: "Corvette delivers thrilling acceleration, handling, and braking ... and costs tens of thousands less than rivals with similar performance. If you like your sports cars bold and brawny, there's no better high-performance value and no stronger Best Buy in this class."
Learn about other Corvettes in this generation:
| 2006 Corvette||2007 Corvette |
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