2005 Corvette


The 2005 Corvette coupe and convertible were quickly hailed as the best Corvettes ever, yet they somehow weren't new enough to satisfy a few critics. Indeed, Car and Driver first described the C6 as a "C5 and 11/16ths ... Like the '68 Vette, the 2005 is a profound evolution of the existing car. It's one long stride on the road of continual improvement."

The 2005 Corvette Z06 was unveiled in January 2005.
The 2005 Corvette Z06 was unveiled in
January 2005 at Detroit's North
American International Auto Show, but
didn't hit the streets until the '06 model
year. See more pictures of Corvettes.

Significantly, the C6 is t­he first Corvette developed in tandem with another GM car, the Cadillac XLR, a suave two-seat retractable-hardtop convertible launched for 2004. The Cadillac was given priority because it would launch first and would stand as a symbol of an emerging renaissance for GM's luxury brand. Only after the XLR was finished could the Corvette team turn full attention to C6 work, which was under way in earnest by mid-2000 -- yet another reason why the C6 could not be totally new in concept.

It is, however, very new in content -- 85 percent by weight. Much of that newness stems from having XLR in the mix. Chief among the XLR influences were the fit and finish of the composite-plastic exterior body panels; powertrain and road-noise isolation; and interior design, materials, and assembly.

From the beginning, the design team accepted widespread criticism that the C5 was a bit large for a high-power sports car. Shedding bulk would shed pounds to the benefit of performance, but would also make the Corvette easier to live with in crowded urban conditions -- an important consideration for Europe, where GM wanted to boost Corvette sales.

Complicating matters was the desire for improved aerodynamics, which had great implications for a new C6.R racer. So did a decision made early on to abandon pop-up headlamps for Corvette's first exposed beams since 1962. Besides reducing drag the fixed lamps took weight off the front, punctuated the new C6 face, and lowered cost and complexity. The team's aero target, a 0.28 drag coefficient, was met, yielding a small but important 0.01 Cd improvement over the production C5.

Beyond competition needs, C6 styling was influenced by the C2 Sting Ray, which can be seen in the wheel orientation, body shape, and canopy cockpit. Another styling influence was aircraft, especially the YF-22 jet fighter, which can be seen in the more pointed rear profile.

The C6 has plenty of other details to appreciate. Rear decks, for example, gain a "boattail" character line swept neatly back from the belt, a touch of the split-window Sting Ray coupe. Corvette's trademark four taillamps were almost perfectly round again, and nestled in a more-sculpted back panel that's still rather wide yet contrives to look lighter. Bodysides gained visual interest from a deft blend of creases and curves, especially around the indented "coves." And the "double-bubble" contouring of the coupe's lift-off roof panel was slightly more pronounced.

The C6 measures 5.1 inches shorter and an inch narrower than the C5, but is 1.2 inches longer in wheelbase at 106. That wheelbase was dictated by packaging requirements for the Cadillac XLR, but it added to the Corvette's purposeful new "wheels at the corners" stance. Helping the cause, the wheels themselves were larger, growing an inch at each end to 18 front and 19 rear. The one downside to the downsizing was slightly less cargo space: 22 cubic feet for coupes (previously 24.8), and 10.5 max for convertibles (vs. 13.9).

This clay model for the 2005 Corvette dashboard showed the C6 would use the dual-cowl design.
This clay model for the 2005 Corvette dashboard showed that the C6 would use
the dual-cowl design that had become a Corvette trademark.

Matching the more-sophisticated exterior was an all-new cockpit. The most obvious change was the dashboard. It was laid out like the C5's, but the sculpted "twin cowl" theme gave way to a clean, vertical, passenger-side panel with newly hidden airbag door. New seats offered longer cushions and more prominent side bolsters. A sprinkling of aluminum and metal-look accents provided a tasteful touch of modern "hi tech." Gauges looked much the same, but audio and climate panels had fewer buttons and clearer markings. The center stack can also house a navigation system, available for $1,400 as a first-time Corvette option. A reworked console provided proper twin cupholders beneath a sliding cover and a larger armrest/storage bin. Designers also found space for small but useful door map pockets. The doors themselves gained electric latches with pushbutton interior releases and exterior press pads; a mechanical release outboard of each seat let passengers escape in case of power failure. The ignition key was replaced by a large engine-start rocker switch, part of a standard keyless entry system with pocket transmitter, another "gift" from XLR.

Learn about other Corvettes in this generation:

2006 Corvette
2007 Corvette

Looking for more information on Corvettes and other cars? See:

  • Corvettes: Learn about the history behind each model year and see Corvette photographs.
  • Corvette Specifications: Get key specifications, engine and transmission types, prices, and production totals.
  • Corvette Museum: The National Corvette Museum draws Corvette lovers from all over the world. Learn more about the museum.
  • Corvette Pictures: Find pictures of the hottest classic and current-year Corvettes.
  • Muscle Cars: Get information on more than 100 tough-guy rides.
  • Consumer Guide Corvette Reviews: Considering a Corvette purchase? See what Consumer Guide has to say.

2005 Corvette Design Features

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.

This 2005 Corvette prototype was tested at Germany's Nurburgring road course.
This 2005 Corvette prototype was tested at Germany's Nürburgring road course.

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.

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

Looking for more information on Corvettes and other cars? See:

  • Corvettes: Learn about the history behind each model year and see Corvette photographs.
  • Corvette Specifications: Get key specifications, engine and transmission types, prices, and production totals.
  • Corvette Museum: The National Corvette Museum draws Corvette lovers from all over the world. Learn more about the museum.
  • Corvette Pictures: Find pictures of the hottest classic and current-year Corvettes.
  • Muscle Cars: Get information on more than 100 tough-guy rides.
  • Consumer Guide Corvette Reviews: Considering a Corvette purchase? See what Consumer Guide has to say.

2005 Corvette Specifications

More an evolution of the C5 than an all-new car, the 2005 Corvette C6 took giant steps forward in performance and refinement. Smaller, more nimble, and more precise than its predecessor, the C6 carried a design that hearkened back to the beloved 1963-67 Sting Rays. The newfound refinement was a pleasant surprise, and performance was more satisfying than ever. Here are the specifications for the 2005 Corvette:

A developmental 2005 Corvette was tested at the GM Desert Proving Ground in Mesa, Arizona.
A developmental 2005 Corvette was tested at the GM Desert Proving Ground
in Mesa, Arizona. Loads like this one simulating steep grades help engineers
develop cooling systems for severe hot weather conditions.

Vehicle Specifications
Hatchback Convertible
Wheelbase, inches
106.0
106.0
Length, inches
174.6
174.6
Width, inches
72.6
72.6
Track, inches
front: 62.1 rear: 60.7
front: 62.1 rear: 60.7
Height, inches
49.0
49.0
Curb weight, pounds
3,179
3,199

Mechanical Specifications (2-door hatchback/convertible/coupe)

Suspension
front: Independent; upper and lower A-arms, transverse composite monoleaf spring, tube shock absorbers, antiroll bar
rear: Independent, upper and lower A-arms, toe links, transverse composite monoleaf springs, tube shock absorbers, antiroll bar

Wheels/Tires
front: P245/45ZR-18
rear: P285/35ZR-19

Brakes
front: anti-lock 12.8-inch disc
rear: anti-lock 12.0-inch disc

Transmission
4-speed automatic
6-speed manual

Standard axle ratio
2.73:1 (auto) 3.42:1 (manual)

Engine Specifications

Type
ohv V-8
Displacement, liters/cu inch
6.0/364
Bore × stroke, inches
4.00 × 3.62
Fuel management
Sequential Injection
Horsepower @ rpm
400 @ 6,000
Torque @ rpm, pound-foot
400 @ 4,400

Published Performance Numbers

Acceleration
350 hp, 6-speed manual
0-60 mph, sec
4.3
1/4-mile, sec @ mph
12.7 @ 113.0

Source: Car and Driver

Vehicle Production and Base Prices

Car Type
Production Price
2-door hatchback NA
$43,710.00
2-door convertible NA
51,445.00

Options and Production

Option Production Price
Preferred Equipment Group 1SA (hatchback)
NA
$1,405.00
Preferred Equipment Group 1SB (hatchback)NA
4,360.00
Preferred Equipment Group 1SB (convertible)
NA
2,955.00
Magnetic Selective Ride Control
NA1,695.00
Z51 Performance Handling Package
NA1,695.00
4-Speed Automatic TransmissionNANA
Navigation System
NA1,600.00
On Star Assistance System
NA 695.00
XM Satellite Radio
NA325.00
Power Top (convertible)
NA 1,995.00
Corvette Museum Delivery NA 490.00
Transparent Roof Panel
NA750.00
Dual Roof Panel
NA1,400.00
Polished Alloy Wheels
NA 1,295.00

Color Choices (Production numbers not available)

Color Choice
Color Choice Color Choice
Color Choice
Light Pewter Metallic
Victory Red
Precision Red
LeMans Blue
Black
Millennium Yellow
Magnetic Red Metallic
Sunset Orange Metallic
Machine Silver Metallic
Arctic White


Learn about other Corvettes in this generation:

2006 Corvette
2007 Corvette

Looking for more information on Corvettes and other cars? See:

  • Corvettes: Learn about the history behind each model year and see Corvette photographs.
  • Corvette Specifications: Get key specifications, engine and transmission types, prices, and production totals.
  • Corvette Museum: The National Corvette Museum draws Corvette lovers from all over the world. Learn more about the museum.
  • Corvette Pictures: Find pictures of the hottest classic and current-year Corvettes.
  • Muscle Cars: Get information on more than 100 tough-guy rides.
  • Consumer Guide Corvette Reviews: Considering a Corvette purchase? See what Consumer Guide has to say.