Chevrolet Beretta


The Chevrolet Beretta was assigned double duty in Chevy's lineup, and as this article reveals, would have taken on a third role if not for an embarrassing lack of quality control.

The Chevrolet Beretta entered showrooms for the 1988 model year and lasted through the 1996 season. The Chevrolet Beretta was basically the two-door coupe version of the Chevrolet Corsica four-door sedan introduced at the same time.

Chevrolet Beretta Image Gallery

1988 Chevrolet Beretta base model
The 1988 Beretta came standard with F41 sport suspension
and 14-inch tires. See more pictures of the Chevy Beretta.

Both the Chevrolet Beretta and Corsica were front-wheel-drive compacts offering four- and six-cylinder engines. Both were designed to sell for less than domestic and import rivals.

Both also ushered in aerodynamic-inspired styling for Chevrolet's compact lineup, though the coupe roofline of the Chevrolet Beretta resulted in sleeker lines than the sedan shape afforded Corsica.

Equipped with the four-cylinder engine, the Chevrolet Beretta was inexpensive to buy and economical to run -- a good way to get the style of a coupe without overburdening the bank account.

The Chevrolet Beretta also offered a succession of sporty models with labels like GT and GTU and Z26. These had V-6 engines, uprated suspension, and specific trim designed to transform that economical entry-level coupe into an economical Euro-style coupe.

The Chevrolet Beretta performed this double duty well enough, at least as judged by the reliably healthy sales numbers and as measured against such rivals as the Dodge Avenger.

But the Chevrolet Beretta was to have a third dimension, that of a convertible. This would have been a Beretta coupe with the top chopped off and a structural hoop retained behind the front seats.

Chevy announced it as an addition to the 1990 Chevrolet Beretta lineup, and constructed a handful for duty as Indy 500 pace cars.

But Chevy never got the build quality good enough for full production, and the Chevrolet Beretta convertible remains but an embarrassing footnote.

1996 Chevrolet Beretta Z26
The Beretta entered its final model year in 1996 with two
models, a base car and this sporty Z26.

For more picture-packed articles about Chevys and other great cars, see:

  • Classic Cars: Learn about more than 400 of the world's finest classic and collectible automobiles.
  • Muscle Cars: Look back at tire-smoking Chevys and scores of other machines from the golden age of American high performance.
  • Sports Cars: Discover the pleasure of sports motoring at its purest in these captivating articles on the best sports cars from around the world.
  • Consumer Guide Automotive: Here's your source for news, reviews, prices, fuel-economy and safety information on today's cars, minivans, SUVs, and pickups.
  • Consumer Guide Used Car Search: In the market for a used Chevy or virtually any other pre-owned vehicle? Check out these reports, which include safety recalls and trouble spots.

1988 Chevrolet Beretta

1988 Chevrolet Beretta GTU package
The 1988 Beretta became available to the general public
in spring 1987.

The 1988 Chevrolet Beretta, which came out in March of 1987, was the first Beretta model to be sold to the general public.
Like its four-door Corsica sibling, the Beretta first appeared in late 1986 as a 1987 model but was sold only to rental fleets. These "early" 1988s differed slightly from the cars that were in the showrooms at the start of the normal 1988 model year in the fall, in that the later examples added an AM/FM stereo radio with digital clock to the list of standard equipment and an upshift light to models with the V-6 engine and manual transmission.

Otherwise, the sporty Beretta continued unchanged. Though it shared its platform and general lines with the four-door Corsica, most body panels were different. Powertrain offerings, however, were the same for both cars: A 90-horsepower 2.0-liter four was standard, with a 130-horsepower 2.8-liter V-6 optional. With either engine, a five-speed manual was standard and a three-speed automatic was optional.

Beretta prices ran a bit steeper than the Corsica's, with a base of $10,135. But like its four-door sibling, a well-equipped Beretta cost less than most rivals, and sales for the long model year nearly matched those of the Corsica at over 275,000.

1988 Chevrolet Beretta GT
The 1988 Beretta GT models came with a Z51 suspension
and 15-inch rubber.

1988 Chevrolet Beretta Facts

Model

Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Beretta

2,608-2,707

$10,135-$10,795

275,098

For more picture-packed articles about Chevys and other great cars, see:

  • Classic Cars: Learn about more than 400 of the world's finest classic and collectible automobiles.
  • Muscle Cars: Look back at tire-smoking Chevys and scores of other machines from the golden age of American high performance.
  • Sports Cars: Discover the pleasure of sports motoring at its purest in these captivating articles on the best sports cars from around the world.
  • Consumer Guide Automotive: Here's your source for news, reviews, prices, fuel-economy and safety information on today's cars, minivans, SUVs, and pickups.
  • Consumer Guide Used Car Search: In the market for a used Chevy or virtually any other pre-owned vehicle? Check out these reports, which include safety recalls and trouble spots.

1989 Chevrolet Beretta

1989 Chevrolet Beretta GT
Buyers ponied up nearly $12,700 for the 1989 Beretta GT.

The 1989 Chevrolet Beretta did not start out as a strong seller for Chevy. Since Beretta shared its mechanical components with the Corsica sedan, Chevy usually counted the two cars together when figuring sales totals. Taken in that context, the duo ended up leading the production race for 1989 with over 400,000 built, barely edging out Ford's Taurus.

But at the beginning of the model year, there was precious little to boast about. The base Beretta got dressed up with exterior appointments taken from the previous year's GT, and the GT itself became a regular model rather than an option package. The main differences between the base and GT were that the latter included firmer suspension, split folding rear seatback, custom cloth trim, overhead console, 15-inch styled steel wheels (in place of the base model's 14-inch steel wheels), and, of course, the 130-horsepower 2.8-liter V-6. The base model came with a 90-horsepower 2.0-liter four but offered the V-6 as an option. Either engine could be mated to a five-speed manual transmission or three-speed automatic.

Prices were up somewhat, the base model rising by $440 to $10,575, while the GT listed at $12,685 -- about $800 more than the year before, though it included some extra equipment. Considering the sales totals, however, the increases were apparently of little concern to buyers.

1989 Chevrolet Beretta base model
The base-model 1989 Beretta's inline-four was inadequate,
driving many buyers to the optional 2.8-liter V-6.

1989 Chevrolet Beretta Facts

Model

Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Beretta

2,631-2,727

$10,575-$12,685

190,055

For more picture-packed articles about Chevys and other great cars, see:

  • Classic Cars: Learn about more than 400 of the world's finest classic and collectible automobiles.
  • Muscle Cars: Look back at tire-smoking Chevys and scores of other machines from the golden age of American high performance.
  • Sports Cars: Discover the pleasure of sports motoring at its purest in these captivating articles on the best sports cars from around the world.
  • Consumer Guide Automotive: Here's your source for news, reviews, prices, fuel-economy and safety information on today's cars, minivans, SUVs, and pickups.
  • Consumer Guide Used Car Search: In the market for a used Chevy or virtually any other pre-owned vehicle? Check out these reports, which include safety recalls and trouble spots.

1990 Chevrolet Beretta

1990 Chevrolet Beretta GTZ
The hot 1990 Beretta GTZ used GM's perky but unrefined
Quad 4 engine.

The 1990 Chevrolet Beretta's big news was supposed to be the addition of a new convertible variant. But though a prototype paced the 74th running of the Indy 500 in May of 1990, a production ragtop never appeared, the inevitable pace car replicas being specially trimmed yellow or turquoise coupes.

The proposed ragtop was to have a built-in roll bar similar to that of the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme convertible. But the "basket handle" wasn't for roll-over protection as much as adding structural stiffness and allowing the retention of Beretta's pillar-mounted door handles. In any event, snags developed, and the idea was shelved.

A GTZ coupe took the place of the late-1989 GTU as the sports entry and was fitted with the Oldsmobile-built 2.3-liter Quad 4. This 16-valve double-overhead-cam engine packed a healthy 180 horsepower. The GTZ also had exclusive use of 16-inch alloy wheels and carried distinctive rocker-panel moldings and its own grille.

Elsewhere in the line, a 2.2-liter four with 95 horsepower replaced the 90-horsepower 2.0-liter four, while the V-6 that was standard in the GT and optional on the base model also grew, from 2.8 liters and 130 horsepower to 3.1 liters and 135.

1990 Chevrolet Beretta convertible
A convertible 1990 Beretta paced the Indianapolis 500 that year.

1990 Chevrolet Beretta Facts

Model

Weight (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Beretta and Corsica

2,637

$10,320-$13,750

306,807

For more picture-packed articles about Chevys and other great cars, see:

  • Classic Cars: Learn about more than 400 of the world's finest classic and collectible automobiles.
  • Muscle Cars: Look back at tire-smoking Chevys and scores of other machines from the golden age of American high performance.
  • Sports Cars: Discover the pleasure of sports motoring at its purest in these captivating articles on the best sports cars from around the world.
  • Consumer Guide Automotive: Here's your source for news, reviews, prices, fuel-economy and safety information on today's cars, minivans, SUVs, and pickups.
  • Consumer Guide Used Car Search: In the market for a used Chevy or virtually any other pre-owned vehicle? Check out these reports, which include safety recalls and trouble spots.

1991 Chevrolet Beretta

1991 Chevrolet Beretta base model
The Beretta gained a standard driver-side air bag for 1991.

The 1991 Chevrolet Beretta, like its four-door Corsica stablemate, got a driver-side air bag and a redesigned dash. Meanwhile, the GTZ sports model, introduced a year earlier, added a second powertrain, and the mid-level GT was spiffed up with a monochromatic exterior paint scheme, new door decals, and body-colored alloy wheels.

On the new dash, the headlight and wiper controls were now actu­ated by rotary dials rather than buttons and slide controls, and the action of the intermittent wipers was geared to vehicle speed. Twin cup holders popped out of a new console, which also included space for discs when the newly optional CD player was ordered.

Standard on base models was again a 95-horsepower 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, while GTs came with a 140-horsepower 3.1-liter V-6 that was optional on the base. That engine was also now available as a credit option on the GTZ, which otherwise carried a 2.3-liter High Output Quad 4 with 180 horsepower. All came standard with a five-speed manual. A three-speed automatic was optional with the V-6 and the smaller four; on the GTZ, the V-6 could only be mated to the automatic.

1991 Chevrolet Beretta GT
All 1991 Berettas, including this GT model, gained a new
steering wheel and redesigned gauges and controls.

1991 Chevrolet Beretta Facts

Model

Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Beretta and Corsica

2,649-2,797

$10,365-$14,550

270,153

For more picture-packed articles about Chevys and other great cars, see:

  • Classic Cars: Learn about more than 400 of the world's finest classic and collectible automobiles.
  • Muscle Cars: Look back at tire-smoking Chevys and scores of other machines from the golden age of American high performance.
  • Sports Cars: Discover the pleasure of sports motoring at its purest in these captivating articles on the best sports cars from around the world.
  • Consumer Guide Automotive: Here's your source for news, reviews, prices, fuel-economy and safety information on today's cars, minivans, SUVs, and pickups.
  • Consumer Guide Used Car Search: In the market for a used Chevy or virtually any other pre-owned vehicle? Check out these reports, which include safety recalls and trouble spots.

1992 Chevrolet Beretta

1992 Chevrolet Beretta base model
The 1992 Beretta was available with anti-lock brakes, a driver-
side air bag, and a V-6 engine.

The 1992 Chevrolet Beretta, Chevy's front-drive sports coupe, added anti-lock brakes as standard equipment for 1992, while the base engine gained power. Some powertrains also received revised gearing to improve performance or economy.

With multi-point fuel injection replacing less-efficient throttle-body injection, the standard 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine gained 15 horsepower for a total of 110. The 140-horsepower 3.1-liter V-6 was again available on all models. GTZs returned with a standard 2.3-liter Quad 4 making 180 horsepower. All but the last came either with a five-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission; the Quad 4 came only with the five-speed. The 3.1 V-6 was optional on the base coupe, standard on the mid-line GT, and optional only with the automatic on the GTZ. V-6/automatic combinations now came with a fuel-saving 2.53:1 axle ratio versus 2.84 in 1991, while GTZs with the Quad 4 went from a 3.61 ratio to 3.94 to improve off-the-line performance.

For 1992, Chevy could boast that the Beretta was one of the few sports coupes to offer a driver-side air bag, anti-lock brakes, and a V-6 engine in combination. And one could buy a Beretta so-equipped for about $12,000, far less than many four-cylinder competitors.

1992 Chevrolet Beretta GTZ
The quick Beretta GTZ was at the top of Beretta's
1992 model line.

1992 Chevrolet Beretta Facts

Model

Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Beretta and Corsica

2,649-2,795

$10,999-$15,590

197,284

For more picture-packed articles about Chevys and other great cars, see:

  • Classic Cars: Learn about more than 400 of the world's finest classic and collectible automobiles.
  • Muscle Cars: Look back at tire-smoking Chevys and scores of other machines from the golden age of American high performance.
  • Sports Cars: Discover the pleasure of sports motoring at its purest in these captivating articles on the best sports cars from around the world.
  • Consumer Guide Automotive: Here's your source for news, reviews, prices, fuel-economy and safety information on today's cars, minivans, SUVs, and pickups.
  • Consumer Guide Used Car Search: In the market for a used Chevy or virtually any other pre-owned vehicle? Check out these reports, which include safety recalls and trouble spots.

1993 Chevrolet Beretta

1993 Chevrolet Beretta GT
The Beretta GT was downgraded for 1993, with a 110-
horsepower inline four now the standard engine.

The 1993 Chevrolet Beretta sports coupe saw few changes, though the GT became more of an appearance upgrade than a performance enhancement. Base, GT, and GTZ trim levels were again offered. The 2.2-liter four-cylinder remained at 110 horsepower, but it was now standard not only in the base model, but also the GT. GTZs again came with the 2.3-liter Quad 4 engine, now producing 175 horsepower, down five from before. Optional on all models was a 3.1-liter V-6 with 140 horsepower. All engines came standard with a five-speed manual transmission, but only the base 2.2-liter four and the V-6 offered an optional three-speed automatic.

Prices were up by about $400 across the board, but it was the GT that took the biggest hit, since the V-6 that used to be standard was now a $600 option. Since Chevrolet tended to count Corsica and Beretta sales together, it's hard to say whether any of this had an adverse affect on Beretta's popularity, but combined production took a big hit; from a total of about 270,000 in 1992, the 1993 tally amounted to just over 197,000.

1993 Chevrolet Beretta GTZ
The 1993 Beretta GTZ was fun to drive, but there was no denying
the racket produced by the 175-horsepower Quad 4.

1993 Chevrolet Beretta Facts

Model

Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Beretta and Corsica

2,649-2,795

$11,395-$15,995

189,741

For more picture-packed articles about Chevys and other great cars, see:

  • Classic Cars: Learn about more than 400 of the world's finest classic and collectible automobiles.
  • Muscle Cars: Look back at tire-smoking Chevys and scores of other machines from the golden age of American high performance.
  • Sports Cars: Discover the pleasure of sports motoring at its purest in these captivating articles on the best sports cars from around the world.
  • Consumer Guide Automotive: Here's your source for news, reviews, prices, fuel-economy and safety information on today's cars, minivans, SUVs, and pickups.
  • Consumer Guide Used Car Search: In the market for a used Chevy or virtually any other pre-owned vehicle? Check out these reports, which include safety recalls and trouble spots.

1994 Chevrolet Beretta

1994 Chevrolet Beretta Z26
The 1994 Chevy Beretta got more power and a reworked lineup.
The 1994 Chevrolet Beretta, Chevy's front-drive sports coupe, received some significant changes for the model year, including increased power for its more popular engines and a sophisticated new automatic transmission.

Model offerings were trimmed to just two: a base coupe and a new sporty entry, the Z26, which replaced the GTZ. The mid-level GT was dropped.

Standard engine for the base model remained a 2.2-liter four, but horsepower rose from 110 to 120. The new Z26 retained the GTZ's 2.3-liter double-overhead-cam Quad 4 engine, which lost five horsepower, now rated at 170.

Both four-cylinder engines came standard with a five-speed manual transmission, but once again, only the base model's 2.2 could have an automatic, still a three-speed unit.

Optional on both models was a 3.1-liter V-6, which not only gained 20 horsepower for a total of 160, but also came with a new electronically controlled four-speed automatic.


Beretta also gained a couple of new safety features for 1994. A driver-side air bag and anti-lock brakes remained standard, but in place of the previous manual front safety belts were door-mounted front shoulder belts with manual lap belts.

Also standard were new automatic door locks that locked when the vehicle was set in motion, and unlocked when the engine was shut off.

1994 Chevrolet Beretta standard coupe
The 1994 Beretta was one of the few sporty compacts to
offer a V-6, air bag, and anti-lock brakes in combination.

1994 Chevrolet Beretta Facts

Model

Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Beretta and Corsica

2,649-2,795

$12,415-$15,310

208,380

For more picture-packed articles about Chevys and other great cars, see:

  • Classic Cars: Learn about more than 400 of the world's finest classic and collectible automobiles.
  • Muscle Cars: Look back at tire-smoking Chevys and scores of other machines from the golden age of American high performance.
  • Sports Cars: Discover the pleasure of sports motoring at its purest in these captivating articles on the best sports cars from around the world.
  • Consumer Guide Automotive: Here's your source for news, reviews, prices, fuel-economy and safety information on today's cars, minivans, SUVs, and pickups.
  • Consumer Guide Used Car Search: In the market for a used Chevy or virtually any other pre-owned vehicle? Check out these reports, which include safety recalls and trouble spots.

1995 Chevrolet Beretta

1995 Chevrolet Beretta Z26
Daytime running lights, long-life automatic transmission fluid,
and platinum-tipped spark plugs
were new to the 1995 Beretta.

The 1995 Chevrolet Beretta front-drive sports coupe saw very few changes for the model year, though Special Value editions were added to the line in an effort to boost sagging sales. These Special Value models had been offered only in California for 1994, but their success prompted a nationwide campaign for 1995. Special Value packages were available on both the base model and the sporty Z26, offering popular options at a bargain price. However, if the buyer wanted additional features not found in the packages, they had to build their car off of the standard models -- and forgo the savings.

Base and Z26 Berettas returned, with three Special Value editions of the base model and one on the Z26. Base cars came standard with a 120-horsepower 2.2-liter four, offering a 160-horsepower 3.1-liter V-6 as an option. The Sporty Z26 now came standard with the V-6 engine, as it dropped the 2.3-liter Quad 4 from its roster. The 2.2-liter four could be mated to either a five-speed manual or a three-speed automatic, but the V-6 came only with a four-speed automatic -- meaning the sporty Z26 wasn't as sporty as it used to be.

Bucking industry trends, the Beretta still had only a driver-side air bag, while virtually every competitor had dual air bags. However, a base Beretta with the top Special Value package offered a V-6 engine, four-speed automatic transmission, anti-lock brakes, air conditioning, and a host of convenience features for just $13,999, including the destination charge.

1995 Chevrolet Beretta base model
The 1995 Beretta wasn't as refined as some imported rivals, but
those cars could not match Beretta's overall value.

1995 Chevrolet Beretta Facts

Model

Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Beretta

2,756-2,990

$12,995-$16,295

71,762

For more picture-packed articles about Chevys and other great cars, see:

  • Classic Cars: Learn about more than 400 of the world's finest classic and collectible automobiles.
  • Muscle Cars: Look back at tire-smoking Chevys and scores of other machines from the golden age of American high performance.
  • Sports Cars: Discover the pleasure of sports motoring at its purest in these captivating articles on the best sports cars from around the world.
  • Consumer Guide Automotive: Here's your source for news, reviews, prices, fuel-economy and safety information on today's cars, minivans, SUVs, and pickups.
  • Consumer Guide Used Car Search: In the market for a used Chevy or virtually any other pre-owned vehicle? Check out these reports, which include safety recalls and trouble spots.

1996 Chevrolet Beretta

1996 Chevrolet Beretta base model
The Beretta was unchanged as it entered 1996, its final model year.

The 1996 Chevrolet Beretta front-wheel-drive coupe once again entered a new model year with little new to boast about -- though that wasn't unexpected, considering it would likely be the Beretta's final season.

It continued with only a driver-side air bag, now one of just a handful of cars on the market (along with its Corsica sedan sibling) not to offer dual air bags. Even its N-body cousins at Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac finally added a passenger-side air bag this year, though a couple of other GM offerings (the Buick Century and Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera) were also among the few that did not.

Beretta was still offered in a base coupe and sportier Z26 variant. Standard on the base model were anti-lock brakes (still not a common standard feature on sports coupes), air conditioning, automatic door locks, and a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine with 120 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission was standard, while a three-speed automatic was optional. The Z26 added aggressive lower body panels, a rear spoiler, 15-inch aluminum wheels, and came with only one powertrain: the 3.1-liter V-6, rated at 155 horsepower, mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. That combination was optional on the base Beretta.

Though its Corsica sibling was expected to be replaced by a redesigned front-drive sedan to be called Malibu (a name used by Chevrolet in the past), it was uncertain whether a coupe version was to be offered. Either way, the Beretta would soon be bowing out of Chevrolet showrooms.

1996 Chevrolet Beretta Z26
The sporty Z26 was one of two Beretta models offered for 1996.

1996 Chevrolet Beretta Facts

Model

Weight range (lbs.)

Price range (new)

Number built

Beretta

2,756-2,990

$13,490-$16,690

42,476

For more picture-packed articles about Chevys and other great cars, see:

  • Classic Cars: Learn about more than 400 of the world's finest classic and collectible automobiles.
  • Muscle Cars: Look back at tire-smoking Chevys and scores of other machines from the golden age of American high performance.
  • Sports Cars: Discover the pleasure of sports motoring at its purest in these captivating articles on the best sports cars from around the world.
  • Consumer Guide Automotive: Here's your source for news, reviews, prices, fuel-economy and safety information on today's cars, minivans, SUVs, and pickups.
  • Consumer Guide Used Car Search: In the market for a used Chevy or virtually any other pre-owned vehicle? Check out these reports, which include safety recalls and trouble spots.