Sixth Generation Chevrolet Corvette
The C6 Corvette retained the front engine and rear transmission design of the C5 Corvette, but was otherwise all-new, including new bodywork with exposed headlamps (for the first time since 1962), a larger passenger compartment, a new 6.0 liter engine and a reworked suspension geometry. It has a longer wheelbase than the C5, but its overall vehicle length and width are less than the C5, to widen appeal to the European market. The 6.0L (364 cu in) LS2 V8 produced 400 bhp (300 kW) at 6000 rpm and 424 lb·ft (575 N·m) at 4400 rpm, giving the vehicle a 0–60 time of under 4.2 seconds. It has a top speed of 190 mph (310 km/h).
The C6 generation comes close to retaining the relative good fuel economy of the C5, due in part to its relatively low 0.28 drag coefficient and low curb weight, achieving 16/26 mpg (city/highway) equipped with automatic or manual transmissions; like all manual transmission Corvettes since 1989, it is fitted with Computer Aided Gear Selection (CAGS) to improve fuel economy by requiring drivers to shift from 1st gear directly to 4th in low-speed/low-throttle conditions. This feature helps the C6 avoid the Gas Guzzler Tax by achieving better fuel economy.
The new Z06 arrived as a 2006 model in the third quarter of 2005. It has a 7.0 L version of the small block engine codenamed LS7. At 427.6 cubic inches, the Z06 was the largest small block ever offered from General Motors. Because of the Corvette’s former use of 427 cubic-inch big blocks in the late-1960s and early 1970s, the LS7’s size was rounded down to 427 cubic inches. Official output is 505 bhp (377 kW) and has a 0-60 mph (97 km/h) time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 198 mph (319 km/h).
For 2008, the Corvette received a mild freshening: a new LS3 engine with displacement increased to 6.2 L (380 cu in), resulting in 430 bhp (321 kW) and 424 lb·ft (575 N·m) (436 bhp (325 kW) and 428 lb·ft (580 N·m) if ordered with the optional performance exhaust). The 6-speed manual transmission also has improved shift linkage and a 0–60 time of 4.0 seconds, while the automatic is set up for quicker shifts giving the C6 automatic a 0–60 time of 4.0 seconds, faster than any other production automatic Corvette. The interior was slightly updated and a new 4LT leather-wrap interior package was added. The wheels were also updated to a new five-spoke design.
A C6 ZR1 Corvette was formally announced in a December 2007 press statement by General Motors, where it was revealed that their target of 100 bhp (75 kW) per 1 L (61 cu in) had been reached by a new “LS9” engine with an Eaton-supercharged 6.2-liter engine producing 638 bhp (476 kW) and 604 lb·ft (819 N·m). The LS9 engine was the most powerful to be put into a GM production sports car. Its top speed was 205 mph (330 km/h).
The historical name Grand Sport returned to the Corvette lineup in 2010 as an entirely new model series that replaced the Z51 option. The new model was basically an LS3 equipped Z06 with a steel frame instead of aluminum. It retained many of the features of the Z06 including a wide body with 18×9.5 and 19×12 inch wheels, dry sump oiling (manual transmission only), 6-piston 14″ front brakes and 4-piston rear, improved suspension, and front carbon fiber fenders. Manual power train equipped G/S models receive a tweaked LS3 with a forged crank, are built in Z06 fashion by hand, and utilize a dry-sump oil system. A new launch control system was introduced for all models that allows for sub 4 second 0-60. EPA estimated 26 MPG highway, 1.0 G on skid pad.
Started in the 2011 model year, buyers of the Corvette Z06 and Corvette ZR1 are offered the opportunity to assist in the build of their engine. Titled the “Corvette Engine Build Experience,” buyers can pay extra to be flown to the Wixom, Michigan Performance Build Center. Participants will help the assembly line workers build the V8 engine, then can accept delivery of the car at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY, near the Corvette final assembly point.
The last C6 Corvette will be manufactured in February 2013. Most likely the Bowling Green Plant will be shut down for 6 months or so while the new tooling comes to the line and the integration issues are worked through. So the C7 Corvette tours will begin again September/October 2013.