Chevrolet has introduced a new Corvette for 2005, and this sixth generation of America's sports car is better than last year's model in every way.
We weren't expecting it to be that much better. After all, the fifth-generation Corvette (1997-2004), or C5, was (and is) a terrific sports car. Hailed at the time for its rigid and innovative chassis, it represented a huge leap ahead of the C4 (1984-96). And the C4 was a giant leap ahead of the rumbling (and rattling) C3 (1968-82). Because this new sixth-generation Corvette, or C6, builds on the basic bones of the C5, we figured the C6 would be an improvement but never imagined it would be this dramatic.
The new styling, with exposed headlamps and a slimmed-down rear end, is the first thing people notice. But what makes the C6 great is its improved handling, performance, refinement, and comfort. It's substantially shorter and lighter than the previous model, the wheelbase is slightly longer, and it gets a new engine, new transmissions, new suspension, new brakes, a new interior, and extensive refinements throughout. Chevrolet set out to eliminate every imperfection and complaint in the C5 and says 85 percent of the content in the C6 is new.
It all adds up to a car that's more comfortable and easier to drive, not only on the road, but also on a race track. The new 2005 Chevy Corvette quickly infuses the driver with confidence. It feels like it has more grip than the old one, and it does. It's more agile than before yet more stable, it's new brakes are excellent. And, yes, it's faster.
Corvette's new 6.0-liter V8, called the LS2, delivers more power than before for quicker acceleration performance, improved response, increased efficiency, and enhanced refinement. Specifically, the LS2 produces 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. Moreover, it sounds great and the acceleration performance is exhilarating and intoxicating. The coupe is awesome, and the convertible is really wonderful. Drop the top on a nice day, turn on the stereo and you'll have what psychologists call a peak experience.
The 2005 Chevrolet Corvette comes as a coupe ($43,445) or convertible ($51,445). The Coupe features a single-piece removable roof panel that's available in body color (standard) or transparent ($750) or you can order one of each ($1,400). The Convertible gets a new power-operated soft top.
After choosing the body style, the next big decision is whether you prefer the four-speed automatic or six-speed manual gearbox, both no-cost options. The final big decision is which of three suspensions to get: the standard suspension, the Z51 Performance Handling Package ($1,495), or F55 Magnetic Selective Ride Control ($1,695) with electronically controlled variable damping.
The Chevrolet Corvette comes well-equipped with leather seating surfaces, climate control with a pollen filter, a six-way power driver's seat, power everything, and cruise control. However, we recommend opting for the side-impact airbags, which are included in the two major option packages: Package 1SA ($1,405) includes a rear area cargo convenience net, luggage shade, sport bucket seats with perforated leather seating surfaces, back angle/lumbar adjustment and side bolsters; Package 1SB ($4,360) adds to that a head-up display, a Homelink transmitter w/garage door opener and three-channel programming, interior rearview mirror with compass, driver-side auto-dimming exterior rearview mirror, dual front heated seats, a premium seven-speaker AM/FM Bose system with six-disc in-dash CD, MP3 playback, power telescopic steering column with manual tilt, and a memory package with two driver presets for seat, exterior mirrors, climate control, radio and steering column. The list of free-standing options is relatively short: XM Satellite Radio ($325), DVD navigation and seven-speaker Bose audio ($1,400), OnStar telematics ($695), and polished aluminum wheels ($750).
All 2005 Corvettes come with the same LS2 engine. There's no high-performance Z06 hardtop available (yet), but the lightweight new models with the LS2 are nearly as quick as the old Z06. There is, however, a 3.15 rear ratio ($395) available for the automatic for quicker acceleration performance.