January 1, 2004

First Look
2005 Corvette!

2005 Chevrolet Corvette
Click image to enlarge

Detroit, Michigan – General Motors released photos of the eagerly-anticipated sixth-generation Chevrolet Corvette today. The Coupe will be unveiled at next week’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit and will go on sale in the summer; the Corvette convertible will be unveiled sometime in the first half of 2004 and go on sale in the fall.

The 2005 Corvette C6 coupe is five inches shorter and one inch narrower than the current car, but there’s no loss of usable space, according to GM. The smaller Corvette is “..more agile and “tossable,” with upgrades in handling, acceleration and braking,” says a GM news release.

The C6 features exposed headlamps – in this case, Xenon High-Intensity Discharge lamps – the first time since 1962 that a production Corvette has not had pop-up headlamps. With a 0.28 coefficient of drag, the C6 is the most aerodynamically efficient Corvette ever built, and offers improved anti-lift characteristics that enable improved high-speed stability, says the company.

C5’s “imperfections” corrected

“The C6 represents a comprehensive upgrade to the Corvette,” said Dave Hill, chief engineer of the Corvette and vehicle line executive for GM Performance Cars. “Our goal is to create a Corvette that does more things well than any performance car. We’ve thoroughly improved performance and developed new features and capabilities in many areas, while at the same time systematically searching out and destroying every imperfection we could find.”

2005 Chevrolet Corvette
Click image to enlarge

These imperfections include the operation of the hood, the doors, and the rear hatch which have been redesigned for better performance, look and feel. The hood is still forward-hinged, but is 15 percent smaller, 35 percent lighter, and 40 percent stiffer than the previous Corvette. The rear hatch has a power-operated single-cinching latch for better fit and easy operation. The doors are stiffer and easier to close, and have a more refined sound. There are no traditional door handles on the 2005 Corvette: the C6 features GM’s Keyless Access with Push Button Start technology. By detecting the proximity of the key fob, the system both unlocks the doors and allows it to be started.

The removable-roof panel is 15 percent larger, yet offers the same structural stiffness as the C5’s while weighing only one pound more. Wind noise has been reduced due to new side-window glass and redesigned seals. And road noise has been reduced due to improvements in tires, suspension, and body structure.

A key feature of the 2005 Corvette is an all-new interior that includes improved materials, fit and finish, and functionality. The instrument panel and door trim areas make extensive use of cast skin, which retains the look and feel of genuine leather with softness, low gloss and low glare that conveys an overall premium appearance. Anodized aluminum accents the interior in key functional areas, such as the manual shift knob and door release buttons. This material includes a screen-printed appliqué that minimizes sun glare, and is resistant to temperature changes and fingerprints.

The new Corvette comes standard with “Keyless Access” with push-button start, and optional reconfigurable head-up display, DVD-navigation system with voice activation, and OnStar.

Most powerful standard engine ever

A new LS2 6.0-litre small-block V8 is the standard engine in the 2005 Corvette C6 – the largest, most powerful standard small-block engine ever offered in a Corvette. The LS2 delivers an estimated 400 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. The Corvette’s average fuel economy of 10.6 litres per 100 kilometres (26 mpg) is the best in its class, according to GM.

A Tremec six-speed manual gearbox is available with two sets of ratios, one with more aggressive acceleration characteristics reserved for Corvette’s Z51 Performance Package that emulates the performance of the Z06 model. Improved shifting characteristics are another improvement, with new synchronizers that reduce travel by 10 percent, and a shifter knob that is an inch shorter and redesigned for greatly improved driver operation.

The Hydra-Matic 4L65-E automatic transmission is an upgraded version of the C5’s 4L60-E, strengthened and revised to accommodate the LS2’s 400 lb.-ft. of torque. It includes GM’s Performance Algorithm Shifting, which automatically selects the optimal gear for a given driving condition. The transmission now shifts at higher revs to take advantage of the higher engine output.

Chassis, suspension upgraded

The chassis, with its rear axle-mounted transmission and aluminum cockpit structure, has been revised to enhance structural integrity, feel, refinement and quietness. Overall vehicle weight is projected to mirror the C5, despite mass-increasing features such as larger wheels and tires, more robust brakes and increased body acoustics and interior features.

2005 Chevrolet Corvette
Click image to enlarge

The short-long arm and transverse leaf spring independent suspension configuration remains, but the cradles, control arms, knuckles, springs, dampers, bushings, stabilizer bars, and steering gear are all redesigned. The Extended Mobility Tires (EMT) also are new, taking advantage of the latest sidewall design and compound technology for run-flat capabilities.

Three suspension choices allow drivers to choose the setup that best suits their driving style – Standard, Magnetic Selective Ride Control, and Z51 Performance Package. The Standard suspension is tuned for a balance of ride comfort and precise handling. The optional F55 Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension features magneto-rheological dampers able to detect road surfaces and adjust the damping rates to those surfaces almost instantly for optimal ride and body control. Magnetic Ride Control debuted on the 2003 50th Anniversary Edition Corvette. The system has been improved for the C6, allowing drivers more differentiation in character between the system’s two settings, “Tour” and “Sport.”

The Z51 Performance Package brings performance very close to the same level as the Z06. The Z51 offers more aggressive dampers and springs, larger stabilizer bars, and larger, cross-drilled brake rotors for optimum track performance capability while still providing a well-controlled and comfortable ride. GM’s racetrack testing revealed that a C6 equipped with the Z51 suspension almost equals the lap time of a C5 Z06.

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