The Chevrolet Corvette has been playing second fiddle to the Porsche 911 for a long, long time. Any serious enthusiast will tell you that Detroit s skittish, over-horsed V8 phallic symbol isn t even in same orchestra as Stuttgart s sublime-handling, sweet-spinning six-cylinder suppository — until now. That s right red Sox fans; the C6 Corvette has broken the curse. The new Vette can now bellow blast with the big boys, giving Stuttgart s finest a decent run for the money over hill und dale.
Of course, the new Vette doesn t best the 911 in all — indeed most — measures of objective performance. And the new Corvette s down-market demeanor still provides plenty of grist for a critic s mill — from an unconscionable aesthetic deviation towards the Dodge Viper, to the cheapest, nastiest interior you can find outside of a Motel 6. But the Vette is, finally, a car an enthusiast can grab by the scruff of its neck, thrash to an inch of its redline, throw into a corner and live to tell the tale. In fact, caning the iconic two-door is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on — unless you drive naked. Allow me share with the group
The C6 can now tackle vicious corners at heroic speeds, to the sound of ripping rubber and Odin s induction hammer. It can careen down open highways, posting an ascending stream of triple digit numbers on an ethereal display, with two more equally accelerative cogs remaining in its six-speed quiver. It can leap entire trains of stupefied traffic in a single bound, serving-up that heady cocktail of shadenfreude and temporal freedom that comes from leaving fellow road users for dead. It is, officially, a hoot.
As usual, there s nothing hi-tech about the way the new Corvette goes about the business of helping you lose your license. We re talking light weight, low center of gravity, plenty o power, epic torque and sticky tires. By the same token, Lenox Lewis right hook isn t the most elegant of punches, but it gets the job done. The real credit for the 'Vette's transformation from gold chain goliath to serious sports car goes to its controllable chassis and indefatigable brakes.
Whereas previous Vettes were genetically pre-disposed to swapping ends, the new, smaller C6 is planted and predictable all the way to the limits of adhesion — and beyond! Whereas previous 'Vettes had a Harley Davidson's ability to make you think "OK, I'd really like to stop now", the C6 ceases forward motion with all the finality of a period hammered into the end of a declarative sentence. [NB: The test car included the nominally optional Z51 Performance Package.]
Those of you who ve criticized Porsche s Carrera for becoming increasingly clinical — even as it s grown ever-more-capable — have a new champion. The Chevrolet C6 Corvette is rough but ready, and it s a bang-for-the-buck blue light special. If GM gave the Vette s interior an Audi transplant, the car would be damn near perfect. Even so, the new Vette sings a siren song few pistonheads can resist. [by Robert Farago]
New Paddle Shifters for 2006 Corvette [internal]