The sixth-generation Corvette, available as a coupe or convertible, is the most popular Corvette model ever across Europe. Corvette sales were almost three times as high as in 2004. The model year 2006 Corvette is also available with an electronically controlled six-speed Paddle Shift automatic transmission, which helps delivering exciting acceleration performance along with good fuel economy.
Key to the popularity of the Corvette besides its favorable price/quality ratio is the fact that from the very beginning of this generation of Corvette, engineers envisioned a car at home in virtually any environment. The goal was a performance car that would be more agile while also more comfortable in daily driving. Raw performance is combined with improved ride comfort, a precisely built and technically sophisticated interior and contemporary body.
New six-speed automatic transmission
The 2006 Corvette is also available with an electronically controlled six-speed Paddle Shift automatic transmission featuring clutch to clutch operation, manual control shift operation and an integrated 32-bit electronic controller. A wide overall ratio helps deliver exciting acceleration performance along with good fuel economy. Other refinements for the next model year include a new three-spoke, 370 mm diameter steering wheel, advanced dual-stage frontal airbags with GM Passenger Sensing System and several new exterior, interior and top colors.
The LS2 6.0-liter small-block V-8, the standard engine in the Corvette, is based on GM's Gen IV small-block family of engines. It has raised the bar for performance in the Corvette with peak output levels of 297 kW (404 horsepower) and 546 Nm of torque.
Configured with the new six-speed automatic transmission the Corvette is capable of reaching a top speed of 300 km/h and a 0-100 km/h acceleration in just 4.8 seconds. Standard transmission is the upgraded and revised Tremec T56 six-speed transmission, offered with revised gearing with the Z51 Performance Package. To increase durability in sustained high-speed situations a transmission cooler is fitted. The Tremec transmission is available with two sets of ratios. The more aggressive gear set is reserved for Corvette's standard Z51 Performance Package and is tailored with numerically higher gears to improve acceleration.
Enhanced chassis and suspension
The overall Corvette design philosophy continues with its low-weight hydroformed steel rail backbone structure, cored composite floors, an enclosed center tunnel, rear-mounted transmission and aluminium cockpit structure, but this Corvette generation adds a host of improvements. Overall vehicle weight is significantly reduced, despite mass-increasing features such as larger wheels and tires, more robust brakes and increased body acoustics. It also delivers a quieter, even more pleasing ride.
The short-long arm and transverse leaf spring independent suspension configuration remains, but not a single suspension component has been carried over from its predecessor. Goodyear Extended Mobility Tires (EMT) take advantage of the latest sidewall design and compound technology for run-flat capabilities.
Three dynamic chassis control systems - anti-lock braking, traction control, and Active Handling - operate in concert to provide a strong, but unobtrusive safety net for spirited driving. The stability controls share sensors for steering angle, wheel speed, and acceleration and deceleration in all directions.
Optimized suspension and steering geometry, along with advanced compounds in the tires, directional control arm bushings, increased caster angle and greater suspension travel give result in a faster car that is easier to drive, with greater lateral acceleration, more body control, less noise transmitted from the road, and better traction and stability in corners. Two suspension choices allow drivers to choose the set-up that best suits their driving style. Corvette is now more poised at even higher handling levels, yet easier to drive.
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 control. The system has been improved to deliver more differentiation between the system's 'Tour' and 'Sport' settings.
Distilling the dimensions of Corvette into a smaller package, an overall length of 4435 mm and an overall width of 1844 mm is achieved, 125 mm shorter and 25 mm narrower than its predecessor. More efficient packaging and a wheelbase that is 30 mm longer, maintain interior space and class-leading cargo space that can swallow two golf bags.
At 0.28 coefficient of drag, this Corvette is the most aerodynamic Corvette ever, with improved anti-lift characteristics that improve high-speed stability. The ability to keep lines and surfaces smooth was supported by technology. For example, the Keyless Access system replaces traditional mechanical door and hatch handles with solenoids and electronic actuators.
Removable roof panel
The Corvette Coupe offers a removable roof panel, which can be stowed under the hatchback in the luggage area. The panel is 15 percent larger than previous models yet weighs just 0.45 kg more. Painted body color as standard, it is available with an optional tinted clear panel.
Classic 'egg crate' grille and exposed headlamps
The Corvette combines classic cues with an expressive new design. While the styling team used the latest advanced computer-aided design techniques, they relied heavily on traditional hand sculpting. Sculptors pored over every millimeter of the car's surface. The aerodynamic development combined digital simulations, Corvette Racing experience and more than 400 hours of wind tunnel testing. The driving force behind the exterior was to keep it fresh, yet distill the passion exemplified by the classic mid-year Corvettes of 1963-1967.
One key design feature is the classic 'egg crate' grille, reminiscent of Corvettes from the '50s, which is combined with the first use of exposed headlamps since 1962. They combine with the grille to create a stronger 'face' on the car. Fixed HID Xenon low-beam and tungsten-halogen high-beam projector lens lamps additionally offer the advantages of lower weight, less complexity and superior lighting performance.
Larger wheels (18-inch front, 19-inch rear) are topped by dramatic fender forms. The front fenders are both more rounded and more sharply defined. They are higher by 10 mm and also feature a beltline crease. Combined with the shortened front overhang, the fenders contribute to a more taut, purposeful front-end design, while bold, simple, rear end styling emphasizes the shortened rear overhang. Four round tail lamps continue as a Corvette rear styling trademark. Four circular exhaust tips are also integrated into the rear diffuser and pick up the circular theme established by the tail lamps.
A Corvette hallmark, the dual cockpit design theme continues in the interior, with improved materials, craftsmanship and functionality. More sophisticated contours and leather surfaces that are richer and softer add tone, along with pleasing details including a two-layer composite seat frame that gives the seats outstanding support, especially in the stiffness of the seat backs.
Among many electronic technologies GM's Keyless Access with Push Button Start technology allows access by detecting the proximity of the key fob. The system both unlocks the doors and allows it to be started. An AM/FM radio with CD player and MP3 capability is standard. New technology enhances conventional radio reception despite the antenna being completely concealed within the windshield glass. Optional features include a DVD-navigation system with voice touch screen and guidance.
A menu-selectable head-up display can be projected onto the windshield in the line of sight on the road ahead, allowing the driver to focus on driving while still being able to monitor vehicle speed and other critical vehicle information. There are two settings: Street and Track; each setting is pre-programmed to display information, including g-forces, that is relevant for each respective - and very different - situation.
As the Corvette was designed from the outset to be an open car, there is no compromise in ride, handling or performance compared to the Coupe. The sixth-generation Corvette Convertible features a power-operated soft top, a feature that last appeared on the car in 1962. The power top features a single-button control and completes its cycle in 18 seconds. The canvas soft top is available in three colors: Black, Beige and Grey. In its closed position, the canvas top has a smoother, more contoured appearance that conceals the underlying structure better than traditional soft tops. In addition to aiding a clean appearance, this also helps preserve the outstanding aerodynamic characteristics.
Improved top-down quietness
The Corvette's structure, including an aluminium windshield frame, was designed using extensive computer airflow models to improve top-down quietness - especially for noise frequencies in the range of passenger conversations. The top material itself is made of a thick fabric called Twillfast, constructed in five layers for strong durability and insulation.
Several more details combine to make the convertible more pleasing to drive. Every option available on the Coupe can be specified on the Convertible too. A bulkhead has been added to better contain small items in the trunk and enable the addition of a storage area behind each seat. Rear visibility is improved with a glass backlight that is 18.5 percent larger than the previous model. Like its predecessor, the backlight has a standard rear defogger. The Convertible is equipped with a luxury package: memory package, heated seats, head-up display, power telescoping steering column, 7 premium Bose speakers and auto dimming rear view mirrors.
Corvette production currently averages 31,000 cars annually. All Corvette models, including the Corvette Z06, are built in the United States at General Motors' Bowling Green, Kentucky, Assembly Plant.