C6 Corvette (2005-2013) – riding on the heels of a revolutionary C5 Corvette that remained a strong seller for all eight model years, GM decided that evolution, not re-creation, was the path to follow with the sixth generation of Corvette. The effort for a C6 was underway in earnest by mid-2000.
The C5 had made Corvette a solid contender in the sports car arena. When it was time to consider the next generation, Chevy once again looked to current Corvette owners for input. The design team identified nearly 100 items that needed to change or improve for the C6, based on complaints from C5 owners. One of the most common criticisms of the C5 was that it was too large for a high power sports car.
The 2005 Corvette retained the C5’s front-engine, rear transmission layout. However, the body and interior were all-new. The goal of the design team was to “tighten” the body design to make it smaller and more space efficient. The result was a C6 that was five inches shorter and one inch narrower than the C5. Wheelbase increased 1.2 inches and when coupled with the efficient body packaging, interior and storage volumes remained consistent with the C5 despite the length and width reductions.
The 2005 also had exposed headlights – something not seen on the Corvette since 1962. Also not seen since 1962: an optional power top for convertibles. New options included DVD based navigation, OnStar, XM Satellite radio, heated seats and seat-mounted side impact air bags.
In 2006, the Z06 returned with a unique front facia with larger grille and cold-air scoop. The Z06 engine (LS7), had the same 427 cubic-inch displacement as legendary “big block” 1966-1969 Corvettes, but the 2006 engine was small-block based. The 2006 Z06 model was also the first to use an aluminum frame, which was 30% lighter than its steel counterpart.
The new Corvette ZR1 made its debut in 2009. Powered by a super-charged 6.2L V8 which produced 638 HP and had a top speed of 205 MPH. It was the most powerful automobile every sold by GM! Not available as an automatic, the ZR1 utilized a twin-disc clutch and a stronger 6-speed manual. The ZR1 retailed for $103,300, a price that included high-performance driving school.
The Grand Sport returned in 2010 and the sixth generation came to a close in 2013, also Corvette’s 60th year. In tribute, Chevy offered a 60th anniversary design package across all models and a 427 Convertible collector edition.