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Thought my U.S. cousins over there might like to see a UK review ...

The Corvette Is Back With More Power, Less Weight And A More Focused Attitude. Andy Enright Reports

Admit it. No matter how floridly I wax lyrical about the handling and roadholding of the latest Corvette C6 model, youre going to harbour some reservations. This is, after all, an American sports car, virtually every prior example of which has tackled corners with as much relish as a salt flat racer.

What would it take for you to believe that Chevrolet has cracked it with the latest Corvette? An identical lap time of the Nurburgring to a Porsche 911 GT3? A quicker lap of Top Gears test track than a Lamborghini Murcielago?

The Corvette C6 achieves all of that and more. Ask any bunch of committed petrolheads to identify what was wrong with the Corvette C5 and youd rapidly achieve consensus. For all its power, the car was just too big and unwieldy. The interior looked entirely too petrochemical to cut it in an aspirational market and you were forced to sit on the wrong side of the car.

Ratings out of 5.0

Build 2.5
Comfort 4.0
Depreciation 3.0
Economy 2.5
Equipment 3.5
Handling 3.5
Insurance 3.0
Performance 4.0
Styling 4.5
Value 4.5

Whilst Chevrolet is doing nothing to remedy the last complaint, the other two have been addressed, more or less successfully, in the C6. Most cars pile on the weight with each successive generation. There are exceptions Toyotas third generation MR2 springs to mind but as a rule, the onset of middle age spread is hard to reverse. The Corvette is a far leaner product than its predecessor.

It also possesses a far more purposeful stance with the wheels moved out to each corner, helping both interior packaging and handling balance. Combine the weight loss plan with an increase in swept volume to fully 6.0-litres and youve got a very potent car indeed. Not that the C5 was particularly tardy in a straight line.

The C6 is in a different league, altogether and now trades punches with cars two or three times the Vettes asking price (£45,850 for the Coupe and £51,850 for the Convertible). With 400bhp on tap, the Chevrolet features a power to weight ratio of 272bhp per tonne. Contrast that with a measly 255bhp per tone for Aston Martins Vanquish and youll appreciate the potential of the C6. It weighs about the same as a Mitsubishi Evo VIII, a car hardly renowned as a lardy bloater.

"America's first and purest sportscar is at last pounding British roads"

Performance from a standstill is suitably explosive. Manhandle the heavyweight six speed Tremec gearshift into first gear, dial in around 3,750 revs and sidestep the clutch pedal. Get it right and you should get the merest chirp of wheelspin as the bonnet rises ahead of you and catapults the car up the track and through 60mph in 3.9 seconds.

Get it wrong and youll be bathed in the acrid aroma of sizzled tyres or clutch plate. The Corvette keeps going until it runs out of steam 186mph. Buyers hungry for even more performance should probably submit themselves for immediate psychiatric assessment and then ask their local dealer about the Corvette Z06 a model that, for £59,000, delivers 511bhp by means of a 7.0-litre V8.

Along with the more athletic stance, most will notice the projector front headlamps that have replaced the pop-up items, must to the chagrin of Corvette enthusiasts. Pedestrian safety laws have spelt the end for this design feature. Plus the fact that the latest fixed units are lighter, brighter, cheaper to manufacture and give the Corvettes front end a little more personality. From the front it looks as if the personality it has chosen to adopt is that of a Ferrari 360 Modena but if youre going to ape anything, Maranellos finest isnt a bad start.

The interior looks a good deal more European, even if passengers do get a hugely unsubtle Corvette script emblazoned across the airbag cut out in front of them. The fascia features some brightwork to lift it and the materials quality has improved from dreadful to rather acceptable. On closer inspection, the fit and finish isnt really up to snuff, but it at least passes initial muster. What the cabin lacks in quality it makes up in quantity, both in terms of space and when it comes to standard fit features.

Choose the targa version and theres plenty of room for flattish luggage, although it will get a little broiled by the glass hatch. Elbow, head and shoulder room is all very good, legroom not quite so stellar. Whats refreshing is that the Corvette isnt trying to be self consciously smart. Sit in a BMW 6 series and you end up intimidated by the impenetrable i-Drive and the myriad obscure minor controls.

Sit in a Corvette and you just punch a few chubby buttons and get on with it. Just because its simple to plug and play doesnt mean the Corvette lacks sophistication. The anti-lock brakes, traction control and Active Handling stability control systems all work in concert with one another to provide a welcome and effective safety net. The fascia dials are laudably clear and the head-up display that projects data onto the base of the windscreen may no longer be such a novelty but it works so well its puzzling why it hasnt been more widely adopted.

Some things dont change. The Corvette is still one of the few sporting cars that you can get something from at legal speeds, ambling along surfing the V8s wall of torque. Get a bit keener and the car ups its game, the engine note changing from a mellifluous burble to a steely bellow. The brakes and steering are complicit, offering plenty of feel and grip levels are enormous.

It feels properly sorted, the body control over typical British roads being far better than its predecessor. Theres no crashing and shimmying, just a muted thud as it sucks up cats eyes and expansion joints. Its a deeply impressive showing. Many of you will still have difficulty reconciling sporting credibility with a Chevrolet Corvette but this is a car that has developed into something a whole lot sharper than the chestwig specials of the early nineties.

Pour on the power and it feels like a slice of genuine exotica. When you pause to consider a bloodline that stretches back over fifty years, perhaps its not a moment too soon.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

CAR: Chevrolet Corvette C6
PRICES: £45,850 (Coupe) / £51,850 (Convertible)
INSURANCE GROUP: 20
PERFORMANCE: Max Speed 186mph / 0-60mph 3.9s
FUEL CONSUMPTION: [6-speed manual] (Combined) 23mpg
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Twin front airbags / ABS / Traction Control System./ Active Handling
 

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DC PIT CREW BOSS
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A lot of words there but bottom line is I think he likes it....sort of.:laughing:
 

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:thumbsup:
 

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Yeah, me too. I was gettin' ready to loose sleep over what they think of Vettes in England:rolling:
 

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Web Head
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Just when you think that he's putting it down, a compliment is produced from out of the blue. In a way I think they're envious and a little sore that it'll :spanked: an Aston. Just my thoughts :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey Chaps,

Don't worry, there's plenty of us Vette lovers in UK :partyon:

Just wish I didn't have to pay $110,000 for the C6 Z06 :thud: damn UK taxes. Oh and 7 bucks a gallon sucks too .. :rolleyes:

Still, I'll have that permant grin stuck on my face :D

Vrrrooooooooooooooommmmm :devil:
 

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Mr. Casino
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My English English is a bit rusty. Would you please define "lardy bloater"?

Good read, thanks for posting.
 

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Premium Member
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Have the Brits got the message that the Aston and Jaguars are owned by the Ford company? Can you provide a price comparison of the Corvette vs the Jaguar and Aston Martin as delivered ?

Thanks for the article, very interesting.

Tom
 

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The company I work for, here in the U.S., is owned by a company in the U.K.. We've had a few visits from the folks over there. They appear to be genuinely interested in the car. Normally they usually don't pay too much attention to American cars when they're here.

So far they have compared it to the Nissan 350 which comes as a right hand drive and appears to be popular in the U.K. It seems that if GM really wanted to sell the car to an international market they would make a right hand drive version.

Warren
06 DSOM Vert,Z51,M6
96 T/A,WS6,M6
79 T/A,WS6,A3,403
72 442,W30,A3
 
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