Yes, the best performing vette other than the Z06 is the Z51 with the 6 speed manual transmission artyon: . The 3.42 gears are great and are standard with the 6 speed man and the suspension set up is fantastic.
I have a 2002 Z51 I purchased new and test drove all models that were available that year before I purchased it. I loved the Z06, but had to have the roadster.
On the streets under heavy manuvering I could not tell the differance between the Z06 or the Z51 as far as handling was concerned. The Z06 did accelerate a slight bit better but as far as handling they were the same. However, when I drove the other models available I could definately tell the differance between the base models and the Z51. ...and this was wether the base models had the 6 speed or the auto.
Matter of fact, I was not sold on buying a vette untill I drove the the Z51 6 speed manual. Then I was torn between the Z06 and the Z51 Roadster. I finaly decided to get the roadster. It was just more fun for me. I also figured I could always increase engine performance later, (even beyond the 405hp of the Z06), but it would be more of a pain in the arse to convert the Z06 to the Roadster model. Using this same logic you could always change out the base suspension offered in the base models and tune it to your exact specs along with engine mods.
I wound up with see my sig below. However you'll still be able to kick arse :nuts: no matter which vette you decide on getting. Vettes rock baby artyon:
I have a 04 vert. Z51 auto and it handles great. When I was in the market I test drove 4 vettes. 72 ( NICE CAR BUT TOO MUCH LIKE DADS), 88 ( love corvettes but it seemed underpowered), 02 Coupe not Z51, and mine. I could definetly tell the difference on off ramps and on quick lane changes( on a hell bent test drive:devil: :devil: ; didnt think i could really afford it, lol lol). Get a Z51 if you cant afford a Zo6, that way you already have one mod up. Also its factory installed and maybe with a warranty.