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Chevrolet Corvette 2005

Broadcast dates : 28th November 2004
2nd December 2004

The Corvette C6, the sixth-generation of America’s archetypal sports car, is one of the most powerful ‘Vette renditions of all time, with styling that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the latest from Ferrari and Porsche.

The second generation Corvette hit an all-time horsepower high with 425 horsepower. But it needed a seven litre race-bred engine to do it, and it guzzled fuel at the rate of about 22 litres per hundred kilometers.

This 2005 Corvette weighs in with 400 horsepower, or 298 kilowatts in metric terms. That’s enough to give it a 4,2 second nought to one hundred time.

And although top speed is limited to 250 km/h, a test machine achieved a reported 350 km/h at the General Motors Proving Grounds.

This is the first Corvette since 1968 to appear without the traditional pointed shark’s nose, and the nose section is the biggest change to the new model.

The bodywork, as on every other Corvette, is in fiberglass, with a steel chassis bonded to the body.

Rather than pop-up lights it features Xenon projector lamps under glass in a rounded nose that Hendrik, being a fan of most-things-Italian, is convinced was lifted straight off the Ferrari F360.

The flanks and tail are little changed from the model which made its debut seven years ago. But the integration of all the lines makes this one of the most beautiful cars in the world right now, with none of the brashness associated with Yankee overkill.

Keyless go is one of the Corvette’s new features and there isn’t even a slot for the ignition key. As long as the key is close by, you can gain access to the Corvette and start ‘er up simply by pressing a button.

The new small-block V8 is a lovely piece of engineering. Designated the LS2 engine, the block is in aluminum and at 6,0 litres it is larger than the previous 5,7-litre motors. It has massive torque, producing 542 Newton Metres at 4 400 rpm.

But it will also rev wildly to well over 6 000 rpm.

We had the six-speed manual model on test and it is an unusual gearbox.

Firstly, the selection gate is purposely biased so that after pulling away in first the driver naturally selects fourth gear. This is for fuel consumption reasons.

It is of course possible to shift through second and third but you need to make a conscious effort.

The high torque engine makes this easily possible. In fact at 120 km/h in sixth gear it’s revving at under 2 000 rpm, making that claimed 350 km/h test track speed believable.

And even in sixth gear the car will pull smoothly from 1 000 rpm.

There are various traction control and corner assist options with the Corvette. The driver can dial them in or out in stages too, to promote the kind of driving style desired.

The steering is a little vague still by sporting standards, but the handling is superb, and now the Corvette deals well with bumps too.

The interior is fairly straight-forward by European standards. It has a full compliment of airbags, and of course the T-top is removable and stowed in the boot on location pins to prevent damage.

Electric seats, climate control, audio, it is all there, but a Corvette is made for driving.

Of course, every story has its down-side and the sad fact is that the Corvetteis not available here, and nor is it likely to be.

With the government’s decision some time ago to outlaw the importation of left-hand-drive cars, it won’t be coming, as General Motor’s Chevy division doesn’t build them in right-hand-drive form.

An interesting snippet is that in America, the Corvette sells for the equivalent of about R300 000. At that price, it would sell like hot-cakes in South Africa.

Chevrolet Corvette Coupe
  • Engine: Aluminium V8, 6 000 cc
  • Power: 298 kW @ 6 000 rpm
  • Torque: 542 Nm @ 4 400 rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 4,2 seconds
  • Top Speed: 250 km/h (limited)
  • Fuel consumption: 12,3 litres/100 km
  • Price: N/A in South Africa

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