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2008 Chevrolet Corvette Road Test


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Sep 16, 2000
New Hampshire
1990 Corvette ZR-1
2008 Chevrolet Corvette Road Test

Summertime, when the speeding is easy

By Rex Roy,

It used to be you had to work hard to go fast. First, you had to get your launch revs just right. Too few, and the carbs would bog. Too many, and the tires would go up in smoke. Then you had to make sure you hit the shift perfectly. Swapping cogs too early dropped you out of the cam's power band. Swapping too late floated the valves. Or worse.

Achieving serious top speeds took even more skill. And balls. Provided you were mentally up to the task of hitting some multi-mile-per-minute milestone, there were questions as to whether the driveshaft would begin some self-destructive sine wave dance or if the tires would overheat and tear themselves apart. If these disasters didn't arise, there were always overtaxed ignition and cooling systems to thwart the long, slow climb toward terminal velocity. Aerodynamics, and the lack thereof, introduced their own challenges. Front-end lift often reduced the front tires to mere rudders. Alternately, rear lift conspired to sneak up and lethally stab you in the back as soon as you touched the brakes. But that was then.

Today, more than ever before, speed comes easy. Evidence: The 2008 Corvette. Fittingly, it's the first place GM chose to put their new 430-horse LS3 V-8.

Together, the new engine and the Gen VI Corvette make a total speed package capable of an honest and repeatable 190 miles per hour. Yup, over three miles per minute is available for low monthly payments from your local Chevrolet dealer. And Chevy expects so sell around 40,000 per year. Is this a great country, or what?

Generation 6.5

So what do you actually get when you drive over the curb in a new Vette? Well, for 2008, you're actually getting (in Microsoft terms) a Generation 6.5 Corvette. GM's polymer wonder got a mid-cycle refresh during Bowling Green factory's July shutdown. Along with the new 6.2-liter (376 cid) LS3 superseding the 6.0-liter (364 cid) LS2, plenty of other revisions were made. The overall result: all it takes to go fast in this car is aiming and firing. Hell, you don't even have to aim if you don't want to. Fire first and sort the rest out later.

Bragging rights are thus: 0-60 comes up in only 4.1 seconds with the new Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual. Its throws are shorter and the gearbox has a smoother mechanical feel. The reprogrammed and faster-shifting-for-2008 Hydramatic takes only two tenths longer to dispatch the same task.

Speed comes on with a hydraulic rush as opposed to a explosion. The explanation is this: The Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires hook up really well, even when you build the Rs and step out of clutch like you're jumping off hot coals. The grip from the rear P285/35ZR19-inch run flats quickly translates into acceleration.

The magic sixty comes right after the 1-2 shift, and the power just keeps a coming. Triple digits arrive by ten Mississippi. Triple digits arrive by nine Mississippi as does the shift into 4th, which winds out at 130 mph. Fifth takes you the rest of the way to 190 mph, a feat that consumes nearly three minutes and over eight miles.

Capable brakes burn off the speed, with our Z51-equipped coupe sporting cross-drilled rotors measuring 13.4 inches front, 13 inches rear. Our early exposure to the newest Corvette was on public roads, so we never even began to challenge its capabilities. However, knowing that the Corvette team does extensive development work at Grattan Raceway in central Michigan makes us trust the brakes. Grattan's two-mile course punish the brakes on high-horsepower cars like the Corvette, so one would expect that the Z51's binders should fight fade like a WFC finalist.

As it has been for almost a quarter century, the Corvette with the Z51 package get more aggressively tuned springs and dampers, larger bars, and upgraded tires. What hasn't always been part of the Z51 package was a livable ride. The first modern Z51-equipped cars (from 1984) would knock your fillings out. Today's car could easily be a daily driver. The drawbacks are nil to those who don't mind a slightly stiffer ride than standard-issue C6.5s.

Plug and play

In the transformation from C6 to C6.5, the entire line benefited from several other changes. The least important of these is that you can plug your MP3 player into directly into the radio. Yahoo.

Something that really matters is that steering feel is up, thanks to an entirely new rack. This revision should quiet those who felt the previous steering system wasn't spot on. We've put close to 1,000 miles on previous C6s and never felt the need to complain, but more feel is always welcome. As are more horsepower and noise.

Don't go scanning the Corvette.com Web site for individual Horsepower and Noise options. Both benefits come under the heading of the Two-Mode Performance Exhaust System. This new option is trickle-down technology from the Z06, and uses outlet valves to open up the exhaust flow above 3500 rpm when the engine needs less backpressure to make more power. The result is a deeper growl and an extra six horsepower and four pound-feet of torque from the car's 2.5-inch pipes.

The last critical change only affects the Corvette's performance in the area of the ego. Some owners are tired of digs from Porsche 911 drivers over the cheapness of the Corvette's interior. (After all, it is a Chevy … and didn't they also make the Chevette?) While Corvette purchasing agents wouldn't approve custom-tanned speedometer needle sleeves, the team did locate the firm responsible for supplying luscious leather trim found in Maybachs. Check the option box labeled Custom Leather-Wrapped Interior Package and one gains the satisfaction of knowing that several cows donated their hides to wrap the dash, instrument panel, and door panels in rich two-tone leather. The effect is welcome, and far superior to aftermarket fix-it attempts.

All in all, the new Corvette was the perfect place for the LS3. As in previous product cycles, expect to see this motor under the hoods of other cars in the near future including the Camaro.

Does 40,000 190-mph cars make speed a little too accessible? Does the introduction of the 2008 Corvette this summer make speeding too easy? Not if you ask us.

2008 Chevrolet Corvette
Base price: est. $45,000
Engine: 6.2-liter V-8, 430 hp/424 lb-ft (436 hp with twin exhaust)
Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Length by width x height: 174.6 x 72.6 x 49.0 in
Wheelbase: 105.8 inches
Curb weight: 3179 lb
Fuel economy (EPA city/hwy): 16/26 mpg
Safety equipment: Dual front airbags; anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control
Major standard equipment: HID headlamps; A/C with dual-zone climate control; leather power seats; tilt wheel; premium AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3 capability and auxiliary jack; cruise control; power windows/locks/mirrors
Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles

Neat article. I have a Crystall Red 3LT rolling out next week.

But did GM change warranty back to 3/36 ???:confused or did TheCarConnection.com not get the 5/100 memo?


Does the transmission upgrade apply to the 2008 Z also?

Is there anything specific for the 08 Z that you know?

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Does the transmission upgrade apply to the 2008 Z also?

Is there anything specific for the 08 Z that you know?

I'm not aware of a transmission upgrade for the Z, but check the 2008 Model Center here on the site.
Warranty LINK

2008 ZO6

I just picked up a 2008 ZO6
and they did change the shifter a bit. It locks in nice and smooth. GM made some minor adjustments. The car is a blast!

Neat article. I have a Crystall Red 3LT rolling out next week.

But did GM change warranty back to 3/36 ???:confused or did TheCarConnection.com not get the 5/100 memo?


My question also, warranty terms and length. ;shrug

2008 Warranty

My question also, warranty terms and length. ;shrug

2008 warranty is 3yrs/36000 miles bumper to bumper and 5yrs/100,000 miles on drivetrain. I actually purchased extended warranty and got 5 yrs/40000 miles bumper to bumper...not great on mileage but I won't even come close to that.
Oh crap, reading all of this makes me want to get onto the PD quicker so I can buy a C6.5:W

Neat article. I have a Crystall Red 3LT rolling out next week.

What is the Crystal Red? Is that another name for Victory Red? Chevy's website doesn't seem to list Crystal Red as a Corvette color...
No. Victory Red is still a non-metallic red option for 2008 but Monterey Red Metallic has been replaced with Crystal Red Metallic Tintcoat which is just a shade lighter than Monterey Red Metallic. It is also a Tintcoat color in 2008 and Atomic Orange is no longer a Tintcoat.


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