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[PRESS] Next 'Vette to Gain Even More Power

Rob

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From the September 2002 edition of the Detroit Free Press, http://freep.com

Next 'Vette to gain even more power

Changes span tastes of buffs, newcomers

BY LAWRENCE ULRICH
DETROIT FREE PRESS AUTO CRITIC

Creating a new Corvette is a delicate balancing act.

No one knows this better than Dave Hill, the Corvette's chief engineer. Hill must pacify the purists, who want to spot a 'Vette from a mile away, yet make certain the upcoming sixth-generation model is new and contemporary.

The C6 has a tough act to follow. The C5 Corvette has beaten the likes of Porsche, Mercedes and Honda for two straight years in the J. D. Power Initial Quality Study, tops among premium sports cars. The Corvette outsells its next-closest competitor, the Porsche 911, by 2.5 to 1.

The new Corvette is to arrive in mid-2004 as a 2005 model, initially in coupe and soft-top convertible models. The fire-snorting Z06 hardtop will take a breather but should be revived as a 2006 model. This pinnacle of Corvette performance has been a smashing success.

Hill said the Corvette team's goals include tidier exterior proportions, more performance and visual excitement, and more beauty and value in the interior.

Hill is cautious on specifics, but here's what we've pieced together:

The C6 will be slightly shorter and narrower. But the wheelbase is stretched about an inch to nearly 106 inches, meaning shorter body overhangs and wheels pulled even more toward the corners. Some aficionados may gasp over the fixed headlamps, the first Corvette since 1962 without retractable headlamps, which debuted on the original '63 Sting Ray.

The C6 will address owners' never-ending demand for more power, Hill said. Analysts say a fourth-generation LS1 push-rod V8 will deliver roughly 380 horsepower, up from 350 in the C5. Already among the world's most aerodynamic production cars, the Corvette will slice through the air with even greater efficiency, aiding fuel economy. A stiffer hydroformed frame will incorporate the sophisticated magnetic shock absorber system that debuted on the 2003.

The C5's six-speed manual and four-speed automatics should be carried over to the new model, at least initially. A Cadillac five-speed automatic destined for the XLR roadster can't handle the Corvette's massive torque, Hill said.

For the first time in history, the Corvette will share its basic underpinnings with another GM model, the aforementioned XLR, which will beat the C6 to market next year. Both will be built at the Corvette's Bowling Green, Ky., plant. While some members of the Corvette team are said to dislike the arrangement, Hill said it makes economic and strategic sense. Sharing platforms is a fact of life in today's industry, and the roughly $75,000 Cadillac is a different product for a different buyer, he said.

"I don't think the Corvette community will feel that anything bad has happened to their baby," Hill said. "The Corvette and Cadillac will be as dissimilar from each other as a Porsche is from a Jaguar, and now there'll be two valuable flagships for GM instead of one."

September 5, 2002
 

Zektor

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Is everybody worried?

Judging by the lack of replies, but lots of "Reads" I would say the Corvette Community is a little worried about what has been said in this post!

I am a little worried too. With many great looking capable sports cars about to hit the market. I just hope the Corvette is diverse enough to stand out from the crowd.

The new Corvette needs design cues that are classically Corvette but used in a strikingly modern way... that appear on NO other car. Detailing has to be spot on too.

What do other people think?

One thing, above all... the Corvette HAS to look aggressive. It's the nature of the beast. If it ends up looking like an Audi TT or Nissan's new Z I will not be impressed at all. For me, the Corvette having a wide, large footprint is all about the image of the car. Hill mentions "tidier exterior", by this, I think he means more "together" or more "restrained" ...er, excuse me, I don't think so... the Corvette needs to be MORE flamboyant.

I sure hope GM get it right... because, what will happen is that sales will not be good. People will hold on to their previous generation Corvette's and wait with bated breath for GM to put things right with the C7!!! GM would lose a lot of money and realise the mistake they made with the C6.

Let's just hope that I am totally wrong... and believe me... I want to be wrong! I want the Corvette to carry on whole heartedly as America's favourite sports car. This can only happen if the C6 is "RIGHT!"

Cheers
Dazza
 

JBsC5

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This doesnt sound accurate.. but could happen I guess?


The C5's six-speed manual and four-speed automatics should be carried over to the new model, at least initially. A Cadillac five-speed automatic destined for the XLR roadster can't handle the Corvette's massive torque, Hill said.
 
L

LT1Vettepilot

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By a tidier exterior and a shorter, more narrow body...it sounds like they are shrinking the Corvette...all I can say to that is you lose the image of a true sports car. Look at all the super high performance cars, they are wide and for good reason...stability in handling. The exception is Porsche. I think if they start shrinking the dimensions of the car its going to end up looking like another econo-box sport coupe from the import market.
The Porsche Boxter, Toyota Celica, Mitsubishi Eclipse, etc, among others all of the "cute" dimensions of a child's toy. The only thing on the road that actually looks agressive is the Mustang Cobra, though it is too tall for me to consider it anything other than a straight line driver. Corvette's dimensions are right to keep it in a class where it belongs. True sports cars. Its agressive looking and backs up the looks with great performance. You don't see Lamborghini shortening and narrowing its monsters, neither is Ferrari, Aston Martin, or any other true performer. Wide and low, thats what GM needs to keep. Shorter in length would be ok, the long over hang on the rear has never been a highlight of the Corvette. Shorter over hang in the front is going to be detrimental to the image....I can foresee the front turning into the new Nissan Z. :puke
As for the non-retracting headlights, I think the Corvette will lose much of its image with this move. Perhaps done correctly it won't be bad, but hidden lights has been a part of Corvette for so long that it seems like a styling cue that makes it recognizable as a Corvette. Again, I'll point to the Lamborghini Murcialago...the entire car carried on the aggressive looks of the Diablo and Countach...right up until you see the headlights glaring at you. Killed the entire look of the car. However, on a side note I'll go back to them being done right, for example the Aston Martin DB7 and even Maserati have nice looking front ends with exposed head lights. What I fear (and apparently for good reason after seeing the latest computer images of the C6) is GM is going to look at the "edgier" designs that are being built and sold today that draw the younger crowd. The Nissan Z front end is boring and distastfully done...and appears on the front of the C6 computer images in a modified form. This is not classic Corvette, nor contemporary Corvette...its just not Corvette.:puke :puke
I'm sure we won't know exactly what the car will look like until it makes its debut, but lets hope GM doesn't do the one and only American Legand wrong.
 

Edmond

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What was the reason for the non-retracting headlights? I like retracting headlights, they're so distinct.

380 HP sounds very nice now, but we can't forget that other sports car manufacturer's will also raise their HP in years to come and the standard for HP in all cars, not just sports cars, will surely have risen by then.

And it's not just the HP and torque numbers, they have to have the right gearing to put the power to the wheels!
 

JOV

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Yes I do believe that creating a new corvette C6 is a delicate balance but remember its sales that keeps the corvette in in play, and thats basicly what GM really cares about, so if they screw up the design and sales fall then the corvette could follow the camero and firebird. So I hope GM is very careful in what they do to the new C6......Just my $.02 cents........ :beer
 

Mad-Mic

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JOV said:
Yes I do believe that creating a new corvette C6 is a delicate balance but remember its sales that keeps the corvette in in play, and thats basicly what GM really cares about, so if they screw up the design and sales fall then the corvette could follow the camero and firebird. So I hope GM is very careful in what they do to the new C6......Just my $.02 cents........ :beer


and i don't think they got it from what i've seen of it. theres NO curves to it. take a 2x4 and put an edge on one side with wheels and thats what you got. i don't think it's gonna be as big as a seller as the C-5's IMHO and they might be dumb enough to pull the plug if it don't sell many units which i don't think they will. one thing i don't understand is if they are leaning to a more young owner base, how many 20-25 yr olds can afford a vette? 50k and probably atleast 200 bucks a month insurance sheez GM dropped the ball with the Z/28's and TransAm's. all them guys will go maybe new 03 Cobra's, which i doubt based at around 38k or a 20k import with 10k in mods running sub 11's? the Z/28 300+ hp package was the deal for 25k brand new theres nothing out there that can touch that price and ET times (notice i didn't necissarly say hp #'s)


GM what the heck are you doing? you can't even beat a cobra with HP with a stock C-6 by this released statement!!!!!!!!!
 

Edmond

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Mic,

I feel ya man about those numbers not even being a stock Cobra. IMO, I think that GM in all their arrogance will go back to the "We don't consider the Mustang to be a competitor to the Corvette; they're not in the same class" bit if ya ya. The bottom line is if, stock for stock, Cobra beats Corvette for less money, young people are gonna buy the Cobra and the Corvette's will be left over for the negatively stereotyped C5 crowd.
 
1

18 with a C5. Damn.

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i'm 18, and i'd never consider an import or a mustang, no matter how many mods are on it. a vette is a vette.
 
B

Bullitt

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Fixed headlights can be sexy, but GM probably won't spend the money to do it right. And where is the talk of "less weight?" C'mon GM, we need strippers! Ummm... stripped down models that is. Errr... I'm talking about cars, I think. :crazy

--Bullitt
 

Edmond

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Bullitt said:
Fixed headlights can be sexy, but GM probably won't spend the money to do it right. And where is the talk of "less weight?" C'mon GM, we need strippers! Ummm... stripped down models that is. Errr... I'm talking about cars, I think. :crazy

--Bullitt

I could go for strippers right now!:L

Seriously though, Internet people are rumoring the 450HP, 2900 pound Z-model for the C6. I'll believe it when I see it. And another thing, why would they wait to come out with that model instead of launching it immediately? I swear everything at GM is wait and see everyone else do it, then we'll do it too late.
 
V

vettepilot

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Edmond said:


Seriously though, Internet people are rumoring the 450HP, 2900 pound Z-model for the C6. I'll believe it when I see it. And another thing, why would they wait to come out with that model instead of launching it immediately? I swear everything at GM is wait and see everyone else do it, then we'll do it too late.

That's the marketing people driving things like that, I'm sure the true Corvette Engineer Team would like to put their best product on the market right now. But the bean counters are counting on the target market liking the next generation, but after a year will want more... and they will give it to them a little piece at a time.
That way they will sell the initial C6 design and powertrain, and keep the crowd coming back for more every year.
When you think about it, from a pure financial view point it's a great scheme. From the consumers view point it sucks, that means one either has to wait until the improved version comes out, or spend the money twice until you get what you really wanted in the first place.
vettepilot
 

Edmond

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pilot,

I see what you're saying, but I truly think that the Corvette isn't that big of the financial pie at GM. C'mon GM, live a little! What do they typically make per Vette' sold? The dealerships probably make about $7,000??? Someone help me on that...
 

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