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"The new Corvette C6 Promises More Performance and Better Handling"

Rob

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The following article appeared a couple weeks ago in AutoWeek magazine and they have just released it on their site:

(08:56:27 June 26, 2002)
The new Corvette C6 promises more performance and better handling

By WES RAYNAL

A new Corvette is one of the more anticipated launches, and the 2005 C6 is certainly no exception. The rumor mill and Internet buzz have intensified over the last six months. What information we’ve been able to cajole, dig up and bribe out of GM sources indicates the new C6 should live up to the hype. It will be a big step forward from the C5, especially in terms of vehicle dynamics and performance.

The sixth-generation Corvette (hence, C6) carries the codename GMX 245 and as of this writing it is scheduled to arrive in showrooms by late spring of 2004. The C6 was originally intended to be sold in fall 2003; GM externally calls the new date a “correction,” not a delay. Whatever, the wait makes the anticipation greater.

The rumors swirling around Detroit that the C6 would get an overhead-cam V8 had Corvette freaks freaking. Don’t panic: As has been the case with Corvettes for decades (with the exception of the ZR1), chief engineer Dave Hill (of Cadillac Allante fame) has once again chosen a small-block pushrod V8 to power C6. The engine, known as a Gen IV V8, will be based on the 5.7-liter LS1 and LS6 V8s used in the C5. Sources say the standard mill in the C6 delivers 400 horsepower, with 400 lb-ft of torque, within 5 horsepower of today’s Z06.

The high-performance LS6 in the Z06 jumps to 425 hp and some 415 lb-ft of torque. The next Z06 is intended as a 2006 model.

But the temptation to give the C6 a high-tech engine seems almost too great for GM’s powertrain engineers. Thus they are working on a variable-displacement, power-on-demand management system called Displacement on Demand. The technology can shut down two or four cylinders when not needed for better fuel economy on the highway.

Apparently, within GM’s hallowed engineering halls there were long internal debates about whether to include the variable-displacement engines on the C6 and/or the Cadillac XLR sports car. Both will be built in the same plant, in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and on basically the same platform. In the end, GM did what we can only think of as the right thing: It decided that while the system might be ready to go, the company will debut the technology on pickup trucks first, likely in the 2004 models, with passenger-car applications coming later.

The C6 will share its chassis, brakes and most suspension components with the Cadillac XLR, and in fact the platform is in many ways unchanged from the C5. That means the C6 will continue with hydroformed steel frame rails, which this time around will allow the platform to be built in two different lengths (one for the C6, one for the Cadillac) without introducing a significant number of additional welds or pieces. GM engineers think the hydroformed chassis allows them to dial in the type of handling characteristics they desire: crisper handling for the Corvette and a little softer for the Cadillac. GM originally had wanted to do an aluminum hydroformed chassis, but couldn’t get it ready in time, our moles say.

And here’s some technology worth getting excited about: Sources say the C6 will incorporate the latest version of GM’s active handling, stability control system, previewed on the C5 50th Anniversary car. GM calls the updated active handling system Magnetic Ride Control. It will also be used on the Cadillac Seville and XLR and is designed to minimize damping forces and body motions for the smoothest ride possible, based on inputs from the road-sensing suspension.

Magnetic Ride Control uses new Delphi “valveless” shocks, which are designed to have better damping and ultra-quick response rates. The quick-acting shocks use a liquid called magneto-rheological fluid. The fluid, combined with computer-controlled coils, provides continuously variable, real-time damping. The fluid contains iron particles, which in the presence of a magnetic field, can align themselves into a thicker state. If the magnetic field isn’t present, the fluid takes on a thinner state. The tuning levels are nearly unlimited, depending on programming and adjusting the algorithms controlling the damping responses.

The benefits, based on brief drives we’ve done in the 50th Anniversary car and some Sevilles equipped with the system, are fantastic: The ride is better, there’s less body roll, less dive under hard braking and squat under hard acceleration, and faster body and wheel control. It’s exactly what the Corvette needed. The curb weight should stay about the same, at 3200 pounds.

That’s the hardware. How does the new car look?

Well, Tom Peters designed the exterior. Yes, he’s the same Tom Peters who designed the Pontiac Aztek, but our design sources insist we not hold that against him—he was simply the fall guy for the design-by-committee that begot the Aztek.

The C6’s design will be slightly more daring than the C5’s, reflecting GM’s apparent newfound willingness—good or bad—to take a few styling risks. Combining both soft curves and machined edges, the car is about the same length as the C5, which is 179.7 inches long.

The C6’s greenhouse stretches to the top of the tail, making the C6 coupe look smaller, though it’s expected to ride on essentially the same 104.5-inch wheelbase. Word is a lip could be added to the rear to increase downforce. Up front the pop-up headlights are gone, replaced by xenon headlights.

Sources say the C6 will probably get away from Goodyear’s run-flat tires and that’s a good thing: They were seen both internally and by customers as too heavy and not grippy enough. Chassis engineers said they are leaning toward more aggressive rubber, such as the Z06’s Goodyear Eagle F1s.

Chassis people tell us the braking system will also get a revamp, as owners have complained about too-short service intervals. So GM is considering upgrading the brakes, including slotted discs and a new, more durable pad material.

So that’s the scoop on the new Corvette. It seems GM was smart enough to leave well enough alone regarding the Vette’s strengths, and changing the car where it needed it.
 

jimxo

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Good information

Rob,

This the most information I found about the next C6 thus far. You seem to restate the facts exactly they way you heard or read them.

The next Vette has everything I want in a high performance car. More power, better interior materials, slightly smaller and a 50k price tag.

Thanks

jimxo
 
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Rob

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Jim,

You're welcome. Rather than dwell on speculation and heresay, I'd rather post information that has been published in an automotive trade journal first. Although not completely reliable....I'd like to believe that automotive journalists and those within the trade have better contacts with more reliable information rather than the average Corvette enthusiast who hands down tidbits of information that have passed through multiple sets of lips over time. When that happens, the information turns into rumors and fiction which isn't beneficial to anyone. :)
 
S

Stan A

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GEN III Info

Hi Rob,

The GEN III program has two phases. first being the straight up 16 value V-8. The second which is the 32 value setup (no overhead cams) which is designed to provide power and better fuel economy at higher RPMs.

Both these motors have variations when it comes to size. They range from 4.7L to 5.7L. The possible reduction in engine size is more likely in the C6 than any other time in history. This is due to the new "across the board" car and truck fuel averages that GM and all auto production manufacturers will have to meet for the 2005 to 2008 years.

The word we are hearing from people at GM development is that the bean counters are leaning toward the reduction in engine size and horsepower because of the reduction in the size of the car which will led to the overall vehicle weight be down a few hundred pounds or more. By the use of a smaller CU inch motor and the horsepower ranging between 315 to 335 will afford this move but not at any performance loss based on the current LS series. This too will save on the production costs and help to meet the new fuel guidelines.

No mention on horsepower numbers returning to the 400 ponies range came up. I believe the reason is that with the down sizing of the car and a change in the motor (with the HP reduction), we can expect to see the same performance figures or better with regards to the Z0? in 2006 model but with less ponies on tap. A quick check shows that a Z06 weighting in around 2900lbs with a similar setup as the current model and with the GEN III motor (32 value) making 370hp/370lbs torque will easily match and surpass the Z06 acceleration/performance numbers.

The key here is costs of production reduction and the fuel economy needed to aid or bolster the entire car line requirements.

Your mention of the magazine articles with their data being somewhat more accurate in to what may take place is at best no better than all the rumors we are all hearing in many regards. They too are getting the word from direct or indirect sources in most cases. There are many pieces of info in the past they published where this has happen to support that what they hear indirectly has traveled thru many sets of lips. However, they just have a written platform to which they can "aire" it from. This does not make their info better or worse. They just have a better delivery system than you or I do.

Earlier this year, I passed on to you and others that the resizing of the Vette maybe in the works for the C6. I felt that this was something best be hold close and not pubilized until we got the official word. With the so called, "cat out of the bag", We can now pass on other info that may or may not take place with regards to the C6 Corvette.

We all would like to see more HP and bigger engines but after examming all aspects, I believe as many do that the government intervention with regards to EPA guidelines as well as production costs will keep this from happening.

With GM, its the bottom line that counts! It the "Greenbacks" not customer wishes that really count.

Hope you had a quiet and restful trip!

Stan
 

JBsC5

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I believe you will see a 2 inch increase in wheelbase and a 2 inch decrease in overall length. ..Primarily in the area of front overhang.

The vehicle dynamics of the Z06 C6 will far surpass everything we have come to expect in the C5...I believe the braking system will be a shocker too...

Lose a hundred or so pounds..via varing the hydroformed frame rails width ....and other small incremental improvements..we might just squik (sp) below 3000 lbs..add to that 450hp and you've got real performance ... (jmo)
 
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Stan A

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Update

Hi JBsC5,

Got an email this morning saying that we can expect an approximate three inch reduction in width and between 4 and 5 inches in length. Weight reduction estimates are between 225lbs to 300lbs.

The key here is the weight reduction not necessarily the size change. As to horsepower increase, the chances are slim and none. The GEN III no matter which engine they used will not exceed the 345hp current mark. I really believe that we will see some sort of engine size reduction and they will knock off a few ponies (between 315hp and 335hp).

I would love to see a faster and better all around performing Vette but it will only come if its costs them less. Let's hope for a 400hp Z0? in 2006!

Keep in mind that the new Caddy will either change its size for 2004 production or they will end after the production year of 2003. I honestly believe that this new Caddy will not sell very well this year no matter what engine they use.

Stan
 
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Rob

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Interesting information Stan. Thanks! I wonder if we'll ever see a Viper killer then...
 

JBsC5

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Stan, it sounds like you have a good source...not sure if I agree but then..thats what makes it interesting.

We do agree on the xlr caddy going to be a major disappointment in the sales dept.

the could ...they should restyle this car with a greater eye to sensuality..This is without a car that must appeal to women buyers.I don't think they have done it..

I think the rear taillights on the XLR need to be narrower..the rear quarter fenders need to extend rearward more. I think the large licence plate frame also duplicated on the CTS needs to be discarded..

The side view is fine....

I think the front needs to have angled headlights moving wider as they reach towards the bottom of the grille. The rectangular panel between the headlights and the grille on each side is wrong.

But ...they didn't ask so... ;)

That car could be a winner..but not like this..

Its not sensual or sexy enough to compete with the Jaguar XK8 ...not even in the same game with the MB500SL...

A car in this league needs to be attractive to women....Cadillac hit a home run with the Big trucks and they think this same angular look is going to work in the sports sedan and two seat convertible market..

Different segments..different message..Your right stan..this ones a loser..Now the SRX crossover coming in April of next year is a winner..IMO

Back to the Vette...I can't see that drastic a change in sizing as you mentioned..Would be very interesting if your prediction or source came though..I'd just be surprised..the only thing I see the vette really needing to stay totally contempary...is a reduction in the front overhang..

Maybe a little width off the rear quarter if they want..maybe some slight length off the rear end......

Extending the Corvettes wheelbase the two inches to match the xlr would sort of make economic sense..

I think we are in for an exciting time.

The next evolution of a true american icon!

Taking educated guesses is part of the fun.

No ones wrong till the model hits the streets....

till then we can all dream.

and once it hits..we will all line up to buy..maybe not the first year but shortly thereafter.. maybe ;)
 
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Stan A

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What is waiting on the Horizion?

Rob asked a good question and I am afraid that the answer will be the same as it has since the Viper came on the seen. Each year we all hope for something to show that GM will build a Corvette that will offer "world exotic" performance in every area of competition.

Every year it has been the same except back in 2001. For the first time we saw a Corvette that directly started to compete with the Viper and got better with the 2002 model. Of course I am making reference to the Z06. But we have to remember that the Z06 production came about only because of the poor sales of the hardtop in 1999-2000. The contract and inventory was set to run through 2003 year model which it is currently doing. The hardtop as everyone knows only sold because of the LS6 setup.

The sheer light weight and mid-range horsepower gave us that performance car to match the current Viper in its present form. Mr. Hill said that the Corvette is not in direct competition with the Viper and will not go that route. The price difference is the starting point and the low side production is the other.

Honestly, I feel that the Z06 after this 2003 of production will be tabled until it is needed again to rejuvinate sales. Past marketing of the Corvette has shown that the plan works. Why would GM change something that has been proven successful. I believe that by the time the Z0? returns, the Viper will either be a past memory or been a direct competitor for the exotics made worldwide. Remember, GM does not want to built a car that will have a "gas guzzler" tax. Anything much higher than its present form will put it in this tax category.

As to the discussion of size reduction, I like it in its present form, however, like everyone else, GM does what it thinks is best for the "bottom line". Reduction is the easiest way to go to cut cost and weight. This may well not be the only time in the next five years or so that we see some sort of down sizing. And a again, a possible down side in the GEN III motor depending on which program they go with (saving money again and of course getting the fuel mileage up).

Like JBsC5 said, we will still line up to buy no matter what they do because it is a CORVETTE!!!

Have a good day,
Stan
 

JBsC5

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Stan, even though you and I may have slightly different perspectives on the direction the corvette is going..

I have to say..I truly enjoy reading your posts and respect what your saying.


Thank you and I will make sure I follow your posts in the future. It will be interesting to see which way the Corvette team goes..

Either way I am sure the performance will be impressive.
 

Edmond

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Wow, this has turned out to be such a great thread that I figured I'd state my opinion.

It's very interesting with all the different opinions on how GM could go with the C6 Corvette.

But like Stan said, Corvette isn't made as a direct competitor to the Viper. The price is really the biggest difference, Corvette is $50,000 and the Viper is $80,000? Corvette is massed produced while the Viper turns out less than 2000 cars per year.

I think they're two different cars aimed at two totally different markets. I think the Viper is just as exotic as any Ferrari or Lamborghini. This sounds crazy and it's off the subject, but I've seen more Vipers and Ferraris than ZR1's.

The Viper is a big block engine, Corvette is small block. Let's face it, the Corvette could never win a HP war with the Viper.

I, just like everyone else in the forum, understands that GM and Corvette is still a business. But like my buddy who works for a Chevy dealership said, "Selling Corvette's isn't the bread and butter." So my suggestion would be for GM to come out with a higher performing Corvette that would fall under the gas guzzler tax, etc... If they build it, people will buy it!
 
V

vetteZ06dream

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my opinion is short and sweet

corvettes r always at the top and will always be at the top
 

danl72

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The new Road & Track gives the C6 a Gen IV LS1 producing over 380 hp with a shorter overall Vette and a longer wheelbase (105.7). I don't know if that is correct but we will just have to wait and see. They also said it would be out in 2004 as a 2005 model.
 

Tom Bryant

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Rob said:
The following article appeared a couple weeks ago in AutoWeek magazine and they have just released it on their site:

(08:56:27 June 26, 2002)
The new Corvette C6 promises more performance and better handling

But the temptation to give the C6 a high-tech engine seems almost too great for GM’s powertrain engineers. Thus they are working on a variable-displacement, power-on-demand management system called Displacement on Demand. The technology can shut down two or four cylinders when not needed for better fuel economy on the highway.


Reminds me of the Cadillac 8-6-4 POS of a couple decades ago. What a dismal failure.
 

JBsC5

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The technology has advanced quite a bit since the early cadillac experiment..

Give us 450hp .....no gas guzzler tax and it will be easy to overide the cylinder shutdown scenerio in the aftermarket.

I have to say..I never even bothered to disconnect the 1 to 4 shift thing on my Z and its a non issue.. I never hit the scenerio that activates it.. so I figure the cylinder deactivation will be similiar..

Would be cool if we could get the 450ponies in the new C6 Z06...lighter weight too..probably under 3,000 lbs for a pretty impressive power to weight ratio..
 

Tom Bryant

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The C5 that I drove a couple weeks ago had to be going real slow and shifted at a low rpm to actvate the 1-4 shift. Only happened twice when I was on city park drives. I would hope that the new technology could pull off the cylinder drop thing without it becoming a maintenance nightmare. Time will tell.

Tom
 

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