Test Drive: Corvette C6 Coupe
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Story and photos by David Haueter

I confess right up front that I haven't been a Corvette fan for most of my life, so I can't tell you how the new C6 Corvette compares to previous iterations and versions of this famous car. Most of my high-school and college years were spent with posters of 911 Turbo's, Ferrari's and various BMW M cars on my walls, so my tastes leaned more toward the European sports cars than the Americans, and still do. I do remember with clarity, however, the day that I started becoming a Corvette fan. It was the Mosport round of the American Le Mans Series in 2000, when the Corvette factory team was still new to the series and the GTS class was being dominated by the factory Vipers. I still remember how great the Vette's sounded at speed and the battle they gave the Vipers that day, with Ron Fellows and Andy Pilgrim ultimately finishing in second place behind the Viper of Olivier Beretta (now a Corvette driver) and Karl Wendlinger. Even then, you had a sense that the writing was "on the wall" and that it wouldn't be long before the Corvettes were the class of the GTS/GT1 field.

Like their racing counterparts, the Corvette road car has become one of the best sports cars in the world, on par in performance with European sports cars from Italy, Germany and England that cost a great deal more. Providing the primary motivation for the C6 is a 6-liter pushrod V8 that pumps out 400hp and 400lb-ft of torque at 4,400rpm. This is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox, with the option of a 6-speed automatic, though we can't imagine too many serious drivers checking off that option. Our test car had the optional Z51 performance package, with Brakes that measure 13.4 inches in the front and 13 in the rear, compared to the standard car's 12.8 front and 12 rear discs. The Z51 package also adds larger stabilizer bars, stiffer springs and shocks, and more aggressive gear ratios, and both models have independent double-wishbone suspension front and rear.

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