With seven generations of Corvettes in existence, it can sometimes get confusing for the newer owners among us. Let’s take a few moments to compare the C5, C6, and ZR1 models of the Corvette. This covers the majority of Corvettes between 1997 and the present.
C5: The fifth generation of Corvettes, the C5 models began their production in 1997. The C5 brought many changes to the vehicle over its predecessor, the C4, which lasted 13 years of production. The C5 introduced the new LS1 small block engine. This completely new design included a distributor-less ignition and a new cylinder firing order. It initially produced 345 horsepower, but by 2001 was increased to 350 horsepower. Many of the squeaks and rattles found in the older C4 were nowhere to be found in the latest C5 Corvettes. The transmission was moved to the rear of the car, forming an integrated rear-mounted transaxle assembly. A driveshaft connected the transaxle assembly to the engine. In its initial 1997 production run, only the coupe was available. By 1998, the convertible C5 was added and by 199, the fixed-roof coupe, or FRC, was produced chevy camaro cover
C6: The sixth, and current generation, of Corvettes was named the C6. Production began in 2005 and is scheduled to continue until 2010. With al new bodywork, exposed headlamps, larger passenger compartment, an overhaul of the suspension, and a large 6.0 Liter engine, the C6 held several improvements over he C5. The exposed headlamps were a throwback to the 1962 model, which was the last time the headlamps were exposed prior to the C6. Production began in 2005, and the vehicle is overall shorter and narrower than the C5. The larger engine produces 400 horsepower, versus the 350 horsepower of the C5. Even with more horsepower in the C6, it still was able to maintain the decent fuel economy the C5 offered with 18/27 mpg on city/highway. This is due to its low drag component and low curb weight.
The 2008 version of the C6 received an upgraded engine, to a 6.2 Liter, 430 horsepower, LS3 engine. The 0-60 time has decreased to 4.0 seconds in the manual version. The really impressive version is the automatic variant, with a 4.3 second 0-60 time, faster than any other production automatic Corvette to date. Additionally, a leather-wrapped interior package was added, and a new five-spoke wheel design.
ZR1 Corvette: The original ZR1 model was a C4 variant from 1990-1995. The ZR1 is being introduced again in the 2009 production year. This variant of the C6 was originally debuted at the Detroit Auto Show in 2008. The sticker price will be right around $100,000. It includes a 6.2 Liter, LS9 engine with 638 horsepower. The top speed is rated at 205 mph, and the engine is the most powerful engine ever to be put into an American production sports car. The ZR1 has a sleek carbon-fiber body, with wider fenders, front fascia splitter, and rocker moldings. The brakes were also made bigger and stronger, to compensate for the increase horsepower from the engine. Current plans are for the ZR1 to be produced only in the 2009 and 2010 model years.
The Future: The seventh generation of the Corvette will be the C7, currently scheduled for production in the 2011 model year. What changes will be made to the vehicle remain to be seen, but if the past is any indication, their will be a bigger, more powerful motor, a sleeker body, and more electronic gadgets in store.