By on May 1, 2012

 This is a test of TTAC’s Corvette ZR1 purchased with 0% financing. Better late than never, as I’ve marinated over both new and old ZR-goodness several times in my brother’s garage. No doubt, the Viper killing, LS9-FTW motivated Corvette is a worthy successor to the original, with the power-to-weight ratio to eat 458 Italias and cream GT-Rs…at least when AWD is a handicap. But almost two years later, the “King of The Hill” lacks the limelight it deserves. Does the average sports car buyer know the differences between Grand Sport, Z06, Z06 Carbon and ZR1?

To wit, the ZR1 needs more style.  The original’s coachwork necessitated a wider door, but the current makes do with fender lip extensions from the Z06. Sure, there’s the carbon fiber roof/splitter and a hood window that frames…an ugly plastic skirt around the LS9’s intercooler.  Perhaps clear hoods are better left to mid-engined exotics. Far worse, however, are the radioactive blue (from the “Blue Devil” days of this design) accents on the badges, brakes and engine cover: forget about playing “Little Red Corvette”, unless it’s played by The Clash. Color palette restrictions are in effect, but our Cyber Grey tester’s blue metallic flakes are a very effective complement.

At least the “3ZR” dress-up package helps the Corvette’s obvious interior flaws. Perhaps the world-class interiors promised to us so many years ago by Bob Lutz are just a C7 ‘Vette away? The asymmetrical Left-Right door panels stick out like JWOWW giving a lecture at the MoMA.  And the laughably fake carbon fiber center stack keeps the Porsche crowd in stitches. Sit inside and the biggest flaw comes to light: those shitty seats.

Pardon my digression, but…

While these thrones were a downer in our Z06 review, the ZR1’s astronomical asking price adds insult to injury.  After 20 minutes in the flat, unsupportive bottoms, my time in a Chevy Cobalt XFE was looking mighty desirable.  But perhaps you remember the Caravaggio name from an old Lingenfelter Z06 review.  After my brother befriended “John C” on the Corvette Forum, a deal was made – a prototype pair of Caravaggio’s finest seat foam, carbon fiber shells merged with the stock leather bits. Simply put, this is heaven in a C6 Corvette.   Combined with Caravaggio’s upgraded (i.e. real) leather shift boot, horn pad and real carbon fiber center stack, it’s a shame that Caravaggio-worthy bits aren’t standard fare like Brembo brakes.


There are rumors that Caravaggio’s finest will appear on new Corvettes much like Recaros on the CTS-V.  So consider this a sneak peek.

Speaking of Brembos, them’s some serious stoppers.  Experiencing them during the mandated break-in (pun not intended) 0-60-0 x 50 burnishing procedure displayed their physical prowess.  Pounding them proved unflappable, the perfect partner to the endless torque provided by the LS9, and hell, even the rims were clean when we finished! That said, the Brembo’s decreased unsprung weight must be the reason why the steering wheel gets light and loose when you mash the gas at cruising speeds.  (Or it could be the 604 ft lbs of torque!) The last time I felt this was in a RUF 911 Turbo. Not necessarily a bad thing, as the ZR1 steers less like a stereotypical Corvette and more like that Porker. And with that, I’ll let my brother put his ride on the track:

Sanjay writes:

Flogging the ZR1 on the bends of Spring Mountain Raceway in Pahrump and Motorsport Ranch in Angleton, TX proved that the active handling computer rarely intervenes when driven smoothly. But, with 604 ft lbs of torque, even 1/2 throttle in 3rd or 4th brings the back around promptly.  Tail-out is very controllable—more so than my 2006 Z06—but it takes a few laps to get enough heat in the Michelin run-flat PS2s. When warm, their grip is not much less than the (moderately fresh) Michelin PS Cup tires I used on Corvettes at Spring Mountain, and far more predictable in breakaway. Those CC brakes, combined with the C6’s fastidious attention to weight savings, meant lap after lap of 100% fade free, yank your Oakleys off stopping ability.

The ZR1’s steering/brake/shifter/unique twin disc clutch interface is so much smoother than any other Vette! And while you can take advantage of PTM by flooring the throttle and letting the computer manage torque in a corner, that’s a bit disconcerting. And it’s the wrong way to drive from a technique perspective. In PTM level 5, intervention is imperceptible for most of us non-Baruth types, but even members of the C6R LeMans team noticed tiny improvements in lap times with it on.

So let’s get back to the street.  No Super Car is ever plush, but put GM’s unquestionably awesome Magnaride suspension in mild suppression mode and things get civilized. There’s the de rigueur C5/C6 platform road noise from the 13″ wide rubber through that cavernous cargo bay, yet body motions are perfectly damped to leave the soul at complete ease.  You never feel punished with Magnaride and Caravaggio at your side: the Corvette is finally growing up to its price point.


Viva Detroit, via Caravaggio!

On the streets or the track, the ZR1 does what it promised: destroy just about any car for a Chevrolet price tag. After two years to simmer and enjoy, the ZR1’s engineering prowess is timeless. The fact that you can buy a bona fide 10 second quarter mile, 20+ mpg monster with factory reliability and a 5 year/100k warranty was laughable even a decade ago. Forget the not-unique styling, interior fit and finish, and radical incentivizing that muddied the waters, for this (12 year old) platform underpins one of the best super cars on the planet.

 

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160 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    So which Corvette engine is your (or your brother’s) personal favorite?

    The LT5, LS7, or LS9? Or does he have a L88 hiding back in the garage?

    • 0 avatar

      He better say LT-5…because, even with the flaws, it’s still my favorite.

    • 0 avatar
      doctorv8

      The LT5 will always be my sentimental favorite, but stock for stock, the LS9 makes up for its lack or aural stimulation with mountains of torque.

      Now, after you Lingenfelterized the LT5 to the tune of 415 cubes, 7500 rpm, and a12:1 CR, it instantly becomes the best Vette motor ever. Goose bumps.

    • 0 avatar
      Ultraworld

      I just purchased a 2011 ZR1 w/7k miles for under $85k. I had the seats redone & their perfect now. Got rid if that silly window in the hood as well. It just got back from Lingenfelter last month for the 750hp upgrade. I still have less invested than a Caiman S. It idles smoothly and stays cool in Florida traffic. The car is a pleasure to drive. Put the suspension in touring & it eats up highway miles with ease.This level of performance at this price is just unheard of.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I still like the styling of the 1984-1996 Vettes the best. But that is one impressive machine.

  • avatar
    gessvt

    I see two generations of Z06 and two ZR1s. How about a detailed comparison, with a little track time mixed in? I’m pulling for the C4 because I think they deserve more respect!

  • avatar

    “On the streets or the track, the ZR1 does what it promised: destroy just about any car for a Chevrolet price tag. ”

    This sentence could have been the entire review!

  • avatar
    hubcap

    To me the Corvette is a representation of what was (and possibly still) is wrong with GM.

    On every level, on a performance basis, the Vette is world class yet for some reason GM decides not to sweat the details. The seats and interior have been sticking points for a while.

    Why would GM not even have a factory option for proper seats. Same with the interior. I’m sure GM designers and engineers felt it was sub-par and should be better but GM brass killed it.

    Hopefully GM is beginning to see that the devil is in the details. The Vette is a great car. GM knows (and has known) its shortcomings. Let’s see if they’re addressed.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      Corvette has offered an interior upgrade package for several years now.

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      +1. If Chevy had launched this car originally with its price $5k higher and a nice interior, good seats, and no goofy clear plastic hood details, no one would have noticed, sales would not have been hurt, and in fact the car would have been celebrated as finally being the world class car the Corvette can be. People who are paying $100k+ for a super car don’t notice that the price is a few thousand higher than it theoretically could have been, but they do notice if you decide to put a cheap interior and crappy seats in it.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        People who shop 100k+ cars dont shop Corvettes – A 5k interior upgrade wont help (not that it doesn’t need it though). I know a Porsche guy who litterally will ask you why you “bought that piece of shit” then tell you why it was a bad deal – Will fall apart in a few years, cheap materials, doesn’t handle, et al.

        Then you have the attitude that the average vette owner is a Camaro guy whose made it and is having a mid-life crisis (bassically a pot-bellied chain smoker whose glory years basically sounded like Uncle Rico and was banging as many doped up chicks in the back of his bitch’n 76 ‘maro doing the stink bug).

        Admittedly, most of the vette guys I know seem to be older ex-military guys or guys who went to college in the 60’s and 70’s and very few younger guys, especially guys that grew up with Integras and 3rd gen RX-7s and so forth.

        GM needs to seriously do some damage control, but its going to take time and even if the next car does everything right poeple wont care.

    • 0 avatar
      Alexdi

      Agreed. There’s little about this car that looks or feels expensive. Some trimmings like the see-through Matchbox hood and certain wheel choices have the opposite effect, and I’m pretty sure I last saw those HVAC controls in a Cavalier. And that stuff really does matter.

      Between this and a Carrera S, I’d take the Carrera, half the torque or not. I’ve yet to see an encouraging concept of the C7. The bar is going to be very high.

  • avatar
    John

    See-thru plastic that shows – more plastic! – fantastic!!!

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Sajeev and Sanjay Mehta: Here is a serious question for you. Given the choice, which convertible would you buy, a 2013 Camaro ZL1 or a Corvette? While I know they are not really competitors, it is something that I am considering, as this summer it is time for a new ride. I will probably post my question about what plaything to buy to you in the near future, but I am wondering what you guys would prefer….

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    (sarcasm on) I also just LOVE that consoles have gotten so big that manufacturers have to put the shifter off to the side to get it close enough for the driver to operate. (sarcasm off)

    • 0 avatar
      cproj

      I’ve been lurking here for years, and this is the comment that finally pushed me to create an account. Please, please tell me you’re trolling.

      http://image.corvettefever.com/f/9793951/ccrp_0805_07_z+1963_chevrolet_corvette_stingray_1973_chevrolet_corvette+63_corvette_stingray_shifter_panel.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Wait, it actually had a 5 speed? I only mention that because when I was looking up info on the silly 4+3 transmissions that Corvettes had back in the mid 80s, the article I was reading made a big stink about Corvettes traditionally having 4 speed manuals. So I guess the guy who wrote what I was reading was full of crap?

      FYI I still think shifters should be centered on a console. It is more visually pleasing.

  • avatar

    No Super Car is ever plush

    What about the Veyron?

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    I must mention a minor point of annoyance.

    YES the seats suck. They have always sucked. However, Corvettes got new seats for 2012. They do not suck. They are quite good. Not quite Audi RS or Cadi CTS-V Recaro good, but damn good. Comfy, supportive, good looking – like a ‘vette seat SHOULD be. Those Caravaggios are gorgeous, but I think it’s funny how the press consistently shits on the ‘vette for bad seats. Then when it gets good seats, approximately 0 people mention it. And yes I know it’s a 2010 model you’re reviewing.

    • 0 avatar

      Very good point, but sorry…those seats are still not acceptable. They don’t suck like the 2011-older models, but they need way more lateral support. And the seat bottom is not supportive enough, cruising or cornering wise.

      While I admire GM’s continuous improvement, this is another case of Not Good Enough.

      http://rawautos.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/2012-Interior.jpg

  • avatar
    Slare

    golden2husky, the General has you covered. For 2013 you can get a Convertible Vette with the 427.

  • avatar

    Motor Trend just wrote a piece about those seats. Their take is that the average Corvette buyer age is nearly 60 years old with a 52″ waist therefore side bolsters that can provide lateral support to a normal size individual will simply elicit too many complaints.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      And if Levis stopped selling pants with waistlines less than 52, the “average Levis buyer” would be a fatso. Duh!

      If Chevy wants to steal sales from P and the rest, they need to look at the waistlines of those cars’ buyers. Or, given the number of hyper competitive, type A and progressively indoctrinated/”expert” worshiping members of that cohort; the waist lines of the “experts” those guys listen to. So, what is Jeremy Clarkson’s waist line again? And The Stigs?

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      The seat is the most important part of any car. A bad seat makes a bad car unbearable and a good car into a bad car. GM would be smart to offer factory options to cover a wide range of posterior shapes and sizes, even if it were at additional cost.

    • 0 avatar

      Ever since the 1984 Corvette, we’ve had two sets of seats for two missions. While the C4 was an ergonomic nightmare even for flexible people, that doesn’t mean GM shouldn’t have thrones worthy of the C4 in the C6.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    What I find sad is that you can easily find very slightly used ZR1’s for $85k, while they still ask $120k for new ones. I bet you can buy ‘em for under 80. The Corvette is the performance bargain of the century. When new, they have something like $15k+ markoffs, new base models are barely more expensive than a loaded Camaro SS. Used they are even better deals, since the majority of them were purchased as garage queens for retirees who never topped 45mph. Hardest part is finding a stick.

    My personal favorite is the all black Grand Sport coupe. A Z06 would be nice too, but much more likely to have been abused on a track. As amazing as the ZR1 is, I cannot justify essentially double the price for a car that doesnt really look any different, and the performance of the least powerful Vette is still way beyond what I could need in almost any situation.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    I like the Vette. But, I don’t buy one because I am worried about something with so much power.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    It’s really embarassing that the domestic supercars like the ZR1 and the Viper are still stuck with 20th century manual gearboxes while the rest of the world has already moved on to twin-clutch/ DSG transmissions.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      A DSG that could handle the power would be too expensive… Plus why would you want it. A stick is more fun.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I don’t like the domestic manufacturers, but I wouldn’t even consider a sports car with an automatic transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      The ‘Vette is made primarily for the US market, where the descent into complete and utter incompetence is, as crazy as that may seem, still less pronounced than in Europe :)

      • 0 avatar
        Jellodyne

        You watch enough Formula 1, you begin to associate ‘flappy paddle gearbox’ with ‘high performance car’.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        If you actually know what you’re looking at, you realize that the flappy paddles are only there to satisfy the rules as fully automatic was faster and electronic shift management means that the drivers may or may not actually be timing the shifts with their feeble clicks.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        The DSG type of transmission may be faster, and it may be more high tech but who cares? Anybody who has owned a real shift, you know where you have a third pedal, knows that the sense of involvement with the traditional setup more than makes up for a few tenths. You can keep the wallet breaking DSG. It may be technically different, but for an enthusiast who is not into track timing, it may as well be a regular automatic. Yuk.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    I don’t know why people get so picky when criticizing the Vette. The interior is fine. I daily drove a base C6 for 5 years and the only complaint I had with the interior was the fact that the seatback rake wasn’t power-adjustable while the rest of the seat was. I also didn’t like the fact that were was auto-down but no auto-up on the windows. Apart from that there was little to complain about, who cares about the materials? This is a sportscar, not a Rolls Royce. Those criticizing the interior need to realize something: There is no manufacturer in the history of carmaking that has been able to provide a car with Corvette-beating or Corvette-equaling performance at the same price point with a better interior. This goes for every Corvette from the base model up to the ZR1, and the only car that even comes close to challenging this theory is the GTR. Why criticize Chevy for not providing a better interior at the price point and not criticize manufacturers of other cars for not providing performance on-par with the Corvette in their cars that offer (supposedly) vastly superior interiors? Are we not talking about cars whose primary raison d’etre is performance?

    The guy who commented about the stickshift is way off-base as well. I recently sold my Vette and picked up a Lamborghini Gallardo and the stickshift in my Vette was vastly superior to the E-Gear tranny in the Gallardo. I actually find the E-Gear much, much trickier to drive than a conventional stick. Sure the computer in the Lambo shifts a fraction of a second faster than I could, but when does this ever really matter? There is nothing like the control of a true manual transmission.

    Both my Lamborghini and my Corvette are/were 2006 models, but the Lamborghini’s MSRP was literally 5x the Corvette’s. Sure the interior of the Lamborghini is nicer (my car is fully optioned with the 2-tone interior and carbon fiber package) but I can honestly say the quality of the interior in the Lamborghini makes next to no difference in my enjoyment of the car compared to my old Corvette. When both cars were brand-new, the Lamborghini cost nearly a full $200k MORE than the Vette did, but offers a marginally better interior, a worse transmission and fractionally better performance (vs. a base Vette, I think a Z06 is faster than my Gallardo and a ZR1 would blow it away). Of course, the Lamborghini comes with other benefits (looks, sound, sex appeal) but the Corvette is a screaming deal. I didn’t realize how good of a deal it was until I sold my Vette for $20k and paid several multiples of that for a car that is marginally more fun to drive (although it is a lot more fun to own-at least until the repair bills come)

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      My brother had a late 90s Malibu (OTD price < $15,000 after massive discounting) and his neighbor had a Vette of the same year. Most of the interior features of the 2 cars were exactly the same – right down to the same radio buttons, same climate control buttons, same power window switches, etc. Yeah, it's a sports car first and foremost and lapses in creature comforts can certainly be forgiven. But at that price point, it's not too much to ask to put in at least half a level higher in interior trim than the one in a pedestrian rental fleet stable.

      • 0 avatar
        thetopdog

        Why isn’t it too much to ask to put a better interior in a Corvette? As I said before, NOBODY has been able to provide a car with a better-than-Corvette interior with Corvette-beating performance at any price point (again with the possible exception of the GTR). So why expect Chevy to do it?

    • 0 avatar
      Alexdi

      It’s just irritating to that the GM argument always comes down to value. Why can’t it just be superior? Why do we always have to apologize for something? It smacks of good-enoughism, and we’ve had entirely too much of that from the American makes to let it slide.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    The seats are made to fit the largest drivers who would consider the car. A driver up to 6’8″ can be readily accommodated in a C5 or C6 Corvette – and similar space is available for those of exceptional girth.

    If you are smaller, then simply price in a pair of your favorite seats. I have a Sparco body; you may like Recaros or Kirkeys.

    The “base” Corvette is capable of a hundred ninety miles per hour and a twelve-second standing quarter. It is also capable of reeling off 100,000 miles on a set of spark plugs or averaging 30 miles to the gallon on a trip across Texas in the summer with the air-conditioner condensing enough water on the windshield to turn on the automatic headlights. It is as reliable as any other rear-wheel-drive Chevrolet – one out-of-service failure in 2 1/2 years and 30,000 miles for me.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Corvette will have a long way to go for international acceptance, and even American homeland competitiveness.

    Example: more Porsche sports cars (of all types) were sold in the USA in 2011 than Corvettes sold in the USA in 2011. Don’t even ask how many Corvettes were sold in “the other guy’s” country (Germany). The Corvette people can’t even figure out how to put the hand brake on the driver’s side of the center console! That speaks volumes.

    Maybe the new 2013 SRT Viper will be the American sporty car that Corvette could have been, but for some reason, can’t seem to manage to be. Even the upcoming “C7″ is projected to be only a mild reworking of past designs. Shame.

    When we see Corvette show a top-quality interior; a dramatically new suspension; and much better weight balance that allows credible performance in the “24 Hours of the Nurburgring”, then let me know. (Forget LeMans – it’s passe, and 40% of the perimeter of the Circuit de Sarthe is a straight line -perfect for Corvettes.)

    My only current response to any upcoming, allegedly “new” Corvette is: yawn….time for my nap.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “Example: more Porsche sports cars (of all types) were sold in the USA in 2011 than Corvettes sold in the USA in 2011.”

      I don’t think that’s the case.

      In 2011, Chevy sold a total of 13,164 Corvettes. Porsche sold 6016 911s, 1773 Boxsters, and 1377 Caymans for a total of 9,166 cars.

      You might not like the Vette but to not recognize and appreciate its capabilities speaks volumes.

      • 0 avatar
        thetopdog

        I try to never flame, but NGMOM your points are absolutely idiotic. What sense does it make to compare the sales of one model (that’s been on the market for 8 model years at that) to the sales of 3 different models (911, Boxster and Cayman)? Why criticize the Vette’s weight distribution when it’s 50/50 (about as good as you can get in a front-engined car). Why mention ‘Ring times and suspension layout when Vettes of all kind have held the ‘Ring records at their price points, and the ZR1 was once held the ‘Ring production car record, period? Do a little research before you type and make yourself look foolish

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        To “hubcap” and “Topdog”..

        Look, guys– I am a fan of Corvettes and don’t want to see them screw up as massively as they have been doing. If you have all that emotional energy about this topic, then, by all means, get on the phone or email the Corvette people before the “C7″ is carved in stone. There is simply no reason why that type of American made sports-vehicle can’t sweep the market here and abroad. But right now, the new 2013 Porsche Boxster S and 911 Carrera seem to be in that cock-bird seat, the former with less than half the horsepower! Does that tell you something?

        Now, to your points, and thank you for the correction:

        1) Sales Figures. I had also included the Panamera as essentially a 4-passenger sporty car. (In other words, everything except the Cayenne.) It’s performance surely merits that title. And, of course, you can also check to see what happened in 2010. The point is that Corvettes should easily dominate, and they are not doing so.
        2) Speaking Volumes: Corvette’s early history had been that of a 2-seat muscle car, and little by little over the decades, its been acquiring sports car attributes. And it needs to complete that transition even more quickly now. Car&Driver have been complaining about the interior and seats for more than a decade: would it not speak volumes if Corvette had listened in 1995?
        3) The sense of comparing entire brands’ sales figures is that they reflect the quality of the brand (marque), and not just any one model within it. Corvette has 4 sub-categories not including convertibles. Here they are also being considered together.
        4) Corvette SAYS it has a 50/50 weight distribution, but their terminology is actually “about a 50/50 weight distribution”. In fact, several recent Corvette owners have reported that they measure (on gravel-yard scales) a 53/47 or 52/48 weight distribution. Racers will tell you that every percentage point counts, and that 50/50 is NOT ideal for acceleration and braking, only neutral cornering. That is why the new SRT Viper is 49/51 and the BMW ALMS M3 cars are 48/52. Aston Martin DB9 is 48/52 also. Ironically, BMW was the original champion of 50/50!
        5) I did not mention “Ring times. I mentioned running Corvettes in the race, “The 24-Hours of the Nurburgring”. One Corvette aficionado, said to me, “God, I hope not”. He knows the suspension can’t handle that race in actual multi-car competition for that duration, even if the antiquated push-rod engines should hold together, which did not happen at LeMans in 2010.
        6) Hopefully not looking too foolish, I have done considerable research on this topic. I am afraid the comments for improvements must stand: Corvettes need:
        …a) Hugely upgraded interior and seating;
        …b) Completely revised suspension (perhaps F1-style, as recently introduced by the Aventador);
        …c) A far more racing-intensive weight distribution, such as 48/52. (Yes, it could get that with a mid-engine layout, but management has nixed that for the C7…maybe do it right for the C8.)

        And the most earth-shattering issue of all: nothing you have said negates the handbrake still being on the wrong side! (^_^).

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        I was just looking up some weight distribution specs after discovering that the Gran Turismo 5 programmers made some big errors in that department, so I’ll add the C6 Corvette data to this thread.

        The C6 Grand Sport and ZR1 are both 52/48, according to Car and Driver measurements. The C6 Z06 is approximately 50/50 though. One of the three tests even measured a slight rear bias: 49.9/50.1, 50.3/49.7, and 50.7/49.3. The Z06 is also the lightest. It’s probably the one to get in terms of chassis dynamics.

        I don’t think there’s any question that having a front-biased weight distribution on a RWD car is a compromise.

    • 0 avatar
      Alexdi

      Some of this may be accurate. The technical points are not. There’s nothing wrong with the Corvette’s weight distribution or suspension design. I find the first criticism particularly amusing in light of the Porsche references.

      • 0 avatar
        doctorv8

        ” Hopefully not looking too foolish” sorry, NMGOM, mission not accomplished.

        You’ve gone to great lengths to demonstrate a fundamental lack of knowledge, starting right from your comment about calling team Corvette “before the C7 is carved in stone.” You clearly have no concept of a product development cycle….the C7 will be rolled out in a year, and has already been “carved in stone” for some time.

        Antiquated pushrod engines? Really? Do you know of a more power dense, economical, lightweight motor with 500+ hp? How about one that costs less than 5 figures to build? A basic LS3 Corvette motor that can be bought for under $7000 is the lightest, most fuel efficient and robust powerplants to offer both 430+ hp and a wide, useable torque band. The LS7 and LS9 are true world beaters, period.

        Adding Panamera sales figures in to compare figures with a 2 seat sports car? There’s a laugher! Why not add Cadillac CTS-V sales in to match?

        Weight distribution/suspension? Do you really think the Corvette’s handling (based on a 17 year old chassis design, no less) is one of its weaknesses? Corvettes routinely dominate both weekend racetracks across the country in SCCA and NASA, and C5R/C6Rs are well proven in ALMS (2010 not withstanding.) Why would Aventador style pushrod shocks benefit the car? I’d love to see that cost/benefit analysis.

        Yes, the Vette needs a new interior and a styling refresh, and a little more weight off the nose never hurts. But let’s give credit where do to a phenomenal sports car value.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Hi Alexdi….

        Are you sure? A transverse leaf spring for the rear? How quaint.

        If you don’t like the Porsche references, perhaps check some of the almost unbelievable suspension on the new McLaren MP4-12C. It’s a great example of flat cornering WHILE on a downhill, off-camber curve with tar strips and expansion joints. That sort of situation is deadly for Corvettes, which then come back to bite their owners with a little unwelcome visit to the grasslands and forests of the great American outdoors. (^_^)..

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        So that’s TWO $300k+ cars that you expect GM to benchmark for the design of their $40k sports car?

      • 0 avatar
        Alexdi

        > Are you sure? A transverse leaf spring for the rear? How quaint.

        I should be. I spent an inordinate amount of time rewriting the Wikipedia entry for Corvette Leaf Springs. You should read it, they’re a clever bit of kit and you could use the education.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Hi Alexdi…

        Wow. I did look up that Wikipedia article and can always use an education (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvette_leaf_spring). It’s a good piece of work, and you should not regret the time it took to produce it – especially the spring flex diagrams.

        Unfortunately, the theoretical aspects of leaf-spring performance seem not to pan out in actual racing experience. Other than Corvette, the cars you list as using it are simply not performance cars, track cars, or racing cars ….of the caliber of Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Nissan GT-R, McLaren, Jaguar, Koenigsegg, Pagani, Bugatti, or Aston Martin. Nobody else in the performance world uses it. If it had overwhelming advantages, would you not think that others would adopt it?

        (BTW: I have no idea why NASCAR does not allow it, but then again they often do not allow what otherwise seems as reasonable things.)

        And the curve/hill/camber/surface situation I described to you in the 8:20 PM entry is especially deadly for the Corvette suspension system. (It’s not exactly a joy for any suspension system, to be honest.)

        Please see the link below, a test of a Corvette vs an old Lamborghini going around a stiff road course: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9wbe2HNrAg

        ..and thanks again for your comments.

        ——————

      • 0 avatar
        Alexdi

        I didn’t make the diagrams. I verified and rewrote the technical sections from another contributor to make them intelligible and learned quite a lot about suspension design in the process.

        > Unfortunately, the theoretical aspects of leaf-spring performance seem not to pan out in actual racing experience.

        This is willful ignorance of the tremendous success of the various Corvette racing teams.

        > If it had overwhelming advantages, would you not think that others would adopt it?

        It has significant advantages in weight and center of gravity. Most cars, particularly those mid-engined, don’t have space for it. It also complicates development because the spring rate is difficult to adjust. These are all listed at the bottom of the Wiki.

        The comparison with the Lamborghini was in favor of the Corvette. That particular Lamborghini has 4WD, so the superior stability at corner exit is unsurprising. In a timed environment, the Corvette would leave it for dead.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    I wonder if the new Viper’s interior and seats will at least push GM to upgrade the new ‘vette.

  • avatar
    probert

    “The fact that you can buy a bona fide 10 second quarter mile, 20+ mpg monster with factory reliability and a 5 year/100k warranty was laughable even a decade ago.”

    And all anyone can talk about is the seats. My soul is stirred.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Hi Probert..

      That’s fine, but remember that what you are emphasizing is just acceleration. That’s only one part of a bigger picture that includes some riding comfort, good cornering, proficient stopping, accurate steering and directional stability, esthetic design, wind noise, exhaust note*, proper ergonomics, reputation (cachet), price, depreciation, and all the other considerations.
      (* I know this sounds funny, but I recall one guy about 10 years ago who bought a Ferrari F355 F1 Spider just so he could rev it in his garage: he loved that banshee scream, and he never took it anywhere! Must be nice.)

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    To “doctorv8″….

    1) “Hopefully not foolish”: Well, I am sorry. Tried my best. Guess I’m stuck with “foolish”. Could be worse (^_^)..

    2) “Development cycle:: Yes, I realize that most manufacturers have 5-year cycle from concept (NOT concept car) to rollout. My hope was that even at this late date, some influence could be exerted at least on interiors, which are less on the critical path and occur later in the cycle than chassis and drive-trains. But maybe you’re right: could be too late for even that.

    3) “Antiquated pushrod engines”: Yes. This is not even debatable. 1950’s old tech. Too inefficient. Too much mass: can’t blip; can’t rev. Check the tach limit: are we doing 8500 RPM yet, when the Ferrari V-12 hits 9,000? Why else does GM have a development program to replace them with DOHC/Variable Valve for the C8, and other V8-using designs (like Camaro and Cadillac). And, in fact, they would have done so for the current ‘Vette had not the Bankruptcy and Crash of 2009-2010 occurred. If the LS7 and LS9 were world beaters, the world would be beating a path to contract them, and that’s not happening.

    4) “Panamera”: Nope. Must disagree. The sporty Panamera is still in the marque called “Porsche”; the CTS-V is in the marque called “Cadillac” and not part of the “Corvette” family.

    5) “Weight Distribution”: The weight distribution of performance cars seems now to have been determined experimentally for RWD vehicles ideally to be about 47/53 or 48/52. (I’m sorry I can’t remember the source.) Corvette needs to get there. And yes, its handling in transient situations is not up to its full capability. Please see the following link that makes less-than-happy some comments on this:
    http://www.topgear.com/uk/video-search?Phrase=corvette&Urn=sneezed-at

    6) “Refresh/restyling”: Indeed it does. But my point was that just the “glitz and bling” stuff ALONE, for which American car makers had been famous, won’t cut it here and now. Corvette was in a desperate struggle. But if Gilles and the Viper people can do the new SRT product in 3 years (yes, 3 years), then I hope it’s not too late for Corvette to have done much of that too, over their 5-year cycle.

    Thank you for your comments.

    ————

    • 0 avatar
      Alexdi

      > 3) “Antiquated pushrod engines”: Yes. This is not even debatable.

      I’m sorry, you have no idea what you’re talking about. GM smallblocks are the most popular performance crate engines in the world. Their small size, high torque, low weight, durability, and broad powerband are absolutely unique. Among naturally aspirated engines, you can list the ones with higher power density on one hand, and none of them are even vaguely as economical to run.

      There are plenty of things you can pick at on the Corvette. The powertrain isn’t one of them.

      • 0 avatar
        doctorv8

        Guys, NMGOM is quoting Top Gear for crying out loud. This education/smackdown is going to get entertaining.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Hi Alexdi…

        1) LS engines are not “GM small block”, and have little in common with them. Please see the link here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_LS_engine. All engines have unique power bands and torque plateaus.

        2) I specifically referred to the LS7 and LS9 varieties, and asked which foreign manufacturer is beating a path to our door to contract them. Well, which ones? Please name them. With references. (BTW: I do know of one small custom manufacturer, who does make an excellent roadster using alternatively a Corvette LS or a Dodge Hemi, your choice.)

        3) Yes, and I had done so before. To recap from the May 2nd, 3:45 PM entry:
        …a) Hugely upgraded interior and seating;
        …b) Completely revised suspension (perhaps F1-style, as recently introduced by the Aventador);
        …c) A far more racing-intensive weight distribution, such as 48/52. (Yes, it could get that with a mid-engine layout, but management has nixed that for the C7…maybe do it right for the C8.)

        You will notice that these BIG THREE do not directly involve the nature of the engine in this new C7 go-around, as you also noted. In fact, if the Corvette folks can take care of those things for the 2013 release, and leave the new engine stuff for the C8 / 2015 time frame, they should be in good shape. (Assuming, of course, that GM does not have a severe economic downturn. Regardless of the Bailout, some economists in the auto industry are saying that it may be unlikely for GM to survive beyond 2020. And, in fact, both Buick and Cadillac are currently in trouble with low sales as the Japanese, Koreans, and Germans become more aggressive and acquire market share.)

        Thanks for your comments.

        ————–

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      You need to learn a few things about the “antiquated” engine…

      Did you know that the LS3 is remarkably compact for its displacement? Not only that, it is 30 pounds lighter than the BMW M3 V8 which has 4.0 liters displacement. The engine is also very efficient – 30 mpg is attainable on the highway without trying hard. As for your complaint about revs, this is an American sports car and American performance has almost always emphasized torque and low-end grunt over screamingly high revs. Also, how much more does your beloved Ferrari engine cost to produce? Finally, 190 mph and 0-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds are somehow deficient in a car that costs under $50,000?

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Hi tonyola..

        One key element that you touched on may be at the root of Corvette’s problems. And that is the philosophy that this is an American sports car**, meaning “intended exclusively for Americans”. The manufacturer views them that way; the marketing people don’t push them beyond our shores; the buyers (Americans) don’t expect international standards for the vehicle; and so on. Even foreign potential buyers don’t expect much from them; only 2 were sold in the UK in 2010. This is quite different from saying that a Porsche Boxster is a German sports car: for everyone, that means its country of origin is Germany, but international sales (as well as sales in Germany, of course) are its intent.

        I think we have already discussed that and why the LS engines are going to be phased out.

        It’s not that I hold Ferrari’s per se as beloved; what I do hold as beloved is a properly made, comprehensive sports automobile, and Ferrari is just one (rather expensive) example of that. There certainly are others, but my bias and experience have been toward a design that uses rear-mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, great suspension (usually double wishbone F&R), a manual transmission, and a rear-biased weight distribution. It also means decent appointments with rich leather, and nice interior ergonomics. It need not be expensive: in fact, the Porsche Boxster (or Boxster S) that I referenced above would fit the bill just perfectly. No Corvette comes close.

        ** We need not get into the matter of just how much of a true “sports car” the Corvette currently is. But perhaps the term “American sports car” defines a breed that is different, and not along the same lines of pedigree as the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the Subaru BRZ or Toyota FR-S, all of which ARE true sports cars. There just is a certain liveliness, zippiness, agility, and scampering ability about a true sports car that simply do not show up readily in Corvettes.

        Thanks for your comment.

        ———–

      • 0 avatar
        tonyola

        Did you know that the base 2012 Corvette weighs 3,208 pounds? That’s only 150 pounds more than a 458 and a base 911, or over 600 pounds lighter than a Nissan GT-R. The C6 Corvette is the shortest model since 1957. Now go drive a Corvette (I doubt that you have) and try to tell me it’s not a proper sports car. And why don’t they sell in the UK? Because they are heavily taxed and it costs a ton to convert them to RHD. A base ‘Vette costs around $80,000 in the UK, and that’s before the taxes.

    • 0 avatar

      NMGOM: how exactly are the LS motors antiquated? Do you know when the first OHV motor was designed?

      You should compare the genesis of OHV, OHC and boxer engines.

      Ignorance isn’t an excuse, this motor performs because it is the most modern design out there.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Hi Sajeev Mehta…

        LS motors are antiquated because they are OHV designs, which nobody else in the performance-car world uses anymore. As “doctorv8″ pointed out, that design does have some reasonable virtues in cost-savings and low-end torque; but it also has some serious shortcomings. Please check the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_LS_engine.

        This type of motor is not the “most modern design out there”, or it would have won the “International Engine of the Year Award” sometime along the pathway of its existence. It has not done so. BMW has had multiple engines in that rarefied category; Mercedes has had them; VW has had them; and so on, but no Corvette engines** were represented. Please see links: http://www.ukipme.com/engineoftheyear/judges.html;
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Engine_of_the_Year.

        ** There was one GM concept (not production) engine that did win an award in the “Concept” category.

        Thank you for your comments…

        ————–

      • 0 avatar
        tonyola

        “LS motors are antiquated because they are OHV designs, which nobody else in the performance-car world uses anymore.”

        Chrysler Hemi
        Dodge SRT V-10

      • 0 avatar

        “LS motors are antiquated because they are OHV designs, which nobody else in the performance-car world uses anymore.”

        Well then! I am sure that kind of logic works somewhere, but since the LS is one of the best performing super car motors, is one of the lightest and has a lower center of gravity than OHC motors, is cheap to produce even with exotic materials (LS7), gets good fuel economy even in non-Corvettes…

        Add the fact that there are very few LS powered machines that won’t clean your avatar’s clock…

        Oh wait, it is antiquated by your definition. My bad.

    • 0 avatar
      CRConrad

      “4) “Panamera”: Nope. Must disagree. The sporty Panamera is still in the marque called “Porsche”; the CTS-V is in the marque called “Cadillac” and not part of the “Corvette” family.”

      The Corvette is just one model of the Chevrolet brand; it corresponds to either the Cayman, OR the Boxster, OR the 911, but not all three of them.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    To mnmforever…

    Yes, I do. They had better benchmark something other than themselves. My faith in American ingenuity is that the Corvette folks can actually make a Ferrari 458 Italia or McLaren MP4-12C type of car, in comprehensive performance, panache, and world-wide desirability, for less than half those prices. It can be done!

    BTW: If I remember properly, production Corvettes start at around $50K and go up to about $110K.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      True, but after discounts and incentives they sell for under $40k.

      You make some valid points, probably why they discount so much! But I hate marketing and engineering to snobs who think high tech is the only way to go. The Viper was purposely low tech, that was it’s appeal. I like reliable bad ass brute force. And I like bargains too.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Yeah. I agree on the super high-tech misadventure. That’s precisely why the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport is, for me, one of the least appealing, over-engineered cars I have ever seen. Ideally, I like the simplicity of mid-rear-engine, rear-wheel drive, manual transmission, high horsepower, and great suspension. Another good choice is mid-front-engine with rear transaxle and the other features above. Adding decent Recaro seats and a nice leather interior doesn’t hurt either. Forget all the electronic “nannies” or make them defeat-able.

        And yes, there is an American made car that meets all that: the SSC “Tuatara”. See Link:
        http://www.sscnorthamerica.com/tuatara.php
        It’s a little pricey though, so we will probably have to wait for the C8 Corvette for all that to happen in the range of “the average guy”.

        BTW: I realize you were using “300K+” as a round number for exotic car pricing, but the McLaren lists here at $231K, and the 458 Italia starts at about $240K. See links:
        http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2012/03/02/review-2012-mclaren-mp4-12c/
        http://www.autoblog.com/2009/10/07/ferrari-458-italia-price-emerges-at-240-000-in-leaked-document/

        Thank you for your comments.

        —————

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Mid engines or transaxles add complexity and cost. And for what? Slightly better weight distribution? There are other ways of dealing with that, which is why every manufacturer has their favorite methods. Making the Vette into a Ferrari isn’t going to sell more Vettes. That bullet proof powertrain is one of the best features of the car. The muscle car origins are what forms the basic appeal of the car in the first place.

        I agree with you on the interior, it could be better. But it’s really not that bad, I even liked the seats. But it’s strange that GM offers Recaros on the CTS-V but not the Vette. The thing is, you cannot find a car in the same price range with the same performance that does it better.

        You keep comparing it to $241k :) or higher supercars. Now you compare it to an SSR, a custom built car that doesn’t have to meet reliability or safety standards of a big corporation like GM, not to mention costs significantly more money.

        And my $300k estimate was for the McLaren and the Lamborghini. The Aventador costs something like $400k IIRC, and though the base MC is $241k, there are a lot of pricey options that take it to $300+ pretty easily. I didn’t even consider the 458.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    Corvette is the Harley-Davidson of cars. They´re holding on to old technology(pushrods, leaf springs etc) just because it´s old. The difference is that Harley-Davidson has a strong brand name and they don´t care if their motorcycles are competitive or not.
    Maybe Corvette could get away with their stone age engineering if they had fit and finish like Porsche(who also use old technology).

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Hi Buckshot..

    That’s a good analogy. But what does that make the Viper, which is reputed to have an even more “raw edge”? But, yeah, I think Corvette could have gotten away with “Stone Age” and not attracted so much unfavorable attention if everything else had been in place. At least moving up to “Bronze Age” would have been a virtue (^_^)….

    • 0 avatar
      doctorv8

      NMGOM,

      I see you have conveniently chosen not to reply to the comments about the “antiquated” LS engine. I don’t know how many times I’ve had this ridiculous debate with the HP/liter fanboys out there, but to summarize, you said:

      ““Antiquated pushrod engines”: Yes. This is not even debatable. 1950′s old tech. Too inefficient. Too much mass”

      After you stop quoting Top Gear nonsense and actually learn about the GM LS motor architecture from an engineering viewpoint, you will realize that all three of your comments above are absolutely false.

      Get back with me when you discover when OHC technology was developed. Hint: before the 1950s.

      Find me another car (besides the new direct injected Porsches) that get better fuel economy than an “inefficient” Corvette with that level of performance.

      Finally: Mass. As you have been told before, there is no more power/torque dense sportscar motor on the planet than the LS3/7/9. Lighter, lower CG, cheaper to build, and nearly bulletproof. If the 7000 rpm redline of the LS7 isn’t enough for you, tell me how much torque your 8500 rpm motor makes below 4000 rpm.

      Real world driving conditions demand a wide, flexible torque band, where the Corvette has no peer at anywhere near its price point. I’ve owned and driven all the others, and you won’t find a more objective viewpoint than mine.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Hi “doctorv8″…

    I apologize about the delay. There was no ill intent about my not responding. I had an appointment, and we are dodging thunderstorms here right now, so all my electronics are on-and-off…

    1) “Antiquated” does not come just from “Top Gear”. It comes from GM! Why else is GM planning to replace that engine design? (Hope you’re sitting down: someday (probably not with C8), you may even get stuck with a turbo!)

    2) I’m afraid you’re going to see a lot of this: again, why else is GM planning to replace the older OHV design if it it did not show the problems I mentioned? One might even ask, how many times in recent history has any Corvette engine won the “International Engine of the Year” award? “Bulletproof” is not necessarily the only virtue: bicycles are fairly bulletproof too.

    3) My reference to OHV and 1950’s was meant to apply to Corvette’s use of that design, since the car was developed in the 1950’s. OHV designs per se came from the early 1900’s. You can look up their limitations here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overhead_valve.

    4) “Mass” here means not the total weight of the engine, but the weight of moving parts in the valve train. DOHC designs minimize “top end” moving mass and allow better balance with higher maximum RPMs. Again, are you ready for this: why else is GM planning to replace the older OHV design if it it did not show the problems I mentioned?

    Look, I want Corvette to succeed as much as anyone, but some of its issues should never have gotten this far. Sometimes it seems from the inordinate defense of Corvette’s shortcomings on this website, from several people, that “Corvette” is not just a car: it is an American religion. Let’s call it “Corvette-icsm”. How possible is it to have a rational discussion with a religious fanatic about the failings of his faith?

    Thank you for your comments.

    ———–

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The LS7.R won the “Global Motorsport Engine of the Year” award.

      http://www.corvetteracing.com/history/2006releases/general/racing8.shtml

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Hi ajla..

        That’s fine, and I’m glad Corvette won at least something. But “Motorsport Engine” does not have the prestige, scope, and comprehensiveness of the “International Engine of the Year”.

        See who the judges are (for the latter) here:
        http://www.ukipme.com/engineoftheyear/judges.html

        Thank you for your comment.

        ————–

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      So the excellent and well-documented performance, handling, and fuel economy numbers for the Corvette now amount to being “problems”? That’s nice. Also, you keep repeating the “GM’s gonna replace the OHV someday” as if it was some sort of mantra. Overall, you haven’t been very convincing.

      Perhaps there might be a few people here who are blind to the Corvette’s very real problems. However, you’re being just as stubbornly blind towards the Corvette’s very real virtues and strengths, not least the fact that the American car’s price is a fraction of the exotic Europeans that appear to be your masturbatory fantasy. You know, the late author LJK Setright – who was not usually a big fan of things American – once wrote that Americans often have the knack of making seemingly primitive and antiquated technology work better than the purportedly-more-sophisticated European counterpart. He used the Corvette as an example.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Hi again, “tonyola”…

        1) The “excellent and well-documented performance” of Corvettes was neither excellent nor well-documented in the 2011 ALMS season, by comparison to BMW. Please see the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_American_Le_Mans_Series_season. (Although Corvette did come in 2nd, and, in my view, has a good chance at 1st in this 2012 season.) But I don’t think anyone said that good performance was a problem, but rather, that inadequate performance is. Again, when the Corvette folks have enough confidence in their cars to enter the “24 Hours of the Nurburgring” AND compete credibly, then you will know they have arrived. LeMans alone won’t do.

        2) Yup. Gonna repeat the mantra, since you seem not to be getting the message: “GM is planning to replace that (the LS) engine design”. So you need not defend it: the LS is certainly to be honored for its contribution to Corvette history, but is now headed to its proper resting place: a museum.

        3) I am not blind to Corvette’s “strengths and virtues”. It’s just that they are no longer sufficient, especially internationally, and by comparison to increasingly proficient competition here (Porsche, BMW, Ferrari, McLaren**, etc). And don’t talk to me about relative prices. To a great degree, you get what you pay for: you want cheap; you get cheap. And people ARE willing to pay BIG BUCKS for outstanding quality, versus MEDIUM BUCKS for poor quality. The Benefit/Cost ratio is higher that way.
        ** Reports are that orders for the McLaren were literally pouring in during late March and April, despite the $231K price tag. The company views this American introduction as a “resounding” success. See link: http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2012/04/mclaren-mp4-12c-a-resounding-success-in-america.html. It was almost as though dehydrating wanderers in the Great American Automotive Desert were finally given luscious cool water to drink. And drink they did.

        4) LJK Setright, a once ex-pat Brit who spent some time here (but wrote in the UK), was certainly no recognized authority on automobiles. He was a polarizing, opinionated, motoring journalist who even had an irrational dislike of diesel engines. His first wife thought so highly of him that she committed suicide! Anything he could have said about Corvettes would have been superficial at best. See link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._J._K._Setright.

        Thank you for your comments…

        ——————–

      • 0 avatar
        tonyola

        “4) LJK Setright, a once ex-pat Brit who spent some time here (but wrote in the UK), was certainly no recognized authority on automobiles. He was a polarizing, opinionated, motoring journalist who even had an irrational dislike of diesel engines. His first wife thought so highly of him that she committed suicide!”

        Sorry, I just can’t take you seriously anymore. If you have to reach down to this level to make a point, you’ve become desperate to hold an increasingly untenable position. Several of Setright’s books are considered definitive, and as for his wife’s suicide, where were you trying to go with this? I won’t even attempt to address your other points now. I’m not playing with you anymore – you’ve gone weird. Goodbye and don’t stew too long in your own irrational hatred, otherwise you won’t be able to open your eyes to facts.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        To “tonyola”….

        Look, I do not have an irrational hatred of All Things Corvette. I do have an intense dislike of impolite non-objective American chauvinism, which blinds us all to our own shortcomings. That’s the same isolated predisposition that allowed the once prideful Detroit “Big Three” in the 1970’s and 1980’s to get slammed by Japanese automakers in our own country. (And it almost led to the demise of GM and Chrysler in 2009). Now people are flocking to the new Toyota Camry once again, as market share for GM declines. We failed to realize the shortcomings of our offerings in THAT market category, just as we are rationalizing the shortcomings of Corvette now in its category.

        I have repeatedly said on this website that I would like the Corvette to succeed; to do so INTERNATIONALLY; and grow up out of its little American shell. What is so difficult to understand about that? Yes, the engine is antiquated and certainly not a preferred design in that arena, but the BIG THREE problems I listed did not even involve the engine! To recap, Corvette needs a:
        …a) Hugely upgraded interior and seating;
        …b) Completely revised suspension (perhaps F1-style, as recently introduced by the Aventador);
        …c) A far more racing-intensive weight distribution, such as 48/52. (Yes, it could get that with a mid-engine layout, but management has nixed that for the C7…maybe do it right for the C8.)

        Despite all of the micro, a priori views that we can hold for the Corvette, the facts remain in the big picture:
        …a) It can’t sell overseas in competitive regions (look at sales in Germany, for example);
        …b) It rides terribly and is uncomfortable for non-track uses;
        …c) It can’t run successfully in the “24 Hours of the Nurburgring”;
        …d) It comes across as a cheaply made, poorly refined, plastic car;
        …e) It has an engine design that has won no large, prestigious international awards.
        Those are facts. And yes, those things matter to Europeans, to say nothing of folks in Japan.

        BTW: My comment about the late Mr Setright’s wife was meant to be humorous, and tease you about his general credibility (evidence the “!”). I see it did not turn out that way. I apologize, and did not mean to offend you.

        —————-

    • 0 avatar
      doctorv8

      GM has been building OHC/DOHC engines for decades now, my friend. Why do you suppose they haven’t replaced the “inferior” OHV setup yet?

      We all know they have more reciprocating mass than an OHC motor, but that is easily outweighed by the smaller cylinder heads, lower CG, and lighter engine weight. Pros and cons to everything. Street cars don’t need to turn 8500 rpm.

      PS there has been no definitive news of GM replacing pushrod motors completely, but even if they eventually do, the LS motor is a performance icon that will live on in history as an outstanding engineering achievement, Whether or not you agree is irrelevant.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Hi again and again, “Tonyola”

    You noted:

    ““LS motors are antiquated because they are OHV designs, which nobody else in the performance-car world uses anymore.”

    Chrysler Hemi
    Dodge SRT V-10″

    You are absolutely right. What I meant to say, which at this late hour did not get incorporated, is: “LS motors are antiquated because they are OHV designs, which nobody else in the performance-car world outside America uses anymore.”

    The Chrysler Corporation here suffers from many of the same issues that GM does (IMHO).

    Thanks for the correction.

    —————-

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Bristol cars and the most expensive Bentley still use OHV designs.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Hi ajla..

        Yup. So do Russian Lada’s. But none of those are high performance / sports cars. ..Thanks..

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Which Ladas use OHV engines? I’m pretty sure they use a crummy SOHC head on the old 124 block. Post-Fiat Ladas like the Samara had a crummy Porsche designed SOHC four. None of the engines performed as well as some US OHV designs.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      You keep talking about “issues” and “problems” with the Chevy OHV engines, yet you completely ignore the irrefutable fact that the Corvette even in base form offers a terrific combination of performance and economy. I’ll repeat the facts for you once again: Under $50,000. 190 mph. 0-60 in 4.2 seconds. Realistic 30 mpg at highway speeds. World-class braking and handling. Where are the “issues” you speak of? So what if the LS3 doesn’t rev to 9,000 rpm? That doesn’t seem to be holding Corvette back in the least, does it?

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        I think you are attributing a lot of the vette’s good characteristics to the engine when it should be the chassis. I’d like to see what kind of gas mileage you could get out of a 5.0L Coyote in a Corvette chassis. Facts are that the corvette has very light weight, very small crossectional area, and a good drag coefficient and those combine to be very good for gas mileage (low rolling resistance drag, low aero drag). Lugging any engine will return good gas mileage in that chassis.

      • 0 avatar
        tonyola

        But the engine is also very compact and lightweight, and those factors contribute to the low vehicle weight and small frontal area. Plus when you consider that the LS3 has 6.2 liters of displacement yet delivers such good fuel economy, that too is a credit to the engine’s designers. The engine’s ample low-end torque allows for the long gear ratios which help the mileage while not dampening the performance. Sure, the chassis and brakes are major elements of the Corvette’s abilities, but the engine also plays a central role.

      • 0 avatar

        Quentin: good luck fitting a Coyote in a Corvette!

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        There are all sorts of DOHC V8 sports cars with a low bonnet (heck a DOHC inline 4 is probably taller than most DOHC V8s). I don’t think that is the limiting factor of cowl height. Strut towers probably have more impact on that. As long as the engine is tucked between the front axleline and the firewall on a RWD sports car, the engine height won’t be the limiting factor for cowl height. Frontal area is calculated by the frontal area of the whole car, not just the cowl, too.

        Variable valve timing on intake and exhaust cams gives plenty of low end torque to stretch out the gearing. Anyway, fuelly seems to indicate that most people average between 16 and 22mpg in their vettes. In ideal conditions, I’m sure that 30mpg is possible… but you aren’t likely to see that as your average fuel economy just like my 4Runner can do 25 on roadtrips but I average 22mpg.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    To “CJinSD”…

    The original Lada’s, still around because of their toughness and ease-of-repair, were based on the Fiat 124. Here are the specs for that engine:
    Power came from a 1.2 L (1197 cc) Fiat OHV straight-4, producing 65 hp (49 kW) and 70 ft.lbf (95 Nm). Also 124S with 1438 cc OHV engine and 124 ST with 1438 cc and 1592 cc Twin Cam with 5 speed gearbox. Please see links below:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_124
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lada

    Thanks for your comment.

    ————–

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      You’re describing FIAT 124 engines as they were installed in FIAT 124s. The version used by Lada had a crummy SOHC head grafted on. I’ve seen them all.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VAZ-2101

      “Known as the Zhiguli within the Soviet Union, the main differences between the VAZ-2101 and the Fiat 124 are the use of thicker gauge steel for the bodyshell, an overhead camshaft engine (in place of the original Fiat OHV unit), and the use of aluminium drum brakes on the rear wheels in place of disc brakes.”

      You seem very intent on avoiding learning anything. Not a good way to go through life.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        To “CJinSD”..

        “You seem very intent on avoiding learning anything. Not a good way to go through life.”

        Why do people persist in making ad hominem attacks? They are rude, hurtful, and accomplish nothing.

        If a mistake is made, please point out the correction and document it. Be polite.

        In this case, I can inform you that I was in (then) West Germany in the late 1960’s when Lada’s were first being exported, and I can guarantee that the first ones came with Fiat engines AS IS, probably to make a good impression in the West. The Soviet Union was trying to make money to support its failing ideology and circumvent the fact that rubles were not an international currency. If they converted to other engines after that, then so what? It’s a minor issue.

        All this is, of course, off the point, so why are you picking at trivia? The original point was that OHV designs are not used anymore for high-perfomance/sports cars outside America. Period. This is a fact and it is not a debatable issue.

        ———–

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        NMGOM,

        “Why do people persist in making ad hominem attacks? They are rude, hurtful, and accomplish nothing. If a mistake is made, please point out the correction and document it. Be polite.”

        Well said but some, like CJ, cannot do anything but attack. Just look through his history of comments. Disagreeing is fine and he is right a lot of times but the way he expresses it is just off.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Using the links already provided by both of us, you will find that the first Lada was produced in 1970 and powered by a single overhead cam engine. While AvtoVAZ was founded in 1966, it took them a few years to get up and running and their first product was the 1970 VAZ-2101, which was an adaptation of the Fiat 124 with an overhead cam engine, thicker sheet metal, and drum rear brakes. In export markets it was called the Lada. Names used changed over time, as did spec, but they all had over head cam engines, right from the start.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      You really consider the Lada and 124 to be comparable to the $290k Mulsanne?

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        To “ajla”…

        No I don’t. And your comment is off the issue. The only things they have (or had) in common is (was) OHV, and none of the 3 vehicles above has anything to do with being a high-performance/sports car. It doesn’t matter what the purchase price of the cars is.

        The point is this: No high-performance /sports (or sporty) cars are made with OHV designs outside of American cars. Period.

        ————-

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        You are the one that brought up Lada when I mentioned Bristol and Bentley. All you needed to wirte was “I don’t consider those sports cars”. You were also using the more ambiguous term “performance car” last night.

        I’ll concede that the Mulsanne is not a “sports” car, but I would still consider the 6 and 3/4 litre motor to be a “high-performance” engine. VW used some of their resources to modify it so it would meet modern regulations, so they must have seen some value in keeping the design around over using a turbo DOHC W12 in the flagship model.

        So just to clarify, you are okay with OHV being used in brand new big luxury cars and grand touring vehicles? You just don’t consider it optimal for use in sports cars?

  • avatar
    chaparral

    There are three problems with putting a DOHC engine in a Corvette.

    1. It would gain over 150 lbs, all of which would be forward of the CG. This would move the CG forward far enough to push it from 52/48 to 55/45. The rear wheels cannot come any further forward in the car without losing legroom. If the front wheels are moved forward, they will have to get significantly smaller to fit within the body, or a very high and bulbous nose will have to be developed.

    2. It wouldn’t come even remotely close to fitting. The LS is a tiny, tiny little engine. It is roughly the same size as a Cosworth DFV or Honda Indy V8, both of which feature a dry sump and were specifically designed to not impede aerodynamics in a rear-engined car. It isn’t much bigger than a 505-hp rotary or two-stroke would be. A quick illustration of the physical size difference between OHC and CIB engines: http://media.photobucket.com/image/recent/PULNGZ/For%2520Sale%2520-%2520Mustang%2520Goodies/302vs46dohc.jpg

    3. There are no displacement limits on the road. Thermal efficiency of an engine under load increases with increasing cylinder size; the fuel cost of additional displacement comes in higher fuel consumption at idle. If I were asked to increase the base Corvette’s engine power by 150 horsepower and were given a 50-lb weight budget to do it, I’d ask for a taller-deck block and build a 7.5-8.0 liter engine. The weight gain would be comparable to an Eaton TVS supercharger or a very compact turbocharger system.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      To “Chaparral”..

      Wow. Thank you! A very knowledgeable, factually based, and level-headed analysis.
      You certainly have explained why the current Corvette is caught “between a rock and a hard spot” on this DOHC issue (as opposed to its current CIB) with its current geometry. I did check the photo on the website you referenced, and it dramatically shows the size problem involved here.

      Two comments:

      1) The biggest issue is not the requirement for a bulbous nose and small front wheels (which would increase Cd); the biggest issue is that the COM location would get much worse, as you pointed out. That would require a longer chassis and Corvette would become a larger car. But the Aston Martin people had to grapple with the DOHC design even with their V-12, and have gotten all that to be a mid-front placement with rear-wheel weight bias, yet weigh only 3800 lbs overall, rather astonishing since it is a 2+2 seating configuration Please see:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aston_Martin_DB9.

      2) Thermal efficiency increases with engine cylinder size (as you said), AND overall efficiency (along with HP generation) also typically increases with engine RPM (not counting forced induction systems). In your opinion, would these two factors suggest that a mid-rear placement of a higher-revving DOHC engine for the Corvette C8 version is feasible? Wouldn’t that solve some of the nose problems and front engine-bay crowding?

      ———

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @NMGOM – We keep coming back to the same points over and over:

        Mid-engine design — Great design for race tracks. NOT a great design for a street car, especially a street car with a mission to be a useable every-day car with actual cargo space. One thing the Corvette has always prided itself on was the ability to use it as a weekend getaway car for a couple. Making it mid-engined takes that away. There is also history, and I know you hate it, but it is important to a lot of people. The Corvette has always been a front engined car with a big V8. For the same reason the 911 stays rear-engined, the Vette should stay front engined. Changing it would alienate the core buyers, and there is not a strong enough reason to do that. You are obsessed with the whole weight distribution thing, which is already effectively countered by staggered tires, but less drastic design changes, such as a transaxle, could accomplish the same goal. Thats of course assuming it is even needed, Corvette handling has never really been a problem.

        The “International Engine of the Year” award — Honestly… who cares?? I have never heard of it. The manufacturers you mention as winning it are not known for reliable engine designs. Those types of awards tend to favor high tech, or new tech, designs anyways. Once again, implementing new tech simply because it is new is pointless. The current LS is compact, lightweight, efficient, powerful, inexpensive to build, and reliable to well over 100k miles. Not one other engine you continually bring up can match all of those features. A Ferrari or Lambo or Aston engine costs 2-3x as much. Putting that type of engine in a Vette just to be able to claim it can rev to 9k RPM?? As I said… WHO CARES??

        The 24-hr ‘Ring race — Once again… you are obsessing over one category of a race that only the high end Euros care about.

        Interior — no doubt, this one you are right about. They do need a better one, and they cut too many corners. I will give you this one.

        The thing is, you keep expecting Chevy to make the Vette into a Ferrari or Lambo. You compare it to cars that costs 2-3x as much money. And you completely discount the fact that the Vette costs a little bit more than a entry level luxury sedan. It competes on performance with supercars. You think they could sell the Ferrari for $50k? The rest is just profit??

        The Corvette IS American, thats part of what makes it a Vette. Making it into a Euro car is just counterproductive.

      • 0 avatar
        chaparral

        1) Aston Martin didn’t solve the COM issue. They built a bigger, heavier car. This is how they were able to move their COM back.

        If I were to put 300 lbs of tools as far back as I could in the cargo area of a Corvette, its weight distribution would be 45/55 or better.

        3800 lbs is not 3100. Nor is it the 2700 that the next Corvette should weigh. The lighter the car, the harder it is to move the CG backwards. However, the performance increase from taking 100 lbs off the back of the car is a lot larger than the performance decrease that results from making the weight distribution 3 percent worse.

        2) I said something about putting 300 lbs of tools in a Corvette in my answer to the first question. Those tools actually do fit in the Corvette’s cargo area. You can also put four Corvette tires in a Corvette and drive to the tire shop. There is no way in the world you could do this with a mid-engined car that does not look like an old Dodge van. A Corvette is expensive enough, compared to the income of its owners, that it is often used as an “only car”.

        Moving the engine to behind the passenger compartment does not solve the main issues with a DOHC engine – it is physically larger and heavier overall. You will not only have to deal with the 150-lb weight penalty; you will have to design a bigger car around it. You will also have to either raise the seats or not be able to see out the back.

        If I were to design a mid-engined Corvette, I’d use a transverse LS (already seen in 5.3 liter form in an Impala), and use a sufficiently strong FWD gearbox.

        I think you have the revs vs efficiency backwards. For a GIVEN engine, it is most efficient to operate at high engine speeds and heavy load (though driving fast enough to require both high load and high engine speed will usually drop fuel economy far more than the efficiency improvement). However, when DESIGNING an engine, you get a smaller surface area for a given displacement with larger cylinders – larger bore and longer stroke. Both of these drive RPM down. My hypothetical 480-cubic-inch V8 would probably be redlined at 5000 rpm.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    To “chaparral”….

    Thanks for the comments on this. Good perspectives, but are you sure you would go with a Corvette that has FWD just because of a possible mid-rear-engine layout? Did I misunderstand? If not, why would you recommend a (usually) performance-deficient layout like FWD?

    Concerning engine geometry: Yeah, “square” engines do minimize surface area (and internal friction), while allowing higher RPM; and SB/LS engines force a lower top rev limit. For a given displacement, say 4 liters, which would be a good pathway for the next Corvette in fuel mileage and power? (I guess you have gone part of the way there by specifying the 5K rev limit for your preferred 480 cu in.)

    ———–

    • 0 avatar
      chaparral

      No, I’m not going for a FWD Corvette!

      I’ll use the FWD drivetrain, like the one in an Impala, mounted behind the seats in the Vette as a mid-engined drivetrain. That’s how they made the Toyota MR2 out of the Corolla.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Whew! You had me scared. I almost ran for my heart medication…

        I was also getting concerned that next you were going to say that a Corvette hybrid is something you might want! (^_^)..

        ————

    • 0 avatar
      chaparral

      Here’s the problem with the “4 liters” comment.

      There’s no reason for GM to build a V8 that small.

      For a given power output, say 400 horsepower, you will get better fuel economy with a larger engine than a smaller one – comparing apples to apples.

      An 8-liter, 400-horsepower V8 will burn less fuel under load than a 4-liter, 400 horsepower V8. A 4-liter, 400-horsepower turbocharged inline four will burn less fuel under load than a 2-liter, 400-horsepower inline four.

      Not only do “square” engines minimize surface area, LARGER engines minimize surface area. Surface area goes up with the square of a dimension. Volume goes up with the cube.

      Now, you won’t see a Cruze 6.2 get better gas mileage than a Cruze 1.4t – though it might be awfully close! That’s because the bigger engine burns more fuel at very low power outputs and idle. On a freeway, it would even out and maybe even favor the V8.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        To “chapparal”…

        As the automotive world gets more excited about forced induction, can you not see a 4-liter, 450 HP, twin turbo-charged engine for a Corvette that gets an honest 35 mpg highway?

        And are there not benefits in low-end torque with turbos, as well as a fuel-mileage benefit?

        ————–

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    To “mnmforever”…

    Thanks for your perspectives on this. I can’t address them all right now (gotta run), but I think you may have unwarranted concerns about the first issue. I hope to get back to you on the others later.

    You said: “Mid-engine design — Great design for race tracks. NOT a great design for a street car, especially a street car with a mission to be a useable every-day car with actual cargo space. One thing the Corvette has always prided itself on was the ability to use it as a weekend getaway car for a couple. Making it mid-engined takes that away.”

    If we take the 2012 Porsche Boxster as an example, versus the 2012 Corvette Convertible, the mid-engine Boxster has a total storage volume (back AND front) of 4.59 + 5.29 Cubic Feet or 9.88 Cubic feet total; the Corvette has 11.0 cubic feet in back. Seems that essentially 10 vs 11 is not a huge difference. Is that right? You and your wife should still be able to go away to the mountains for a weekend in the Boxster! (^_^)…

    ———–

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I look forward to your followup. But to address the cargo space, firstoff, I was referring to the coupe. The convertible is already a compromised vehicle, the tradeoff is the joy of top down motoring. Second off, you refer to the Boxster, which has a compact flat-6 design. Bring back the comparisons to the Reventon or 458! Third, 2 small compartments are not equal to one large compartment. Especially with my wife and how she packs for a weekend! :) I would need all 11 cubic feet for her bag. The coupe is double… like 22 cf.

      • 0 avatar
        thetopdog

        The Corvette has 21 cubic feet in the back. If you’re going to criticize, at least try to get your facts straight. You have been wrong on so many issues in this topic I can’t even list them. On top of that, even when your facts are right, your interpretation of them is wrong. Take it from somebody that currently drives a Lamborghini and used to drive a Vette, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Corvette and it is by far the best performance value of any car on the market.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Hi “mnm4ever”…

        If your wife needs 11 cubic feet of a single continuous space, then that settles it. No Boxster for you, and you’ll just have to forego that Ferrari 458 Italia I was going to give you as well: it can only come up with 8.1 cubic feet as a single volume! Please see link: http://www.autotrader.com/research/modelinfo/luggageCapacity.xhtml?styleid=332383
        I guess you’ll just have to make do with the Corvette….

        BTW: I love roadsters, and for me, having a 2-seat sports car that is a coupe is good only for racing, not so much for touring–especially in Fall, when driving down a tight 2-lane road overarched with sugar maples.

        “mnm4ever”, I have put some considerable thought into this next topic. So please hear me out.

        Seriously and psychologically, you are right that “history” is THE BIG issue. The Corvette has become an American icon, and, significantly, it would seem to need the features it currently has. They are almost carved in stone, in the view of aficionados. Even its problems and shortcomings are often rationalized affectionately, as the Faithful follow their religion of Corvette-icism. And that is why Ed Welburn worried about upgrading it “without screwing it up” (his words).

        But that situation happens all the time. The Porsche Faithful were devastated at each major revision and bemoaned the “deterioration” that was befalling them. But they did accept the changes, and the result is now, in the 2013 911 Carrera, one of the most perfected, dynamic (literally), and spectacular motor vehicles ever made. That includes (heresy!) actually moving the engine forward a little bit!

        It’s time for a carefully orchestrated campaign to tie in Corvette buyers to help design or modify their own new product. Ironically, back in the early 1990’s, the Dodge people did that very effectively for the new generation RAM trucks. From some comments by “chaparral”, we know there is a limit to what can be done with a front engine / RWD design; and that performance experience worldwide suggests that Mid-rear-engine (MRE) / RWD is optimum, without even considering AWD. Yes, it would take some selling, but the American icon can be moved forward, and I venture to say that if a new MRE/RWD prototype were built with 700HP and toured the country to allow Corvette owners to drive this car, with a lighter front end, ultra-precise steering, nimble toss-ability, and glued-to-the-pavement acceleration, cornering, and braking, they would just mortgage their wives and kids to get one! (^_^). Right now, most Corvette owners simply do not know what they are missing. It is not a matter of making a Corvette into a Ferrari; it is a matter of making a Corvette internationally acceptable, IF GM really wants to go that way.

        With no intent to embarrass you at all, your comment on “International Engine of the Year” (IEOTY) reveals part of the Corvette marketing issue. If we want Corvette to be exclusively an American car, then fine: who cares about IEOTY? But if we want to sell Corvette overseas and run with the big dogs, then you full well better care about IEOTY, and the Nurburgring. The latter is not just one race, it is THE race; it is the yardstick by which automotive legitimacy is measured, IF you want to go international. Without earning your stripes and building a resume, as others have been humble enough to do before, you will be merely a poseur, a fraud, a pretender to the throne. Look at all the effort the Nissan GT-R people are putting into that. And it’s paying off. I frankly would like to see the Corvette name plastered all over Germany, Japan and China. But no gee-whiz, American flash-in-the-pan approach is going to accomplish that. It takes work.

        Yes, Corvette IS American. No one denies that. I just believe that its next genuine stage is not to make it European, but to make it comprehensively international, without forgoing its American-ness. And there is no reason why an entire Corvette product line cannot be formed (a la Porsche), with vehicles ranging from traditional FE/RWD $50K cars all the way to RME/RWD cars that might cost less than $200K and still beat the pants off Ferrari, Lamborghini, Nissan GT-R, and McLaren IN ALL WAYS. Think about it.

        —————-

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Dear, dear “Topdpg”….

    Whatever are we going to do with you? (^_^)

    You are right about the coupe’s trunk (sort of), which actually has about 22 cubic feet.
    But we were talking about the Convertible, which does indeed have 11 cubic feet in its “boot”.

    Please see link: http://www.chevrolet.com/corvette-convertible/features-specs/

    Thank you for your comment, I think…

    —————–

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    To “ajla”…

    You said: “So just to clarify, you are okay with OHV being used in brand new big luxury cars and grand touring vehicles?”

    ANS: Yes. It is really the demands of racing and track work that tax the valve train, so keeping its mass as low as possible is a virtue for high revs and high “bilp-ability”. Next time you’re near a Ferrari dealer, for example, just ask the salesman if he could turn on the engine for you. You can sit there and just “tap” the accelerator gently with your foot (after warm-up, of course). Watch the tach explode from 1200 to >7000 RPM seemingly effortlessly and instantly, with the exhaust note going “bam”, and with almost no discernible crescendo in pitch: the “bam” is one apparently timeless event. No OHV car can do that. But that behavior is typically not what big luxury sedans and touring cars are called upon to do.

    You also said: “You just don’t consider it optimal for use in sports cars?”

    ANS: No, I don’t. Reason above.

    Thanks for your clarifying questions..

    ————-

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    From NMGOM:

    “BTW: I love roadsters, and for me, having a 2-seat sports car that is a coupe is good only for racing, not so much for touring–especially in Fall, when driving down a tight 2-lane road overarched with sugar maples.”

    So, you are obsessed with weight distribution and pushrod actuated suspensions, but you yourself prefer a limp chassised convertible to a proper coupe?

    Have you ever been around a track in a C5/C6 with a decent driver behind the wheel? It is capable of doing things few street legal cars can dream of. Just look at Nurburgring and VIR lap times if you need any proof.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Hi “doctorv8″….

      Thank you for your response….

      Each has its own virtues.
      If you want to see trees and stars and feel air, get a convertible;
      If you want to do street drags, track days, and race runs, get a coupe.
      Better yet, get one of each (^_^)…

      My point had to do with platform. If the basic chassis is reworked for a better weight distribution and suspension, then you can build either design on top of that.

      And, you may be surprised at how stiff (non-flexing) new convertibles are nowadays with sill bracing using high-tensile materials to compensate for a lack of roof.

      Using Ferrari as an example only, here is a nice little video for you to watch as a pretty gal (Vicki Butler-Henderson) demonstrates that very point. Enjoy.

      http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=646_1321276413

      Cheers (^_^)..

      BTW: I know all about ‘Ring lap times; but I want ‘Ring racing success. I have driven the ‘Ring. Have you?
      And if you want all-else-equal lap times done by a professional former race driver who knows the ‘Ring cold and does “within-limits” testing, check the work from Horst von Saurma-Jeltsch* in the top-20 data and on the video link below. Corvette does not come out as well as I’d like.

      1 Porsche 911 GT2 RS Mk2 620 7:24
      2 Gumpert Apollo Sport 700 7:24
      3 McLaren MP4-12C 592 7:28
      4 Porsche 911GT3 RS 4.0 500 7:30
      5 Porsche Carrera GT 612 7:32
      6 Porsche 911 GT2 Mk1 530 7:33
      7 Porsche 911 GT3 RS Mk2 450 7:33
      8 Pagani Zonda F 602 7:33
      9 Audi R8 GT 560 7:34
      10 Koenigsegg CCR 806 7:34
      11 Nissan GT-R R35 Mk2 530 7:34
      12 RUF Rt12 997 650 7:35
      13 Nissan GT-R R35 Mk2 530 7:36
      14 Lambo G. LP570-4 S.L. 570 7:38
      15 Corvette ZR-1 647 7:38
      16 Lexus LFA 560 7:38
      17 Ferrari 458 Italia 570 7:38
      18 Nissan GT-R R35 Mk1 486 7:38
      19 Techart GTStreet 997 Mk1 630 7:39
      20 Ferrari 430 Scuderdia 510 7:39

      * “To many, von Saurma’s lap times are the best independent representation of a car’s capabilities on the ‘Ring.”

      http://jalopnik.com/5852701/mclaren-mp4+12c-laps-nurburgring-in-728 (Watch video);
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horst_von_Saurma.

      ———-

      • 0 avatar
        tonyola

        From Richard Hammond in the latest Wired:

        “The ZR1 is a genuine, worldwide-competitive sports car, and it’s staggering. It can stand up to the best from anywhere else. I like American cars, but you haven’t made many sports cars. Supercars, muscle cars, yes, but the ZR1 is a true sports car. It’s an amazing piece of kit.”

        http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/05/hammonds-10-best/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wiredautopia+%28Blog+-+Autopia%29&pid=1967

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    The new horse-power Corvette, destined for rugged, bulletproof reliability; great cornering; and excellent mileage:

    http://www.sportauto.de/bilder/die-besten-fotos-im-mai-2012-der-schnappschuss-des-tages-4856243.html

    (^_^)…..

    ———–

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    The ZR1 beats every single cheaper car (with the possible exception of the GTR, which is based on a platform that is much newer than the C6’s platform, and can be more expensive depending on options) on the list you post and you still claim “Corvette does not come out as well as I’d like,” what the f#&k are you expecting from this car?

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Hello, “Thetopdog”…

      Thank you for your comment.

      What I am expecting from the Corvette ultimately is the ability successfully to race AND WIN in the “24 Hours of the Nurburgring”, which I had already stated. Does that sound unreasonable?

      But, in the meantime, if we must revert to lap times on that track, then I am afraid you may not be able to use price-normalization thinking here. In other words, to challenge other “supercars” internationally, the Corvette needs to perform well largely independent of its price, not because of it.

      Here are two considerations why:
      1) The prices of many alleged supercars (to which Corvette aspires) are not only dependent on the “performance hardware” in them. Those high prices can come from luxury items; hand craftsmanship; exotic materials; top grade engineering; and just the cachet of the marque. If we could strip all that out of a Ferrari 458 Italia, for example (assuming one would want to do so), it might cost perhaps “only” $100-150K.
      2) I put together a little data table (not shown) to demonstrate why price-normalization may not work as you had hoped. The list does come from the “uncontrolled” test methods furnished on an “official” lap time website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nürburgring_Nordschleife_lap_times), since the “Sport Auto” list does not include many less expensive cars. If we divide price by lap time, the best performance “deal” out there has nothing to do with any high-performance “super cars” or their relatives. The best lap-time car you could get per dollar (or, here price per second on the track) is the Honda Civic! I am sure that is not exactly what you had in mind (^_^).

      ———–

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    To “tonyola”…

    Thanks for your observation here. And you bring up a very good point: not all Brits hate American cars.

    Jeremy Clarkson may be more the exception than the rule: he says he’d rather get bird flu than own a Corvette, but perhaps we can excuse that theatrical hyperbole offered on his TV show. It got laughs.

    Tiff Needell is another Brit who was delightfully surprised by the Corvette in his testing on “5th Gear”, while still being objective about some of its issues. His significant comment: “The Americans are teaching us how to build cars!” Please see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMDtROZo1kE.

    So how does all this come together? I sense that this is supportive enthusiasm and cheering in advance to get Corvettes into the UK, since we all know they aren’t being sold worldwide. But there is an “if only” implication here: “if only” they had a better interior; “if only” they didn’t cost so much; “if only” they had right-hand drive; etc.

    So, Corvette: all you have to do is clean up those 3 little things I mentioned much earlier (May 4th, 9:47 AM); give the vehicle right hand drive; and reduce the price to compensate for Britain’s VAT (Tax)!

    I can’t think of ANY country that has a more intense sports-car mentality that Britain. So you don’t have to do a sales job on the virtues of sports cars over there. And, for heaven’s sake, GM has Vauxhall all set to go to provide distributorships. I mean, how good does it get? They could sell like hot cakes!

    ———-

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    NMGOM,

    a 7:38 in the ZR1? Hell, a 2005 C6 Z06 went 7.42 on runflats back then.

    You need to update your list:

    http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2011/06/corvette-zr1-sets-new-719-63-nurburgring-lap-time-just-off-porsche-gt2-rs-record-video.html

    And yes, I’ve driven the ‘Ring. Have you driven VIR? Or any other track in a C5 or C6?

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Hi “doctorv8″*….

    As before, I appreciate your comments.

    With regard to lap times: unless the SAME skilled, knowledgeable driver is testing a group of cars by the SAME methods; with the SAME optimum race lines and apex treatment; within the limits of a vehicle at 10/10th’s and no more (i.e., not out of control from which recovery is required), then Nurburgring lap times become a marketing game and little else. All manufacturers do it. And that’s why for me there are only two credible track comparisons:
    1) Professional race drivers like Horst von Saurma-Jeltsch’s runs and data for “Sport-Auto” magazine, to keep “all-else-constant”;
    2) An actual race, in which vehicle avoidance / overtaking also become part of the venue. And of course, the ultimate race on this planet is the “24 Hours of the Nurburgring”.

    And so, the list I posted is NOT mine. That all came directly from Mr. Von Saurma’s work, as shown toward the end of the video I quote earlier above (May 5th, 1:26 PM). Pause the video at the end, and you will see it. Here it is again:http://jalopnik.com/5852701/mclaren-mp4+12c-laps-nurburgring-in-728.

    I did watch the video you recommended. I had seen it before, but enjoyed it again. That’s the good news. Now the bad news, with which you will whole-heartedly disagree: Jim Mero is driving too fast! (^_^). What that means is that (in my likely erroneous estimate) he is spending somewhere between 10% and 30% of his time “out of control”: with squealing tires; required recovery at apexes that are over-ridden; sliding in corners; correction in steering, and so on. Von Saurma simply would not do that with ANY car (or it would be minimal). One should not establish lap data based on luck, any more than a skier should ever be encouraged to blast down a mountain “out of control” either.

    Now that I think of it, you may want to look at the video I quoted again, back to back with Jim Meros’ run in the Corvette, but this time concentrate an von Saurma’s smooth confidence and control in the McLaren (just as an example). And those are the criteria he uses: how fast can any test car be driven while retaining smoothness and control, with confidence instilled in the driver at all times?

    I am glad you had driven the ‘Ring: now you know what I am talking about, and why Corvette’s Tadge Juechter in your video also lists that track as the “ultimate validation of a car”.

    I had not driven VIR. My history with Corvette goes back a long way, to 1966, when American industry had more money that it knew what to do with. GM sponsored a group of ME/ME and other grad students to test Corvettes (C2’s, if I remember) in Sebring, FL. I was one of them. The Corvette folks were trying to find out why and how arch-enemy Porsche was doing so well, so why not torture a bunch of students with that?

    My recent C6 experience is on WIR here as a condition for purchase, since I already owned other vehicles from the same dealer. What did I think about C6 Corvette’s overall drivability? Not there yet: hence, I paid a visit to the Porsche dealer. And I should not have had to do that. I am probably a lower-skill level performance driver (in my view), but have some sense of track “feeling” in a car, having been on tracks like Hockenhiem and the ‘Ring in Germany during a two-year stay there.

    The whole point of my commenting on this website is to get folks to realize that Corvette is a work-in-progress that has many virtues and great potential, but also shortcomings that ABSOLUTELY need to be addressed, especially if GM wants to take Corvette international. Evidence: I understand, and correct me if I am wrong, that GM wants to start selling Corvettes in Korea. Why Korea? (I had already posted a response to “tonyola” (above) on how simple I believe it would be to target Britain, for example.)

    —————

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Actually, there is no reason to disagree that Mero was overdriving. Anyone who knows anything about road racing can see that, and he never proclaimed himself to be the next Rohrl. However, in spite of his mistakes, the lap time is impressive, if totally meaningless to those of us that don’t have the luxury of the Ring in our daily commute. Having said that, it is also obvious that you can’t directly compare lap times on different days/weather/drivers, but the fact that the ZR1’s best times are still at the VERY top of the class is my point. The Z still dominated C&D’s lightning lap, despite being built on what is essentially a 17 year old chassis.

    Finally, as an ME, I would have expected you would appreciate the elegant simplicity of the GM pushrod motor. There is still no more physically compact or lightweight motor that offers such a flexible, broad torque band, or such excellent fuel economy (ZR1 version notwithstanding). Also, the car itself is still lighter than almost all competitors, proving yet again that the C5/C6 chassis was ahead of its time, and it’s evolution with the gradual increase in lightweight materials has kept up with the market.

    Contrary to what you said, Clarkson actually loved the ZR1, and raved about it at length. Not that that blowhard’s opinion means squat to me!

    I’m looking forward to a Gen V direct injected small block, revised interior, and further weight savings in the C7. Evolution is the name of the game here.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    Here’s NMGOM in the above thread:

    “My bias and experience have been toward a design that uses rear-mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, great suspension (usually double wishbone F&R), a manual transmission, and a rear-biased weight distribution. It also means decent appointments with rich leather, and nice interior ergonomics…. When we see Corvette show a top-quality interior; a dramatically new suspension; and much better weight balance that allows credible performance in the “24 Hours of the Nurburgring”, then let me know.”

    And here’s Bernie Kressner of Appleton, Wisconsin, in a letter to the May 2012 issue of Automobile magazine:

    “When the Corvette cleans up its acts with a rear mid-engine layout, 45/55 front/rear weight distribution, and quality materials with good workmanship, then (Porsche) will be no threat at all…. And neither will the Nurburgring lap record, the gold standard of sports-car performance.”

    Looks like someone’s been obsessing. Maybe you should consider taking up a hobby. Like German car ownership. Or fevered masturbation. (If those are two separate hobbies.)

  • avatar
    RubiconMike

    God, I love reading armchair warriors discussing theoretical ideals! Never get tired of them……

    Here’s my take on this discussion: A couple of years ago I was looking for a daily driver for my 70 mile commute over a winding mountain road. For $17k I bought a 2002 Z06 with 50k miles and 405hp that looked like new inside and out. I drive it every day “briskly” and average 21 to 25 mpg overall (depending on how “briskly” I drive). The only repair has been one water pump with a small leak that I replaced before it became a big leak. For $150 I got a brand new AC Delco pump plus new coolant, thermostat and did the job myself in less than two hours (disclaimer, I used to be a Ford mechanic in the ’70s – now I’m a tech professional in Silicon Valley). I’ve even taken a few trips on the freeway where I punch in the cruise around 75 and see 30 – 33 mpg on the trip computer. For the level of performance and handling this car delivers, I find the ride surprisingly comfortable. The quality of the interior is fine with me; nicer leather doesn’t make it go any faster. This is my personal experience and may or may not be representative of the world at large. I’m happy with my choice, and I believe that is what really matters.

    As an ex-mechanic and gadget guy, I judge a piece of machinery by how well it does its intended purpose. I value efficiency, and to me that means high levels of performance, reliability, and economy in both operating costs and repairs. I believe a Corvette does that very well. Luxury interiors, status symbols, cutting edge technology, and image are farther down the priority list for me.

    If a 60 year old pushrod design still delivers big power, reliability, economy, is light weight, and inexpensive to manufacture and repair, why not use it? How is that any more antiquated than an 80 year old boxer design that traces its heritage to an everyman’s car commissioned by Hitler? Or maybe you think overhead cam design is the latest and greatest? Ask W. O. Bentley, who was using it in 1919. Yeah, I love f1 engines with pneumatic valves and 20k rpm redlines, but I don’t want to drive one to work every day. In fact, in both superbike and f1 racing, they have found that engines that deliver strong, linear, low end power are faster and deliver better mileage than motors that make more horsepower at peak revs and tend to deliver power like a ‘light switch’. Maybe that’s why diesels are winning in prototype sports cars these days! Different technologies have their own advantages and disadvantages; no one design is superior in all conditions.

    Rather than debate the theoretical advantages of cost-no-object supercars, I’d rather hear from people who actually own the cars they are talking about. But then, this is the internet and everyone makes up stuff………

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Couldn’t possibly agree with you more, Mike. C5/C6 Vettes have a better combination of power, handling, economy and reliability than any other sports car on the planet. You forgot to mention that your 10 year old, 30 mpg Z06 is capable of low 12 sec quarter mile passes, competitive lap times on any road course, and weighs less than 99% of sportscars on the planet.

    • 0 avatar
      RubiconMike

      I was talking to a friend yesterday that was telling me he rode in a Honda 2000, and how fast it was. I mentioned that the Honda has 240 hp and 2,850lbs. My Z06 has 405hp and 3,120lbs, he was quite surprised that the Corvette was as light as it was.

      By way of comparison, the S2000 does 0 – 60 in around 6 seconds, mine does it in less than 4, yet they are both EPA rated at 20mpg overall. (Honda 18city/24highway, Vette 17/26). Peak torque on the Honda is 162lb/ft at 6,800 rpm! Very impressive that they can get 240hp from a 2L engine, but really, it’s still only 240hp (crankshaft) and you have to go to 8,300 rpm to get it!!! By comparison, my Vette puts out over 300hp (rear wheel) at 2,000rpm and climbs to 375 by 4,500rpm.

      Say what you want about the interior, seats, and other subjective qualities, by any objective measurement the Corvette is an impressive machine that is also very easy to live with as a daily driver.

      • 0 avatar
        RubiconMike

        Oh, I forgot to add: Not only is my Z06 fast, reliable, and fuel-efficient, but is is also rated a NLEV (National Low Emission Vehicle), so it’s clean and green too!

        As I said before, buy and drive what you like, there are many wonderful cars out there, it really is a golden age for automobile enthusiasts. Just don’t sit there and pretend that the Corvette is some hick machine with a big engine. Sure, some parts may be considered low-tech, but the also have things like magnetic ride suspension (even Ferrari uses GM’s MRS).

        NO ONE ELSE builds a car that is as fast, reliable, economical, and clean running as the Corvette REGARDLESS OF PRICE. Other cars of similar power and performance pay a gas guzzler tax due to their thirst for dead dinosaurs, aren’t NLEV rated and are considerably more expensive to maintain and repair.

        So is the Corvette the best car in the world? Absolutely not. Is it a luxury car able to go head to head with a Rolls? Absolutely not. Is it a world class sports car? ABSOLUTELY.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Hello again, “doctorv8″….

      I realized that my response to your reply above was general, and not made to your comment directly above. My original response for you is shown 7 posts below.

      I have the curb weight references, if you want them.

      Regards,
      …N

      ————–

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Hi “RubiconMike”…

    I am glad your have gotten into the mix here: I had been away for a while. And I appreciate your enthusiasm for your Corvette. I felt similarly about a 1976 dark racing-green Ford Grand Torino with a 351 Windsor at one time: the love of my life. Ever watch reruns of “Starsky and Hutch”? Since you were once a Ford guy, I think you can relate.

    However, you may be glossing over some Corvette shortcomings that car mag’s and others have noted for a decade or more: the seats really are substandard and the interior is mediocre at best (including the placement of the handbrake on the OPPOSITE side of the center console!). The suspension is a bit rough on broken pavement, to say nothing of potholes. I know that for you these are acceptable, but for the buying public in general, they may not be acceptable. And perhaps in CA, the roads are much better than here in MI or PA. Again, I draw your attention to the following link:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMDtROZo1kE.
    The video is generally favorable about the Corvettes’ technical features and performance results, but even Tiff says (paraphrasing) that he knows the interior is not up to snuff and the ride can break your back. Yes, if necessary, the poor seats can be measured objectively, and NOT be solely evaluated as a subjective opinion.

    You said: “So is the Corvette the best car in the world? Absolutely not. Is it a luxury car able to go head to head with a Rolls? Absolutely not. Is it a world class sports car? ABSOLUTELY.”

    I can certainly agree with the “absolutely not” judgments you have made, but the “ABSOLUTELY” thing may be more a reflection of unbridled enthusiasm and excessive automotive patriotism! (^_^). The current Corvette cannot be a “world class sports car” because… it is not in the “world”. That means it is just not significantly sold or supported overseas. (In a previous comment [May 6th, 7:42 pm], I mentioned how easy I thought it would be to target the UK for that entry “into the world”.)

    This whole thing started for me on the issue of getting Corvette to be genuinely international, if GM wants to go that way and help Corvette escape its “America only” reputation. Right now, to some degree, Corvette wants to have its cake and eat it too. It wants to claim “International” and “World Class” and “No.1 in Racing” without putting in the effort to document and earn its way there. So, for the upcoming C7 Corvette (NOT the C8), here is what I suggest:
    1) Fix the BIG THREE issues (Interior, Suspension, and Weight Distribution**);
    2) Get the Nurburgring lap time down to 7:15 or lower to match or beat the SRT VIper, when the run is made by a qualified independent driver (i.e., Horst von Saurma-Jeltsch);
    3) Enter and WIN (in its class) the “24-Hours-of-the-Nurburgring”, a new performance standard;
    4) Sell at least 100 cars in 2013 in each of these 5 countries: Britain, Germany, Italy, Korea, and China.

    So, let’s put all the hype aside for the moment. IF Corvette is serious about being “world class”, let it accomplish these 4 things, document its “arrival” on the world stage, and then the world will recognize this as a very desirable “world class sports car”, especially, not solely, considering its “price point”.

    Of course, maybe GM doesn’t care, and Corvette will be relegated to an America-only offering. That would be a shame. It could do better. Much better.

    —————–
    ** Notice I am saying nothing here about engines. I believe Corvette could do these things with its current pushrod design; and save the upgrade for the C8 in 2016: then perhaps a twin-turbo, variable valve, direct injection, multi-spark, overhead-cam, V-8 …. that is mid-rear mounted and genertaes a gazzillion lb-ft of torque at 1500 RPM! (^_^). At least that would make a bloody good $150K option!
    —————–

    • 0 avatar
      RubiconMike

      I generally don’t like to spar with internet trolls, so here’s my last comment:

      I bought what I like, and I don’t feel the need to go online and rag on other people’s choices. Nor do I feel the need the defend my choices to others that are just looking for an internet argument.

      To claim that a car that, by any objective measurements performs at a level equal to almost any other car in the world, is somehow deficient because it doesn’t excel at every subjective measurement you make up is foolish. To continue to discuss with you is pointless since you are seem to refuse to acknowledge the Corvette for what it it. Or in other words “You can’t teach a pig to whistle, it wastes your time, and annoys the pig”.

      I’m happy with the car I bought and don’t feel the need to disparage other’s. You apparently aren’t happy with your ride and feel the need to make others equally unhappy. I recommend therapy.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Hello, “RubiconMike”…

    I think you are personalizing my comments to your particular car choice, when in fact I clearly stated that I appreciate your enthusiasm for your Corvette, but was trying to address its general issues.

    I was doing an analysis about Corvette, its shortcomings, what can sensibly be done about them, and what Corvette needs for international recognition. Is there anything wrong with that? There is plenty of objective information in the public domain to document Corvette’s problems (and its virtues). I even quoted some to you, which either you have not yet looked into, or have chosen to ignore.

    If you cannot deal with interchanges at this level, without resorting to ad hominem references like “troll” or “pig”, then I respectfully suggest that you are both violating your agreement with “Truth About Cars” Website, and that you should discontinue its use.

    Here is what that agreement says, in part:

    “At TheTruthAboutCars.com, we want the Community Forum to be appropriate, friendly, informative, and fun for all of our users. We want our users to utilize the forums for their enthusiasm, whether it is for questions, answers, research, chat etc. If everyone follows the Terms of Service, then the Forum will remain a fun and informative community.”

    “you agree that you will not upload, post, or otherwise transmit any content (including text, links, communications, software, images, sounds, data, or other information) that:
    …. Attacks or insults another Forum user or moderator;….”

    ————–

  • avatar
    RubiconMike

    My time has been wasted

    You are annoyed

    res ipsa loquitur

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Hello, “doctorv8″…

    You said with regard to the Corvette Z06, that it “weighs less than 99% of sportscars on the planet.”

    That may not be the case for current Corvettes. Please see the list of commonly known sports cars below. Corvettes bunch up toward the heavy end, and may weigh less than only about 10% (or fewer) sports cars on the planet. (^_^)….

    Curb Weight, lbs — Make and Model

    2410 Mazda MX-5 Miata (2012)
    2645 Gumpert Apollo (2011)
    2762 Subaru BRZ / Toyota FR-S (2013)
    2954 Porsche Cayman (2012)
    3000 Pagani Huayra (2012)
    3075 Porsche 199 Carrera S (2012)
    3080 Porsche 911 (991 series) (2013)
    3130 Porsche Boxster (2011)
    3160 Koenigsegg Agera (2012)
    3197 Ferrari F430 (2009)
    3199 Corvette Z06 (2012)
    3241 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-2
    3274 Ferrari 458 Italia (2012)
    3307 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4
    3311 Corvette Grand Sport Coupe (2012)
    3363 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta (2013)
    3405 Corvette C6 ZR1 (2012)
    3470 Lamborghini Aventador (2012)
    3830 Nissan GT-R (2012)
    4162 Bugatti Veyron (2012)

    ————–

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Wow, NMGOM, I thought we were done here.

    Keeping true to form (ie, not understanding the big picture), let’s examine the list you have compiled, and see how they truly compare to the Z06. BTW, a base Z06 in 2006 weighed just over 3100 lbs. The 3199 number you quoted is on the high side; probably for a fully loaded model with the Z07 pkg.

    “2410 Mazda MX-5 Miata (2012)”
    Really? Is the Miata even in the same perfomance echelon as a 370Z, much less a Z06?

    “2645 Gumpert Apollo (2011)”
    So a hand built, non US legal $300k+ exotic compares how exactly to a Z06? I wonder how it would fare in an IIHS side impact crash test? What do you think the Vette would weigh if GM allowed them to charge $300k for it??

    “2762 Subaru BRZ / Toyota FR-S (2013)”

    See Miata comment above. This thing runs slower lap times than a V6 Mustang! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pD3hgleEOXA

    “2954 Porsche Cayman (2012)”

    Better than a Miata/BRZ, and a great sportscar, but still nowhere near the performance of a 505 HP Z06. Only 150 lbs lighter, despite having an engine less than half the displacement.

    “3000 Pagani Huayra (2012)”

    See Gumpert comment above.

    “3075 Porsche 199 Carrera S (2012)”

    Your dyslexia got the best of you here, but I assume you meant the 997. Fair enough.

    “3080 Porsche 911 (991 series) (2013)”

    The 2 Porsches are among the few Vette competitors in its weight category, though with FAR less than 505 HP. Again….15 year newer platform, less power and displacement, and only slightly lighter. Looks like a WIN for Team Vette.

    “3130 Porsche Boxster (2011)”

    See Cayman comment above

    “3160 Koenigsegg Agera (2012)
    3197 Ferrari F430 (2009)”

    You can see where I am going.

    A 2006 Z06 at 3130 lbs and 7 liters/505 HP can be had for about $35k-40k in excellent condition, has a hydroformed Al chassis, a magnesium engine cradle and roof structure, carbon fiber fenders, etc, and will run rings around any car at that price point, or even far above, as your flawed list above clearly demonstrates.

    Only a base 911/Cayman plays in remotely the same weight/price category, and the performance is inferior. It takes a $150k 997 Turbo to run with a Z06, and guess how much they weigh?

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Hi, “doctorv8″…

      Thank you for your cordial response.

      Yes, indeed, there could be many qualifiers and explanations on the “curb weight” list. But the list was not meant for “who wins” or “who loses” in a horsepower-and-weight-and-price-and-perfromance comparison. It was just a response to your statement about “Corvettes lighter than 99% of all planetary sports cars”, which I sensed could not be the case (^_^)…

      In fact, the “Flawed List” encompasses a gamut of price, running from $22K for a simple Miata to $2.2M for a Veyron (Super Sport version): that’s a factor of 100.
      The list runs a range of horsepower, from 126 for a simple Miata to more than 1,000 for a less-than-simple Veyron: that’s almost a factor of 10.
      And the list runs weight band of 2400 lbs to 4200 lbs, almost a factor of 2.
      Some of the cars are completely done by assembly line; others are almost completely hand-made.
      Some use exotic materials like high-tech carbon-fiber cells and bodies; others have stayed with steel or aluminum or both.

      So, manufacturers have quite different views about how to make their version of the “ideal” sports car, and the Flawed List** turned out to be a very interesting analysis (at least for me). And some cars are obviously purpose-targeted: Corvette = acceleration; Veyron = top speed; Porsche = handling; Ferrari = beauty and design. These all do others things, of course, but the emphasis seems to be as indicated.

      In Europe and Asia, pure horsepower is less of an emphasis (historically) than handling and quality, so cars with those features had dominated. But a newer trend with Lambo, Ferrari, Pagani, and Koenigsegg, seems to show horsepower creeping up into the high 600’s and even into the 800’s…..to say nothing of that megalith, the Bugatti Veyron, kind of an anomaly. (But of course, American-made SRT Viper and SSC Tuatara are getting there too, as would be expected.)

      With regard to your information about the weight of the base Z06 in 2006, the datum I have is 3115 lbs. Please see link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Corvette_C5_Z06. The number (3199) you saw in the Flawed List was for a 2012 model year: http://www.leftlanenews.com/new-car-buying/chevrolet/corvette-z06/.

      You asked a non-rhetorical question about the weight of the Porsche 911 (997) Turbo. That car, with a (now) blazing 2.6-sec, 0-60 mph time, weighs 3487 lbs (at least in 2006). The AWD system is heavy. http://www.fastestlaps.com/cars/porsche_997_turbo.html

      ** No doubt part of the “flaw” may be omissions. I am thinking primarily of BMW M3 and Audi R8.

      Regards,
      ……N (^_^)…

      —————–

  • avatar
    RubiconMike

    quote: “Wow, NMGOM, I thought we were done here.”

    DoctorV8, you will never be done here. There are always people with too much time on their hands making pointless arguments. Reading through this previous thread, I see that there is not one person who agrees with nmgom, yet he goes on and on about how bad the Corvette is because it’s not faster than a million dollar supercar, lighter than a tiny entry-level sports car, AND have a better interior than Brand X that costs three to five times as much. If everyone stops responding to his fabricated arguments, he will (hopefully) just go away and annoy people on some other board.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    NMGOM,

    Pointless nitpicking aside, the Z06 is far lighter than any competitor with similar power, even at double the price. Only the 991/997 come close, and they still lack the power/weight ratio.

    This is largely due to fastidious weight savings by Team Corvette, and also due to the incredibly light, compact 505 HP jewel that is the LS7. Look at the difference in weight between the Z06 and a Porsche Carrera GT that was $400k when new. Tell me it’s not a damn impressive achievement. I trust you understand the true costs of such weight savings…and the fact that a 7 liter, 25+ mpg hwy, sub $80,000 sports car exists is frankly amazing. Period!

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Dear doctorv8…

      Please remember that I said the curb-weight list was intentionally NOT normalized or qualified by any other factor: neither power, nor price, nor performance. It stood on its own. With regard to your “99%” statement, it shows that there are many other sports-cars lighter than Corvettes of any species, and that fact certainly is not nitpicking. This is especially true since the Mazda MX-5 Miata is our planet’s LIGHTEST and top-selling sports-car: http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2009/06/30/467672.html and http://www2.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=80631.

      But to address your points above:
      1) Do Corvettes have an excellent power-to-weight-ratio? YES
      2) Was there “fastidious” weight savings by Team Corvette? PROBABLY NOT (they are actually heavier now than in 2006; where’s the progress on that?)
      3) Is the “jeweled” 505-HP, LS-7, V-8 a light-weight engine? YES
      4) Is the Porsche Carrera GT a damn impressive achievement? YES
      5) Is the continued existence of a 7-liter, 25 mpg, $80K vehicle amazing? YES

      Sounds great. Wonderful. Should sweep the universe. But unfortunately all of this may also be insufficient internationally. As I have said repeatedly, Corvette can (must) be made better.
      For example, tell me, please, how many new Corvettes were sold against that Porsche Carrera in Germany, the “other guy’s country”, in 2010 and 2011?

      You may also enjoy reading, on “Truth About Cars”, the delightful article, “Unimportance of Speed” (by which the author meant, at least partially, Acceleration, I’m sure): http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/the-unimportance-of-speed/.

      Regards,
      ….N (^_^)….

      —————–

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Given your previous inclusion of Panamera sales when comparing Porsche sales numbers to Corvette, it really doesn’t come as a surprise that you cannot comprehend that Miatas, Gumperts, and Corvettes, though all are 2 seat “sports cars,” do not live in the same universe. Can they all be satisfying on a twisty mountain road? Of course. McAleer’s article is a great one, but I believe it was you that felt the Vette’s performance was inadequate, not me.

    At any rate, I’m done….you take care.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Doctorv8..

    Thank you for your rapid response. I realize that you will not be replying, but for the sake of clarity for others:
    1) Panamera does have 4 seats; Porsche 911 Carrera has 4 seats; Nissan GT-R has 4 seats; BMW M3 (which I failed to include on the Curb-Weight List) has 4 seats. Yes, they are all sports cars or intensely sports-oriented cars; and yes, each will blow your socks off on a mountain road, as will a Corvette. The Panamera in particular has been a surprise to everyone who has driven it (I have). Even in its base version, how can a 4000-lb, sedan handle and corner like a 3000-lb sports coupe? The Turbo version is even more amazing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porsche_Panamera):

    Drag Coefficient: 0.30
    0- 60 mph (97 km/h): 3.3 seconds
    0- 100 mph (160 km/h) : 8.2 seconds
    1/4 mile: 11.7 seconds @ 119 mph (192 km/h)
    Top Speed: 188 mph (303 km/h)
    Braking 70 mph (110 km/h) to 0 mph (0 km/h): 159 feet (48 m)

    2) You are right: I do see Miata’s, Gumpert’s, Bugatti’s, and Corvette’s all in the same universe as a simply continuum (multi-dimensional response surface, as it were) of price, weight, power, and performance. They may all be subject to a unified field theory of sports cars some day! (^_^). You apparently see Corvettes as set aside in some special, non-continuous way, but the “world” does not.

    3) The “inadequacy” of Corvettes’ performance centers around its suspension, and therefore its handling in adverse situations during inclement weather at high speed. We just completed the “24 Hours of The Nurburgring” this past weekend. Nary a Corvette to be found. They just can’t handle it (no pun).

    4) The question of number of Corvettes sold in Germany (“the other guy’s country”) is THE major test of a Corvette, NOT how many sell here in America. It is THE issue that should not go unresolved. If Corvettes can sell substantially there, they can sell anywhere. Just like Zuffenhausen knew that Porsches would have to be good enough to sell in America, this is the same issue in reverse.

    Again, best regards to you, “doctorv8″. I appreciated your discussion. Oh, and sometime when you have time, stop by a Porsche dealer and take a 2013 Boxster S out for spin. You might enjoy it (^_^).

    ————-

    • 0 avatar
      doctorv8

      “Oh, and sometime when you have time, stop by a Porsche dealer and take a 2013 Boxster S out for spin. You might enjoy it”

      LOL, why would I want to step down from my 2011 911 Turbo S? Oh right, I should ask Brandon M. ;-)

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Yeah, that does sound kind of silly, doesn’t it! Other than the fact that even Porsche admits that the new Boxster/Cayman chassis has a better weight distribution and lighter handling character than even the new 911 (991 series). The 911 is a serious, task-oriented performance car; the Boxster is just plain fun and “toss-able”— a different feeling entirely. Driving one is just a good thing to experience.

        But then again, driving the new McLaren MP4-12C might be VERY good to experience too. And just think, it’s only $230K. Gotta save my pennies…(^_^)…. See Ya’…..

        ————-

  • avatar
    ctongier

    I’m a C6 corvette owner, and these guys nailed it. The interior is amazingly shitty. The engine, transmission, suspension are all there.. then slap a plastic body on it and a cobalt interior, and you have yourself a street racer!
    Seriously, I love the car.. so fun to drive.. but holy shit Chevy, I know we’re all used to Walmart quality, but you’re trying to compete with German and Italian cars.. the quality counts here.


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