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Edmunds Drives the Corvette C6.4.2008.MCE

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Vette 6.4.2008

It seems like only moments ago when the Corvette C6 was introduced — a new, leaned-down package filled to the brim with the latest high-performance technology developed by the small group of Vette-dedicated engineers. But that was 2005, and since then the Corvette has twice won its class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since then (and might another time this June), so it's time for what General Motors calls a "midcycle enhancement."
It's a pretty good enhancement, too, because it begins with the new LS3 V8, now standard equipment for both the Corvette coupe and convertible. In a nutshell, the 2008 V8's displacement is bumped from 6.0 liters to 6.2 thanks to an increase in cylinder bore from 101.6mm to 103.3mm. This 6,162cc V8 also gets new cylinder heads derived from those for the 7.0-liter LS7 V8 featured in the 500-horsepower Corvette Z06, with low-restriction, large-capacity intake ports plus lightweight, hollow-stemmed intake valves that are about 9 percent larger.
The Corvette engineers have also done their best to get you up to speed quicker than before with some transmission improvements. The six-speed manual transmission has an improved shift linkage with a more positive, direct feel and stronger, spring-loaded action from gate to gate. No more navigation exercises required when going for a gear in a Corvette. Meanwhile the six-speed automatic has some new hardware and a new calibration that delivers quicker shifts, so the car feels more responsive when you use the steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
"We kept hearing complaints that the styling of the Corvette's interior wasn't on par with the exterior," says Tom Wallace, the Corvette's chief engineer, "and I think we've addressed that."
Unfortunately this introduction to the 2008 Corvette included only a short driving loop of 40 miles. Thanks to a drive during the morning in a 2007 model, the carefully calibrated dyno in the seat of our pants did find the extra 36 hp in the 2008 Corvette. Even though this represents just a 9 percent horsepower improvement in the 3,217-pound coupe, the midrange punch definitely seems more potent.
There are, however, virtually no changes to the 2008 Corvette Z06, as we await the ultrahigh-performance 2009 Corvette model that no one here at the center of the Corvette universe denies is coming.
Pricing for the 2008 Corvette has not been decided, but any increase will be, we're told, "modest."

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