The C6 my first Impressions from a C5 owners point of view.
Wow, what can I say. I am in love all over again. This is the closest to a new Corvette that I’ve ever owned and you can feel it in everything it does. Previous Vettes were a 1984 bought in ’94 and a 1997 bought in ‘02. I guess I have a thing for the new model years. The C6 is so much more than a C5.5 as it has been called. Remember however, I’m making comparisons to a 9 year old C5. I have never even so much as sat in any newer C5’s to compare…..note to self, sit in an ’03 or ’04 to check out the seats.
My C6 is a 2005 Precision Red (1 of only 1,274 made in that color) Coupe with 1SB so it has the dual power seats, dual front and side airbags, HUD and so on. The options are F55 suspension, Nav radio, XM, Onstar and clear top. Only 7,400 miles on her and still has the “leather and new car smell.” As an added bonus, the car came with Lloyds mats front and rear as well as a full package 3M invisible bra.
I’m still struggling with the front grill opening. I’m sure it will grow on me. I love the exposed headlamps and love the amount of light and quality of light they throw. The body lines are somewhat chiseled compared to those of the C5 but it is a firm, rugged stance from the side and ¾ view. I love the rear view and the blacked out lower fascia (as you could tell from my C5.) All and all I like the total package. The lines of the C5 were classic and the C6 satisfies my taste. The stance is mean. I love the bigger wheels and tires.
I love the indexing windows, the windows actually drop when you open and close the door to prevent you having to slam them. I love the motorized rear hatch assist again, so you don’t have to slam the rear deck lid. The hood closes on it’s own from an 8 inch drop. The car seems as though is sits just a little lower to the ground than my C5 did (I know, I know…..lower the thing before I put someone’s eye out.) both visually as well as getting in and out. I don’t like the fact that the passenger side doesn’t have the grab bar anymore to aid in getting in and out as well as a safe place to hold onto in the corners. The dual climate control seems to be a little more effective than the one in the C5 (just confirmed this with my wife.). The car is five inches shorter than the C5 was and it appears that they took away most of this distance from behind the seats. I used to be able to store a quick detailer and California Duster behind my seat and I don’t think I could now.
Man, where to begin. I guess the part I like the best is that GM all ready did most of what I loved people adding to their C5’s. Gauge bezels, check. Painted center console, check. Upgraded leather seats, check. Everything is nicely appointed. Basically everything you’d like about your C5 interior is there; everything you’d change is changed. My car is an ’05 and there are no squeaks or rattles as it should be. The seats are much better than the stock sport seats were in my C5. I probably needed new foam in my C5 but these feel more substantial and the leather looks more like the aftermarket seat covers. The seating adjustments feel about like those in the sport seats on the C5. I’m happy about this as I couldn’t live without them…very comfortable. The audio system is great. Again, I wanted an in dash integrated nav\cd\mp3 system, and I was headed for an aftermarket unit for my C5. I think they did a great job. The navigation seems to work quite well for the little bit that I’ve used it. It’s pretty cool in that the turn by turn info shows up on the HUD from the nav as does the audio info like radio station and cd track info. The system still uses Bose speakers (7 of them) and I think it sounds great. Bear in mind however that I didn’t hate the Bose system in my C5 so I guess there is no accounting for my taste either.
Start her up. The keyless start is cool, maybe gimmicky, maybe not. Doesn’t add to nor detract from the car. The sound is nice, my car idles with a little lope when warmed up which is cool. The exhaust note is a little mellower than my C5 with Corsa touring. The sound is deeper however and after about 2,500 rpm it starts to sound like it means business. The gear shift is awesome. For you C5 owners contemplating a C6 shifter (or any short throw for that matter) I can now say do it, just do it you won’t regret it. The feel is so much better than my stock C5 shift. My C5 had a Blackwing and Corsa exhaust, basically stock otherwise and dyno’d at 309 hp 317 torque. The C6 feels like it pulls harder but the C5 I believe has more SOTP sensation of acceleration, kind of hard to explain really. You do sense the extra 55 (in my case) hp and the extra 50 torque for sure but it is delivered in a more “civilized” manner for lack of a better description. Some of this may just be the difference in the exhaust note that makes it feel less…..raw.
The car is quite neutral in how it handles. It feels a little less likely to get me into trouble than my C5 did. However, this has the selective ride and active handling which my C5 did not. The car feels “heavier” to me than the C5 did. I mean this in a positive way. It just feels tight again possibly due to the 9 year old suspension on my C5 or some of the newer “gadgets” on my C6. The HUD is awesome. If you’ve never had one (like me) it is so nice to use while driving. The integration of all the nav and audio functions into the HUD is just plain cool and probably safer. I wanted to put the HUD into my C5 but was too lazy between the ripping apart of the dash and my need for a new cluster. If you are thinking about adding the HUD again, just do it. Wow is it worth it.
The new runflats are amazing, I mean really amazing. They feel stickier and are much quieter than the C5 OEM Goodyears did. I now understand what you all gained by getting away from the stock tires on the C5. I have put new tires on the C5 and I stuck with the OEM’s and noticed the improvement for the first several thousand miles but little by little they will start to stiffen up and will start to get noisy again. The C6 OEM tires that I have are with 7,400 miles on them and feel like non runflats to me. Grip is up and bump steer is down and both of those are good things.
I really haven’t pushed the car yet as I’m trying to get used to all the new sensations. I knew the C5 well and could read what it was trying to tell me. I prefer to have the same level with the C6 just so I don’t do anything I’ll regret later. I believe that the wheels set further out at the corners contribute to more of that stable feeling that I was trying to describe.
My C6 has the F55 magnetic selective ride control and can be adjusted between a tour setting and a sport setting. There is really a difference between the two and my wife even noticed my switch from the passenger seat. The tour setting is smoother than my C5 was with the base suspension shocks and sways. The sport setting is stiffer than my C5 and provides great feedback from the road surface as well as better cornering with less body roll. I wasn’t really looking for the Z51 and would have liked to test drive one to compare the two. As coveted as it is, I’m afraid that the everyday stiffness of the Z51 might be too much for the type of driving that we primarily do in the car. However, after having felt the sport mode I bet it would be perfect for the occasional track event.
The car has the same fun factor feel as the C5, neither really gets the edge here as they are both fun enthusiast cars that can hold their own with the European sports cars and sedans. What I’m trying hard to understand is if my C5 had been a 2004, with all the options the 1SB, the HUD, active handling – basically all the options available for the C5 that I now have in the C6 what would I be feeling, hmmm. This would be a tough choice. The C6 is remarkable, The C5 was the best Corvette ever when it came out. The cars are different as I continue to say. I love the new found power, I love the “gadgets” I love the newness of the car. I wouldn’t have done this just on the looks alone and as a newer C5 owner this is the first question you’d have to ask yourself and only you can decide that.