What's New for 2000
Minor refinements improve the Corvette for 2000. The Z51 performance-handling package has larger front and rear stabilizer bars for improved handling, while new thin-spoke alloy wheels with optional high-polish finish subtly change the outward appearance. Two new colors are available on coupe and convertible: extra-cost Millennium Yellow and no-cost Dark Bowling Green Metallic. A Torch Red interior can be ordered, the stupendous LS1 5.7-liter V8 engine meets LEV regulations in California, the remote keyless-entry system has been upgraded, and the passenger door-lock cylinder has been deleted.
More than 40 years after the 1953 Corvette debuted, Chevrolet introduced the fifth-generation Corvette for 1997. With the addition of a hardtop model to the lineup in 1999, three different Corvettes are available for 2000.
Pushrod power -- in the form of a 5.7-liter LS1 LEV-compliant V8 -- motivates the Corvette. Horsepower is rated 345 at 5,600 rpm, while torque measures 350 foot-pounds at 4,400 rpm. Equipped with the standard four-speed automatic transmission, the Corvette will hit 60 mph in a shade over five seconds. Opt for the six-speed manual transmission and you'll cut less than half a second off the trap time. To help reign the power in on slippery surfaces, acceleration slip regulation (a.k.a., traction control) is standard equipment.
Monstrous four-wheel-disc antilock brakes keep stopping distances short, while massive 17-inch front and 18-inch rear tires contribute to prodigious amounts of road grip. The rubber stays planted well, too, thanks to a fully independent four-wheel SLA height-adjustable suspension. Optional on coupe and convertible is an Active Handling System (AHS), which keeps the Corvette in line even if the driver isn't.
Body panels are still composed of a material other than metal, though no longer fiberglass. Sheet-molded compound wraps around an ultra-stiff structure that features a full-length perimeter frame with tubular steel side rails. A sandwich composite floor with a lightweight balsa wood core damps noise and vibration while making the floor exceptionally stiff.
Inside, a dash with analog gauges and intuitive radio and climate controls greets passengers. Luggage space beneath the coupe's rear hatch glass is an incredible 25 cubic feet. Even the hardtop and convertible can tote more cargo than any Corvette in history.
To celebrate the turn of the century, buyers of the coupe and convertible can pay extra for Millennium Yellow bodywork. Or you can set yourself apart from the crowd with no-extra-cost Dark Bowling Green Metallic, named after the Kentucky city where the Corvette is assembled. A new interior color, Torch Red, debuts as well. New wheels with thinner spokes can be ordered with a silver or high polish finish - the optional magnesium wheels are still available. Other changes include a revised remote keyless-entry system and thicker stabilizer bars for models equipped with the Z51 performance and handling package.
Yes, the Corvette is an outstanding effort and competes favorably with the best in the class. Long, low, and lean, the Corvette is certainly attractive. We take issue, however, with the thick truncated tail and the odd-looking air scoops for the front brakes. Still, the Corvette's new shape will wear well into the next century.
Don't let the fact that the C5 will swallow two golf bags sway you into thinking this a gentrified sporting coupe. The 2000 Corvette is among the best true sports cars your money can buy.