What's New for 2001
The entire Corvette lineup receives a dose of additional horsepower and torque. Z06 model joins the lineup, Active Handling now standard on all Corvettes.
Nearly 45 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, Chevrolet brings forth an ace in 2001 with the race-ready Z06 hard top.
Pushrod power -- in the form of a 5.7-liter LS1 LEV-compliant V8 -- motivates the Corvette. Horsepower is rated 350 at 5,600 rpm, while torque measures 360 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.
Placing a check mark next to the Z06 box and you'll be treated to the fastest, lightest and stiffest Corvette to leave the factory. Backed by a new 5.7-liter LS6 V8 producing a pavement-melting 385-horsepower at 6,000 rpm and a standard issue M12 six-speed manual transmission (with aggressive gearing to increase torque multiplication), the Z06 rips from zero-to-60 in four seconds flat and corners at one full G.
Manhole cover-sized 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. Standard for 2001 on all Corvettes is a second generation 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.
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 new century.
Don't let the fact that the C5 will swallow two golf bags sway you into thinking this a gentrified sporting coupe. The 2001 Corvette is among the best true sports cars your money can buy. Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines.